Genesis 21

Written and compiled by Gary Kukis

Genesis 21:1–34

Birth of Isaac; Ishmael Cast out; Abimelech and Abraham


These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).


Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.


Document Navigation

Quotations

Preface

Outline of Chapter

Charts, Graphics, Short Doctrines

Doctrines Alluded to

Chapters Alluded to

Dictionary of Terms

Introduction and Text

Addendum


Links to the word-by-word, verse-by-verse studies of Genesis (HTML) (PDF) (that is what this document is). This incorporates 2 previous studies done in the book of Genesis. However, much of this material was thrown together without careful editing. Therefore, from time to time, there will be concepts and exegetical material which will be repeated, because there was no overall editing done once all of this material was combined.

 

There is a second, less complete set of weekly lessons of Genesis (HTML) (PDF). Every word of that study can be found in the word-by-word, verse-by-verse studies.

 

This study makes reference to a wide-range of sources. There are quotations from doctrinal teachers, of course; but from Catholic commentaries and from other sources as well. Wherever I found relevant truth, I quoted from it or was inspired by it. Even though it is clear that some churches have a better concept of our reason for being here, that does not mean that there is no truth to be found anywhere else. So, from time to time, I will quote from John Calvin, even though I do not subscribe to 5-point Calvinism; I will quote from some Catholic sources, even though I believe that they are very wrong regarding Mary, the pope, apostolic succession and other such doctrines. The intention is for this to be the most thorough and accurate study of Genesis available anywhere.

 

Also, it is not necessary that you read the grey Hebrew exegesis tables. They are set apart from the rest of the study so that you can easily skip over them (based upon the suggestion of a friend). However, if you ever doubt the translation of a word, phrase or a verse, these translation tables are then available.



Quotations:

 

J. Vernon McGee: [The themes of Gen. 21 are] [t]he birth of Isaac; Hagar and Ishmael [are] cast out; [and] Abraham and Abimelech [make a treaty] at Beer-sheba.

 

Steven J. Cole: Sometimes when you read the Bible, you get the feeling that God majors in the spectacular. He spoke and the universe was created. He rained down fire and brimstone to destroy wicked Sodom. He sent the plagues on Egypt and parted the Red Sea. He provided manna in the wilderness and brought water from a rock. We could go on and on recounting the mighty deeds that God has done. All these things are true and wonderful. But the problem is, most of us don’t live in the realm of the spectacular. We live with the daily, ordinary routines that characterize the greater part of our lives: getting ready for the day, rushing off to work, getting the kids off to school, shopping for groceries, paying bills, mowing lawns, and maintaining the household. Sometimes we may wonder, “How does God fit in with the ordinary?” As you think about Abraham’s life, you realize that he was a fairly ordinary man, except that he was a man of extraordinary faith and obedience to God. His life wasn’t made up of one spectacular event after another. Most days, he got up, made sure his animals were being cared for, dealt with problems like sick or straying animals, servants who had squabbles, and finding enough water and food for his flocks and family. The one great miracle in his life was the birth of Isaac in his old age. But other than that, Abraham’s life was fairly routine.

 

Arthur Pink: The birth of Isaac marked a pivotal point in the outworking of God's eternal purpose. The coming of this son to Abraham and Sarah was the second great step toward the fulfillment of Jehovah's plan. This purpose and plan was to have a people of His own, separate from the surrounding nations; a people to whom should be entrusted the Holy Oracles, a people of whom as concerning the flesh the Savior was to be born; a people who should ultimately become the medium of blessing to all the earth. In the realization of this plan and purpose the first great step was the selection of Abram to be the father of the chosen nation, the call which separated him from the idolatrous people among whom he lived, and the migration unto the land which Jehovah promised to give him.

 

Pink: We see...that God is in no hurry in the working out of His plans. Man may fret and fume, hurry and bustle, but Jehovah has all eternity at His disposal and works leisurely and with deliberation.

 

Gary Kukis: One of the amazing things is how carefully the Bible fits together as a puzzle. This portion of the book of Genesis...fits as a carefully-designed counterpart to first chapter of Matthew and Luke.

 

Kukis: This is often the favorite verse for women named Sarah, who often shorten it to, And God said, “Listen to Sarah and do all that she tells you to do.”

 

Kukis: Yehowah is both God’s covenantal and personal name with Israel. So, when Elohim speaks to Hagar and to Ishmael and when the Angel of Elohim provides for Hagar and Ishmael, this does not mean that they lack a relationship with Him. This does not mean that they are not good enough to be a part of the covenant. This simply means that they are not a part of the Abrahamic Covenant, which covenant all believing Jews in the era of Israel are a part of.

