And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
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Didymus the Blind
It is plausible to say that it was to establish the fact that Hagar was a serious woman and Ishmael an authentic son of Abraham that Scripture went out of its way to remark that Hagar bore a son “to Abram.” What follows is clear as to the literal sense, but let us examine too the anagogical [mystical] sense. When the person who is making progress gives birth according to the goal assigned by the master, the child he bears is not to be despised. The verse then applies the metaphorical notion of generation to the master who correctly teaches and who thus provides profitable seed. This is why it is said, “Hagar bore to Abram.” The proof that the meaning is indeed what I have indicated according to the terms of Scripture is that, in the following phrase, “And Abram called the name of his son,” the Word adds, “whom Hagar bore him.” If an idea (like the one I suggested) were not in the background here, the text would simply have said, “And Abram named his son,” without adding “whom she bore him.”