16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him any children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See here, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. I am asking you to go in to [the bed of] my maid [so that she may bear you a child]; perhaps I will [a]obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to Sarai and did as she said. 3 After Abram had lived in the land of Canaan ten years, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian [maid], and gave her to her husband Abram to be his [secondary] wife. 4 He went in to [the bed of] Hagar, and she conceived; and when she realized that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress [regarding Sarai as insignificant because of her infertility].
Genesis 16:2This must have been an acceptable practice in that time and culture, based on the idea that the children of such a union would belong to the owner of the slave-girl. Abram undoubtedly had informed Sarai of God’s promise to him, and Sarai perhaps thought that this was necessary in order to bring about God’s plan for them.
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