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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Genesis 16:10

Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, "I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities;   Communion;   Lahai-Roi;   Prayer;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ishmaelites, the;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Angel of the Lord;   Hagar;   Ishmael;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Angels;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Angel of the Lord;   Theophany;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Beer-Lahai-Roi;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Archaeology and Biblical Study;   Archangel;   Genesis;   Hagar;   Theophany;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Angel;   Family;   Greek Versions of Ot;   Hagar;   Ishmael;   Sarah;   Slave, Slavery;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Hagar ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Angels;   Hagar ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Beer-la-hai-roi;   Lot;   Shur;   Sodom;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Angel;   Concubine;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Abram;   Ishmael;   Encampment at Sinai;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Beer-Lahai-Roi;   Genesis;   Ishmael (1);   Mediation;   Trinity;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Hagar;   Philo Jud├Žus;  
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 10;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse Genesis 16:10. I will multiply thy seed exceedingly — Who says this? The person who is called the Angel of the Lord; and he certainly speaks with all the authority which is proper to God.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


Birth of Ishmael (16:1-16)

When Abram earlier suggested adopting his slave as his heir, God reassured him that his heir would be a son of his own (see 15:2-4). But after ten years in Canaan, Sarai was still childless. Weakened in faith, she suggested that Abram obtain his son through their slave-girl Hagar. This was not God’s way, but it followed an accepted custom among the people of the region. All legal rights over the child belonged to the wife, not to the slave-girl, though the wife had no right to expel the slave-girl. However, when jealousy arose between Sarai and Hagar, Sarai enforced her rights with such bitterness that Hagar fled (16:1-6).
Hagar was probably heading for her home country Egypt when she was met by the angel of the Lord. Through the angel God told Hagar to return and submit to Sarai, adding that the son to be born to her would himself become the father of a great people. He would be named Ishmael and would grow into a tough, fiercely independent desert-dweller (7-12; cf. 17:20; 21:13). Hagar was so amazed to think she had seen God and lived, that she addressed God by a special name in acknowledgment of her extraordinary experience (13-16).

Note: In the early books of the Old Testament the angel of God appears almost to be the same as God himself. This is possibly because the angel is so closely identified with God as his messenger that when he speaks, God speaks. The temporary physical appearance of the angel is interpreted as the temporary physical appearance of God. (See also 21:17-18; 22:15-17; Exodus 3:2-6.)

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself unto her hands. And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, I will greatly multiply thy seed, and it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, Behold thou art with child, and shall bear a son; and thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because Jehovah hath heard thy affliction."

"And the angel of Jehovah ..." The threefold repetition of this in Genesis 16:9; Genesis 16:10, and Genesis 16:11, is used by critics as an excuse to cast out the last two of these verses as "an interpolation."[13] This is not at all reasonable, for the smoothness of the narrative would be restored completely merely by supplying the words, "Again, the angel of Jehovah said unto her ..." Such a device is used by translators constantly, and there is no good reason why they should not have done so here. Three definite and very important prophecies concerning Hagar were given, and it was imperative that all three be understood as having been given by the angel of Jehovah. That is clearly the reason for the repetition. The message of the angel of Jehovah was:

  1. "Return and submit ..." This is never easy to do; and in Hagar's case it might have been unusually difficult; but she returned and submitted.

  2. "I will multiply thy seed ..." This was fulfilled on a scale that no one in that age could have believed, not even Hagar.

  3. "Thou shalt bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Ishmael ..." This recalls the prophecy of Gabriel to Mary. Only God can name in advance the sex of a child before it is conceived and bestow the name in the manner noted here. We have no patience whatever with the type of critic who finds a "contradiction," no less, in the fact that here Hagar named the child, and that in Genesis 16:15 Abram named him. As a matter of fact, neither Hagar nor Abram named Ishmael, for he was named by God Himself. And there is no problem whatever with the fact that both Hagar and Abram consented to receive the God-given name. (For more, see comments at Genesis 16:12, below).
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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

- The Birth of Ishmael

1. הנר hāgār, Hagar, “flight.” Hejrah, the flight of Muhammed.

