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Genesis 16: An Interesting Job for the Maid

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Abram and his wife, Sarai, wanted kids but couldn’t have them.  Since there were no fertility clinics anywhere nearby, Sarai decided the only way to save the marriage was to do what would destroy a lesser marriage: Abram was to have sex with the maid.  The maid’s name was Hagar, a lovely name by ancient Egyptian standards, and proved to be much more fertile than Sarai.  Hagar got pregnant quickly and started to get uppity with Sarai.  Sarai blamed Abram, who was in a great position.  He told Sarai, “You told me to sleep with her.  This is all your fault.  I’m blameless.  Now go get me another beer.”  Thus the problem was resolved.

Sarai’s problem was not resolved, though, so she dealt with it the best way she knew how: she started heaping abuse on Hagar, who eventually got so fed up with the situation, she ran off.  While running off, a messenger of God appeared before her and told her to go back to work and all the abuse that work entails.  “When my Boss is in a bad mood,” said the messenger, “He’s not much better.  But if you quit, you lose your benefits, which will come in useful, what with your being pregnant and all.”

“Why should I go back to that tedious, degrading job, though?” asked Hagar.

“Well, I suppose I shouldn’t tell you this, but you’re going to have a son who’s a real jerk and no one’s going to like him, and everyone in his family and community are going to loathe him.  You will call him Ishmael.  And through him, you’ll have more descendents than you can count.”

“Why would I want to put up with that?” asked Hagar.

“You won’t,” said the messenger of the Lord.  “You’re having this kid for Sarai, remember?”

“Oh, yeah,” said Hagar.  “That would serve that bitch right.”  So she turned around and went back to work.

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