From another thread (Does god have a sense of humor) I read this and it got me looking into it.
This is why Moses and the others were warned by the Lord to be careful what they said within hearing of the Angel of the Lord, because he takes everything literally, word for word. To me the Angel of the Lord sounds like a robot or Spock of Star Trek. Scary dude.
So I did a quick search to see what the bible has to tell us about the AOTL:
Hagar and Ishmael
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
Note: Great men of 'The Lord' seem to have a higher authority - 'The Wife'
So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
Note: Obviously these things don't happen while 'sleeping'
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
Notes: Is Sarai correct here?
1: It was her idea.
2: Hagar is her slave so therefore why is she complaining and blaming her husband for the way her slave is treating her?
3: Obviously Hagar is behaving obnoxiously because she has been elevated in status and is likely quiet young.
4: If Abram had told Saria that he didn't think that was a great idea, would he have suffered her complaint for not taking up the offer? Did it matter to Abram? The Wife offers a perky young slave...why argue?
5: Saria invokes 'The Lord' into the fray. What did 'The Lord' have to do with the decisions made in this unfolding drama?
“Your slave is in your hands, ” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
Notes: Abram avoids any responsibility in his part of the situation unfolding. It is a matter between the 'girls' and that is his judgment. He puts the onus upon Saria (fair enough) to make the choices and decisions.
1: Abram does not consider that Hagar is now his 'Wife' too.
2: Saria is of the same opinion
3: Hagar may well be resentful that her status has not been recognised...she is being used and still treated as a slave. (did she even have a say in the matter? Is it impossibly to organise for and to rape someone who is considered a slave?)
4: Sarai ‘mistreats’ Hagar (no kidding!) This mistreating is bad enough that the slave runs away – it is likely that the mistreating would have been severe enough to attempt a miscarriage.
…In steps the “Angel of the Lord.”
Note: Did this occur because Saria had invoked ‘The Lord’ to judge between her (actions/reactions) and Abram’s?
The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
Notes: Rhetorical questions. These are designed to get the person thinking about their situation. The AOTL knew the answers…we have a pregnant girl who is confused and resentful and unrecognised and has had no say in the decisions of others which have affected her. The mistreatment from Saria is enough for her to seek escape so was likely life threatening.
Also, both Abram’s and Saria’s behaviour is ‘in the name of’ The Lord.
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”
Note: This advice to submit is a logical one pertaining to survival. In this Hagar has to swallow her pride and somehow heal the riff for the sake of her own good health and survival.
Saria is not about to be usurped by a slave and will commit murder if necessary to make that point.
Hagar needs the protection of her owners.
The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
Note: This is said to give Hagar the status she desires from being made pregnant by the leader of the tribe…and to help her to return in humility and submit.
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,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
Note: Indeed – and thus sent his angel.
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 all his brothers. ”
Q: So who are the descendants of Ishmael? Are they still around as a people or did they become extinct?
Note: This has to do with ‘ripple effect’ and intention of actions. The whole process began with no ‘consulting the Lord’ in the first instance and then Saria evoked the Lord to judge between her actions and Abram’s after the fact…
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me, ” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Note: Regardless now of how other might treat her, Hagar will never forget that ‘the Lord’ (who sees but is not seen) has granted her what few have been granted – a visitation in the form of his angel.
So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Note: All other details are obviously irrelevant…Obviously Hagar returned and repented and changed her attitude and came under the protection of the tribe again, completed the pregnancy and gave birth to a son, just as the angel said – and also just as the angel predicted, the boy was called “Ishmael”