First of all, your question seems to imply that Abraham was guilty of ADULTERY by sleeping with Hagar. This is not the case for Hagar was actually Abraham’s wife when he slept with her. Let’s read Genesis 16:1-4a, “Now Saria, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, ‘see now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. Then Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram TO BE HIS WIFE, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So, HE WENT IN TO HAGAR, and she conceived.”

As we have seen, Abram was NOT guilty of adultery, but he was guilty of a LACK OF FAITH and for HAVING TWO WIVES AT THE SAME TIME. When God first called Abram out of his homeland He promised him, “I will make you a great nation…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3), implying that Abram would become a father himself. As time went on Abram said to God, “Lord GOD, what will you give me, seeing I go childless…You have given me no offspring” (Genesis 15:2-3). God then promised him, “One who will come from your own body shall be your heir…Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be’” (verses 4-5). Yet time continued to pass and Abram and Sarai were still without child. As we have seen from Genesis 16:1-4 Abram and Sarai’s faith failed them. Sarai resorted to “human reasoning,” supposing that God wanted Abram to marry the Egyptian maid and have the promised child by her. Abram then hearkened to the voice of his wife and, “went in to Hagar, and she conceived.” God had NOT told Abram to do this so he was surely guilty of A LACK OF FAITH, and Abram was also guilty of POLGAMY (having more than one wife at the same time). Now some may sympathize with Abram by saying, “But it was the legal custom of that day where a barren woman could give her maid to her husband as a wife, and the child born of that union was regarded as the first wife’s child.” This was indeed “the legal custom of that day” (in a PAGAN COUNTRY!) but it was NOT God’s will for a man to have two (or more) wives at the same time. God specially said in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore A MAN SHALL leave his father and mother and BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, and THEY SHALL COME ONE FLESH.”

Now we can ask the question, “Did God punish Abraham for his lack of faith and for having two wives at the same time?” The answer is, “No, God did not punish Abraham DIRECTLY but He did allow him to “reap what he had sown.” Genesis 16:4 goes on to say, “And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes.” In a word, from that moment on Hagar looked down upon Sarai and as we read the whole history of this household, we see that there was nothing but contention between these two women. Add to this the fact that when Abraham and Sarah gave birth to the promised child (Isaac….see Genesis 21:1-2), the son of Hagar hated Isaac and persecuted him (see verses 8-11 with Galatians 4:29). So, even though God did not personally “punish Abraham,” He did allow Abraham to “reap the terrible consequences of taking matters into his own hands by taking another wife and bearing a child by her.” Abraham suffered greatly in a DIVIDED HOUSE where jealousy, anger and persecution were common. I might add, in closing, that to this very day the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs) are mortal enemies of the descendants of Isaac (the Jewish people). This all began that fateful day when Sarai employed “human reasoning” and Abram “gave ear to her plan and obeyed her.”  (479.5)  (DO)