 

Rom 9:6–8 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. (ESV)

 

Kukis: What takes place in [the latter] half of the chapter sets up a pattern. The Jews become priests for the world; and Israel will become a priest nation to the world. Abimelech, by establishing a relationship with Abraham, a priest to the Most High God, Abimelech has representation before God; and consideration from God. A priest represents man to God; a prophet represents God to man. So, by his relationship with Abraham, Abimelech has representation before the God of the Universe. For the next 2000 years, Israel will become the way that individuals establish a relationship with God by going through either individuals or through the nation Israel. There will be many times when individuals from Israel will go out and evangelize on behalf of their God as well.


Preface: At the end of Gen. 20 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD), we spent a great deal of time summarizing what we have been studying, and taking an overall perspective of what we have been studying. With this lesson, we will return to a verse-by-verse analysis of each chapter of Genesis.


At this point, we begin Gen. 21, which is about the birth of Isaac. Now, recall, the immediate promise of the birth of Isaac occurred way back in Gen. 18:10a (ESV) The LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son." Then God warned Abraham about what He was about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. Then we had a chapter on Sodom and Gomorrah. Then we had this odd chapter of Abraham and Sarah moving to Gerar and Abraham lying about his wife. So, it seems like, between an imminent promise and the actual birth of Isaac, a lot of time has passed, even though only one year has passed. There was actually a purpose in all of that, which we will study.


Chapter 21 covers 3 incidents: (1) the birth of Isaac, (2) the dismissal of Hagar from Abraham’s compound, and (3) a covenant is established between Abraham and Abimelech.


This should be the most extensive examination of Gen. 21 available, where you will be able to see every word of the original text.


Outline of Chapter 21:

 

Introduction

 

         vv.     1–7           The Birth of Isaac, the Promised Son

         vv.     8–14         Hagar and Ishmael are Cast out of the Abrahamic Compound

         vv.    15–21         God Provides for Hagar and Ishmael

         vv.    22–32         Abimelech makes a Treaty with Abraham

         vv.    33–34         Abraham Dwells in the Land of the Philistines

 

Addendum


Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         The Prequel of Genesis 21

         Introduction         The Principals of Genesis 21

         Introduction         The Patriarchal Timeline for Genesis 21

         Introduction         A Synopsis of Genesis 21 by Matthew Poole

         Introduction         Matthew Henry’s Alternate Outline

         Introduction         David Hocking’s Alliterative Outline of Genesis 21

 

         v.       1              Hajime Murai Organizes Genesis 21:1–8

         v.       1              The Bible Query on, Did God Impregnate Sarah?

         v.       2              Sarah gives birth to Isaac (graphic)

         v.       6              Genesis 17:16–17 (a graphic)

         v.       7              The Parallels Between the Birth of Isaac and the Birth of Jesus

         v.       7              T. H. Leale Sums up the Parallels of the Births of Isaac and Jesus

         v.       7              Ray Pritchard on, What Abraham learned from the birth of Isaac

         v.       7              Isaac’s Birth in the New Testament

         v.       7              The Abbreviated Doctrine of Legalism

         v.       7              Isaac’s birth in the New Testament continued

         v.       7              Reasons Why We Can Believe the Bible is the Word of God

         v.       8              Hajime Murai Organizes Genesis 21:8–21

         v.       8              And the child grew and was weaned (a graphic)

         v.       9              Genesis 21:9c Text from the Greek Septuagint

         v.       9              Laughing with Isaac

         v.      10              Hagar and Ishmael Banished by Abraham Verhaghen (1728-1811) (graphic)

         v.      10              Is Sarah being too harsh with Hagar and Ishmael?

         v.      10              Interlude: the Son of the Free Woman versus the Son of the Slave Woman

         v.      10              A Summary of Galatians 4:21–31

         v.      13              God gives reasons why Abraham should listen to Sarah

         v.      14              The Bible Query on, was Abraham right to send Hagar away?

         v.      14              A Justification of Abraham, by the Preacher’s Complete Homiletical Commentary

         v.      14              The Bible Query on, isn’t Ishmael the firstborn son?

         v.      14              Hagar and Ishmael in the Desert by Jean-Charles Cazin (graphic)

         v.      14              The Dismissal of Hagar by Dutch painter Adriaen van der Werff

         v.      14              Was Abraham remiss in the supplies he gave Hagar and Ishmael?