7. מלאך mal'ak “messenger, angel.” A deputy commissioned to discharge a certain duty for the principal whom he represents. As the most usual task is that of bearing messages, commands, or tidings, he is commonly called a “messenger” ἄγγελος angelos). The word is therefore a term of office, and does not further distinguish the office-bearer than as an intelligent being. Hence, a מלאך mal'ak may be a man deputed by a man Genesis 32:3; Job 1:14, or by God Haggai 1:13; Malachi 3:1, or a superhuman being delegated in this case only by God. The English term “angel” is now especially appropriated to the latter class of messengers.

1st. The nature of angels is spiritual Hebrews 1:14. This characteristic ranges over the whole chain of spiritual being from man up to God himself. The extreme links, however, are excluded: man, because he is a special class of intelligent creatures; and God, because he is supreme. Other classes of spiritual beings may be excluded - as the cherubim, the seraphim - because they have not the same office, though the word “angelic” is sometimes used by us as synonymous with heavenly or spiritual. They were all of course originally good; but some of them have fallen from holiness, and become evil spirits or devils Matthew 25:31, Matthew 25:41; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:7. The latter are circumscribed in their sphere of action, as if confined within the walls of their prison, in consequence of their fallen state and malignant disposition Genesis 3:0; Job 1:2; 1 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:2. Being spiritual, they are not only moral, but intelligent. They also excel in strength Psalms 103:20. The holy angels have the full range of action for which their qualities are adapted. They can assume a real form, expressive of their present functions, and affecting the senses of sight, hearing, and touch, or the roots of those senses in the soul. They may even perform innocent functions of a human body, such as eating Genesis 18:8; Genesis 19:3. Being spirits, they can resolve the material food into its original elements in a way which we need not attempt to conceive or describe. But this case of eating stands altogether alone. Angels have no distinction of sex Matthew 22:30. They do not grow old or die. They are not a race, and have not a body in the ordinary sense of the term.

2d. Their office is expressed by their name. In common with other intelligent creatures, they take part in the worship of God Revelation 7:11; but their special office is to execute the commands of God in the natural world Psalms 103:20, and especially to minister to the heirs of salvation Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 18:10; Luke 15:10; Luke 16:22. It is not needful here to enter into the uniquenesses of their ministry.

3d. The angel of Jehovah. This phrase is especially employed to denote the Lord himself in that form in which he condescends to make himself manifest to man; for the Lord God says of this angel, “Beware of him, and obey his voice; provoke him not, for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in his inmost” Exodus 23:21; that is, my nature is in his essence. Accordingly, he who is called the angel of the Lord in one place is otherwise denominated the Lord or God in the immediate context (Genesis 16:7, Genesis 16:13; Genesis 22:11-12; Genesis 31:11, Genesis 31:13; Genesis 48:15-16; Exodus 3:2-15; Exodus 23:20-23; with Exodus 33:14-15). It is remarkable, at the same time, that the Lord is spoken of in these cases as a distinct person from the angel of the Lord, who is also called the Lord. The phraseology intimates to us a certain inherent plurality within the essence of the one only God, of which we have had previous indications Genesis 1:26; Genesis 3:22. The phrase “angel of the Lord,” however, indicates a more distant manifestation to man than the term Lord itself. It brings the medium of communication into greater prominence. It seems to denote some person of the Godhead in angelic form. שׁוּר shûr, Shur, “wall.” A city or place probably near the head of the gulf of Suez. The desert of Shur is now Jofar.

11. ישׁמעאל yı̂shmā‛ē'l, Jishmael, “the Mighty will hear.”

13. ראי אל 'êl rŏ'ı̂y, “God of vision or seeing.”

14. ראי לחי באר be'ēr-lachay-ro'ı̂y, Beer-lachai-roi, “well of vision to the living.” ברד bered, Bered, “hail.” The site is not known.

Sarah has been barren probably much more than twenty years. She appears to have at length reluctantly arrived at the conclusion that she would never be a mother. Nature and history prompted the union of one man to one wife in marriage, and it might have been presumed that God would honor his own institution. But the history of the creation of man was forgotten or unheeded, and the custom of the East prompted Sarai to resort to the expedient of giving her maid to her husband for a second wife, that she might have children by her.

