Ge 21:1-13. Birth of
1. the Lord visited Sarah—The language
of the historian seems designedly chosen to magnify the power of God as
well as His faithfulness to His promise. It was God's grace that
brought about that event, as well as the raising of spiritual children
to Abraham, of which the birth of this son was typical [Calvin].
3, 4. Abraham called the name of his son …
Isaac … and circumcised—God was acknowledged in the
name which, by divine command, was given for a memorial (compare Ge 17:19), and also in the dedication of
the child by administering the seal of the covenant (compare Ge
8. the child grew, and was
weaned—children are suckled longer in the East than in the
Occident—boys usually for two or three years.
Abraham made a great feast, &c.—In
Eastern countries this is always a season of domestic festivity, and
the newly weaned child is formally brought, in presence of the
assembled relatives and friends, to partake of some simple viands.
Isaac, attired in the symbolic robe, the badge of birthright, was then
admitted heir of the tribe [Rosenmuller].
9. Sarah saw the son of Hagar …
mocking—Ishmael was aware of the great change in his
prospects, and under the impulse of irritated or resentful feelings, in
which he was probably joined by his mother, treated the young heir with
derision and probably some violence (Ga 4:29).
10. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this
bondwoman—Nothing but the expulsion of both could now
preserve harmony in the household. Abraham's perplexity was relieved by
an announcement of the divine will, which in everything, however
painful to flesh and blood, all who fear God and are walking in His
ways will, like him, promptly obey. This story, as the apostle tells
us, in "an allegory" [Ga 4:24], and
the "persecution" by the son of the Egyptian was the
commencement of the four hundred years' affliction of Abraham's seed by
12. in all that Sarah hath said—it is
called the Scripture (Ga 4:30).
13. also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a
nation—Thus Providence overruled a family brawl to give rise
to two great and extraordinary peoples.
Ge 21:14-21. Expulsion of
14. Abraham rose up early,
&c.—early, that the wanderers might reach an asylum before
noon. Bread includes all sorts of victuals—bottle, a leathern
vessel, formed of the entire skin of a lamb or kid sewed up, with the
legs for handles, usually carried over the shoulder. Ishmael was a lad
of seventeen years, and it is quite customary for Arab chiefs to send
out their sons at such an age to do for themselves: often with nothing
but a few days' provisions in a bag.
wandered in the wilderness of
Beer-sheba—in the southern border of Palestine, but out of
the common direction, a wide extending desert, where they lost their
15. the water was spent, &c.—Ishmael
sank exhausted from fatigue and thirst—his mother laid his head
under one of the bushes to smell the damp while she herself, unable to
witness his distress, sat down at a little distance in hopeless
19. God opened her eyes—Had she
forgotten the promise (Ge 16:11)?
Whether she looked to God or not, He regarded her and directed her to a
fountain close beside her, but probably hid amid brushwood, by the
waters of which her almost expiring son was revived.
20, 21. God was with the lad,
&c.—Paran (that is, Arabia), where his posterity has ever
dwelt (compare Ge 16:12;
also Isa 48:19; 1Pe 1:25).
his mother took him a wife—On a
father's death, the mother looks out for a wife for her son, however
young; and as Ishmael was now virtually deprived of his father, his
mother set about forming a marriage connection for him, it would seem,
among her relatives.
Ge 21:22-34. Covenant.
22. Abimelech and Phichol—Here a proof
of the promise (Ge 12:2)
being fulfilled, in a native prince wishing to form a solemn league
with Abraham. The proposal was reasonable, and agreed to [Ge 21:24].
25-31. And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a
well—Wells were of great importance to a pastoral chief and
on the successful operation of sinking a new one, the owner was
solemnly informed in person. If, however, they were allowed to get out
of repair, the restorer acquired a right to them. In unoccupied lands
the possession of wells gave a right of property in the land, and dread
of this had caused the offense for which Abraham reproved Abimelech.
Some describe four, others five, wells in Beer-sheba.
33. Abraham planted a
grove—Hebrew, "of tamarisks," in which sacrificial
worship was offered, as in a roofless temple.
34. Abraham sojourned in the Philistines'
land—a picture of pastoral and an emblem of Christian