         v.      15              God Provides (graphic)

         v.      19              Hagar’s Extremity (a graphic)

         v.      19              Hagar and Ishmael painted by Carl Bauerle and engraved by W. Roffe

         v.      20              Gill, on the Legacy of the Bow in the Line of Ishmael

         v.      21              Map of the Wilderness of Paran

         v.      27              Abimelech and Abraham discuss the problem with the wells (a graphic)

         v.      30              The Meaning of the Ewe-Lamb Narrative

         v.      31              A Review of Gen. 21:22–31

         v.      31              The Parallels from Genesis 21–22 to the Ministry of our Lord

         v.      32              When Critics Ask, on the Philistines in Palestine in the era of Abraham

         v.      32              Peter Pett on the Philistines

         v.      33              Genesis 21:33 (graphic)

         v.      33              Dr. Shuckford on, Calling on the Name of the Lord

         v.      33              Scofield on, the Everlasting God

         v.      33              What Abraham is doing in Bathsheba on the outskirts of Gerar

         v.      33              Various Commentators on Abraham’s Life in Beersheba

         v.      33              Clarke’s final points on Genesis 21:33

         v.      34              Gentile Salvation in the Old Testament

 

         Addendum          The Parallel Lives of Ishmael and Abraham

         Addendum          Why Genesis 21 is in the Word of God

         Addendum          What We Learn from Genesis 21

         Addendum          Josephus’ History of this Time Period

         Addendum          Edersheim Summarizes Genesis 21

         Addendum          A Complete Translation of Genesis 21

         Addendum          Word Cloud from a Reasonably Literal Paraphrase of Genesis 21

         Addendum          Word Cloud from Exegesis of Genesis 21


Chapter Outline

 

Charts, Graphics, Short Doctrines

Beginning of Document

Doctrines Covered or Alluded to

Chapters of the Bible Alluded to

Definition of Terms

Introduction and Text

Addendum

www.kukis.org

 

Exegetical Studies in Genesis


Doctrines Covered or Alluded To

Angel of Jehovah

 

 

 

Basic Mechanics of the Christian Life

Blessing by Association

A Brief History of Israel

Circumcision

Circumcision and Regeneration

 

Legalism

Spiritual Life in the Church Age

Additional doctrines and links are found in Definition of Terms below.


Chapters of the Bible Alluded To and/or Appropriately Exegeted with this Chapter

Genesis 16

Genesis 20

 

 


Many who read and study this chapter are 1st or 2nd generation students of R. B. Thieme, Jr., so that much of this vocabulary is second nature. One of Bob’s contributions to theology is a fresh vocabulary along with a number of concepts which are theologically new or reworked, yet still orthodox. Therefore, if you are unfamiliar with his work, the definitions below will help you to fully understand all that is being said. Also, I have developed a few new terms and concepts which require definition as well.

In addition, there are other more traditional yet technical theological terms which will be used and therefore defined as well.

Sometimes the terms in the exegesis of this chapter are simply alluded to, without any in-depth explanation of them. Sometimes, these terms are explained in detail and illustrated. A collection of all these terms is found here: (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

Definition of Terms

Angel of Jehovah

The Angel of the Lord is one of the preincarnate forms of Jesus Christ. The Angel of Jehovah is identified as Jehovah. Gen. 16:7-13 21:17-18 22:11-18 31:11-13 48:15,16 Ex. 3:2 cf. Acts 7:30-35 Ex. 13:21 14:19 Judg.2:1-4 5:23 6:11-23 13:3-22 2Sam. 24:16 Zech. 1:12-13. The Angel of Jehovah is distinguished from Jehovah. Gen. 24:7 40 Ex. 23:20 32:34 Num. 20:16 1Chron. 21:15-18 Isa. 63:9 Zech. 1:12-13. See the Doctrine of the Angel of Jehovah (HTML) (PDF) (WPD)..

Chiasmos

A chiasmos (also spelled chiasmus) is the way that some portions of the Bible are organized. It takes its name from the Greek letter chi (χ). The first section matches with the last, the second with the second-to-the-last, etc. It is called a chiasmos, because the inverted parallelism looks like a chi (actually, half a chi) when one looks at it from its organizational standpoint.

Client nation

The client nation is a nation where there are a lot of believers and a lot of mature and growing believers. This nation is known for its evangelization, for its Bible teaching, its Bible scholarship, and missionary activity. The government and leaders may or may not be supportive of such activity. However, generally speaking, such activity is allowed within the national entity. It is this activity which preserves such a national entity. Doctrine of the Client Nation (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

5th Stage of National Discipline

This is the stage of discipline God brings upon Israel when the people are removed from their own land and taken into slavery by some foreign power. Thieme called this the 5th Cycle of Discipline.

Gloss

A gloss is simply taking the name of a place in one era and identifying it with the same place under a new name in a later era, so that the reader knows where the area is.

