21:8 The child grew and was weaned. Abraham prepared 1 a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 2 21:9 But Sarah noticed 3 the son of Hagar the Egyptian – the son whom Hagar had borne to Abraham – mocking. 4 21:10 So she said to Abraham, “Banish 5 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. 6 21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be upset 7 about the boy or your slave wife. Do 8 all that Sarah is telling 9 you because through Isaac your descendants will be counted. 10 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 11 some food 12 and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He put them on her shoulders, gave her the child, 13 and sent her away. So she went wandering 14 aimlessly through the wilderness 15 of Beer Sheba. 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she shoved 16 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 17 away; for she thought, 18 “I refuse to watch the child die.” 19 So she sat across from him and wept uncontrollably. 20
21:17 But God heard the boy’s voice. 21 The angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and asked her, “What is the matter, 22 Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard 23 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. 24 She went over and filled the skin with water, and then gave the boy a drink.
[21:8] 2 sn Children were weaned closer to the age of two or three in the ancient world, because infant mortality was high. If an infant grew to this stage, it was fairly certain he or she would live. Such an event called for a celebration, especially for parents who had waited so long for a child.
[21:9] 4 tn The Piel participle used here is from the same root as the name “Isaac.” In the Piel stem the verb means “to jest; to make sport of; to play with,” not simply “to laugh,” which is the meaning of the verb in the Qal stem. What exactly Ishmael was doing is not clear. Interpreters have generally concluded that the boy was either (1) mocking Isaac (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT) or (2) merely playing with Isaac as if on equal footing (cf. NAB, NRSV). In either case Sarah saw it as a threat. The same participial form was used in Gen 19:14 to describe how some in Lot’s family viewed his attempt to warn them of impending doom. It also appears later in Gen 39:14, 17, where Potiphar accuses Joseph of mocking them.
[21:9] sn Mocking. Here Sarah interprets Ishmael’s actions as being sinister. Ishmael probably did not take the younger child seriously and Sarah saw this as a threat to Isaac. Paul in Gal 4:29 says that Ishmael persecuted Isaac. He uses a Greek word that can mean “to put to flight; to chase away; to pursue” and may be drawing on a rabbinic interpretation of the passage. In Paul’s analogical application of the passage, he points out that once the promised child Isaac (symbolizing Christ as the fulfillment of God’s promise) has come, there is no room left for the slave woman and her son (who symbolize the Mosaic law).
[21:11] 6 tn Heb “and the word was very wrong in the eyes of Abraham on account of his son.” The verb רָעַע (ra’a’) 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.
[21:12] 8 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.
[21:12] 10 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.
[21:14] 13 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.”
[21:15] 16 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.
[21:16] 20 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.
[21:17] 21 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
[21:21] 25 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.