Daily Devotions


Day 80

"Which things are symbolic..."

Text: Galatians 4:24


The story of Sarah and Hagar was not recorded for simple historical reasons. Paul understood the theological significance of this story. He commented on this in the following text.

Which things are symbolic.
For these are the two covenants:
the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage,
which is Hagar-
for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds
to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children-

Galatians 4:24-25

1. “Which things are symbolic”

Paul thought of Hagar and Sarah as of symbolic significance.

2. “Two covenants”

The two women were seen symbolically as “two covenants”.

a) The Genesis record does not technically call the two women “covenants”.
b) Paul was using this imagery to highlight the danger of being desirous to be under the law.
c) The Galatians did not understand the implications of being “under the law”.
d) The Judaizers had taught them that they should be under the law.
e) The Galatians had unwittingly bought the arguments put forward by the Judaizers.

3. Challenges in interpretation

a) Hagar lived in the days of Abraham.
b) The law was not given till Moses came along.

4. Hagar was presented as symbolic of the following:-

a) Mount Sinai.
b) At Mount Sinai the law was given.
c) The offspring Hagar had was “under bondage”.
d) All her children were also “under bondage”.

5. An application of the symbol

a) Those who were desirous of being under the law would be in bondage.
b) Thus they were no better off than the children of Hagar.
c) They may have been told that if they kept the law they would be true sons of Abraham.
d) They did not realise that they could be called the children of Hagar… instead of being called “the seed of Abraham” and heirs of the promise.