Rebound (Restoration to fellowship with God)

In the New Testament, this is naming your sins to God, so that you are both restored to temporal fellowship with God and are then filled with the Spirit of God. In the Old Testament, naming your sins to God would result in a restoration of fellowship and, in some cases, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit once again (the Holy Spirit was not given to all Old Testament believers). See the Doctrine of Rebound (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

The Revealed God (or, the Revealed Lord)

We do not look within ourselves or do we build up some concept of God based upon our own experiences, but we first understand God as He has revealed Himself. Throughout the lives of the saints who have gone before us, God revealed Himself through the written Word and sometimes through direct contact. Once a foundation is laid, then we can see how God is understood through various experiences in our lives.


We do not look within to find God and we do not go out and search for God. He will reveal Himself to us. Those who look to other gods are simply worshiping that which others have defined as God; or, in many cases, they incorporate their own norms and standards into their belief of the God they choose to believe in. Essentially, such a person is making God in his own image.

Type, Antitype, Typical

A type is a preordained representation wherein certain persons, events, and institutions of the O.T. stand for corresponding persons, events, and institutions of the N.T. Types are pictures or object lessons by which God has taught His redemptive plan. They are a shadow of things to come, not the image of those things (Col. 2:17 Heb. 8:5 10:1). See the Doctrine of Typology (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

Some of these definitions are taken from

http://www.bibledoctrinechurch.org/?subpages/GLOSSARY.shtml

http://rickhughesministries.org/content/Biblical-Terms.pdf

http://www.gbible.org/index.php?proc=d4d

http://www.wordoftruthministries.org/termsanddefs.htm

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics.html

http://www.theopedia.com/


——————————


An Introduction to Genesis 21


I ntroduction: I should admit that, when first reading Gen. 20 and 21, they seemed to be very odd chapters. Why is much of this material here? Obviously, we would hear about the birth of Isaac; but the other stuff (Abimelech coming to make a treaty with Abraham) seemed quite odd in the second half of Gen. 21.


Gen. 21 ties together and helps to explain the reason for Gen. 20. Abraham will spend much of his later life in the land of the Philistines, proclaiming the Word of God. Gen. 20–21 chapters help to explain how he ends up there.


A lot of the book of Genesis gives us a contrast between the line of Jesus Christ (the line of promise) and alternate genealogies. We see why God chose one line, but not another. We have seen Lot and his life among the Sodomites and the negligible impact that he had on that society, even though he did believe in Jehovah Elohim. Contrast this with Abraham’s impact on the Philistines during this era (which Philistines may not be at all related to the Philistines later found in the Bible).


There was more to Abraham’s impact than living a perfect life. In Gen. 20, we find out that Abraham made some major errors living with the Philistines. We also saw Lot, whose relationship with Yehowah seemed to have little or no impact upon those around him. That is the contrast. Even the men who were to marry his daughters were unbelievers. So, his impact for the Lord was zero. Abraham’s impact on the world around him was astonishing.


When God chooses to have an impact on the world, there is little that we can do about it. While we are in the midst of history, we know many of the secular leaders, e.g. FDR, Hitler, Churchill, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers; but the men who had the most impact on society may or may not be known. Billy Graham is well-known, and we see how God has given him the ear of many presidents. R. B. Thieme, Jr. is far less known, but has had a much different impact upon the United States. From God’s view, the men who fearlessly proclaim the Word of God are the men who had a real impact upon the United States; whereas the famous politicians did very little apart from helping to infest our government with corruption, fraud, waste and abuse.


With Abraham, we get some true perspective. In the latter half of this chapter, we will see two men interacting, Abraham and Abimelech, leader of the Philistines. 4000 years later, who remembers who? Billions of people know Abraham; and only a small percentage of them know much about Abimelech. And this is not to say that Abimelech was a bad leader—quite the contrary, Abimelech seems to be an honest and fair man, someone who gave Abraham is fair shake. In fact, Abimelech gave Abraham a good establishment environment in which he could thrive. Abimelech provided law and order; Abimelech provided justice and a fair court system. These things are very important, and often help with the teaching of the Word of God; but it is Abraham who provided the true spiritual impact, which impact is still with us today.


We know about Abimelech because his name (actually title) is preserved in the Word of God. But there were far greater kings in that era (by human standards). However, we would be hard-pressed to name any of them (well, most Americans seem to have a difficult time naming the vice president).

 

From the New American Bible: [21:1-21] The long-awaited birth of Isaac parallels the birth of Ishmael in chap. 16, precipitating a rivalry and expulsion as in that chapter. Though this chapter is unified, the focus of vv. 1-7 is exclusively on Sarah and Isaac, and the focus of vv. 8-21 is exclusively on Hagar and Ishmael. The promise of a son to the barren Sarah and elderly Abraham has been central to the previous chapters and now that promise comes true with the birth of Isaac. The other great promise, that of land, will be resolved, at least in an anticipatory way, in Abraham's purchase of the cave at Machpelah in chap. 23. The parallel births of the two boys has influenced the Lucan birth narratives of John the Baptist and Jesus (Lk 1-2).


