And the angel of the LORD said unto her,
Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hands.
Read Chapter 16
Cyril of Alexandria
As in concrete image, we see here foreshadowed the fact that once the Emmanuel has appeared and his mystery has been shown to the world, the types of the Mosaic cult necessarily disappear, giving way to the evangelical teachings, the better and more perfect precepts. Of what image am I speaking? Because Sarah had not had children, Hagar, after having given birth to Ishmael, began to show arrogant contempt for her owner, the free woman. Sarah was unable to bear that arrogance and began also to mistreat the Egyptian woman. The latter fled from the house and lost her way in the desert. An angel from heaven asked her where she was going and where she had come from. She replied, “I am fleeing from my mistress, Sarah.” And the holy angel replied, “Return to your mistress, and humble yourself under her hands.” She was ordered then, by the voice of the angel, not to depart from the free woman—from instruction, that is, which summons to the dignity of free persons—and to humble herself instead ...
The literal sense is clear enough. From the point of view of allegory, it is suggested that even in the case of one who has done a purposeless act that he believes to be obligatory for those who revere the shadow of the law and who is in a sense fleeing from its spiritual sense, the Word of the Master brings him back to the original divine intention. And in fact the Lord gradually made it clear that the things in Scripture that were of the shadow would cease to be, when he says, “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?” and “Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.” It is a great thing then to be “under the hands” of the spiritual doctrine, referred to as “mistress,” and to be “humble under her hands”; not that the slave girl is of lowly estate in herself, but only with respect to the mistress. For in this matter what is glorified is not really glorified at all, because its glory is tr...