The Dismissal of Hagar by Abraham In Genesis 21 Has Spiritual Meaning

dismissal of hagar

The dismissal of Hagar happened at Genesis 21:8-13. Paul interpreted the spiritual significance of this passage in Galatians 4:22-31.

Genesis 21:8-13

The child grew and was weaned. Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this servant and her son! For the son of this servant will not be heir with my son, Isaac.”

11 The thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight on account of his son. 12 God said to Abraham, “Don’t let it be grievous in your sight because of the boy, and because of your servant. In all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For your offspring will be named through Isaac. 13 I will also make a nation of the son of the servant, because he is your child.” When Isaac was weaned, Ishmael scoffed at him. So Sarah told Abraham to dismiss Hagar and Ishmael. Although this upsets Abraham, God encouraged Abraham and promised to supply and bless Ishmael.

Genesis 21:8-13 WEB

At first I thought Sarah was being jealous and unkind. She was the one who gave Hagar to Abraham. And now that she has her own child, she wants to turn the other child out. I did not understand why God supported Sarah until I read Galatians 4:22-31.

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. 24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

Galatians 4:22-26 WEB

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

Galatians 4:28-31 WEB

The Dismissal of Hagar is a Typology

In the Galatians’ passage, Paul established the typology of Sarah and Hagar. Both women represent 2 different covenants.

Hagar represents the covenant made with God at Mount Sinai, that is the obey-to-be-blessed covenant. While Sarah represents the covenant made with God at Mount Zion where God swear to be the God-who-remembers-no-more.

With the typology in mind, we can then interpret the dismissal of Hagar as a dismissal of the first covenant when the second arrives. God has found another way to bless man. He doesn’t need to rely on man’s obedience to the law.

Has God done away with the Law?

Well, He didn’t just set it aside. He had Jesus fulfilled it for all. If the covenant has been fulfilled, there is no need for man to fulfil it anymore, right?

Okay, this is sounding like allowing people to sin.

It isn’t.

It allows me to have a closer relationship with God without always checking whether I have it all together. I also do not let my failures get between God and me.

How can I live in sin if I have an intimate relationship with God and rely on Him daily?

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