Askmoses-A Jews Resource
What is the Jewish view on capital punishment?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.


Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

Click the button below to either CHAT LIVE with an AskMoses Scholar now - or - leave a message if no Scholar is currently online.

CHAT or LEAVE A MESSAGE

Hagar

by Nissan Mindel

Talks and Tales

  

Library » History » Patriarchs, 12 Tribes | Subscribe | What is RSS?


PRINT EMAIL COMMENT

One of the most interesting women in the Bible is Hagar, Abraham's second wife, and the mother of Ishmael. The Arab and Beduin tribes claim to be descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar.

According to the Midrash, Hagar was the daughter of King Pharaoh of Egypt. When she saw the miracle which G-d performed for the sake of Sarah, to save her from the hands of the Egyptian king during Abraham's visit there, she said: "It is better to be a slave in Sarah's house than a princess in my own."

Her name "Hagar," according to the Midrash, stems from this beginning of her association with Abraham's house. It comes from "Ha-Agar," meaning this is the reward.

Hagar became Sarah's Maid, but when Sarah was not blessed with children, she persuaded Abraham to take Hagar as his second wife. Sarah hoped that she could bring up Hagar's children and merit G-d's blessing that way, so that she, too, perhaps might be blessed with a child.

As soon as Hagar realized she was to have a child, she began to look down upon her mistress who apparently could not have one
Abraham took Sarah's advice and married Hagar.

When Sarah's hopes began to be fulfilled, it brought her unexpected suffering. For, as soon as Hagar realized she was to have a child, she began to look down upon her mistress who apparently could not have one.

Sarah reminded Hagar that she, Sarah, was the mistress, and Hagar was but her maid, and she made Hagar work harder than ever. Hagar then ran away into the wilderness. There, an angel of G-d appeared to her and ordered her to return to Sarah and treat her with the respect due to a mistress. He told her that for this she 'would merit giving birth to a son whose voice G-d would hear (Yishma-El), who would be strong fierce, a man of the wilds and respected among her people.

Our Sages give Hagar much credit for not being frightened at having seen the divine angel, while even Manoah, as the T'nach tells us, feared that he would die because he had seen an angel of G-d. This, say our Sages, shows how pious Hagar was, and how she had become adjusted to the saintly life of Abraham's house, where angels came and went as constant guests.

Later on, after Hagar's return and Ishmael's birth, things went well for all concerned. Sarah, too, was blessed with a son, Isaac. Ishmael was then already thirteen years old and he seemed to have inherited a wild nature through his mother's ancestors, for he was a bad influence on Isaac. According to one view of our Sages, Hagar was a true believer in the G-d of Abraham. The Torah tells us that Ishmael mocked Isaac and often tried to frighten him. Again Sarah insisted that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away if Isaac were to be prevented from following Ishmael's evil ways.


ADD A COMMENT

Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Abraham
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Midrash
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
Sarah
First Jewess, first of the four Jewish Matriarchs, wife of Abraham--the first Jew. Lived in Mesopotamia, and then Canaan, in the 19th century BCE.
Isaac
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Ishmael
Son of the Patriarch Abraham and half-brother of Patriarch Isaac. Ancestor of many Arab tribes.
Adam
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.