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MountainChristian

Abraham's Divorce? What?! Help Please.

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Did Abram marry Hagar? 

Genesis 16:3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

Genesis 21:10 Wherefore she (Sarah) said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Genesis 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

God became the provider for Hagar and Ismael. Even sending an Angel to help them get started. 

So when Abraham sent Hagar away was that divorce? There was no marriage license back then thus no divorce in our sense. But in their day, back in their time was this the same as a divorce? 

 

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This is not as simple as it seems at first.

Genesis 16

 1 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

 3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

 4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face

 

You will note here that the child would be considered Sarah's child, and that Hagar is still after this time called Sarah's maid.

In their culture (and this is history now, not Bible) the maids in the household were fair game for "increasing the family". Note this is recorded in the Bible, but not condoned.

In this passage we see an indicator of this. It was certainly the idea behind Sarah's suggestion.

Now I think (and this is my thoughts on the passage) that Abraham and Sarah did not consider Hagar a wife in any way, but God did, hence the use of the term "wife" in vs 3. I think this is God's commentary on the situation.

The whole event was sinful, but it was not the fault of Hagar nor Ishmael, therefore the Lord protected them.

Does that make sense?

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I think one thing that we often miss in  biblical marriage and divorce, is the will of God.

We all hear the vers, "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Well, what if we marry outside of God's will? Does that still apply? Does our deciding to marry, say, an unbeliever, somehow make God agree to it, and now that unbiblical marriage IS what God hath joined together?  Clearly, we know that the Bible says that if a believer is married to an unbelieving spouse, (whether by choice, or one gets saved after mariage), we are to remain together if the unbeliever wants to stay with the believer. BUT, if the unbeliever departs, they are not bound to them, let them leave. Now of course, I would interpret that as, if the unbeliever departs, us not being bound to them, it opens up not just divorce but remarriage. But that is not the question, per se. If a marriage is made OUTSIDE of God's revealed will, is it binding in His eyes?

Clearly, Hagar and Abraham's union was NOT God's will, and He allowed Abraham to send her away, as Sarah wished. Might God send away an unbelieving spouse from a believer's wife, if His will would be hampered by that unbeliever remaining?

Now, this may cause a fight, but my example stems from my own life: I answered a clear call to pastor while married. A year later, i had lost my job, (military), and my wife left me, (an unbeliever, though I didn't know it-thought she was until the day she left, left God, moved in with another man as his wife, and rejected God and his church, and never looked back). At this point I believed I could not be a pastor-however, I have had many good godly preachers and pastors (all IFB) who believe that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. Was God surprised when my wife left? Or was I called in spite of that? Surely she would have hampered the ministry. I was willing to stay with her, but she would not. She divorced me.  I actually began to seek a different life, doubting my suitability to be a pastor, or to look for another ministry, but so much of my life, as hard as I tried to go another way, choices were taken from me, literally forcing me across country where I gained more training and encouragement until I told the Lord I would be where and what He wanted. Very quickly after that I had my prayers answered and was brought back home, bills paid, a free car givine to me from the choir director at the church I was at, (he didn't know I was praying for one), and within a year I was offerred the church I am at now, after a year preaching in a nursing home.

So I believe I am where the Lord wants me, despite being divorced. I know many will disagree, but I don't see that I am breaking the "husband of one wife" issue: I AM the husband of one wife, because I was not bound to the first that left, according to scripture. 

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First I would agree with everything brother DaveW had to say at top (EXCEPT the last 2 sentences, because I would not agree Hagar and Ishmael were "not at fault" as per Gen.21:9).
But I would agree with everything else he said. So rather than repeat it, I will just agree.

In summary: for Gen.16:3 "to be his wife" statement, I believe carries with it a sense that Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham so that Abraham "knew" Hagar (in the Biblical sense of "knew") with the ONE reason being a child was to be procreated. NOT for any other 'marital' reasons.
We don't see a wedding, or vows spoken of... no gifts given, no celebration nor feast, no customary dowery or other arrangements spoken of either. 
The "marriage" spoken of in Gen.16:3 would seem to be ONLY for the one specific reason of procuring an offspring... nothing more than that. And also that it was Sarah's idea!

But I do also see a problem in you (brother "MountainChristian") bringing forth 1 Tim.5:8 and attempting to apply it to Gen.21. 
The reason I would respectfully disagree with this is that 1 Tim.5:8 is grace/church age doctrine which cannot be applied to the old testament.
 

Edited by Ronda

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My view of it is this...

After all that transpired in regard to Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and including the birth of Isaac...we find this in Genesis 21:12 (which is a verse already pointed out)...

Genesis 21:12
And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Four things I notice in that one verse...

  1. It's God talking.
  2. God referred to Hagar as "thy bondwoman" instead of "thy wife".
  3. God told Abraham to do what Sarah said; which was, to cast Hagar and Ishmael out.
  4. Doing so would remove a "human hindrance and interference" to God's will and plan; which was, that through Isaac "shall thy seed be called"...not through Ishmael.

God was in agreement with casting them out; therefore, there was no wrong done on Abraham's part.

 

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16 hours ago, Ronda said:

But I do also see a problem in you (brother "MountainChristian") bringing forth 1 Tim.5:8 and attempting to apply it to Gen.21. 
The reason I would respectfully disagree with this is that 1 Tim.5:8 is grace/church age doctrine which cannot be applied to the old testament.
 