There are two related items in this chapter, and I don’t know how significant they are. Hagar and Ishmael will have to leave Abraham’s compound and will live out in the desert. Hagar and Ishmael will be saved by a well, which God points out to her. At the end of this chapter, Abimelech, king of Gerar, will recognize the importance of his bond with Abraham, and he will go to Abraham to reestablish that bond. One of the important items of contention (which Abimelech was unaware of) are the wells that Abraham had dug, but Abimelech’s men had been giving Abraham grief over. This problem will be cleared up by Abimelech. I don’t know if there is a deeper relationship between these two things in this chapter.


It is important to understand what has gone before.

The Prequel of Genesis 21

Back in Gen. 12:2, God promised Abraham that He would make a great nation of him, which requires him to have a son. In nearly every promise made by God to Abraham, it was implied that he would have a son (or many sons)—Gen. 17:1–6. Twice, God returned to Abraham, a year previous, and promised that Sarah would bear him a son (Gen. 17:15–17 18:10–14). In this chapter, the son of promise, Isaac, will be born.

Because Abraham had been promised a son and because Sarah had not conceived, she came up with the idea for Abraham to impregnate her personal slave, Hagar. This was not an unusual thing to do, but Abraham fathering a son by Hagar caused all sorts of personal problems in this family, as we would expect. Things got so bad that Sarah put so much pressure on Hagar and Hagar ran away. God spoke to her and caused her to return to Abraham’s household. Genesis 16 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

In the previous chapter, Abraham and Sarah moved to Gerar. Abraham lied about Sarah, claiming that she is only his sister, and Abimelech took her as his wife. However, before he could consummate the marriage, God came to Abimelech in a dream, and told him to return Sarah to Abraham, on threat of death. In this chapter, Abraham and Sarah are still living close enough to Abimelech to being under his control.

Gen. 21 will begin with the birth of Isaac.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


We need to know who the people are who populate this chapter.

The Principals of Genesis 21

Characters

Commentary

Abraham

Abraham is the father of the Jews. He will father Isaac, in this chapter, and Isaac will continue the line of promise. He is the father of Ishmael in this chapter, by Hagar, Sarah’s maid. Abraham is 100 years old in this chapter.

Sarah

Sarah is Abraham’s wife and she will bear Isaac, Abraham’s son, in this chapter, at age 90.

Isaac

Isaac is the son of promise in this chapter, who will continue the line of promise (all of God’s promises of Abraham will be fulfilled through the genealogical line that runs through Abraham and Isaac).

Hagar

Hagar is Sarah’s Egyptian maid. Sarah convinced Abraham to have a child by her, which child is...

Ishmael

When (Abram) Abraham was 86, Sarai (Sarah) convinced him to have a child by Sarah’s maid Hagar.

The Angel of Yehowah

Sarah will demand that Hagar and Ishmael be thrown out of the compound. Although this is difficult for Abraham to do, God tells him to do it. When Hagar and Ishmael are not too far into the desert, they run out of water. The Angel of Jehovah (the preincarnate Christ) opened Hagar’s eyes to the well which was not far from her.

Abimelech

Before Isaac was conceived, Abraham and Sarah had gone to Gerar and, because of a lie told by Abraham, Abimelech, the king of Gerar, took Sarah to become his wife. God came to Abimelech and warned him that he would die unless he returned Sarah to Abraham. In this chapter, Abimelech will come to Abraham and establish a treaty with him (which appears to be, in part, a lease contract).

Phicol

Phicol is the head of Abimelech’s army; and he accompanies Abimelech.

 


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


The Patriarchal Timeline for Genesis 21


Legend

Birth or death

God speaks with Abraham

Historical incidents (most of which are related to Abraham)

Parenthetical dates (2065 b.c.) simply refer to taking the date assigned by the chronologist and using Scripture to determine the next date.

The entire Abrahamic Timeline (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

The entire Patriarchal Timeline (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


Brent MacDonald

Age of Abraham

Reese’s Chronology Bible

Scripture

Event/Description

2164 b.c.

0

1967 b.c.

Gen. 11:26–27

Abraham (Terah’s son) and Lot (Haran’s son) born in Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram would be the 43rd generation from Adam. Gen 11:26 Terah lived 70 years and fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

 

 

1957 b.c.

 

Birth of Sarai

 

 

1927 b.c.

Gen. 11:29–30

Marriage of Abram to Sarai

 

 

1907 b.c.

1927 b.c. (Klassen)

Gen. 11:28, 21

Abram’s family travel from Ur to Haran, although their original intention had been to go to the land of Canaan. Gen 11:28, 21 Haran died in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans, during his father Terah's lifetime. Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot (Haran's son), and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

Reese occasionally supplies 2 dates in his Chronological Bible; the first is his and the second is Klassen’s.

