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Holman Bible Dictionary


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(hay' gahr) Personal name meaning, “stranger.” The personal servant of Sarah, who was given as a concubine to Abraham and became the mother of Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-16 ; Genesis 21:8-21 ; Genesis 25:12 ; Galatians 4:24-25 ). Genesis 16:1-7 details the events of the initial conflict of Sarah with Hagar and the flight of Hagar. Genesis 16:8-16 detail the visit of the messenger of Yahweh bringing the promise of a son to the mother in distress, encouraging Hagar to return to Sarah. These conflicts were related to the wife's and concubine's positions in the family and community. (Compare similar conflicts in Genesis 29-30 .) Genesis 21:8-21 gives the story of the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael and their miraculous deliverance. Pauline interpretation (Galatians) relates the superiority of a son born according to the Spirit over the son born according to the “flesh.” In Galatians 4:1 Paul used the Hagar story to stand for slavery under the old covenant in contrast to freedom of the new covenant symbolized by Isaac.

David M. Fleming

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Hagar'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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