Genesis Chapter 21
"Isaac's Birth, and Separation of Ishmael."
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Genesis 21:1 "And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as He had spoken."
This was a divine intervention, which far exceeds a healing. It was a divine intervention in Sarah and Abraham's lives, where Sarah, who had been barren all her child bearing life, was allowed by God to conceive and have a child at the age of one hundred years. This is why Satan wanted to destroy Sarah, and the birth of Isaac, for it would be through the birth of Isaac and his generations that the promised seed [Jesus Christ] would be used. This is the same type of destruction that Satan used in the Garden of Eden, where Satan tried to destroy the seed of woman to prevent the birth of the Christ child.
That attempt was followed up by the "sons of God", the fallen angels coming to earth to take the daughters of men for their wives, which also was an attempt by Satan to destroy the seed of woman, [Genesis 6]
Genesis 21:2 "For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him."
So the time has come for Sarah to conceive, and have her promised child. There was a set year, a set time and a set place for this to occur, for the times are set by God, and He has control over all matters concerning His divine plan. This birth of Isaac was as much appointed by God as the birth of Jesus, which came about through the seed [generations] of Isaac.
Genesis 21:3 "And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac."
The name "Isaac" in the Hebrew means "laughter". Isaac was named after the laughter of Sarah, because she laughed for joy when she was told by God that she would receive her son.
Genesis 21:4 "And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him."
In Biblical numerics the number eight denotes resurrection, and regeneration; a new beginning or commencement. Eight is the new first; of the day of the week, of the tones and octaves in music, shades of the rainbow, and in the Gem atria [Greek] "Jesus makes the numbers "888". Isaac then, represented the new beginning of the promises that God gave to Abraham and Sarah, and the circumcision is the marking that God instructed Abraham to place on his entire household, for then that became under the promised blessing of the Lord.
It is Isaac's offspring that will become the nation of Israel, through his son Jacob. Both the "House of Judah" [the Jews], and the "House of Israel" [the Christian nations] would come from this child Isaac.
Genesis 21:5 "And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him,"
Genesis 21:6 "And Sarah said, "God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me."
Sarah had prayed to God for a child from her youth, and her marriage to Abraham, and now she had her child, the answer to her prayers, and her son was the foremost desires of her heart. Is it any wonder that she was so overjoyed at the birth of Isaac?
Genesis 21:7 "And she said, "Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age."
The fact that God the creator had renewed Sarah's youth, is indicated by the fact that she was able to nurse Isaac. This also shows why Sarah had a rejuvenated appearance, when Abimelech tried to take her, in Genesis 20:2. The words of Sarah are similar to that of Mary's words of Luke 1:54, 55, connecting also the child with the mercy of God.
Genesis 21:8 "And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned."
Genesis 21:9 "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
Ishmael was thirteen years older then Isaac, and Ishmael would be eighteen years of age here. Sarah saw the treatment that Ishmael was giving to Isaac, the promised son, and became upset over the laughing or "chaffing", as recorded in the Hebrew text.
Genesis 21:10 "Wherefore 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."
This shows the human element within Sarah. It was at Sarah's [Sarai's] suggestion and insistence that Hagar went into Abraham, and caused Ishmael to be born, yet, after the fact, her impatience to wait upon the Lord had caused Sarah many problems. In jealousy over her son's inheritance, she refused to allow Ishmael to share in any part of that blessing.
Genesis 21:11 "And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of this son."
Abraham loved his first born.
Genesis 21:12 "And God said unto Abraham, "Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of they bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called."
This is the verse that Paul quotes from in Galatians 3:16, it is not Genesis 12:7, where it is indefinite; or Genesis 17:7, where the verb and pronouns show it is plural
Galatians 3:16 "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
The term "thy seed" is therefore "Christ".
The difference between the 430 years of Exodus 12:40, and the 400 years of Genesis 12:4 is in reference to the time that it would be when Isaac's 'seed' [children] would come out of captivity in Egypt. This is based on the thirty years difference between the time when the promise was made to Abraham, and the time when the child Isaac was first recognized as the promised seed. So it has been thirty years from the promise, to the recognition and separation of the bondservant's son Ishmael, from the son of the promise, Isaac. Isaac is five years old here.
Genesis 21:13 "And also of the bond woman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed."
This is the start of the Arabian nations, the offspring of Ishmael in part. Abraham will have twelve additional sons through Keturah, Abraham's wife after the death of Sarah.
Genesis 21:14 "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba."
Abraham was a very rich man, in the terms of wealth of that time; and after the love that he had for his son, and the loyalty of the bondservant, it is hard to understand how it can be of God to send her away with just a bottle of water, and a loaf of bread. However God is giving instructions, and he is in control. God will deliver Hagar and park her near the well of the oath [Beersheba], and both Hagar and her son will live full lives, and be blessed by God. Abraham knew God was in control, and had faith that He would take care of the woman and her child.
Remember, Abraham was even willing to slay his own son on the altar, for he knew that after the sacrifice, Isaac would be restored. Abraham knew God was in control. And God will provide today, just as He did to Abraham, and Hagar.
Genesis 21:15 "And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs."
The water is gone, and Hagar put her child under one of the shrubs to die.
Genesis 21:16 "And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, "Let me not see the death of the child." And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept."
This mother could not stand to hear her son cry, as he lay there about to die. In the burden of her pain, she wept herself.
Genesis 21:17 "And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, "What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is."
