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Genesis 21:10-14

Context
21:10 So she said to Abraham, “Banish 1  that slave woman and her son, for the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son Isaac!”

21:11 Sarah’s demand displeased Abraham greatly because Ishmael was his son. 2  21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be upset 3  about the boy or your slave wife. Do 4  all that Sarah is telling 5  you because through Isaac your descendants will be counted. 6  21:13 But I will also make the son of the slave wife into a great nation, for he is your descendant too.”

21:14 Early in the morning Abraham took 7  some food 8  and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He put them on her shoulders, gave her the child, 9  and sent her away. So she went wandering 10  aimlessly through the wilderness 11  of Beer Sheba.

1 tn Heb “drive out.” The language may seem severe, but Sarah’s maternal instincts sensed a real danger in that Ishmael was not treating Isaac with the proper respect.

2 tn Heb “and the word was very wrong in the eyes of Abraham on account of his son.” The verb רָעַע (raa’) often refers to what is morally or ethically “evil.” It usage here suggests that Abraham thought Sarah’s demand was ethically (and perhaps legally) wrong.

3 tn Heb “Let it not be evil in your eyes.”

4 tn Heb “listen to her voice.” The idiomatic expression means “obey; comply.” Here her advice, though harsh, is necessary and conforms to the will of God. Later (see Gen 25), when Abraham has other sons, he sends them all away as well.

5 tn The imperfect verbal form here draws attention to an action that is underway.

6 tn Or perhaps “will be named”; Heb “for in Isaac offspring will be called to you.” The exact meaning of the statement is not clear, but it does indicate that God’s covenantal promises to Abraham will be realized through Isaac, not Ishmael.

7 tn Heb “and Abraham rose up early in the morning and he took.”

8 tn Heb “bread,” although the term can be used for food in general.

9 tn Heb “He put upon her shoulder, and the boy [or perhaps, “and with the boy”], and he sent her away.” It is unclear how “and the boy” relates syntactically to what precedes. Perhaps the words should be rearranged and the text read, “and he put [them] on her shoulder and he gave to Hagar the boy.”

10 tn Heb “she went and wandered.”

11 tn Or “desert,” although for English readers this usually connotes a sandy desert like the Sahara rather than the arid wasteland of this region with its sparse vegetation.



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