2089 b.c.

75

1892 b.c.

Gen. 12:1–4

Abraham leaves for Promised Land from Haran, after being so instructed by God. Gen 12:4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran.

 

 

1891 b.c.

1892 b.c. (Klassen)

Gen. 12:10–20

Abraham & Sarah in Egypt (Goshen, Memphis), return to the Land of Promise (Genesis 12:10-21:1)

 

 

 

Gen. 13:14–17

God renews His covenant with Abram.

 

 

1882 b.c.

Gen. 15:1–21

God’s covenant with Abram is given in greater detail.

 

85

1882 b.c.

1881 b.c. (Klassen)

Gen. 16:1–14

Sarah gives Hagar, her Egyptian slave girl, to Abram in order to sire a son. Gen 16:3 So Abram's wife Sarai took Hagar, her Egyptian slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife for him. This happened after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan 10 years.

2078 b.c.

86

1881 b.c.

Gen. 16:15–16

Ishmael born to Abraham and Hagar in the land of Canaan. Gen 16:16 Abram was 86 years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

(2065 b.c.)

99

1868 b.c.

Gen. 17:1–8

God renews His covenant with Abram and renames him Abraham. Gen 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD appeared to him, saying, "I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be devout.

(2065 b.c.)

99

(1868 b.c.)

Gen. 17:9–14

Circumcision is given as a sign of the covenant and of Abraham’s faith in his covenant with God. Circumcision represents regeneration (the new birth).

(2065 b.c.)

99

(1868 b.c.)

Gen. 17:15–19

Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah and Isaac, a future son, is promised the Abraham and Sarah. Gen 17:17 Abraham fell to the ground, laughed, and thought in his heart, "Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?"

(2065 b.c.)

99

(1868 b.c.)

Gen. 17:20

Ishmael’s destiny is foretold.

(2065 b.c.)

99

(1868 b.c.)

Gen. 17:21–22

The time that Sarah would give birth is revealed; at a set time in the next year. Gen 17:21 But I will confirm My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at a set time next year."

(2065 b.c.)

99

(1868 b.c.)

Gen. 17:23–27

Abraham obeys God and circumcises himself and the men with him, responding in faith to God’s mandate. Gen 17:24 Abraham was 99 years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised, and his son Ishmael was 13 years old when the flesh of his foreskin was circumcised.

(2065 b.c.)

 

(1867 b.c.)

Gen. 18:1–15

Jehovah and two angels come to Abraham and promise that Sarah would have a child in a year’s time. Gen 18:10, 14 The LORD said, "I will certainly come back to you in about a year's time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!" Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him. Is anything impossible for the LORD? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son."

(2065 b.c.)

 

(1867 b.c.)

Gen. 18:16–33

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is promised and Abraham intercedes on behalf of Sodom.

 

 

 

Gen. 20:1–18

Abraham lies again about his wife to King Abimelech in Gerar, in southern Judah. Although some believe that this chapter is placed here in Genesis due to thematic elements rather than because it belongs here chronologically, we find Abraham in Gerar in the next chapter, which suggests that this chapter is correctly placed.

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge puts this at 1897 b.c. If this chapter is in Chronological order, then MacDonald would have this date as 2065–2064 b.c. and Reese would have it at 1867–1866 b.c.

Coffman writes: ...this chapter is exactly where it belongs in the first book of Moses, and is not displaced chronologically. Efforts to move it around in the Book of Genesis do not derive from any solid evidence, but from the intention of trying to make it some kind of variant. "We see no reason for insisting that Genesis is not in its proper chronological position." 

2064 b.c.

100

 

Gen. 21:1–7 1Chron. 1:34

Isaac born to Abraham. Isaac would be the 44th generation from Adam. Gen 21:5 Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

 

 

1864 b.c.

Gen. 21:8–13

Conflicts arise between Isaac and Ishmael, Abram’s two sons.

 

 

 

Gen. 21:14–21

Hagar and Ishmael are both cast out, and they wander the desert of Beer-sheba (which is at the edge of southern Judah). Later, they move to the desert of Paran.

 

 

1864–1834 b.c.

Gen. 21:22–34

Abraham makes a covenant with Abimelech, which suggests that Abraham is still in or near Gerar. They will make a covenant in Beer-sheba. We are told that Abraham remains in the land of the Philistines for many days.

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge puts this date at 1886 b.c.

 

 

1841–1816 b.c.

Gen. 25:12–16 1Chron. 1:29–21

Ishmael’s children.


Bibliography

MacDonald’s timeline is from: http://www.bibleistrue.com/qna/qna63.htm accessed October 11, 2011.

