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Genesis 16:4 (KJV)

4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

Why did Sarai blame Abram & appeal to the Lord to judge between them with this issue seeing she was the one who had instigated this, not Abram's solicitations?

  • Sarah did what most women would have done. It says in the text: "and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." Hagar is "she," Sarah is the "mistress." Sarah gave it to Hagar to conceive and Hagar was nasty to Sarah when she conceived. The text shows Abram supporting Sarah after she makes it clear that there is a problem, to do something about it. Sarah did not instigate being "despised" by Hagar. She instigated the conception. The story changes with time. – Gigi Sanchez Feb 21 '17 at 15:55
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In a word - yes.

This terrible mess was a direct result of making an improper suggestion to Abram in the first place and it is clear that she had not thought about the possible consequences. Of course, she was not entirely to blame, for Abram was the one who did the deed, as it were, and then failed to properly support her.

Consider the response of Abram - "she is your servant, you deal with her as you wish." This can only be called harsh, for he is not only being rude to his wife, but also failing to support her by dealing with Hagar himself, as the head of the household.

I am afraid that neither Sarai, Abram, nor Hagar come out of this episode well and it provides a compelling reason to keep domestic arrangements simple and in their proper order. Once sin enters in, it becomes very messy.

The problem with Hagar is set to fester for another 15 years or so, until, following the birth of Isaac, mother and son finally leave the camp with the blessing of Abram.

To conclude, Sarai was absolutely wrong in the things she did, and she was wrong to invoke God in the dispute. This was not a problem of His making, but something precipitated by her between her and her husband.

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    "neither Sarai, Abram, nor Hagar come out of this episode well" Well put. Nobody is really in the right in this passage except, of course, the Lord, as they all failed to trust his promise. – P. TJ Apr 22 '17 at 15:30
  • @ Richard Ollis "I am afraid that neither Sarai, Abram, nor Hagar come out of this episode well and it provides a compelling reason to keep domestic arrangements simple and in their proper order. Once sin enters in, it becomes very messy." powerful comment – collen ndhlovu May 23 '17 at 8:00
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Yes it was. In real life, how the servants treat the wife is a direct reflection of how the head of the household talks about or treats the wife and holds others to it. Even though Hagar personally despised Sarah due to her inability to conceive, Hagar would not dare openly show that attitude to Sarah if Hagar knew Abraham would punish her and not allow her to get away with it. As a doctor's wife and mother of a large family, I have seen that both in the family and in other physician's businesses, the children and employees treat the mother and boss' wife only as far the father or boss allows or models. It seems Abraham had spoiled Hagar because she was carrying his child, and Sarah had the unenviable task of disciplining Hagar herself without harming the pregnancy (or Abraham would be upset).

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