Genesis 16:8 MEANING

Genesis 16:8
(8) Whence camest thou?--It is noteworthy that in these Divine communications God's knowledge of all the circumstances is not presumed, but the person visited is led on to tell them. This adds very much to the freshness and poetry of the narrative. Here, however, in the address, Hagar, Sarai's maid, the angel, at least, shows that he is aware who she is, and also reminds her of what she had forgotten, that in bestowing her upon Abram Sarai did not cease to be her mistress.

Verse 8. - And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid. Declining to recognize her marriage with the patriarch, the angel reminds her of her original position as a bondwoman, from which liberty was not to be obtained by flight, but by manumission. Whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go! And she maid, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. "Her answer testifies to the oppression she had experienced, but also to the voice of her own conscience" (Lange).

16:7-16 Hagar was out of her place, and out of the way of her duty, and going further astray, when the Angel found her. It is a great mercy to be stopped in a sinful way, either by conscience or by providence. Whence comest thou? Consider that thou art running from duty, and the privileges thou wast blest with in Abram's tent. It is good to live in a religious family, which those ought to consider who have this advantage. Whither wilt thou go? Thou art running into sin; if Hagar return to Egypt, she will return to idol gods, and into danger in the wilderness through which she must travel. Recollecting who we are, would often teach us our duty. Inquiring whence we came, would show us our sin and folly. Considering whither we shall go, discovers our danger and misery. And those who leave their space and duty, must hasten their return, how mortifying soever it be. The declaration of the Angel, I will, shows this Angel was the eternal Word and Son of God. Hagar could not but admire the Lord's mercy, and feel, Have I, who am so unworthy, been favoured with a gracious visit from the Lord? She was brought to a better temper, returned, and by her behaviour softened Sarai, and received more gentle treatment. Would that we were always suitably impressed with this thought, Thou God seest me!And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid,.... He calls her by her name, which might surprise her, and describes her by her character and condition, in order to check her pride, and put her in mind of her duty to her mistress; and to suggest to her, that she ought to have been not where she was, but in the house of her mistress, and doing her service:

whence camest thou? this question the angel asked, not as ignorant, for he that could call her by her name, and describe her character and state, knew from whence she came; but he said this not only to lead on to what he had further to say to her, but to put her upon considering from whence she came, what she had left behind, and what blessings she had deprived herself of; she had not only left her husband and her mistress, but the house of God; for such Abram's family was, where the worship of God was kept up, and where the Lord granted his presence, and indulged with communion with himself:

and whither wilt thou go? he knew her intention and resolution was to go to Egypt, and he would have her think of the place whither she intended to go, as well as that she had left, as that her journey to it was dangerous, through a wilderness; that the country she was bound for was a wicked and an idolatrous one, where she would not have the free exercise of her religion she had embraced, nor any opportunity of attending the pure worship of God, and would be liable to be drawn into a sinful course of life, and into idolatrous worship:

and she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai; this was very ingenuously said, she acknowledges Sarai to be her mistress, and owns that, she had displeased her, and caused her face to be against her; and confesses the truth, that she had fled from her, not being able to bear her frowns and corrections, at least her spirit was too high to submit to them.

Courtesy of Open Bible