Genesis Chapter 16 to 18 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Hagar the Servant Girl

16 Sarai was Abram’s wife. She and Abram had no children. Sarai had a servant from Egypt. Her name was Hagar. 2Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has not allowed me to have children. So go with my servant Hagar. I will accept the child that is born from her like it is my own.” 16Abram obeyed his wife Sarai. 3This was after Abram lived ten years in the land of Canaan. And Sarai gave Hagar to her husband Abram. (Hagar was her servant from Egypt.) 4Hagar became pregnant from Abram. When Hagar saw this, she became very proud and began to feel that she was better than Sarai her master. 5But Sarai said to Abram, “My servant now hates me. And I blame you for this. I gave her to you. She became pregnant. And then she began to feel that she is better than I am. I want the Lord to judge which of us is right.” 6But Abram said to Sarai, “Hagar is your slave. You can do anything you want to her.” So Sarai was mean to her servant Hagar, and Hagar ran away.

Hagar’s Son Ishmael

7The Angel of the Lord found Hagar near a pool of water in the desert. The pool was by the road to Shur. 8The Angel said, “Hagar, you are Sarai’s servant. Why are you here? Where are you going?” Hagar said, “I am running away from Sarai.” 9The Angel of the Lord said to Hagar, “Sarai is your master. Go home to her and obey her.” 10The Angel of the Lord also said to Hagar, “From you will come many people. There will be so many people that they cannot be counted.” 11The Angel of the Lord also said, “Hagar, you are now pregnant, and you will have a son. You will name him Ishmael,* because the Lord has heard that you were treated badly, {and he will help you}. 12“Ishmael will be wild and free, like a wild donkey. He will move from place to place and camp near his brothers. He will be against everyone and everyone will be against him.” 13The Lord talked to Hagar. Hagar began to use a new name for God. She said to him, “You are ‘God Who Sees Me.’” She said this because she thought, “I see that even in this place God sees me and cares for me!” 14So that well was called Beer Lahai Roi.* That well is between Kadesh and Bered. 15Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son. And Abram named the son Ishmael. 16Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born from Hagar.

Ishmael This name means “God hears.” Beer Lahai Roi This means “The well of the Living One who sees me.”

Circumcision—Proof of the Agreement

17 When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. The Lord said, “I am God All-Powerful.* Do these things for me: Obey me and live the right way. 2If you do this, I will prepare an agreement between us. I will promise to make your people a great nation.” 3Then Abram bowed down before God. God said to him, 4“This is my part of our agreement: I will make you the father of many nations. 5I will change your name. Your name will not be Abram* —your name will be Abraham.* I give you this name because I am making you the father of many nations. 6I will give you many, many descendants.* New nations and kings will come from you. 7And I will prepare an agreement between you and me. This agreement will also be for all your descendants. This agreement will continue forever. I will be your God and the God of all your descendants. 8And I will give this land to you and to all your descendants. I will give you the land you are traveling through—the land of Canaan. I will give you this land forever. And I will be your God.” 9And God said to Abraham, “Now, this is your part of the agreement. You and all your descendants* will obey my agreement. 10This is the agreement that you will obey. This is the agreement between you and me. This is for all your descendants: Every boy that is born must be circumcised.* 11You will cut the skin to show that you follow the agreement between me and you. 12When the baby boy is eight days old, you will circumcise him. Every boy born among your people and every boy that is a slave of your people must be circumcised. 13So every baby boy in your nation will be circumcised. Every boy that is born from your family or bought as a slave will be circumcised. 14{Abraham, this is the agreement between you and me:} Any male that is not circumcised will be cut off from his people.* Why? Because that person has broken my agreement.”

Isaac—The Promised Son

15God said to Abraham, “I will give Sarai,* your wife, a new name. Her new name will be Sarah.* 16I will bless her. I will give her a son, and you will be the father. She will be the mother of many new nations. Kings of nations will come from her.” 17Abraham bowed his face to the ground {to show he respected God}. But he laughed and said to himself, “I am 100 years old. I can’t have a son. And Sarah is 90 years old. She can’t have a child.” 18Then Abraham said to God, “I hope Ishmael will live and serve you.” 19God said, “No! I said that your wife Sarah will have a son. You will name him Isaac.* I will make my agreement with him. That agreement will be an agreement that continues forever with all his descendants.* 20“You mentioned Ishmael, and I heard you. I will bless him. He will have many children. He will be the father of twelve great leaders. His family will become a great nation. 21But I will make my agreement with Isaac. Isaac will be the son that Sarah will have. This son will be born at this same time next year.” 22After God finished talking with Abraham, God went up {into heaven}. 23{God had told Abraham to circumcise* all the men and boys in his family.} So Abraham gathered Ishmael and all the slaves born in his house together. Abraham also gathered together the slaves that were bought with money. Every man and boy in Abraham’s house was gathered together, and they were all circumcised. Abraham circumcised them that day, just like God told him. 24Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised.* 25And Ishmael, his son, was 13 years old when he was circumcised. 26Abraham and his son were circumcised on that same day. 27Also, on that day all the men in Abraham’s house were circumcised. All the slaves born in his house and all the slaves that he had bought were circumcised.

