Friday, February 19, 2010

Bible Study: As It Was In The Beginning - Genesis - Chapter 16

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Genesis. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses you through this material. Much of what I learned for chapters 16 and 17 came from Liz Curtis Higgs' "Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible". I highly recommend it!


Take a few minutes to savor Genesis Chapters 16 & 17. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

16 – God-sized problems cannot be solved with man or woman-sized hands.

16:1 – now – “meant to ‘interrupt the flow of the story – that is, it marks the beginning of a new episode.’” (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs – John D. Currid “Genesis”, 1:301)

16:2 – “go sleep with my maidservant” – “An Assyrian marriage contract, dating from about 1900 BC, stipulated ‘if the wife does not give birth in two years, she will purchase a slave woman for her husband.’ Still, no matter how common that solution was in her culture, Sarai was not of that culture. God had set apart Abram and Sarai.” (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs – Myers “Women in Scripture”, 86.)

“Trusting in the Lord is the best plan.” See Proverbs 3:5.

“build a family through her” – legally, Sarai would claim any child born to Hagar. In turn, Hagar would become Abram’s secondary wife.

“Abram agreed” – no discussion, no prayer, no resistance, no hesitation. PIG!

16:4 – “he slept with Hagar” – an 80-year old and a 20-something… Yuck! Perhaps Hagar didn’t want to, so it may have been miserable for her – almost like rape.

16:5 – Sarai wasn’t blaming Abram. She was reminding him that he alone had the power to fix things. “If a slave promoted to be a wife could not hold the new position with proper decorum, she was to return to her former state.” (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs – Francisco “Genesis”, 1:167) This was a legal, courtroom-like dialogue. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

“may the Lord judge between you and me” – “Commentators suggest she was alluding to the time in Egypt when Abram asked her to lie on his behalf.” (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs – Hartley “New International Bible Commentary: Genesis”, 165)

16:6 – “your servant is in your hands” – a legal pronouncement reducing Hagar to her former slave status.

“do with her whatever you think best” – Whoa! Scary to give such power to a scorned woman. Abram avoids taking responsibility as head of household and he shows no compassion for Hagar or his unborn child. He gave Sarai free reign to mistreat Hagar. The Message says, “Sarai was abusive to Hagar.” She violently abused her. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs – Speiser “The Anchor Bible: Genesis”, 118)

“Tempers are safer when tempered.” See Proverbs 27:4. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

Hagar ignored the law and ran away.

“Running can be a sign of strength.” See Matthew 10:23. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

16:7 – 1st appearance of an angel in scripture.

16:10 – 1st woman in scripture to be given a promise of descendants.

16:11 – Ishmael – 1st person in scripture to be named by God prior to birth.

16:13 – No other character in the Bible dared to name God! Hagar called Him “the One who sees me”. (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

El Roi – the God who sees.

16:14 – Beer Lahai Roi – “a well to the Living One who sees me.” (Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible – Higgs)

16:15 – Hagar had told Abram of her encounter with God since he knew what to name the child!

16:15-16 – Hagar bears Ishmael and Abram names him.

What attributes of God have you observed in your study today? How will this change your relationship with Him?

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