See http://www.bibleistrue.com/qna/qna63dating.htm for his justification of his timeline.

From: http://www.christianshepherd.org/bible_study_guides/abram_to_the_exodus.pdf (Christian shepherd)

The Reese Chronological Bible; KJV translation; Editor: Edward Reese; ©1977 by Edward Reese and Klassen’s dating system ©1975 by Frank R. Klassen; Ⓟ1980 by Bethany House Publishers, South Minneapolis, MN; pp. 18–19, 54–74.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Here is what to expect from Genesis 21:

A Synopsis of Genesis 21 by Matthew Poole

God visits Sarah; she conceives and bears a son (Gen. 21:1–2). He is named Isaac (Gen. 21:3) and is circumcised the eighth day (Gen. 21:4). Sarah's joy and thanks (Gen. 21:6–7).

Abraham makes a feast at the weaning of Isaac (Gen. 21:8). However, Ishmael mocks Isaac; and Sarah sees it (Gen. 21:9). She complains to Abraham, and desires to have him cast out (Gen. 21:10). Abraham is grieved (Gen. 21:11). Yet, God commands it; gives the reason (Gen. 21:12); and promises a blessing to Ishmael for his sake (Gen. 21:13).

Abraham sends Hagar and her son away; they wander in the wilderness, and are like to perish for want of water (Gen. 21:14–16). God calls to Hagar (Gen. 21:17); repeats His promise to Ishmael (Gen. 21:18); opens her eyes; and she sees a well (Gen. 21:19). They dwell there, and Ishmael is an archer (Gen. 21:20); and he marries an Egyptian (Gen. 21:21).

Abimelech convinced that God was with Abraham, desires a covenant with him (Gen. 21:22–23). Abraham consents (Gen. 21:24). Because Abimelech's servants having taken a well from him, Abraham reproves Abimelech for it (Gen. 21:25). Abimelech pleads ignorance (Gen. 21:26). Both of them make a covenant (Gen. 21:27–32).

Abraham plants a grove, and calls upon the Lord the everlasting God (Gen. 21:33–34).

Like all chapters of the Word of God, you need more than just the simple plot outline to understand what God wants us to know.

Matthew Poole, English Annotations on the Holy Bible; Ⓟ1685; from e-Sword, Gen. 21 chapter comments (edited).


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

 

Thomas Coke’s abbreviated description: Isaac is born, is circumcised and weaned. At Sarah's request Hagar is driven out; to whom, wandering in the wilderness, an angel promises that Ishmael shall be the father of a numerous posterity. Abraham and Abimelech make a covenant.


This is not too different from mine.

Matthew Henry’s Alternate Outline

In this chapter we have,

I.       Isaac, the child of promise born into Abraham's family (Gen. 21:1–8).

II.      Ishmael, the son of the bondwoman, cast out of it (Gen. 21:9–21).

III.     Abraham's league with his neighbour Abimelech (Gen. 21:22–32).

IV.     His devotion to his God (Gen. 21:33).

Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, Gen. 21 chapter comments.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


David Hockling has certain got his own style when it comes to organizing a chapter. However, sometimes an alliterative approach like this can help fix the events of a chapter in your mind.

David Hocking’s Alliterative Outline of Genesis 21

1A.    The power of god was displayed in the birth of Isaac - 1-7

2A.    The problem with Isaac and ishmael developed at a feast for Isaac - 8-14

3A.    The promise of god was declared again to Hagar - 15-21

1A.    THE POWER OF GOD WAS DISPLAYED IN THE BIRTH OF ISAAC - 1-7

         1B.    The CAUSE behind this miracle - 1 “the Lord visited Sarah as He had said” God’s in no hurry to work out His plan “visited” - used in two ways:

                  1.      To judge - Exodus 20:5; 34:7

                  2.      To bless - Gen. 50:24; Exodus 4:31; Ruth 1:6. cf. Luke 1:34, 37

         2B.    The CONCEPTION - 2 “at the set time of which God had spoken to him” Cf. 17:21; 18:10, 14 - cf. Gal. 4:4

         3B.    The CALLING of his name - 3 “Isaac” - means “laughter” - cf. Gen. 17:17, 19, 21; 18:12-15

         4B.    The CIRCUMCISION of the boy - 4 “as God had commanded him” - cf. 17:9-12

         5B.    The COMMENTS of Sarah - 6-7 cf. Isaiah 54:1, 5-8

2A.    THE PROBLEM BETWEEN ISAAC AND ISHMAEL WAS DEVELOPED AT A FEAST FOR ISAAC - 8-14

         1B.    The immediate REASON - 9 “mocking” - same root as the name “Isaac” (laugh) an intensive form of participle - “to ridicule”

