Hagar the hand maid to Sarah
An Egyptian slave given to Abraham by the Pharaoh of Egypt.
It was custom of the time that if the man's wife was barren that another woman could have a child for the wife.
In a desperate attempt to solve the problem of her barrenness, Sarah offered her handmaiden to Abram to conceive a child. This was in accordance with the written Code of Hammurabi in 1700 BC, the law of Mesopotamia at the time of Abram. The child would be delivered on the lap of the first wife so that the child would, symbolically, be hers.
Hagar bore a child for Sarah and Abraham and they named the child Ishmael.
After Sarah and Abraham had a child Isaac as God told them they would. Sarah then asked Abraham to get rid of Hagar and her child Ishmael. So we have the event of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert and God meeting with them.
Hagar means: wandering and Ishmael means: God has hearkened.
Hagar and Ishmael
16Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.5Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me."
6 "Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?"
"I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered.
9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." 10 The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."
11 The angel of the LORD also said to her:
"You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.
12 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."
13 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." 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name
Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six
years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Also read Genesis 21:8-21