(24) Why does Abraham say, “Behold thy handmaid is in thy hand, do unto her what seems good to thee?” (#Ge 16:6). The literal expression used by the wise man contains a panegyric; for he does not call the woman who had conceived by himself, his wife, or his concubine, but the handmaiden of his wife. But since he saw that she also was a mother, he did not indulge in anger and embitter the feelings of her mind, but rather tranquillised her, and made her prudent. But the passage contains an allegory in the expression, “In thy hand:” as if, if I may so say, sophistry lives under the dominion of wisdom, which indeed does spring forth from the same fountain, but only in one part, and not directly; nor does it preserve the whole of its emanations pure, but draws up with its waters many fetid things, and many others of a similar character. Since, therefore, it is in thy hand and in thy power (for to whomsoever wisdom belongs, he is possessed also of all the branches of encyclical learning), do with it whatsoever pleases thee, for I am quite persuaded that you will judge with not more severity than justice; because that very thing is especially agreeable to you: I mean the distributing to every one according to his deserts, and giving to no one more than is just, either in the way of honouring or despising him.