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1. Background Knowledge for Understanding Midrash Rabbah
2. The main characteristics of Gen.R
3. The story of the Hagar’s exile in Gen.R
4.1. Hagar in Gen.R (1) - Gen.R devaluate Hagar’s merit.
4.2. Hagar in Gen.R (2) - Hagar is given unfair treatment by Abram and Sarai
4.3. Hagar in Gen.R (3) - The story of the meeting with the angels of God is diminished.
4.4. Hagar in Gen.R (4) - Gen.R changes the angel’s blessing into curse
Hagar is the first person in the Bible to be visited by an angel of God (Gen 16:7), as well as the first to receive an annunciation (Gen 16:11-12). Sarai, by contrast, is spoken to by God only in rebuke (Gen 18:15). Hagar is also the only woman in the entire Scripture ever to receive a promise of innumerable descendants (Gen 16:10). And most striking of all, Hagar is depicted in Gen 16:13 as boldly bestowing a name on God. However, unfortunately, Hagar is also among the first biblical women to experience “use, abuse, and rejection .”
These images and perspectives of Hagar don’t remain in the story of Hagar in Genesis Rabbah (Gen.R). Gen.R makes a paradigm that Isaac and Jacob are symbols of Israel, and Ishmael and Esau are symbols of Rome . The whole expanded story and interpretation concentrate on the legitimate descendants.