Trafficked People of the Bible & God’s Response
By Susanna Thorn
These Stories are only Biblically Based and should not be read as Biblical themselves. I have only looked deep into the Biblical stories of these people and made connections that logically make sense in my mind to flush out the character and struggles of each of these people. My hope is that you will see yourself or those around you in these stories and the God that shows His love to them will become real to you and become your God. Dedicated to Jesus for His Glory and to my daughter Gloria that she would know Him Deeper.
“Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. he set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there she began to sob.”
Genesis 21:14-16 – The Bible, NIV
The cries of her son tore at Hagar. She had left him under the only shade she could find in this desert, but the weak cries split what was left of her heart. Her only love, her only joy, her freedom and salvation were slowly fading as the great heat took the rest of the water out of his body, until he would breathe his last. He needed water, he longed for water, but she had none to give him. The water in the skin was gone, and there was none in sight. Her tears fell on her cheeks to be absorbed by the heat before they reached the sands. This was not how she thought it would end.
She remembered when she was given to her mistress Sarai by the Pharaoh when he had taken her from Abram, her brother. She was awestruck of the women’s beauty when she was brought into the palace. Yet even while she was introduced to her new mistress scandal erupted. Painful and serious diseases went rampant throughout the palace. It was then that the truth had come out. Abram was not Sarai’s brother, but husband. Pharaoh had taken another man’s wife, a man who had the backing of a mysterious God, who was plaguing Pharaoh and his household. In a moment she had been packed up with everything that her mistress owned and sent away from the palace. Nowhere else to go and her life not her own she followed her mistress from the great palace of the center of Egypt to the sandy deserts and plains in Canaan. To live in tents.
She could tell her mistress never liked her, probably because she reminded her of the scandal. Bringing the memory of the time taken from her loving husband into the forefront of her mind. The time Sarai was placed in the women’s quarters of the Pharaoh palace where all the women judged her the moment she came into the door. Where Hagar had put foreign cosmetics and wig upon Sarai head as all the others watched and twittered in a language Sarai did not understand. Where her regular modest clothing had been taken away and more revealing clothing given. Sarai had spent that time like a beautiful statue, like a queen, though her eyes had been filled with fear. Hagar knew that look; she had felt it on her own face many times. It was only once Sarai had been placed back into her husband tents that the statue broke and she had wept out the fear and terror that had held her in the palace. Hagar never understood why until she saw the care and love that Abram showed to his beloved wife. Abram looked at no other women, loved no other women. Though other women could have given him a child to carry on his name, his eyes were only for one person, his wife and Hagar’s mistress Sarai. Yet though Abram loved Sarai he had not been willing to stand by her and protect her from the world.
He had asked her to say a half truth that he was her brother to protect his own skin, and because of that Sarai had been placed in a precarious situation. This broke Sarai in some ways. It made her harder, bitter, especially when it came to Hagar.
Hagar knew Sarai pain. Was it not her mistress who placed her into Abram’s arms, to produce children through her womb for her? Abram did not come to her in love, or in marriage. She was a slave, and needed to obey, as Sarai had needed to obey the Pharaoh. So, she was given to the master in every way possible, and the act degraded her.
Yet out of that union produced her pride and joy. Ishmael. How her heart rejoiced when her monthly blood disappeared. When time showed that Abram’s seed had taken root and was growing in her. How she hoped that it would be a boy, a son that would care for her in her old age. A son would carry on his father’s name. The thoughts increased as her belly swelled with her new child. It was now confirmed that even with Sarai great beauty she had one thing lacking. The greatest thing of being a woman, the essential part of being a wife, she could not produce a child. It was Hagar who produced a child for Abram, she who in such short time had become pregnant. It was the purpose and responsibility of a women, to bear and produce the next generation for her husband. Her mistress did not do it, she had done this! Finally, she had leverage over her mistress, she was carrying the master’s child.
How wrong had been her thoughts and attitude. Abram still only had thoughts for Sarai. It was because of her that he took her under his mantle, and it was because of her that he gave her complete freedom to treat Hagar badly, even with the child in her womb! His child! Yet he did nothing to protect her from Sarai jealousy, anger, and mistreatment. The abuse was so bad that she had to run away, for the protection of herself and the child. Egypt had been good to her, Egypt she could understand and so she headed in that direction.
She is not sure if she would have made it but near a spring in the desert beside the road to Shur she was stopped by a stranger.
