Genesis 16:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 16:4, NIV: "He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress."

Genesis 16:4, ESV: "And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress."

Genesis 16:4, KJV: "And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes."

Genesis 16:4, NASB: "Then he had relations with Hagar, and she conceived; and when Hagar became aware that she had conceived, her mistress was insignificant in her sight."

Genesis 16:4, NLT: "So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt."

Genesis 16:4, CSB: "He slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she saw that she was pregnant, her mistress became contemptible to her."

What does Genesis 16:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Sarai's plan to obtain a son, both for Abram and for herself, through her own servant Hagar, seems to be working. Hagar became Abram's second wife and she quickly becomes pregnant with his son. This is something which had not happened for Sarai in her entire life with Abram, including the 10 years in Canaan after God's latest promise of an heir (Genesis 16:3).

However, this immediate pregnancy complicates Abram's family life. Hagar, now wife of Abram and bearer of his only child, begins to resent the woman who will claim that child as her own. Hagar may have wondered what she and Abram even needed Sarai for. If Hagar could give him children, wasn't Sarai unnecessary? Also, in that culture, barrenness was considered a sign of a defect, even divine disapproval. The fact that Hagar could immediately conceive, when Sarai could not after years and years, might have tempted Hagar to see herself as superior to her master. However it was motivated, Sarai feels Hagar's contempt, and it wounds her deeply, as the following verses will reveal.