Genesis 16:1-6

A Mizrite handmaid. - Hagar was probably obtained, ten years before, during their sojourn in Egypt. “The Lord hath restrained me.” It was natural to the ancient mind to recognize the power and will of God in all things. “I shall be builded by her,” אבנה 'ı̂bāneh, built as the foundation of a house, by the addition of sons or daughters (בנים bānı̂ym or בנית bānôt). She thought she had or wished to have a share in the promise, if not by herself personally, yet through her maid. The faith of Sarah had not yet come fully to the birth. Abram yields to the suggestion of his wife, and complies with the custom of the country. Ten years had elapsed since they had entered the land they were to inherit. Impatience at the long delay leads to an invention of their own for obtaining an heir. The contempt of her maid was unjustifiable. But it was the natural consequence of Sarai’s own improper and imprudent step, in giving her to her husband as a concubine. Unwilling, however, to see in herself the occasion of her maid’s insolence, she transfers the blame to her husband, who empowers or reminds her of her power still to deal with her as it pleased her. Hagar, unable to bear the yoke of humiliation, flees from her mistress.

Genesis 16:7-12

The angel of the Lord either represents the Lord, or presents the Lord in angelic form. The Lord manifests himself to Hagar seemingly on account of her relationship to Abram, but in the more distant form of angelic visitation. She herself appears to be a believer in God. The spring of water is a place of refreshment on her journey. She is on the way to Shur, which was before Mizraim as thou goest rewards Asshur Genesis 25:18, and therefore fleeing to Egypt, her native land. The angel of the Lord interrogates her, and requires her to return to her mistress, and humble herself under her hands.

Genesis 16:10

I will multiply. - This language is proper only to the Lord Himself, because it claims a divine prerogative. The Lord is, therefore, in this angel. He promises to Hagar a numerous offspring. “Ishmael.” “El,” the Mighty, will hear; but “Jehovah,” the Lord (Yahweh), heard her humiliation. Yahweh, therefore, is the same God as El. He describes Ishmael and his progeny in him as resembling the wild ass. This animal is a fit symbol of the wild, free, untamable Bedouin of the desert. He is to live in contention, and yet to dwell independently, among all his brethren. His brethren are the descendants of Heber, the Joctanites, composing the thirteen original tribes of the Arabs, and the Palgites to whom the descendants of Abram belonged. The Ishmaelites constituted the second element of the great Arab nation, and shared in their nomadic character and independence. The character here given of them is true even to the present day.

Genesis 16:13-16

God of my vision - (El-roi). Here we have the same divine name as in Ishmael. “Have I even still seen” - continued to live and see the sun after having seen God? Beer-lahai-roi, the well of vision (of God) to the living. To see God and live was an issue contrary to expectation Exodus 33:20. The well is between Kadesh and Bered. The site of the latter has not been ascertained. R. Jonathan gives חוּצא chelûtsā' the Ἔλουσα elousa of Ptolemy, now el-Khulasa, about twelve miles south of Beersheba. Rowland finds the well at Moyle or Muweilah, still further south in the same direction. The birth of Ishmael is in the sixteenth year after Abram’s call, and the eleventh after his arrival in Kenaan.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10. I will multiply thy seed exceedingly For the purpose of mitigating the offense, and of alleviating what was severe in the precept, by some consolation, he promises a blessing in the child which she should bear. God might indeed, by his own authority, have strictly enjoined what was right; but in order that Hagar might the more cheerfully do what she knew to be her duty, he allures her, as by blandishments, to obedience. And to this point those promises tend, by which he invites us to voluntary submission. For he would not draw us by servile methods, so that we should obey his commands by constraint; and therefore he mingles mild and paternal invitations with his commands, dealing with us liberally, as with sons. That the angel here promises to do what is peculiar to God alone, involves no absurdity, for it is sufficiently usual with God to invest his ministers whom he sends with his own character, that the authority of their word may appear the greater. I do not, however, disapprove the opinion of most of the ancients; that Christ the Mediator was always present in all the oracles, and that this is the cause why the majesty of God is ascribed to angels. (390) On which subject I have already touched and shall have occasion to say more elsewhere.

