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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 21

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-34

Now the LORD visited Sarah as he had said ( Genesis 21:1 ),

I like this.

and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken ( Genesis 21:1 ).

I like that, "as He had said, and as He had spoken." I've got that underlined that just sort of hit me. "The Lord visited Sarah as he had said." The Lord keeps His word. The Lord is faithful to His promise. He may not do it as quickly as we would like Him to do it. Abraham been waiting for thirteen years, you know, since the last promise was made. And he was getting older everyday. But the Lord came to Sarah as He said and He did as He had spoken.

And Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time which God had spoken to him about. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Laughter ( Genesis 21:2-3 ).

Certainly it's a fitting name for the son because the first time God said, "Hey, I'm going to give Sarah a son"; Abraham just laughed. And then later on when the angel of the Lord came to Abraham and said, "Sarah is going to bear thee a son"; she was standing at the tent door eavesdropping and when she heard that, she laughed. And the angel said, "Why'd you laugh"? She said, "Oh, I didn't laugh". "Oh yes, you did". And so very fitting that the child be named Laughter when he was born.

And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was a hundred years old, when Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah would be given a child to nurse? for I have born him a son in his old age. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned ( Genesis 21:4-8 ).

Don't you know that this kid was one of the most pampered kids that ever came along? Boy, after waiting this long a time and all, I'm sure that Isaac was just, oh my, the center of attention and excitement and all.

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born to Abraham, mocking ( Genesis 21:9 ).

Now at this time, he was a teenager, thirteen, fourteen years old and he at this great ceremony and all, and feast, he mocked. He was looking with a sneer at this half-brother of his. And Sarah saw his attitude and the sneering.

Therefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son ( Genesis 21:10-11 ).

Now Abraham was torn. He loved Ishmael because Ishmael was his son and the thing really hurt Abraham.

But God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called ( Genesis 21:12 ).

So God is telling Abraham, Go ahead and listen to your wife. "Hearken unto her, cast out the bondwoman."

And also the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, he took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba ( Genesis 21:13-14 ).

Now that is, of course, it's not very much to give to her. A bottle of water and a loaf of bread and send her off. And she wandered in the area of Beersheba. Evidently, she was intending to go down to Egypt but lost her way.

And soon she ran out of water, and the child, she put the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat down over nearby a good way off, as it were a bowshot ( Genesis 21:15-16 ):

Now this was happened after the weaning of Isaac. And they usually nurse children till they were three or four years old, so it means that he was actually about sixteen years old or so at this point, Ishmael. And yet because of the lack of water, he was faint and she put him under a bush, one of the shrubs, and she got down a ways off, about as far as you could shoot an arrow,

And she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and she lifted up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad ( Genesis 21:16-17 );

So evidently, Ishmael was praying also unto God as he was lying there under that shrub.

and the angel of God called unto Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What ails you, Hagar ( Genesis 21:17 )?

How many times has God called out of heaven and say, "What ails you?" you know.

fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise and lift up the lad, and hold him in your hand; and I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad a drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt ( Genesis 21:17-21 ).

And so Ishmael became the father of the Arabs. And so actually, the Arabs and the Israelis are linked together through Abraham. And yet, there is to this day that bitterness and animosity that exists between the two, between the Arabs and the Israelites.

And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with you in all that you're doing: Now therefore swear unto me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. And Abraham said, I will swear ( Genesis 21:22-24 ).

Now Abimelech recognized that the hand of God's blessing and prosperity was upon Abraham. And he began to be a little fearful. What's the future hold? What about my grandkids, you know? This guy is continually blessed of God and gets great. Maybe they'll, you know, he'll wipe us out. And so he wanted sort of a treaty with Abraham that he would treat them well.

And Abraham then took the opportunity to reprove Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away from Abraham. And Abimelech said, I did not know that this thing was done: you didn't tell me about it and I didn't know it until now. And so Abraham took sheep and oxen, and he gave them to Abimelech; and they both of them made there a covenant. And Abraham set seven ewe lambs by themselves. And Abimelech said to Abraham, What's the deal with these seven ewe lambs that are setting over by themselves? And Abraham said unto it them that these are a witness that I am the one who dug this well. And so they called the name of the place Beersheba [or the well of witness]; because there they both of them swore together. Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: and Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned to the land of the Philistines. And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba [of tamaris], and called there upon the name of the LORD, the everlasting God ( Genesis 21:25-33 ).

El owlam. Owlam. El owlam, God everlasting.

And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' lands for many days ( Genesis 21:34 ).


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 21". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/genesis-21.html. 2014.
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