Genesis chapter 21

The Birth of Isaac. Hagar and Ismael are Sent Away. Abraham’s Covenant with Abimelech.





VERSE 1. The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had spoken.


VERSE 2. Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

VERSE 3. Abraham called his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.

Isaac. This word means “He laughs”.


VERSE 4. Abraham circumcised his son, Isaac, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.


VERSE 5. Abraham was one hundred years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him.


VERSE 6. Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears will laugh with me.”

God has made me laugh. Elderly Sarah gives birth to a child. She is overwhelmed with joy.

God’s ways are often so surprising, so beyond our limited views of what is possible. His workings in our lives might sometimes prompt us to laugh!


VERSE 7. She said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.”




VERSE 8. The child grew and was weaned. Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.


VERSE 9. Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.


VERSE 10. Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this servant and her son! For the son of this servant will not be heir with my son, Isaac.”

Cast out this servant and her son. Sarah has a terrible attitude toward Hagar. She treats Hagar horribly.

The Bible does not “approve” of her actions. Rather, it is “telling” us what happened.

It is “describing,” not “prescribing.”


VERSE 11. The thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight on account of his son.


VERSE 12. God said to Abraham, “Don’t let it be grievous in your sight because of the boy, and because of your servant. In all that Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For your offspring will be named through Isaac.


VERSE 13. I will also make a nation of the son of the servant, because he is your child.”


VERSE 14. Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a container of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder; and gave her the child, and sent her away. She departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.


VERSE 15. The water in the container was spent, and she put the child under one of the shrubs.


VERSE 16. She went and sat down opposite him, a good way off, about a bow shot away. For she said, “Don’t let me see the death of the child.” She sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice, and wept.


VERSE 17. God heard the voice of the boy. The angel of God called to Hagar out of the sky, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Don’t be afraid. For God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.


VERSE 18. Get up, lift up the boy, and hold him with your hand. For I will make him a great nation.”


VERSE 19. God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, filled the container with water, and gave the boy a drink.

God opened her eyes, and she saw. We humans are often blind to the workings of the LORD God in our lives.

Hagar could not see the well of water. God needed to open her eyes so that she could see it.

A similar incident occurred with the servant of the prophet Elisha.

Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the enemy. However, the servant was blind to the fact that the sky was filled with angels from heaven to protect them:

2 Kings 6:17. Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, please open his eyes, that he may see.” the LORD opened the young man’s eyes; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.


VERSE 20. God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the wilderness, and as he grew up, he became an archer.


VERSE 21. He lived in the wilderness of Paran. His mother got a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.




VERSE 22. At that time, Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his army spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do.

God is with you in all that you do. The LORD God was with Abraham always.

God has granted us a similar blessing:

Genesis 21:22. At that time, Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his army spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do.

Jeremiah 51:5. For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, by the LORD of Hosts; though their land is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel.

Matthew 28:20. teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.


VERSE 23. Now, therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son. But according to the kindness that I have done to you, you shall do to me, and to the land in which you have lived as a foreigner.”


VERSE 24. Abraham said, “I will swear.”


VERSE 25. Abraham complained to Abimelech because of a water well, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.


VERSE 26. Abimelech said, “I don’t know who has done this thing. You didn’t tell me, and I didn’t hear of it until today.”


VERSE 27. Abraham took sheep and cattle, and gave them to Abimelech. Those two made a covenant.


VERSE 28. Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.


VERSE 29. Abimelech said to Abraham, “What do these seven ewe lambs, which you have set by themselves, mean?”


VERSE 30. He said, “You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand, that it may be a witness to me, that I have dug this well.”


VERSE 31. Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because they both swore an oath there.

Beersheba. This word can mean “well of the oath” or “well of seven”


VERSE 32. So they made a covenant at Beersheba. Abimelech rose up with Phicol, the captain of his army, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.


VERSE 33. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.

the Everlasting God. It could be translated “the eternal God,” as the Hebrew words are these:

אל (’êl). The Hebrew word ’êl was the name of the Canaanite high god. Abraham is applying it to the LORD God.

עולם׃ (‘ōwlām). It means long duration, antiquity, futurity.


VERSE 34. Abraham lived as a foreigner in the land of the Philistines many days.


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Author: Todd Van Natta

I was given a great gift. It is to be passionate about Jesus Christ and the Bible and the spiritual life. I am a Christian believer. I believe in Jesus Christ. I’m in love with Jesus! I believe the Bible. I love the Bible. For decades, I've been reading it cover-to-cover, again and again and again. I’ve memorized a whole lot of Bible verses. Most of all, I want the Bible to help us fall more deeply in love with God the Father, with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with other people, and with ourselves. And I've been reading the great writings from the entire Christian heritage for decades. At Explore the Faith, I share what I have discovered.