After being mistreated by her mistress Sarah the slave woman Hagar escapes to Beer-lahai roi which is between Kadesh and Bered

Genessis 16:6 NASB

6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Look, your slave woman is in your [e]power; do to her what is good in your [f]sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence

Later she is found by an angel and she is told to return back.

Genesis 16:9 NASB

9 So the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit [g]to her authority.”

Years later Moses instructs the Israelites not to return runaway slaves to their original masters

Deuteronomy 23:16 NASB

“You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has [l]escaped from his master to you. 16 He shall live with you in your midst, in the place that he chooses in one of your [m]towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.

Why did the angel instruct Hagar to return to her mistress after being mistreated?


Genesis 16:9 NASB

9 So the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.”

Deuteronomy 23:15 NASB

You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you.

New International Version

If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand them over to their master.

  1. The angel told Hagar to return before Deuteronomy was written.

  2. Hagar had not taken refuge in a city when the angel spoke to her.

  3. Deuteronomy 23:15 was to be obeyed by the Israelites. It did not apply to the angel of the Lord.


First of all Sarai brought all this on herself when she told Abraham to sleep with Hagar. Sarai also blamed Abraham and Abraham put the blame on her. Read Genesis 16:1-6.

At Genesis 16:7 the angel of the Lord appears to Hagar and this is the first appearance of the angel of the Lord as the angel of the Lord. Also, I personally believe without a doubt that the angel of the Lord is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.

He at vv9 tells Hagar to return back to Sarai and submit to her authority. Vs10, "Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, "I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they shall be too many to count."

At verses 11-12 the angel of the Lord said to her further, "Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. Vs12, And he will be a wild donkey of a man etc. And he will live to the east of all his brothers."

Ishmael is recognized by Muslims as the ancestor of several northern prominent Arab tribes and the forefather of Adnan, the ancestor of Muhammad. At vs13 Hagar says, "Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "Thou art a God who sees; for she said, "Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?"

Now, with regards to Deuteronomy 23:15-15 the following is what Barns commentary states. "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:

The case in question is that of a slave who fled from a pagan master to the holy land. It is of course assumed that the refugee was not flying from justice, but only from the tyranny of his lord."

I don't think Sari or Abraham are "pagan" masters. Secondly, the Lord God/the angel of the Lord took care of Hagar and blessed her. Finally, as a personal note I would like to throw out the following question?

It says at Genesis 17, "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless, Vs21, And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will greatly multiply you exceedingly."

Did the being who multiplied Hagar's descendants the same being who multiplied Abram's descendants at Genesis 17:1-2?


Please see if this makes sense.

If you compare the promise of the Angel to Hagar vs what G-d Makes to Abraham about Ismael you will see that the promise is so much richer. In both cases there is the promise of a huge population.

Genesis 16:10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” 11 The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael,[a] for the Lord has heard of your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward[b] all his brothers.”

Genesis 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.

If you read Genesis 25:12-18, you will see that Ishmael has 12 sons, and they grew into a mighty nation as G-d promised to Abraham

Now coming to the point of the law in Deuteronomy 23:1,

  1. like Tony said this was given several years after Abrahan, Isaac, and Jacob died. (Remember the 400 years the Israelites were in Egypt)

  2. We read from Genesis 21 that Abraham was hurt when Sarah asked for Hagar and Ishmael to be sent away indicating that after her return from the wilderness they were well taken care of.

  3. The laws in Deuteronomy were given as the masters would illtreat the slaves and if they ran away they were retrieved and their times were worse. So this law was given to protect the slave from more harm.

G-d Bless

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