Original Research

Sexual exploitation or legitimate surrogacy: Reading the Hagar narrative (Gn 16:1–4a) in African context

Solomon O. Ademiluka
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 43, No 1 | a2 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v43i1.2 | © 2019 Sola Ademiluka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 2019 | Published: 30 July 2019

About the author(s)

Solomon O. Ademiluka, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Kogi State University, Anyigba, Nigeria

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Barren and advanced in age, Sarai proposed to Abram to take her maid, Hagar, as a wife so that they might have children through her. To some interpreters, this is sexual exploitation of Hagar. Using a reader-oriented approach, this article re-examines this mode of interpretation as well as assesses the perspectives in which the Hagar narrative appeals to the African reader. We found out that, when studied against its social background, the Abram–Hagar union is better understood as legitimate surrogacy. The research also found out that the text appeals to the African reader in the contexts of the problem of childlessness and modern surrogacy. The childless African reader thus finds solace in this narrative as it is suggestive of surrogacy as a pragmatic solution to his or her problem.


Patriarchal narratives; Childlessness; African culture; Sexual exploitation; Surrogacy


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