16:2 So Sarai said to Abram, “Since 1 the Lord has prevented me from having children, have sexual relations with 2 my servant. Perhaps I can have a family by her.” 3 Abram did what 4 Sarai told him.
16:3 So after Abram had lived 5 in Canaan for ten years, Sarai, Abram’s wife, gave Hagar, her Egyptian servant, 6 to her husband to be his wife. 7
16:5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You have brought this wrong on me! 8 I allowed my servant to have sexual relations with you, 9 but when she realized 10 that she was pregnant, she despised me. 11 May the Lord judge between you and me!” 12
16:6 Abram said to Sarai, “Since your 13 servant is under your authority, 14 do to her whatever you think best.” 15 Then Sarai treated Hagar 16 harshly, 17 so she ran away from Sarai. 18
16:8 He said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She replied, “I’m running away from 19 my mistress, Sarai.”
1 tn Heb “look.” The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) introduces the foundational clause for the imperative to follow.
2 tn Heb “enter to.” The expression is a euphemism for sexual relations (also in v. 4).
sn The Hebrew expression translated have sexual relations with does not convey the intimacy of other expressions, such as “so and so knew his wife.” Sarai simply sees this as the social custom of having a child through a surrogate. For further discussion see C. F. Fensham, “The Son of a Handmaid in Northwest Semitic,” VT 19 (1969): 312-21.
3 tn Heb “perhaps I will be built from her.” Sarai hopes to have a family established through this surrogate mother.
4 tn Heb “listened to the voice of,” which is an idiom meaning “obeyed.”
sn Abram did what Sarai told him. This expression was first used in Gen 3:17 of Adam’s obeying his wife. In both cases the text highlights weak faith and how it jeopardized the plan of God.
5 tn Heb “at the end of ten years, to live, Abram.” The prepositional phrase introduces the temporal clause, the infinitive construct serves as the verb, and the name “Abram” is the subject.
6 tn Heb “the Egyptian, her female servant.”
7 sn To be his wife. Hagar became a slave wife, not on equal standing with Sarai. However, if Hagar produced the heir, she would be the primary wife in the eyes of society. When this eventually happened, Hagar become insolent, prompting Sarai’s anger.
8 tn Heb “my wrong is because of you.”
9 tn Heb “I placed my female servant in your bosom.”
10 tn Heb “saw.”
11 tn Heb “I was despised in her eyes.” The passive verb has been translated as active for stylistic reasons. Sarai was made to feel supplanted and worthless by Hagar the servant girl.
12 tn Heb “me and you.”
sn May the
13 tn The clause is introduced with the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh), introducing a foundational clause for the coming imperative: “since…do.”
14 tn Heb “in your hand.”
15 tn Heb “what is good in your eyes.”
16 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Hagar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
17 tn In the Piel stem the verb עָנָה (’anah) means “to afflict, to oppress, to treat harshly, to mistreat.”
18 tn Heb “and she fled from her presence.” The referent of “her” (Sarai) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
19 tn Heb “from the presence of.”