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Genesis 21

21
Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac
1God was good to Sarah, and he kept his promise to her, 2and a baby started to grow inside her. Then that baby boy was born at the time that God said he would be born. Abraham was an old man, but Sarah had a baby boy, and Abraham was his father.#Hebrews 11:11 3Abraham called him Isaac. That name means laugh.
4And when Isaac was 8 days old, Abraham did the young man operation on him, just like God told him to do, to show that Isaac belonged to God.#Genesis 17:12; Acts 7:8
5Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. 6Sarah said, “God is giving me something to laugh about now, and everyone that hears this story will be happy with me, and they will laugh too.” 7She also said, “Nobody reckoned that I can ever have a kid. But look, Abraham is old now, but I had a baby boy, and Abraham is his father.”
Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away from his camp
8When Isaac was about 3 years old, he stopped drinking Sarah’s milk, and Abraham gave him a big party. 9Then Sarah saw Ishmael laughing at Isaac. Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar. Hagar was Sarah’s worker, and she was from Egypt country. 10Then Sarah said to Abraham, “When you die, my son Isaac has to get all your things. I don’t want Ishmael to get anything, he is just the son of a worker woman. So you have to tell that woman and her son to get out of our camp. Send them right away from here.”#Galatians 4:29-30
11Abraham was really upset by what Sarah said. Ishmael was his son, so Abraham reckoned it was wrong to send him away. 12But God said to Abraham, “Don’t worry about Ishmael or his mother. You see, the family that I promised you will come from Isaac, not from Ishmael. So listen to Sarah, and do what she says.#Romans 9:7; Hebrews 11:18 13Don’t worry, I will give Ishmael a big family too. Later on, his family will grow into a big nation. I will do that for him, because he is your son too.”
14So early the next morning, Abraham got some food, and a leather water bag. He put them on Hagar’s shoulder, and he sent her and Ishmael out of his camp. They walked around in the desert country near Beersheba. 15They kept going until there was no water left in the water bag. Then they stopped, and Hagar left Ishmael in the shade of a little tree. 16And then she went and sat by herself a little way from him, because she thought, “I don’t want to watch him die.” And she started to cry out loud.
17Ishmael was crying too, and God heard him, and he sent an angel messenger from heaven to talk to Hagar. The angel said, “Why are you upset? Don’t worry. God has heard Ishmael crying, under that tree. 18Go and take care of him. Listen, I will give him a big family, and they will become a great nation.” 19Then God showed her a water-hole. So she got up and filled her water bag, and she gave Ishmael a drink.
20-21God kept Ishmael safe as he grew up in the desert called Paran. He learned how to use a bow and arrows properly, so he became a good hunter. And later on, Hagar got a wife for him from Egypt country.
Abraham and Abimelek made strong promises to each other
22-23One day, Abimelek went to talk to Abraham. Abimelek was the big boss of the country where Abraham lived. And Ficol, the leader of Abimelek’s army, went with him. Abimelek said to Abraham, “You know, you are not one of my people. You came from another place to live here in my country. But I have been good to you, and to all your people. So I want you to promise me that you will never try to trick me, or my kids, or anyone that is born into my family. I want you to promise that you will be good to them. We know that God is very good to you, and he helps you with everything you do. So I want you to make that promise to me while God is listening. I want you to tell God to punish you if you break that promise.”#Genesis 26:26
24So Abraham made that promise to Abimelek. He said those words in the way that Abimelek wanted.
25But then Abraham also complained to Abimelek. He said, “I’ve got a problem. Some of your workers took one of my water-holes, and then they stopped my workers from getting any water there.”
26Abimelek said, “I’m sorry, Abraham. I don’t know who did that. I never heard about it, and you didn’t you tell me about it until now.”
27At that time, Abraham gave Abimelek some of his sheep, and goats, and cows, and the 2 men made strong promises to each other. 28Then Abraham also picked out 7 young female sheep from his animals, and he put them to one side. 29Abimelek asked him, “Why did you put these 7 sheep to one side? What do you mean by that?”
30Abraham said, “I want to give you these sheep as a special present. Take them. That’s how you can show people that you agree with me, that I dug that water-hole and that I own it.”
31From that time on, that place was called Beersheba. That name means water-hole where they made a promise. It was where Abraham and Abimelek made strong promises to each other.
32After they made those promises, Abimelek and Ficol went back to their home, in Philistia country. 33Then Abraham showed respect to God there in Beersheba. He called God by his special name Yahweh, and he planted a special tree to remember that place. Yahweh is the true God that lives for ever.
34Abraham and all his people lived for a long time in the country that belonged to the Philistia mob.

