Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 13:13
Bible Book: Genesis
Chapter: 16
Verse: 1 – 16
Text: Genesis 16:1-16

This sad story gives Hagar the maidservant (Sarai doesn’t even call her by name) a key role. Sarai’s (and Abram’s) plan to find a solution to their childless marriage makes Hagar an object that had to bring a child into the world. The result of this misuse of her body, however, causes tension in Sarai and Abram’s marriage and in their entire household. In verse 6 the story reaches a low: Hagar’s abuse becomes so bad that she runs away. She loses the roof over her head. Abram loses the woman who is carrying his child and Sarai is left without her maidservant.

It is not hard to find examples of the “Hagars” of our time. The oppression of women (the denial of their human dignity) is brought to our attention once more by the AIDS pandemic. The most recent statistics of UNAIDS for South Africa (for 2005) claims that there are 5,3 million adults living with HIV, of whom 3,1 million are women. The fact that almost 60% of the adults living with HIV are women raises serious questions about the human dignity, respect, regard and protection that the women in our communities receive.

The denial of women’s human dignity is found all over the world. A newspaper report in Mail&Guardian Online about the preparations made in Germany by the “legal sex industry” in order to profit from the influx of soccer enthusiasts is alarming. I quote a few sentences:
“In January, the internationals feminist organisation Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) launched a worldwide campaign to protest against Germany’s promotion and public display of prostitution during the World Cup. The organisation is worried that about 40 000 women will be “imported” into Germany from Africa, Asia and central and eastern Europe. (This figure is based on the number of women needed to fill the additional brothels being set up.)” [The article, “World Cup sex-slave fears” can be found at: ]

The aspect of the sad story in Genesis 16 that upsets me most is Abram’s role! Today, 2 000 years after Jesus came to rectify this bad example of Abram’s, we as Christian men know better. Or do we?!

Fortunately, in the “dark Genesis 16” there is a ray of light of God’s grace. In verse 11 we learn that the Lord hears about Hagar’s misery, and in verse 13 we read that Hagar has found hope, for she says, “You are the God who sees me … I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English