Genesis 21 – Tevet 10 5782 -DEC 14, 2021 |Daily Devar 21

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A few words on listening to your wife from Genesis 21.

But G-d said to Avraham, “Don’t be distressed because of the boy and your slave-girl. Listen to everything Sarah says to you, because it is your descendants through Yitz’chak who will be counted. 

-Genesis 21:12

Sarah told Avraham to take Hagar to fulfill HaShem’s promise. She told him to help out the Creator of the Universe. Chavah told Adam to ignore HaShem’s warning because she had sinned and not died. In both cases the couple doubts HaShem is true to His word and act on that belief. Curses come in the garden, but HaShem makes a provision for them and they go on living for a time. In the Land, Abraham and Sarah face consequences and strife, but they are ultimately blessed because of HaShem’s promise. Sarah tempted Avraham to take Hagar, then she told him to reject her and her son. In this case, Avraham listened to his wife and was blessed. Hagar is a daughter of Ham and Ham had been cursed to be a servant to Shem and Yefet after his sin against his father Noah. In a way, Sarah and Abraham repented of their lack of faith in HaShem’s promise by casting away Hagar and Yishmael and trusting that through Yitzchak alone would His promise to them be fulfilled. Here’s a difficulty. Did Sarah know of the curse on Ham? Was she thinking about bloodlines and plotting and scheming in that way or did she simply offer her young Egyptian slave to her husband to be a surrogate mother? We don’t know. The Toah is silent on the matter, but it is clear that she chose the wrong path and then sought to correct course after some time. Sarah asked Avraham to give up his first son to correct the matter and he did. Avraham would need that same type of strength in the future. How could she have known that? Again the Torah is silent on the matter, so I would say she didn’t and could not have known that. Instead, I suggest that she was given godly wisdom, call it women’s intuition if you must, and HaShem spoke to Avraham through her.

An alternate take on this matter. The following was the first draft of the above. I think it has merit, but it meanders a bit. Still, I like the expanded parallels between Adam and Eve and Abraham and Sarah.

Should all wives be listened to? What about Eve, isn’t she the reason we’re all in this mess? Let’s go back to the garden real quick. The serpent tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. She did so and gave it to her husband and he chose to eat it. Do the events with Sarah, Hagar and Abraham parallel that? Concubine culture is tolerated by HaShem, but so is slavery and countless sins by millions. That doesn’t make it right or good. That doesn’t mean He doesn’t want us to choose to reject it. The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil wasn’t toxic, but the disobedience concerning it was deadly.

Consider this, HaShem promised Abraham he would be a father of many. At that time he was married to Sarah and they had been barren. Sarah knew she was part of this destiny, as she and Abraham were one, as husband and wife. Instead of waiting for the miracle to happen, instead of waiting on the LORD, Sarah got the notion to do it another way. She used her eyes to see that Hagar was fertile and would be good for making them the ancestors of kings and peoples. That was what HaShem wanted for them after all, so how could it be wrong? She offered Hagar to Abraham and he partook of her. It was a fruitful union, but it brought pain and suffering to the woman and her offspring and created division between the man and his wife. In the garden, Adam blamed Chavah because he listened to her. Man, woman and the serpent were all punished. Avraham turned to HaShem and was told to listen to Sarah, to get rid of Hagar and her son, to ensure that HaShem”s will would be done and that Yitzchak would be the one to inherit the promise HaShem swore to Avraham. Avraham listened to Sarah and everyone involved was blessed. Hagar helped establish Yishmael as the patriarch to might peoples, Sarah had primacy in her home and raised a holy and righteous son. Abraham had his child of promise. He offered him up to HaShem and yet saw him blessed with sons of his own, confirming HaShem’s promise.So what makes the difference? I think Adam and Chavah refused to see the error of their way and didn’t accept responsibility for what they did. Adam didn’t have to listen to Chavah. Maybe he could have made it right with HaShem had he abstained. She was his other half and she tempted him to sin. He didn’t have to listen to her. You are supposed to resist temptation and correct yourself when part of you wishes to indulge it. As for Avraham, after he had given in and defied HaShem’s order of one man and one woman, he did not have anymore children with Hagar, presumably because they no longer were together in that way. Furthermore he sent them away when Yishmael was a young man and could support them. He broke ties and turned away from them when his wife called his error to his attention. Sometimes a man builds something and doesn’t want to let it go, even when he should. It may hurt but it is the right thing to do. That little voice that tells him it’s time, he should listen to that.

Daily Devar is a project to read and comment on one chapter of the Bible, 7 times a week.

May our Heavenly Father give you peace and joy.

This is Matthew and I am Walking In Liberty.

Published by MJ Muñoz

Husband. Father. Believer. Writing a children's books series inspired by tokusatsu. Weekly Toku Analysis -

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