Genesis 21

21
Birth of Isaac.#The long-awaited birth of Isaac parallels the birth of Ishmael in chap. 16, precipitating a rivalry and expulsion as in that chapter. Though this chapter is unified, the focus of vv. 1–7 is exclusively on Sarah and Isaac, and the focus of vv. 8–21 is exclusively on Hagar and Ishmael. The promise of a son to the barren Sarah and elderly Abraham has been central to the previous chapters and now that promise comes true with the birth of Isaac. The other great promise, that of land, will be resolved, at least in an anticipatory way, in Abraham’s purchase of the cave at Machpelah in chap. 23. The parallel births of the two boys has influenced the Lucan birth narratives of John the Baptist and Jesus (Lk 1–2). 1The Lord took note of Sarah as he had said he would; the Lord did for her as he had promised.#Gn 17:19; 18:10. 2Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time that God had stated.#Gal 4:23; Heb 11:11. 3Abraham gave the name Isaac to this son of his whom Sarah bore him.#Mt 1:2; Lk 3:34. 4When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded.#Gn 17:10–14; Acts 7:8. 5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6Sarah then said, “God has given me cause to laugh,#Laugh: for the third time (cf. 17:17 and 18:12) there is laughter, playing on the similarity in Hebrew between the pronunciation of the name Isaac and words associated with laughter. and all who hear of it will laugh with me.#Gn 17:17. 7Who would ever have told Abraham,” she added, “that Sarah would nurse children! Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” 8The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham held a great banquet on the day of the child’s weaning.
9Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing with her son Isaac; 10so she demanded of Abraham: “Drive out that slave and her son! No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!”#Jgs 11:2; Gal 4:30. 11Abraham was greatly distressed because it concerned a son of his.#A son of his: Abraham is the father of both boys, but Sarah is the mother only of Isaac. Abraham is very concerned that Ishmael have a sufficient inheritance. 12But God said to Abraham: Do not be distressed about the boy or about your slave woman. Obey Sarah, no matter what she asks of you; for it is through Isaac that descendants will bear your name.#Rom 9:7; Heb 11:18. 13As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also,#I will make a nation of him also: Ishmael’s descendants are named in 25:12–18. since he too is your offspring.
14Early the next morning Abraham got some bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. Then, placing the child on her back,#Placing the child on her back: a reading based on an emendation of the traditional Hebrew text. In the traditional Hebrew text, Abraham put the bread and the waterskin on Hagar’s back, while her son apparently walked beside her. In this way the traditional Hebrew text harmonizes the data of the Priestly source, in which Ishmael would have been at least fourteen years old when Isaac was born; compare 16:16 with 21:5; cf. 17:25. But in the present Elohist (?) story, Ishmael is obviously a little boy, not much older than Isaac; cf. vv. 15, 18. he sent her away. As she roamed aimlessly in the wilderness of Beer-sheba, 15the water in the skin was used up. So she put the child down under one of the bushes, 16and then went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away; for she said to herself, “I cannot watch the child die.” As she sat opposite him, she wept aloud. 17God heard the boy’s voice, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not fear; God has heard the boy’s voice in this plight of his.#Gn 16:7. 18Get up, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.” 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink.
20God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert bowman. 21He lived in the wilderness of Paran. His mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
The Covenant at Beer-sheba. 22#Of the two related promises of progeny and land, that of progeny has been fulfilled in the previous chapter. Now the claim on the land begins to be solidified by Abimelech’s recognition of Abraham’s claim on the well at Beer-sheba; it will be furthered by Abraham’s purchase of the cave at Machpelah in chap. 23. Two levels of editing are visible in the story: (1) vv. 22–24, 27, 32, the general covenant with Abimelech; (2) vv. 25–26, 28–30, 31, Abraham’s claim on the well. Both versions play on the root of the Hebrew word sheba‘, which means “seven” and “swear,” and the place name Beer-sheba. At that time Abimelech, accompanied by Phicol, the commander of his army, said to Abraham: “God is with you in everything you do. 23So now, swear to me by God at this place#This place: Beer-sheba (v. 31). Abimelech had come from Gerar (20:2), about thirty miles west of Beer-sheba. that you will not deal falsely with me or with my progeny and posterity, but will act as loyally toward me and the land in which you reside as I have acted toward you.” 24Abraham replied, “I so swear.”
25Abraham, however, reproached Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s servants had seized by force. 26“I have no idea who did that,” Abimelech replied. “In fact, you never told me about it, nor did I ever hear of it until now.”
27Then Abraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech and the two made a covenant. 28Abraham also set apart seven ewe lambs of the flock, 29and Abimelech asked him, “What is the purpose of these seven ewe lambs that you have set apart?” 30Abraham answered, “The seven ewe lambs you shall accept from me that you may be my witness that I dug this well.” 31This is why the place is called Beer-sheba; the two of them took an oath there. 32When they had thus made the covenant in Beer-sheba, Abimelech, along with Phicol, the commander of his army, left to return to the land of the Philistines.#Philistines: one of the Sea Peoples, who migrated from Mycenaean Greece around 1200 B.C. and settled on the coastland of Canaan, becoming a principal rival of Israel. Non-biblical texts do not use the term “Philistine” before ca. 1200 B.C.; it is probable that this usage and those in chap. 26 are anachronistic, perhaps applying a later ethnic term for an earlier, less-known one.
33Abraham planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheba, and there he invoked by name the Lord, God the Eternal.#God the Eternal: in Hebrew, ’el ‘olam, perhaps the name of the deity of the pre-Israelite sanctuary at Beer-sheba, but used by Abraham as a title of God; cf. Is 40:28. 34Abraham resided in the land of the Philistines for a long time.