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Genesis 21:12-21

Context
21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be upset 1  about the boy or your slave wife. Do 2  all that Sarah is telling 3  you because through Isaac your descendants will be counted. 4  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 5  some food 6  and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He put them on her shoulders, gave her the child, 7  and sent her away. So she went wandering 8  aimlessly through the wilderness 9  of Beer Sheba. 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she shoved 10  the child under one of the shrubs. 21:16 Then she went and sat down by herself across from him at quite a distance, about a bowshot 11  away; for she thought, 12  “I refuse to watch the child die.” 13  So she sat across from him and wept uncontrollably. 14 

21:17 But God heard the boy’s voice. 15  The angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and asked her, “What is the matter, 16  Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard 17  the boy’s voice right where he is crying. 21:18 Get up! Help the boy up and hold him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 21:19 Then God enabled Hagar to see a well of water. 18  She went over and filled the skin with water, and then gave the boy a drink.

21:20 God was with the boy as he grew. He lived in the wilderness and became an archer. 21:21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran. 19  His mother found a wife for him from the land of Egypt. 20 

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

2 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.

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

4 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.

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

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

7 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.”

8 tn Heb “she went and wandered.”

9 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.

10 tn Heb “threw,” but the child, who was now thirteen years old, would not have been carried, let alone thrown under a bush. The exaggerated language suggests Ishmael is limp from dehydration and is being abandoned to die. See G. J. Wenham, Genesis (WBC), 2:85.

11 sn A bowshot would be a distance of about a hundred yards (ninety meters).

12 tn Heb “said.”

13 tn Heb “I will not look on the death of the child.” The cohortative verbal form (note the negative particle אַל,’al) here expresses her resolve to avoid the stated action.

14 tn Heb “and she lifted up her voice and wept” (that is, she wept uncontrollably). The LXX reads “he” (referring to Ishmael) rather than “she” (referring to Hagar), but this is probably an attempt to harmonize this verse with the following one, which refers to the boy’s cries.

15 sn God heard the boy’s voice. The text has not to this point indicated that Ishmael was crying out, either in pain or in prayer. But the text here makes it clear that God heard him. Ishmael is clearly central to the story. Both the mother and the Lord are focused on the child’s imminent death.

16 tn Heb “What to you?”

17 sn Here the verb heard picks up the main motif of the name Ishmael (“God hears”), introduced back in chap. 16.

18 tn Heb “And God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” The referent (Hagar) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 sn The wilderness of Paran is an area in the east central region of the Sinai peninsula, northeast from the traditional site of Mt. Sinai and with the Arabah and the Gulf of Aqaba as its eastern border.

20 tn Heb “And his mother took for him a wife from the land of Egypt.”



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