Ms. Ronda if I made you stumble I'm very sorry and I sincerely apologize. 

The reason I added Paul's teaching, was v11 "And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son." Abraham was rich but at how little he gave Hagar, "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar,....." that had to hurt. Abraham lived under looking forward grace, as we live under looking back grace. The law wasn't given until Moses.

Then there is Jesus adding Abraham to his day, and that is a day of grace. John 1:17......:grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

I can see now my mind was too focused on Hagar being called a wife. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NN, the Holy Ghost calls Hagar his wife in verse v3, then God calls her a bondwoman in v12 because she is both. Slave and wife. Does that sound wrong?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brother Mike thanks for baring you soul. I know this subject is painful for you, I could hear it in your words.

 

 

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1 hour ago, MountainChristian said:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NN, the Holy Ghost calls Hagar his wife in verse v3, then God calls her a bondwoman in v12 because she is both. Slave and wife. Does that sound wrong?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MC,

My answer is speculation, so take it as such.

When I read the "wife" part, I read it as that was something Sarai (Sarah) was doing...not what God was doing. SHE gave Hagar to be Abram's wife. Yes, the Holy Ghost inspired Moses to include the account in scripture, but that doesn't mean the action was God's action or choosing.

As I read over the account, when God and the angel of the LORD are personally speaking, I don't see God or the angel of the LORD refer to Hagar as Abram's wife. Rather, they refer to her as "Sarai's maid" and "bondwoman"...but never as Abram's wife.

In fact, when Hagar fled in Genesis 16, the angel of the LORD told her to return to...her mistress (Sarai)...he didn't say to return to her husband (Abram). She was still viewed as Sarai's maid/bondwoman by God.

As always, I could be wrong...that's how I see it though.

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Great question! 

 

I believe part of the answer is found in the words “what God hath joined together”.  It is quite clear that this joining with Hagar was not ok with God but allowed.  On the other hand, God did not allow for Sarah to be known by another and acted to stop it.  Sarah enlisted Abraham in her plot for children by referring to ancient customs clearly practiced through most of the Old Testament ie. Jacob and his four wives.  Historically the wealthy were always able to have more wives because they had the where withal to provide for their families (think David and Solomon here).

The answer to the question asking if this were divorce is no.  Divorce specifically called for a writing of a bill of divorcement (charges brought against) (Deut. 24:1-4) and was to be issued by the spouse and not the spouses other wife and involved no less than sixty days .  It does not seem Abraham had any fault with Hagar for it grieved him to send them away.   Secondly if there were sexual impropriety then the man could not bring an accusation against the woman because he would impugn the woman’s character making it impossible to divorce her.  (Deut. 22:13-21)

Neither of these were evident indicating Hagar was a bondmaid and not a wife or that as a bondmaid she could be sent away with nothing but Abraham decided to show kindness and let her take her son with her.  (Ex. 21:11)

The story is likely included not just as a historical account but as Galatians suggests it is a contrast between using our own efforts to accomplish Gods will and waiting for God to fulfill his promises in His time.  The flesh and the impulses of the flesh are available at the same time the opportunity to wait for the promise.  But if you are going to trust God then you must say no to the contrivances of the flesh.  You cannot have the fruit of the flesh and live by faith at the same time.

 

I say again it was not a divorce, do we cling to the fruit of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit.  The allegory is clear.

 

  

Edited by Orval

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7 hours ago, MountainChristian said:

Ms. Ronda if I made you stumble I'm very sorry and I sincerely apologize. 

The reason I added Paul's teaching, was v11 "And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son." Abraham was rich but at how little he gave Hagar, "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar,....." that had to hurt. Abraham lived under looking forward grace, as we live under looking back grace. The law wasn't given until Moses.

Then there is Jesus adding Abraham to his day, and that is a day of grace. John 1:17......:grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

I can see now my mind was too focused on Hagar being called a wife. 

Brother "MountainChristian", I'm sorry if I didn't communicate the point I was attempting to make clear enough... While I DO understand that Abraham and Sarah were not under Mosaic law, I fail to see how either Abraham nor Sarah could have been aware of 1 Tim.5:8?  Please show me where either Sarah or Abraham KNEW of 1 Tim.5:8 doctrine? And if they had no knowledge of that scripture (not to be written until millennia later) so then, how could it be applied to either Abraham or Sarah? Thank you.

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9 hours ago, Ronda said:

Brother "MountainChristian", I'm sorry if I didn't communicate the point I was attempting to make clear enough... While I DO understand that Abraham and Sarah were not under Mosaic law, I fail to see how either Abraham nor Sarah could have been aware of 1 Tim.5:8?  Please show me where either Sarah or Abraham KNEW ofdoctrine? And if they had no knowledge of that scripture (not to be written until millennia later) so then, how could it be applied to either Abraham or Sarah? Thank you.

I don't think Abraham was aware of 1 Tim.5:8 in a written way on paper, but that in his heart that is how he felt. I can not prove this. Maybe I'm projecting a goodness on Abraham he did not have. Paul said the Gentiles was without the law (written on paper) but in their hearts obeyed. 

Feel free to reject that part of why Abraham was grieved. 

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