Abraham – Hagar and Sarah

This coming Tuesday we are going to read through the story of Sarah and Hagar. In Genesis 15:4, God promises Abraham that he will have a son. We are told that his wife Sarah is barren and therefore Abraham has a son named Ishmael by his wife’s servant Hagar. God then gives Abraham a son named Isaac through his wife as He had promised. Sarah then expels Hagar and her son from the household. Today, all Jews trace their ancestry back to Isaac, and all Arabs (including Mohammed) trace their ancestry back to Ishmael. In Galatians 4, Paul will allegorize this story in his discussion of law and grace and that Christians are the true heirs are of Abraham. It is this story that all three great monotheistic faiths claim as their own.

Please read Genesis 16:1-16, 17:15-21, and 21:1-21. As you read through the story, try to fill in the blanks with regard to conversations and motivations, and be aware of how you identify with the characters. Also, please read Galatians 4:21-31 which is Paul’s use of this story in his argument as to how the Church is the true heir of Abraham and successor to God’s promises to him. Finally, to provide an Islamic perspective on the reading, I have attached a Hadith or tradition about Ishmael written by  Abd Allah ibn Abbas who was a younger cousin of Mohammed. A Hadith isn’t a Koranic scripture but holds a similar authority in Islam that Midrash does in Judaism or a writing by a Church Father, such as Augustine, might in Christianity. I doubt that we will read through the Hadith on Tuesday, but it’s provided to give you a different perspective on the narrative.

And now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. . . . So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Galatians 4:28, 31

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *