The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” – Genesis 16:7-10
The inclusion of this story prompts many questions. Why is the Lord kind to this Egyptian woman and child? The future relationship between Abraham’s seed and Egypt must impact the importance of the story. It is here at Shur that Israel will find themselves without water (Exo 15:22). This is a place of bareness and yet Hagar represents a blessing from God both in her womb and in God’s grace.
Ultimately God is the one who blesses slaves in Israel (Exo 6:5) and in the world (Phil 1:15-16). But His blessings on the Gentiles show how He makes for Himself a people that were not His people (Rom 9:25-26; 1 Pet 2:10). Like Paul with Onesimus, God sends back Hagar and promises to bless her through Abraham. God’s promise to Abraham is coming true already (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18).