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Genesis 21:1-4

Context
The Birth of Isaac

21:1 The Lord visited 1  Sarah just as he had said he would and did 2  for Sarah what he had promised. 3  21:2 So Sarah became pregnant 4  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. 5  21:4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, 6  Abraham circumcised him just as God had commanded him to do. 7 

1 sn The Hebrew verb translated “visit” (פָּקַד, paqad ) often describes divine intervention for blessing or cursing; it indicates God’s special attention to an individual or a matter, always with respect to his people’s destiny. He may visit (that is, destroy) the Amalekites; he may visit (that is, deliver) his people in Egypt. Here he visits Sarah, to allow her to have the promised child. One’s destiny is changed when the Lord “visits.” For a more detailed study of the term, see G. André, Determining the Destiny (ConBOT).

2 tn Heb “and the Lord did.” The divine name has not been repeated here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

3 tn Heb “spoken.”

4 tn Or “she conceived.”

5 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.

6 tn Heb “Isaac his son, the son of eight days.” The name “Isaac” is repeated in the translation for clarity.

7 sn Just as God had commanded him to do. With the birth of the promised child, Abraham obeyed the Lord by both naming (Gen 17:19) and circumcising Isaac (17:12).



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