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Genesis Chapter 21
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Isaac and Ishmael
21:1 God granted special providence to Sarah as He said He would, and God did what He promised for Sarah.
21:2 Sarah became pregnant, and she gave birth to Abraham's son in his old age. It was at the exact time that God had promised it to him.
21:3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son he had, to whom Sarah had just given birth.
21:4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded.
21:5 Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born.
21:6 Sarah said, 'God has given me laughter. All who hear about it will laugh for me.'
21:7 She said, 'Who would have even suggested to Abraham that Sarah would be nursing children? But here I have given birth to a son in his old age!'
21:8 The child grew and was weaned. Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
21:9 But Sarah saw the son that Hagar had born to Abraham playing.
21:10 She said to Abraham, 'Drive away this slave together with her son. The son of this slave will not share the inheritance with my son Isaac!'
21:11 This troubled Abraham very much because it involved his son.
21:12 But God said to Abraham, 'Do not be troubled because of the boy and your slave. Do everything that Sarah tells you. It is through Isaac that you will gain posterity.
21:13 But still, I will also make the slave's son into a nation, for he is your child.'
21:14 Abraham got up early in the morning. He took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, placing it on her shoulder. He sent her away with the boy. She left and roamed aimlessly in the Beer-sheba desert.
21:15 When the water in the skin was used up, she set the boy under one of the bushes.
21:16 She walked away, and sat down facing him, about a bowshot away. She said, 'Let me not see the boy die.' She sat there facing him, and she wept in a loud voice.
21:17 God heard the boy weeping. God's angel called Hagar from heaven and said to her, 'What's the matter Hagar? Do not be afraid. God has heard the boy's voice there where he is.
21:18 Go and lift up the boy. Keep your hand strong on him, for I will make of him a great nation.'
21:19 God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, giving the boy some to drink.
21:20 God was with the boy. [The boy] grew up and lived in the desert, where he became an expert archer.
21:21 He settled in the Paran Desert, and his mother got him a wife from Egypt.

The Treaty at Beer-sheba
21:22 Around that time, Abimelekh and his general Pikhol made a declaration to Abraham, saying, 'God is with you in all that you do.
21:23 Now swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, with my children, or with my grandchildren. Show to me and the land where you were an immigrant the same kindness that I have shown to you.'
21:24 'I will swear,' replied Abraham.
21:25 Abraham then complained to Abimelekh about the well that Abimelekh's servants had taken by force.
21:26 Abimelekh said, 'I don't know who could have done such a thing. You never told me. I heard nothing about it until today.'
21:27 Abraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelekh, and the two of them made a treaty.
21:28 Abraham then put seven female sheep aside by themselves.
21:29 Abimelekh asked Abraham, 'What is the meaning of these seven ewes that you have set aside?'
21:30 'Take these seven ewes from my hand,' replied [Abraham]. 'It will be my proof that I dug this well.'
21:31 That area was therefore called Beer-sheba, since the two had made an oath there.
21:32 They thus made a treaty in Beer-sheba. Abimelekh and his general Pikhol then left, and they returned to the land of the Philistines.
21:33 [Abraham] planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and there he called in the name of God, Lord of the Universe.
21:34 Abraham lived [there] in the land of the Philistines for many days.



Commentary:

granted special providence
  Pakad in Hebrew (see Hirsch). Usually translated as 'remembered' or 'visited.'

Isaac
  Yitzchak in Hebrew. See Genesis 17:19.

will laugh
  Yitzachak in Hebrew, a play on Yitzchak. It means 'to be happy for me' (Rashi).

playing
  (Ibn Ezra; Yov'loth 17:4). Others have 'scoffing' or 'sporting' (Sforno; Rashi). The verse may also be read, 'Sarah saw that the son....was a scoffer' (Hirsch).

gain posterity
  Literally, 'you will be said to have offspring,' or, 'offspring will be considered yours.'

skin
  Or a wooden container (cf. Ibn Ezra).

Beer-sheba desert
  She may have begun heading toward Egypt from Beer-sheba where Abraham lived (see notes on Genesis 20:15, 16:7). This is the first mention of Beer-sheba in the Torah. It is some 25 miles east of Gerar, connected by a wadi. See Genesis 26:17.

Keep your hand...
  (Hirsch). Others, 'hold him tight.'

archer
  See Genesis 21:16.

Paran Desert
  South of Beer Lachai Roi. See notes on Genesis 14:6, 16:12.

Egypt
  Her homeland, Genesis 16:1 (Bereshith Rabbah 53; Rashi). The Targum Yonathan states that the wife's name was Fatima.

Pikhol
  According to some, this is a title rather than a proper name (see Bereshith Rabbah 54). In ancient Egyptian, Pakhel means 'the spokesman.'

God is with you
  See Genesis 26:28.

seven female sheep
  In Hebrew, seven is sheva, having the same root as shevua, an oath. An oath thus obligates a person through everything that was made in the seven days of creation (Hirsch). It also obligates a person through the power of all the seven Noachide commandments (Midrash HaGadol). See note on Genesis 21:31.

Beer-sheba
  Beer Sheva in Hebrew, literally, 'Well of the Seven,' alluding to the seven ewes (Midrash HaGadol). See note on Genesis 21:28. See notes on Genesis 20:15, 21:14.

tamarisk
  Eshel in Hebrew (see Ibn Janach; Radak, Sherashim). Also see 1 Samuel 22:6, 31:13. The Targum also renders it as a tree. The tamarisk is a wide tree of the Tamarix family, with small leaves like a cypress. Some identify it with the shittim wood used in the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:5; cf. Bereshith Rabbah 94; Tanchuma. Terumah 9). In the Talmud, however, the eshel is identified as an orchard or an inn for wayfarers (Sotah 10a; Rashi).

Lord of the Universe
  Or 'Eternal Lord.'

Philistines
  Beer-sheba was on the border of the Philistine lands (see note on Genesis 20:15).





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