Although Hagar flaunts her pregnancy with Abraham in the face of Sarah who is barren, Sarah is ultimately responsible for generating trouble in Abraham’s household. Through Sarah’s decision to give Hagar to Abraham, Sarah’s jealousy and anger towards Hagar’s reaction to conception, and also Sarah’s harsh treatment of Hagar, we are able to understand why Sarah is truly the one accountable for the negative circumstances throughout her relationship with Hagar.
Initially, in Genesis 11:30 we feel remorse for Sarai in her barrenness. Repeatedly it is expressed that Sarai is barren. Sharon Jeansonne explains, “Indeed, Sarai’s childlessness is predominant in most of the scenes that concern her” (15). Sarai’s inadequacy is stated repetitively because at this time, a woman was considered worthless if she could not conceive children and bear her husband offspring. Knowing the importance of progeny, Sarai attempts to fulfill her dreams of having a son for Abraham. Prior to informing the reader of Sarai’s plans, it is stated that she and Abram have lived in Canaan for ten years now without her giving him a child. She is now finally doing something about the issue (19). She decides that she should have a son through her maidservant Hagar. In Genesis 16:2 it reads, “And Sarai said to Abraham, ‘Look, the Lord has kept me from bearing. Consort with my maid; perhaps I shall have a son through her.’ And Abram heeds Sarai’s request” (Berlin and Brettler). Through this verse it becomes unmistakable that the entire plan is Sarai’s and Abram simply obeys while Hagar is given no choice (Tikva Frymer-Kensky 226). The practice of having a maid give birth in place of another woman was common, yet it seems as though Sarai di...
... middle of paper ...
...this through her initiative to have Hagar as a surrogate mother, her immediate jealousy, her harsh treatment of Hagar, her selfishness, and her continual dissatisfaction until Hagar and Ishmael were removed from her household once and for all.
- Berlin, Adele, and Brettler, Marc Zvi. The Jewish Study Bible. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2004.
- Frymer-Kensky, Tikva. Reading the Women of the Bible. New York: Shocken Books,
- Jeansonne, Sharon Pace. The Women of Genesis. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1990.
- Rulon-Miller, Nina. “Hagar: A Woman with an Attitude.” The World of Genesis:
Persons, Places, Perspectives. Ed. Philip R. Davies and David J. A. Clines.
Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998.
- Wiesel, Elie. Wise Men and Their Tales. “Ishmael and Hagar.” New York: Random
House Inc., 2003.
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