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flight, or, according to others, stranger, an Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid (Gen. 16:1; 21:9, 10), whom she gave to Abraham (q.v.) as a secondary wife (16:2). When she was about to become a mother she fled from the cruelty of her mistress, intending apparently to return to her relatives in Egypt, through the desert of Shur, which lay between. Wearied and worn she had reached the place she distinguished by the name of Beer-lahai-roi ("the well of the visible God"), where the angel of the Lord appeared to her. In obedience to the heavenly visitor she returned to the tent of Abraham, where her son Ishmael was born, and where she remained (16) till after the birth of Isaac, the space of fourteen years. Sarah after this began to vent her dissatisfaction both on Hagar and her child. Ishmael's conduct was insulting to Sarah, and she insisted that he and his mother should be dismissed. This was accordingly done, although with reluctance on the part of Abraham (Gen. 21:14). They wandered out into the wilderness, where Ishmael, exhausted with his journey and faint from thirst, seemed about to die. Hagar "lifted up her voice and wept," and the angel of the Lord, as before, appeared unto her, and she was comforted and delivered out of her distresses (Gen. 21:18, 19). Ishmael afterwards established himself in the wilderness of Paran, where he married an Egyptian (Gen. 21:20,21). "Hagar" allegorically represents the Jewish church (Gal. 4:24), in bondage to the ceremonial law; while "Sarah" represents the Christian church, which is free.
in the Old Testament (Gen. 16:1-16; 21:8-21), Abraham's concubine and the mother of his son Ishmael. Purchased in Egypt, she served as a maid to Abraham's childless wife, Sarah, who gave her to Abraham to conceive an heir. When Hagar became pregnant, her meek manner changed to arrogance; with Abraham's reluctant permission, Sarah treated her so harshly that she fled into the wilderness. There, by a spring of water, she was found by an angel of the Lord, who told her to return home and promised her that she would have many descendants through a son, Ishmael; he would grow up to be a "wild ass of a man," in constant struggle with all other men. Hagar returned home to bear her child