Hagar had always been carried along by the current of other people’s lives. In Egypt she had been sold as a slave to the highest bidder. Abraham bought her and Sarah took her as her personal servant. They had brought her to Canaan, and then quite unexpectedly, her own body, her womb, had been called into service.
The woman he loved had her arm outstretched. She was offering him the fruit, the juice still dripping down her chin. The man watched himself take a bite.
In the harem, Sarah waited. She waited to be called in to King Abimelech, or for someone — Abraham, God? — to come to her rescue. One day dragged into the next, and still nothing. God had said she and Abraham would have a child next year. Now Abraham had ruined everything. But why hadn’t God stopped him?
By the time she discovered the spring, her head was hot and throbbing. Dirt streaked across her face where her tears had mingled with the wilderness dust. Hagar sat down to rest, splashing the cool water on her face. For the first time since she left, she realized she had no plan.
Abraham turned to his son, the rope stretched between trembling hands. Isaac looked at his father, and a hoarse whisper escaped his lips, “Father … .”
“We have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”