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Genesis 16:1

Context
The Birth of Ishmael

16:1 Now Sarai, 1  Abram’s wife, had not given birth to any children, 2  but she had an Egyptian servant 3  named Hagar. 4 

Genesis 16:15

Context

16:15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, whom Abram named Ishmael. 5 

Genesis 17:19

Context

17:19 God said, “No, Sarah your wife is going to bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. 6  I will confirm my covenant with him as a perpetual 7  covenant for his descendants after him.

Genesis 17:21

Context
17:21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year.”

Genesis 21:2-3

Context
21:2 So Sarah became pregnant 8  and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the appointed time that God had told him. 21:3 Abraham named his son – whom Sarah bore to him – Isaac. 9 

Genesis 21:9

Context
21:9 But Sarah noticed 10  the son of Hagar the Egyptian – the son whom Hagar had borne to Abraham – mocking. 11 

Genesis 22:23

Context
22:23 (Now 12  Bethuel became the father of Rebekah.) These were the eight sons Milcah bore to Abraham’s brother Nahor.

Genesis 24:24

Context

24:24 She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom Milcah bore to Nahor. 13 

Genesis 24:47

Context
24:47 Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘The daughter of Bethuel the son of Nahor, whom Milcah bore to Nahor.’ 14  I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her wrists.

Genesis 25:2

Context
25:2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

1 tn The disjunctive clause signals the beginning of a new episode in the story.

2 sn On the cultural background of the story of Sarai’s childlessness see J. Van Seters, “The Problem of Childlessness in Near Eastern Law and the Patriarchs of Israel,” JBL 87 (1968): 401-8.

3 tn The Hebrew term שִׁפְחָה (shifkhah, translated “servant” here and in vv. 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8) refers to a menial female servant.

4 sn The passage records the birth of Ishmael to Abram through an Egyptian woman. The story illustrates the limits of Abram’s faith as he tries to obtain a son through social custom. The barrenness of Sarai poses a challenge to Abram’s faith, just as the famine did in chap. 12. As in chap. 12, an Egyptian figures prominently. (Perhaps Hagar was obtained as a slave during Abram’s stay in Egypt.)

5 tn Heb “and Abram called the name of his son whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.”

sn Whom Abram named Ishmael. Hagar must have informed Abram of what the angel had told her. See the note on the name “Ishmael” in 16:11.

6 tn Heb “will call his name Isaac.” The name means “he laughs,” or perhaps “may he laugh” (see the note on the word “laughed” in v. 17).

7 tn Or “as an eternal.”

8 tn Or “she conceived.”

9 tn Heb “the one born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.” The two modifying clauses, the first introduced with an article and the second with the relative pronoun, are placed in the middle of the sentence, before the name Isaac is stated. They are meant to underscore that this was indeed an actual birth to Abraham and Sarah in fulfillment of the promise.

10 tn Heb “saw.”

11 tn The Piel participle used here is from the same root as the name “Isaac.” In the Piel stem the verb means “to jest; to make sport of; to play with,” not simply “to laugh,” which is the meaning of the verb in the Qal stem. What exactly Ishmael was doing is not clear. Interpreters have generally concluded that the boy was either (1) mocking Isaac (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT) or (2) merely playing with Isaac as if on equal footing (cf. NAB, NRSV). In either case Sarah saw it as a threat. The same participial form was used in Gen 19:14 to describe how some in Lot’s family viewed his attempt to warn them of impending doom. It also appears later in Gen 39:14, 17, where Potiphar accuses Joseph of mocking them.

sn Mocking. Here Sarah interprets Ishmael’s actions as being sinister. Ishmael probably did not take the younger child seriously and Sarah saw this as a threat to Isaac. Paul in Gal 4:29 says that Ishmael persecuted Isaac. He uses a Greek word that can mean “to put to flight; to chase away; to pursue” and may be drawing on a rabbinic interpretation of the passage. In Paul’s analogical application of the passage, he points out that once the promised child Isaac (symbolizing Christ as the fulfillment of God’s promise) has come, there is no room left for the slave woman and her son (who symbolize the Mosaic law).

12 tn The disjunctive clause gives information that is important but parenthetical to the narrative. Rebekah would become the wife of Isaac (Gen 24:15).

13 tn Heb “whom she bore to Nahor.” The referent (Milcah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

14 tn Heb “whom Milcah bore to him.” The referent (Nahor) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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