Hagar was Sarah’s servant and the means by which Sarah believed she could have a son, since God had not yet allowed her to become a mother. Abraham was 75 years old when he responded to God’s initial call by leaving Haran for Canaan (Gen. 12:4-5). When Ishmael, Hagar’s son by Abraham, was born, Abraham was 86 (see 16:16). We therefore can conclude that about 10 years had passed from the time when God first promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, to the time when Sarah suggested to Abraham that he father a child through Hagar (see v. 3). The Bible says, “Abraham’s wife Sarai had not borne any children for him, but she owned an Egyptian slave named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, ‘Since the LORD has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family’” (vv. 1-2). Abraham went along with this recommendation; he slept with Hagar, who became pregnant and bore a son. Even before Hagar gave birth, however, Sarah grew jealous and resentful of her servant. Sarah mistreated Hagar, causing her to run away. God sent an angel to speak to Hagar and to encourage her to return to Abraham’s household. The angel told her, “You have conceived and will have a son. You will name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard your cry of affliction. This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will live at odds with all his brothers” (vv. 11-12). In the place to which she had run, Hagar discovered a spring, and she named it “A Well of the Living One Who Sees Me” (v. 14). Hagar knew God had seen and responded to her plight. Some years later, after Sarah gave birth to Isaac (Ishmael was 14 years old when Isaac was born), tension in the household prompted Sarah to send Hagar and Ishmael away. Abraham saw the two off, and Hagar wandered with Ishmael in the barren area of Beer-sheba until she was desperate. Having run out of drinking water, she left Ishmael under a bush. Seeing that Hagar could not stand to watch her son die of thirst, God sent an angel to her to encourage her. He helped her find water, and He promised to make of Ishmael a great nation. Genesis 21:20-21 says, “God was with the boy, and he grew; he settled in the wilderness and became an archer. He settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.” While God certainly met the needs of mother and son, it is clear that God needs no human help to keep His promises. Sarah’s idea did not coincide at all with the promise God made to Abraham; nor did it fit God’s plan to fulfill that promise. Hagar’s story parallels spiritual truths that Paul discussed in Galatians 4:21-31. For instance, her story illustrates a contrast between the bondage of the old covenant and the freedom of the new one. Believers “are not children of the slave but of the free woman” (Gal. 4: 31).