(390) See on this subject, Smith’s Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, Book 2 Chap. 4 Sect. 33. — Ed.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 16

Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai ( Genesis 16:1-2 ).

It's a mistake. Not always is it a mistake to hearken unto the voice of your wife but this is the second time it speaks of a man hearkening to the voice of his wife and both of them at this point were mistakes. Now there will be other times when God will say, "Listen to Sarai and hearken unto the voice of Sarai thy wife".

Now Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan ( Genesis 16:3 ),

So Abraham was eighty-five years old.

and gave he her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, she began to despise Sarai ( Genesis 16:3-4 ).

The barrenness, you know, you can always say, "Well, maybe the husband is unable to have children. Maybe there's something defective with him". But when Hagar conceived so readily, obviously now it is Sarai who is barren, the curse of barrenness in that culture and so Hagar despised Sarai.

And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid unto thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: and the LORD judge between me and thee. Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in your hand; do to her as whatever you please. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water [The angel of Jehovah found her by the fountain of water] in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur ( Genesis 16:5-7 ).

Hagar was running back to Egypt. She was getting out of there and going to go back home. But man, to get back home she had to go through that horrible wilderness area. She surely would have perished in trying to return to Egypt. And so she was by this fountain of water.

And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, where did you come from? Where you going? She said, I'm fleeing from the face of my mistress Sarai. The angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands ( Genesis 16:8-9 ).

Now she actually at this, she was in wrong in despising Sarai and the Lord is telling her now to return and submit.

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, thou shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; which means God shall hear and because the LORD hath heard thy affliction ( Genesis 16:10-11 ).

So she was probably crying there by the fountain and God heard her cry and He said call your son Ishmael, which means, "the Lord will hear". God will hear.

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he will dwell in the presence of all his brothers. And she called the name of the LORD that spoke unto her, Thou God seest me: and so she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; which is between Kadesh and Bered ( Genesis 16:12-14 ).

So she had made pretty good way down into the desert to Sinai there going near Kadesh. The name of the well is "the well of him that lives and sees me." Beerlahairoi. Beer is well, the well of him that lives and sees me.

And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was eighty-six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram ( Genesis 16:15-16 ).


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The angel of the LORD and Hagar 16:7-14

This is the first of 48 references to "the angel of the Lord" in the Old Testament. Sometimes, as here, the Angel is deity, and in other places he appears to be an angelic messenger from the Lord.

"The prophetic description of Ishmael as a ’wild ass of a man’ [Genesis 16:12] (RSV) is rather intriguing. The animal referred to is the wild and untamable onager, which roams the desert at will. This figure of speech depicts very accurately the freedom-loving Bedouin moving across vast stretches of land." [Note: Davis, p. 189. Cf. Jeremiah 2:24; Hosea 8:9.]

This prophecy was not an insult or a curse. Ishmael would enjoy the freedom his mother sought. The Lord named Ishmael (Genesis 16:11), whose name means "God hears," and Hagar named the Lord (Genesis 16:13) "the One who sees." These two names constitute a major revelation of God: He hears and He sees. This may be the only instance in Scripture of a human being conferring a name on God.

Abram and Sarai’s action proved to be a source of much difficulty for everyone involved (cf. Abram’s error in going to Egypt, Genesis 12:11-13). God, however, took care of and blessed Ishmael even though he was the fruit of Abram’s presumption. This is another occasion when Abram did not trust God as he should have (cf. Genesis 12:10-20).

"Both Hagar and Mary [the mother of Jesus] stand as examples of women who obediently accepted God’s word and thereby brought blessing to descendants too many to count." [Note: Wenham, Genesis 16-50, p. 13.]

Paul wrote that this story contains (not is) an allegory (Galatians 4:24). An "allegory" today means a story without factual basis. Paul did not deny the factuality of Genesis 16, but he used this story as the basis for a comparison. "Illustration" or "comparison" would be better words to use. Hagar represents the Mosaic Covenant, and Ishmael is its fruit (slaves). Sarai is the Abrahamic Covenant, and Isaac is its fruit (free sons). Children of the flesh persecute children of the promise (Galatians 4:29).