God All-Powerful Literally, “El Shaddai.” Abram This means “honored father.” Abraham This means “great father” or “father of many.” descendant(s) A person’s children and their future families. circumcise(d) Cutting the foreskin from a man. In Israel this was proof that a man had made a special agreement to obey God’s laws and teachings. cut off from his people This means a person must be separated from his family and lose his share of the inheritance. Sarai A name, probably Aramaic, meaning “princess.” Sarah A Hebrew name meaning “princess.” Isaac This name means “he laughs.”

The Three Visitors

18 Later, the Lord again appeared to Abraham. Abraham was living near the oak trees of Mamre. One day, at the hottest part of the day, Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent. 2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing in front of him. When Abraham saw the men, he ran to them and bowed before them. 3Abraham said, “Sirs,* please stay awhile with me, your servant. 4I will bring some water to wash your feet. You can rest under the trees. 5I will get some food for you, and you can eat as much as you want. Then you can continue your journey.” The three men said, “That is fine. We will do as you say.” 6Abraham hurried to the tent. Abraham said to Sarah, “Quickly, prepare enough wheat for three loaves of bread.” 7Then Abraham ran to his cattle. Abraham took his best young calf. Abraham gave the calf to the servant. Abraham told the servant to hurry, kill the calf, and prepare it for food. 8Abraham brought the meat and some milk and cheese and set them down in front of the three men. Then Abraham stood near the men {ready to serve them} while they sat under the tree and ate.

9Then the men said to Abraham, “Where is your wife Sarah?” Abraham said, “She is there, in the tent.” 10Then the Lord said, “I will come again in the spring. At that time, your wife Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was listening in the tent and heard these things. 11Abraham and Sarah were very old. Sarah was past the right age for women to have children. 12So Sarah {did not believe what she heard. She} laughed to herself and said, “I am old and my husband is old. I am too old to have a baby.” 13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Sarah laughed and said she was too old to have a baby. 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will come again in the spring when I said I would. And your wife Sarah will have a son.” 15But Sarah said, “I didn’t laugh!” (She said this because she was afraid.) But the Lord said, “No. I know that is not true. You did laugh!” 16Then the men got up to leave. They looked toward Sodom {and began walking in that direction}. Abraham walked with them to send them on their way.

Abraham’s Bargain With God

17The Lord said to himself, “Should I tell Abraham the thing that I will now do? 18Abraham will become a great and powerful nation. And all the people on earth will be blessed because of him. 19I have made a special agreement with Abraham. I did this so he would command his children and his descendants* to live the way the Lord wants them to. I did this so they would live right and be fair. Then I, the Lord, can give him the things I promised.” 20Then the Lord said, “I have heard many times that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are very evil. 21So I will go and see if things are as bad as I have heard. Then I will know for sure.” 22So the men turned and started walking toward Sodom. But Abraham stood there before the Lord. 23Then Abraham approached the Lord and asked, “Lord, do you plan to destroy the good people while you are destroying the evil people? 24What if there are 50 good people in that city? Will you still destroy the city? Surely you will save the city for the 50 good people living there. 25Surely you would not destroy the city. You would not destroy 50 good people to kill the evil people. If that happened, then good people and evil people would be the same—they would both be punished. You are the judge of all the earth. I know you will do the right thing.” 26Then the Lord said, “If I find 50 good people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole city.” 27Then Abraham said, “Compared to you, Lord, I am only dust and ashes. But let me bother you again and ask you this question: 28What if five good people are missing? What if there are only 45 good people in the city? Will you destroy a whole city for just five people?” The Lord said, “If I find 45 good people there, I will not destroy the city.” 29Abraham spoke again. He said, “And if you find only 40 good people there, will you destroy the city?” The Lord said, “If I find 40 good people, I will not destroy the city.” 30Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me. Let me ask you this: If only 30 good people are in the city, will you destroy the city?” The Lord said, “If I find 30 good people there, I will not destroy the city.” 31Then Abraham said, “May I bother my Lord again and ask, what if there are 20 good people?” The Lord answered, “If I find 20 good people, I will not destroy the city.” 32Then Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me, but let me bother you this one last time. If you find ten good people there, what will you do?” The Lord said, “If I find ten good people in the city, I will not destroy it.” 33The Lord was finished speaking to Abraham, so the Lord left. And Abraham went back to his home.

Sirs This Hebrew word can mean “sirs” or “Lord.” This might show that these were not ordinary men. descendants A person’s children and their future families.

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