Chapter 16: Hagar and Ishmael
Sarai goes to Abram and tells him to go to her maid, Hagar and have children with her, because Sarai is unable to, and wants children. Abram does as his wife asks, this all happening 10 years from the time that they established themselves in the land of Canaan. Sarai after seeing that Hagar was pregnant with her husband’s child, gets worried that God will judge her. Sarai speaks with Abram and asks what she should do, Abram responds that she should do as she “pleaseth” with Hagar, so Sarai deals “Hardly” with Hagar and Hagar flees.
Hagar, having fled is visited by an angel of the Lord, who tells her:
- That she needs to return to Sarai and submit to her.
- That she will bear a son, and his name will be Ishmael.
This all happened by the fountain in Shur, which is later named “Beer-Lahai-Roi” – between Kadesh and Bered. Hagar has the child and Abram names his new son, Ishmael, as the Lord had told Hagar he would.
Chapter 17: Abrahamic Covenant
When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared unto him and Abram and God conversed (they talked and walked with each other). God tells Abram that he will no longer be called by Abram, but now by a new name: Abraham.
God tells Abraham that he will make him “exceedingly fruitful” and establishes his covenant with him. Men, starting at the age of 8 days old will be required to be circumcised, removing the flesh of the foreskin. Abraham is also instructed of the Lord to no longer call his wife Sarai, but by her new name: Sarah. God promises Abraham that through his wife Sarah, they will have a son and his name will be Isaac.
God promises Abraham’s son Ishmael that he will also be blessed, having 12 princes born unto him, making him and his posterity a great nation.
At the age of 99, Abraham and his son, Ishmael (age 13) are circumcised.
Chapter 18: Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
The Lord appears unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre, three holy men also appear unto Abraham and ask for water and bread. Abraham also fetches a young, tender calf for them to eat.
These three holy men tell Abraham that his wife Sarah will conceive a son, Sarah over-hears this and laughs in her heart, Sarah being old an unable to have children thought that this was impossible.
The Lord tells Abraham about Sarah laughing in her heart after over-hearing that she would conceive a son unto Abraham. The Lord asks Abraham; “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” – but the Lord assures Abraham that Sarah will indeed bare Abraham a son, even in her ripe old age. Abraham confronts Sarah and asks her why she had laughed in her heart, and out of fear, Sarah denies that she had laughed in her heart..
We learn that Abraham will command his children to do justice and judgment in the world. The Lord also appears unto Abraham and discusses the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham does not want Sodom and Gomorrah to be destroyed and asks God; “…If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city…” (Genesis 18:26) then will you not destroy the city? God tells him that he will not, if he can find fifty righteous men within the city. But Abraham does not stop there, he continues to ask the Lord (essentially hypothetical questions) if smaller and smaller amounts of righteous men can be found, if the Lord would still spare the city. He starts with 50, then goes to 45, 40, 30, 20 and then finally 10, each time the Lord responds that he will not destroy the city, but cautioning him to not make him angry by his constant demands.