There is much irony in this story. Barren Sarai lived in a fertile land whereas fertile Hagar ended up living in a barren land. The Egyptians, to whom the attacked Hagar fled for freedom, later enslaved the attacker, Sarai’s descendants.

Resorting to fleshly means rather than waiting for God to provide what He has promised always creates problems. This story also shows that human failure does not frustrate God’s plans ultimately.

"If we have made mistakes which have led us into sin, the primary condition of restoration is complete submission to the will of God, whatever that may involve." [Note: Thomas, p. 149.]

When in great distress, people should pray because God is aware of their needs and will fulfill His promises to them.

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the angel of the Lord said unto her,.... The same as before, who, by what follows, appears to be Jehovah himself:

I will multiply thy seed exceedingly; not that she should have many children herself, for that she had more than this one she now went with, is not certain; but that that seed she had conceived should be exceedingly multiplied, and he should have a numerous posterity, as he had twelve princes sprung from him, the heads of Arab nations:

that it shall not be numbered for multitude; such the Turks are at this day, supposed to be the seed of Ishmael, Hagar's son.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Promise Concerning Ishmael. B. C. 1911.

      10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.   11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.   12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.   13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?   14 Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

      We may suppose that the angel having given Hagar that good counsel (Genesis 16:9; Genesis 16:9) to return to her mistress she immediately promised to do so, and was setting her face homeward; and then the angel went on to encourage her with an assurance of the mercy God had in store for her and her seed: for God will meet those with mercy that are returning to their duty. I said, I will confess, and thou forgavest,Psalms 32:5. Here is,

      I. A prediction concerning her posterity given her for her comfort in her present distress. Notice is taken of her condition: Behold, thou art with child; and therefore this is not a fit place for thee to be in. Note, It is a great comfort to women with child to think that they are under the particular cognizance and care of the divine Providence. God graciously considers their case and suits supports to it. Now, 1. The angel assures her of a safe delivery, and that of a son, which Abram desired. This fright and ramble of hers might have destroyed her hope of an offspring; but God dealt not with her according to her folly: Thou shalt bear a son. She was saved in child-bearing, not only by providence, but by promise. 2. He names her child, which was an honour both to her and it: Call him Ishmael, God will hear; and the reason is, because the Lord has heard; he has, and therefore he will. Note, The experience we have had of God's seasonable kindness to us in distress would encourage us to hope for similar help in similar exigencies, Psalms 10:17. He has heard thy affliction,Genesis 16:11; Genesis 16:11. Note, Even where there is little cry of devotion, the God of pity sometimes graciously hears the cry of affliction. Tears speak as well as prayers. This speaks comfort to the afflicted, that God not only sees what their afflictions are, but hears what they say. Note, further, Seasonable succours, in a day of affliction, ought always to be remembered with thankfulness to God. Such a time, in such a strait, the Lord heard the voice of my affliction, and helped me. See Deuteronomy 26:7; Psalms 31:22. 3. He promises her a numerous offspring, (Genesis 16:10; Genesis 16:10): I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, Heb. multiplying, I will multiply it, that is, multiply it in every age, so as to perpetuate it. It is supposed that the Turks at this day descend from Ishmael; and they are a great people. This was in pursuance of the promise made to Abram: I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth,Genesis 13:16; Genesis 13:16. Note, Many that are children of godly parents have, for their sakes, a very large share of outward common blessings, though, like Ishmael, they are not taken into covenant: many are multiplied that are not sanctified. 4. He gives a character of the child she should bear, which, however it may seem to us, perhaps was not very disagreeable to her (Genesis 16:12; Genesis 16:12): He will be a wild man; a wild ass of a man (so the word is), rude, and bold, and fearing no man--untamed, untractable living at large, and impatient of service and restraint. Note, The children of the bondwoman, who are out of covenant with God, are, as they were born, like the wild ass's colt; it is grace that reclaims men, civilizes them, and makes them wise, and good for something. It is foretold, (1.) That he should live in strife, and in a state of war: His hand against every man--this is his sin; and every man's hand against him--this is his punishment. Note, Those that have turbulent spirits have commonly troublesome lives; those that are provoking, vexatious, and injurious to others, must expect to be repaid in their own coin. He that has his hand and tongue against every man shall have every man's hand and tongue against him, and he has no reason to complain of it. And yet, (2.) That he should live in safety, and hold his own against all the world: He shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren; though threatened and insulted by all his neighbours, yet he shall keep his ground, and for Abram's sake, more than his own, shall be able to make his part good with them. Accordingly we read (Genesis 25:18; Genesis 25:18), that he died, as he lived, in the presence of all his brethren. Note, Many that are much exposed by their own imprudence are yet strangely preserved by the divine Providence, so much better is God to them than they deserve, when they not only forfeit their lives by sin, but hazard them.

