For example, many people focus on Sarah rather than [Sarah, Hagar] in the book of Genesis. But Hagar, Sarah’s slave, has the more interesting story. Hagar has two encounters with the Lord versus Sarah’s one. Hagar’s encounters, like the latter encounter of Jacob, happen in the wilderness. But instead of being attacked like Jacob was, Hagar is met with a question: “Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid, from where have you come, and where are you going?” Surely, the angel already knows the answer.
Hagar’s first encounter with the angel ends with her naming God. Genesis 16:13 (NRSV) states: “So she named the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are El-roi’; for she said, ‘Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?'” This is unlike Jacob, who later names the place where he fought with the angel. Hagar does not limp away from her divine encounter. The act of naming is a daring deed. Hagar does not merely say God’s name, she names God. In an interesting twist, the angel tells Hagar to name her son Ishmael which means God hears. In her second encounter in Genesis chapter 12, it is Hagar who cries, but the Lord hears the cries of Ishmael.