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Genesis 16:11-16

Context
16:11 Then the Lord’s angel said to her,

“You are now 1  pregnant

and are about to give birth 2  to a son.

You are to name him Ishmael, 3 

for the Lord has heard your painful groans. 4 

16:12 He will be a wild donkey 5  of a man.

He will be hostile to everyone, 6 

and everyone will be hostile to him. 7 

He will live away from 8  his brothers.”

16:13 So Hagar named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me,” 9  for she said, “Here I have seen one who sees me!” 10  16:14 That is why the well was called 11  Beer Lahai Roi. 12  (It is located 13  between Kadesh and Bered.)

16:15 So Hagar gave birth to Abram’s son, whom Abram named Ishmael. 14  16:16 (Now 15  Abram was 86 years old 16  when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael.) 17 

1 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) focuses on her immediate situation: “Here you are pregnant.”

2 tn The active participle refers here to something that is about to happen.

3 sn The name Ishmael consists of the imperfect or jussive form of the Hebrew verb with the theophoric element added as the subject. It means “God hears” or “may God hear.”

4 tn Heb “affliction,” which must refer here to Hagar’s painful groans of anguish.

sn This clause gives the explanation of the name Ishmael, using a wordplay. Ishmael’s name will be a reminder that “God hears” Hagar’s painful cries.

5 sn A wild donkey of a man. The prophecy is not an insult. The wild donkey lived a solitary existence in the desert away from society. Ishmael would be free-roaming, strong, and like a bedouin; he would enjoy the freedom his mother sought.

6 tn Heb “His hand will be against everyone.” The “hand” by metonymy represents strength. His free-roaming life style would put him in conflict with those who follow social conventions. There would not be open warfare, only friction because of his antagonism to their way of life.

7 tn Heb “And the hand of everyone will be against him.”

8 tn Heb “opposite, across from.” Ishmael would live on the edge of society (cf. NASB “to the east of”). Some take this as an idiom meaning “be at odds with” (cf. NRSV, NLT) or “live in hostility toward” (cf. NIV).

9 tn Heb “God of my seeing.” The pronominal suffix may be understood either as objective (“who sees me,” as in the translation) or subjective (“whom I see”).

10 tn Heb “after one who sees me.”

sn For a discussion of Hagar’s exclamation, see T. Booij, “Hagar’s Words in Genesis 16:13b,” VT 30 (1980): 1-7.

11 tn The verb does not have an expressed subject and so is rendered as passive in the translation.

12 sn The Hebrew name Beer Lahai Roi (בְּאֵר לַחַי רֹאִי, bÿer lakhay roi) means “The well of the Living One who sees me.” The text suggests that God takes up the cause of those who are oppressed.

13 tn Heb “look.” The words “it is located” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

14 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.

15 tn The disjunctive clause gives information that is parenthetical to the narrative.

16 tn Heb “the son of eighty-six years.”

17 tn The Hebrew text adds, “for Abram.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons; it is somewhat redundant given the three occurrences of Abram’s name in this and the previous verse.



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