Forced into Marriage

Kelly Brace

Read: Genesis 16:1-16

But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. (v. 6)

Forced marriage is when women or young girls are forced to marry against their will or without their consent. It’s more common in some places than others, but it happens everywhere in the world, and it’s been happening for a long, long time.

Hagar was a servant who lived in Abram’s household and reported to Sarai, her mistress. Although we don’t know how old Hagar was, she was likely much younger than Abram and Sarai. It was Sarai’s responsibility to look after Hagar, but it is clear from today’s reading that Sarai was only interested in her own needs. Hagar didn’t have a choice in marrying Abram, and she wasn’t allowed to leave, so hers was a forced marriage. In verse 4, we read that Hagar looked at Sarai with contempt. This led Sarai to treat Hagar so badly that she ran away.

No one should ever be forced to marry. God took care of Hagar when she ran away from Abram and Sarai. Hagar said that God saw her and looked after her (v. 13). While God does have a plan for each of us, we still make mistakes. But nobody should be forcing others to do something they don’t want to do, or putting them in any position where they don’t have a say in what happens to them. —Kelly Brace

As you pray, remember the women and young girls who are forced to marry.