23rd of April 

Hagar was an Egyptian slave girl who gave birth to one of the patriarchs of Israel, her story is found in the book of Genesis.

Hagar is a controversial figure in the history of Israel. She is portrayed as a tragic figure in the Scriptures though is considered a key figure in the genealogy of the Patriarchs. She was the handmade of Sarah who, after being unable to bare children, gave her to Abraham to carry his son. When Hagar fell pregnant Sarah became jealous and treated Hagar so harshly Hagar fled. God sent a messenger to meet Hagar in the wilderness and commands her to return and suffer. Hagar does as she is commanded after becoming the only person in the Old Testament to name God personally.

After Hagar gives birth she is again treated harshly by Sarah who eventually persuades Abraham to banish Hagar and her son. After wandering the wilderness Hagar begins to loose hope and abandons her son under a bush to die. Again God comes to her and tells her not to lose hope and promises that she will be the root of a great nation, thus giving her the same blessing as Abraham.

With a story of abuse, desperation and potentially unwanted pregnancy, it is easy to see why Hagar has become such a controversial episode in the Abrahamic faiths. God seems to offer rewards after first condoning abuse. Phyllis Trible included this story as one of her Texts of Terror and simply comments that we should allow this story to speak for itself without trying to sanitise or white wash it.

Hagar’s story stands as a testimony for all women who feel trapped in abusive situations. God has not forgotten you.

A Prayer for Hagar: 

Lord God we give you thanks and praise for the life of your holy servant Hagar. We ask that people may not forget or overlook the sacrifices of women in the story of your people and pray that those who are still sacrificing may be granted justice and recognition. We pray also for those struggling with unwanted pregnancies and those who are in abusive situations at home. In your most Holy Name we pray. Amen.

Suggested Bible Reading:

Genesis 16