God heard the crying of Ishmael, the loved son of Abraham, and God spoke out to Hagar. God does work in His own ways. Now we go back to Genesis 16:10, which was a time eighteen years prior, when Hagar was with child and fleeing in the wilderness from Sarai. God made an unconditional promise to Hagar also, concerning the unborn child, which later would be called Ishmael.
That promise was; "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall be numbered for multitude." God goes on to say; "Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction." God knew what was going on then, and in Hagar's cries now, and the failure of God's promise of a multitude of offspring would show that God did not have control.
Genesis 21:18 "Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation."
And so we have the great Arab nations of today.
Genesis 21:19 "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 drink."
In the Hebrew text it reads "beer" well, which is a digged well, which means it was there all the time. This differs from "Ayin" well, which refers to spring, or a "bor", a cistern [hewn] well. God opened Hagar's mind and eyes to see the way out of her hopeless case.
Genesis 21:20 "And God was with the lad; and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer."
Though Abraham sent the boy and his mother on their way, God was with them. God made that promise to Hagar, and God always keeps His promises. When God is with you, He will take care of you. Ishmael became a hunter [archer], and thus, he could take care of himself.
Genesis 21:21 "And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt."
"Paran" in the Hebrew means "a place of caverns"; meaning there was a lot of natural shelter there. There will be twelve sons born to Ishmael, and his Egyptian wife. These sons will comprise the Arab world of today. Just as the twelve patriarchs of Jacob [Israel] make up the Israelite nations, so these twelve sons of Ishmael make up the patriarchs of the Arab nations.
Genesis 21:22 "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 thee in all that thou doest."
This Abimelech, the king that had taken Sarah to be his wife, until God spoke to him in a dream and revealed that Sarai was Abraham's wife; knew that God was real, and was with Abraham. He even knew God enough to call God by the sacred name Yahveh. Abimelech knew that if God was protecting Abraham, and Abraham had God ear, then he wanted to be close friends with Abraham. When you have a personal experience with the Living God, you can't help knowing the power and comfort that God can give.
Genesis 21:23 "Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt 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."
The covenant that Abimelech is trying to make between Abraham and himself is that there would always be peace between the two men, their households, and and generations. The swearing would commit this this peace agreement to generations long after these two men have passed. Abimelech was a just man, and tried to do what was right. He was willing to live peacefully and show kindness with others, and thus sought the same kindness from others.
Genesis 21:24 "And Abraham said, "I will swear."
This was agreeable with Abraham, for the agreement was as God seeks from us, and Abraham swear to the agreement.
Genesis 21:25 "And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away."
As time passed, following the agreement, the shepherds of each household get into a squabble over water rights to a well of Abraham's, and things get heated up.
Genesis 21:26 "And Abimelech said, "I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day."
So after Abraham calles Abimelech's attention to the problem, and the covenant that they had between them, Abimelech acknowledges the fact that there is trouble at the well, however, Abilemech points out that he had just found out about it.
Genesis 21:27 "And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant."
What did Abraham do when all came out into the open? Abraham rendered good for bad. Remember back in verse twenty, when the two had met again after many years, It was Abimelech that covered over Abraham's embarrassment, for giving his wife Sarai to Abimelech, and saying she was his sister. It was Abimelech that gave riches to Abraham, and said, let's put this embarrassment behind us. Now it is Abraham that is doing likewise, and covering over Abimelech's fault. Abimelech hasn't done any wrong, but it was his people. Peace is restored.
It doesn't hurt a Christian to be generous, however, on certain matters a true Christian should stand his ground; especially when it comes to moral and spiritual issues. Christ did not teach that we should allow people to run all over us. Respect comes from knowing right from wrong; what is of God, and what is of Satan; and taking a position for what is right. It is called being honest.
Genesis 21:28 "And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves."
"Seven ewe lambs" means that they are young female sheep.
Genesis 21:29 "And Abimelech said unto Abraham, "What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?"
Genesis 21:30 "And he said, "For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well."
By accepting the seven ewe lambs, Abimelech gave reconignition to Abraham that he knew that the well was dug, and owned by Abraham. The well was known as "Beersheba" which in the Hebrew means the "well of the oath". It was here that the oath between the two was made, and 1900 years later, it would be at this well that Jesus drew the water for the woman, and called her attention to the fact that she had been married to five men, and forgave the woman of her sins [John 4:6-30].
Jesus offered the woman water from the living fountain, that if she partake of it, she shall never thirst. She knew of the prophecies of the coming Messiah, and when she saw Jesus and heard Him, she wanted to taste of the living water that only Jesus Christ could offer.
Genesis 21:31 "Wherefore he called that place Beer-sheba; because there they sware both of them."
To "swear", in the Hebrew is "to pledge by ones self by seven". It means spiritual completeness, in Biblical numerics.
Genesis 21:32 "Thus they made a covenant at Beer-sheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines."
Genesis 21:33 "And Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God."
This grove of trees will provide the wood for the altar of sacrifice that Abraham would use to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God, as God required. Here again is Abraham's recognition and faith in the Almighty God, and everlasting Father.
Genesis 21:34 "And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days."
There is no need for trouble among neighbors, if neighbors are just honest with one another. If a problem exists, or the well doesn't produce enough water, then dig another. When problems arise, we are to be able to give enough to the point of living peaceably with our neighbors. By swearing by the oath of seven, or coming to a mutual agreement when things arise, there is no need for violence or hatred.
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field