      II. Hagar's pious reflection upon this gracious appearance of God to her, Genesis 16:13; Genesis 16:14. Observe in what she said,

      1. Her awful adoration of God's omniscience and providence, with application of it to herself: She called the name of the Lord that spoke unto her, that is, thus she made confession of his name, this she said to his praise, Thou God seest me: this should be, with her, his name for ever, and this his memorial, by which she will know him and remember him while she lives, Thou God seest me. Note, (1.) The God with whom we have to do is a seeing God, and all-seeing God. God is (as the ancients express it) all eye. (2.) We ought to acknowledge this with application to ourselves. He that sees all sees me, as David (Psalms 139:1), O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. (3.) A believing regard to God, as a God that sees us, will be of great use to us in our returns to him. It is a proper word for a penitent:-- [1.] "Thou seest my sin and folly." I have sinned before thee, says the prodigal; in thy sight, says David. [2.] "Thou seest my sorrow and affliction;" this Hagar especially refers to. When we have brought ourselves into distress by our own folly, yet God has not forsaken us. [3.] "Thou seest the sincerity and seriousness of my return and repentance. Thou seest my secret mournings for sin, and secret motions towards thee." [4.] "Thou seest me, if in any instance I depart from thee," Psalms 44:20; Psalms 44:21. This thought should always restrain us from sin and excite us to duty: Thou God seest me.

      2. Her humble admiration of God's favour to her: "Have I here also looked after him that seeth me? Have I here seen the back parts of him that seeth me?" so it might be read, for the word is much the same with that, Exodus 33:23. She saw not face to face, but as through a glass darkly,1 Corinthians 13:12. Probably she knew not who it was that talked with her, till he was departing (as Judges 6:21; Judges 6:22; Judges 13:21), and then she looked after him, with a reflection like that of the two disciples, Luke 24:31; Luke 24:32. Or, Have I here seen him that sees me? Note, (1.) The communion which holy souls have with God consists in their having an eye of faith towards him, as a God that has an eye of favour towards them. The intercourse is kept up by the eye. (2.) The privilege of our communion with God is to be looked upon with wonder and admiration, [1.] Considering what we are who are admitted to this favour. "Have I? I that am so mean, I that am so vile?" 2 Samuel 7:18. [2.] Considering the place where we are thus favoured--"here also? Not only in Abram's tent and at his altar, but here also, in this wilderness? Here, where I never expected it, where I was out of the way of my duty? Lord, how is it?" John 14:22. Some make the answer to this question to be negative, and so look upon it as a penitent reflection: "Have I here also, in my distress and affliction, looked after God? No, I was a careless and unmindful of him as ever I used to be; and yet he has thus visited and regarded me:" for God often anticipates us with his favours, and is found of those that seek him not, Isaiah 65:1.

      III. The name which this gave to the place: Beer-lahai-roi, The well of him that liveth and seeth me,Genesis 16:14; Genesis 16:14. It is probable that Hagar put this name upon it; and it was retained long after, in perpetuam rei memoriam--a lasting memorial of this event. This was a place where the God of glory manifested the special cognizance and care he took of a poor woman in distress. Note, 1. He that is all-seeing is ever-living; he lives and sees us. 2. Those that are graciously admitted into communion with God, and receive seasonable comforts from him, should tell others what he has done for their souls, that they also may be encouraged to seek him and trust in him. 3. God's gracious manifestations of himself to us are to be had in everlasting remembrance by us, and should never be forgotten.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Genesis 16:10". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.