Genesis 16:1-3 gives the account of the conversation that transpired between Sarai and Abram her husband. Since Sarai was barren and did not have children, she asks Abram to take here Egyptian handmaid (servant/slave) as his wife and to have children through her. What is pitiful to note is not just the state of affairs that Sarai is in, for she did not recognize the Sovereignty of God, who had promised her husband, not only The Seed through him (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 3:16), but also a innumerable number of seeds, as much as the stars in the sky and as the sands of the seashore (Genesis 22:17), but even more pitiful is the fact that Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary gives us two definitions for the word “hearken”. The first uses the word “listen” to define the word “hearken” and then uses the phrase “to give respectful attention” to give it a stronger meaning.
In other words, Abram agreed respectfully to Sarai’s voice to take matters into his own hands and bring forth a progeny through Hagar, his wife’s servant. Interestingly, just before this conversation, Abram is actually found reasoning with God, asking for a child, lest his own servant Eliezer be the heir to him (Genesis 15:1-4). God tells that the servant in his household shall not be his heir (Genesis 15:4) and yet here we see Abram listening to his wife’s voice, over that of God, and trying to rearrange God’s plan and timing. Abram rightfully should have counseled Sarai to hearken to God’s voice, and be assured of a child through Sarai.
Points to ponder:
Many a times, we find ourselves hearkening to various voices – voices of our families, our friends, our colleagues, our superiors, our peers, etc. instead of hearkening (agreeing with respectfully) to the voice of God, through his word (the Bible), in the meditation of our hearts with him, or through his people. Whose voice are you hearkening to, today?
Genesis 16:1-3 (KJV)
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.