The man had come up to her and called her by name, by the name of her mistress and asked where she had come from and where she was going. She responded that she was running away from her mistress Sarai. It was then the man told her to go back to her mistress and submit to her. It was there that a promise had been given to her. It was that promise that turned her around back to the tents of Abram and submitted to Sarai no matter what.
The man had said that He would increase her decedents so much that they would be too numerous to count. He told her that there was a male child in her womb, an heir of Abram. Ishmael, her beloved Ishmael, the name the Lord Himself gave to him. The Lord had heard her misery, He said so. He promised that Ishmael would be a wild donkey of a man, his hand would be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers. This gave her courage for if her son became a man like this surely, he would protect his mother. Surely, he would be strong enough and first of Abram loins to become master of all that Abram had. So, she submitted and went back, for the sake of Ishmael and her son’s future.
No one had shown that much consideration to her before. She was always the overlooked. A slave’s job was to be hidden, unseen, so that the work done was miraculously done. Praise was never given, for a good job was expected and demanded, punishment meted out for misconduct, or by the whim of a master or mistress. Becoming second wife to Abram did not increase her standing in the household, except with the other servants, yet as slave to her mistress she always had that special status. None of the God’s of Egypt paid any attention to a slave girl, but here was a God who saw her, and it was He that she would follow.
Where was the fulfillment of the promise now? Her hands were empty, and her son was dying. Once again it has been Sarai, now called Sarah by the Lord Almighty. The Lord had chosen to bless Sarah and give her also a son in her and Abraham’s old age, Isaac. Yet when the boy was weaned, a great feast was given in his honor. Her son almost a man rolled his eyes at the treatment of a young one, as she had told him the promise since he was on her knee, and Sarah had seen. The next day they were sent out with some food and a skin of water.
All her hopes were now the dust under her feet, the promise unfilled, and now she and her son would die in this place.
In Genesis, the story of Abraham and Sarah has always been put up as a story of faith and the Lord’s fulfillment of his promises to his people, yet Abraham and Sarah were not perfect, and because of their imperfections the story of Hagar was born.
It is easy to look at the story of Hagar as the story of Abram and Sarai not trusting God. For if Abram did not fear the Egyptians and what they would do to him for his wife beauty and instead trusted that the Lord would protect him, Hagar would probably not have become a part of his household.
Without her there Sarai would not have thought her to give her to Abram as a second wife. Yet the first promise to Abram was not toward Sarai but only to Abram descendants. It was this loophole that Sarai grabbed onto and so gave Hagar to Abram. In all this Hagar had no say of where she would go or not go, what she could do or not do, she was a slave, and she did what she was told.
When Hagar knew she was pregnant she knew that the power of the household had changed. Now she had a large bargaining chip, something that could give her power and freedom, and so she began to look down on Sarai. This backfired for Sarai went to Abram, Abram followed Sarai and Sarai started to treat Hagar badly, enough that she ran away from the tents. Ten years had passed since they had been in Egypt. Yet this was all Hagar knew, so she went the way she knew.
Twice Hagar was placed in precarious situations, once when she was a woman alone and pregnant, the other when she was older, and it was just her and her young son. Both times she had no protection, and she was not a part of the promise of blessing from God, and yet God saw her, chose her, and loved her. It was because of God that she went back to Sarai and submitted to her, and therefore was protected of what could have happened on the road to Egypt and beyond. It was because of God Ishmael was born in the tents of Abram and was brought up by his father. Through this Ishmael was taught and raised to know the God of Abraham his father.
When we left Hagar in the story she was again alone in the desert, now with her son with no food or water left, no protection and no one looking out for her, but someone was. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So, she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt. Genesis 21: 17-20.
Sarah only once spoke to God face to face, and that was only when He called her out on laughing at the promise He had said, and in defense saying that she had not laughed. Hagar saw and spoke to God twice, and both times did exactly what He said to do. Without God Hagar and Ishmael would have died, and the whole Islamic nation would not exist. Out of His love and promised to Abram the Lord saved and protected Ishmael, but He also made that promise to Hagar also. She was a woman who was a slave most of her life, barley seen and not heard. Yet the Lord saw her, and like the women at the well came to her and spoke to her and validated her. He gave her promises regarding her son and the nation that would come from him and those have been fulfilled. For the Lord is always after those who others would not call His beloved or loved one. It is Jesus alone who chooses, calls, and bring people to himself, no matter the nationality, sex, or life status that person is at. He saw Hagar, and He chose her, and because of that choice there will be many of her descendants speaking of the love of God and how He seeks them like her when they were not His chosen people.
To read the story of Hagar for yourself you can find it in Genesis 16 of the Bible.