         2B.    The REQUEST of Sarah - 10 quoted in Galatians 4:30

         3B.    The REACTION of Abraham - 11 “very grievous” - Hebrew word, ra’a’, means “to spoil by breaking in pieces” or “to afflict; displease; do harm or hurt” etc. - used 93 times. Translated “hurt” in Gen. 31:7 and “displeased” in Gen. 38:10 and “dealt ill” in Gen. 43:6 and “done evil” in Gen. 44:5

         4B.    The RESPONSE of God - 12-13

                  1C.   Concerning ISAAC “for in Isaac shall thy seed be called”

                  2C.   Concerning ISHMAEL “will I make a nation, because he is thy seed”

         5B.    The N.T. REVELATION - Galatians 4:21-31

3A.    THE PROMISE OF GOD WAS DECLARED AGAIN TO HAGAR - 15-21

         1B.    God RESPONDED to Hagar's need - 15-17

                  1C.   He heard the boy's CRY - 17a

                  2C.   He showed His CONCERN for Hagar - 17b “What aileth thee, Hagar?”

                  3C.   He spoke words of COMFORT to her - 17c “Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is” “ISHMAEL” - “God shall hear”

         2B.    God REPEATED His previous promise to Hagar - 18 Cf. 16:10; 17:20

         3B.    God REVEALED that He will bring it to pass - 19-21 “God opened her eyes” “God was with the lad”

CONCLUSION:

(1) GOD’S POWER - He can do anything! (21:1-7)

(2) GOD’S PLAN - He does what is right and good! (21:8-14)

(3) GOD’S PROVISION - He will take care of you! (21:15-21)

From http://www.davidcox.com.mx/library/H/Hocking,%20David%20-%20Genesis.pdf accessed September 7, 2014.


Chapter Outline

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The first half of this chapter explains the separation of the Ishmaelites from the Israelites, and suggests why there might be some resultant animosity between these peoples, despite the fact that they have come ultimately from two half-brothers.


The second half of this chapter informs us that, even though there is a distinct separation between Abraham and the line of promise from other peoples, that is not an uncrossible barrier to the gentiles outside of Abraham’s line. All it takes is positive volition toward the Revealed God, which is what Abimelech and Phicol both have.

 

Steven J. Cole: When you come to a passage like this in the Bible, the question is, Why did God include this in sacred Scripture? It seems to me that the answer is, It shows the faithfulness of God in the ordinary. It shows how God faithfully provided all that Abraham needed apart from Abraham’s schemes. Throughout Abraham’s story run two great promises which God made to Abraham: a son, through whom Abraham would become a great nation, and through whose descendants all the nations would be blessed; and, the land of Canaan, where his descendants would live. In seeking to bring about both of these promises, Abraham resorted to human schemes to help God out: with the son, he went in to Hagar and produced Ishmael; with regard to the land, his fears of being wiped out by the inhabitants of the land prompted him to lie about Sarah being his sister, not his wife.


——————————


Chapter Outline

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The Birth of Isaac, the Promised Son


I have made a few changes on Murai’s excellent work. This is known as a chiasmos. ESV is used below.

Hajime Murai Organizes Genesis 21:1–8

Structure

ESV Text

A       Sarah bears a child for Abraham in his old age (vv. 1–2)

The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.

         B       Abraham names Isaac (21:3)

Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.

                  C      Isaac's circumcision (21:4)

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

         B'      Sarah explains Isaac’s name (21:5-6)

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me."

A'      Sarah weans Isaac, having borne a child for Abraham in his old age (21:7-8)

And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age." And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

From http://www.valdes.titech.ac.jp/~h_murai/bible/01_Genesis_pericope_e.html accessed September 8, 2014 and edited.

I believe that one of the reasons for a chiasmic structure is to make memorization of the passage much easier.


Chapter Outline

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Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And Yehowah visited Sarah, as which He had said, and so makes Yehowah to Sarah as which He had spoken.

Genesis

21:1

And Yehowah visited Sarah, just as He had said [He would]; consequently, Yehowah did for Sarah just as He had promised [her].

Kukis not-so-literal paraphrase:

And Jehovah visited Sarah, just as He said He would. Consequently, Jehovah made it possible for Sarah to become pregnant, as He had promised her.


Here is how others have translated this verse:

 

Ancient texts:                       Note: I compare the Hebrew text to English translations of the Latin, Syriac and Greek texts, using the Douay-Rheims translation; George Lamsa’s translation, and Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton’s translation as revised and edited by Paul W. Esposito, respectively. I often update these texts with non-substantive changes (e.g., you for thou, etc.). I often use the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible instead of Brenton’s translation, because it updates the English text.

 

The Septuagint was the earliest known translation of a book (circa 200 b.c.). Since this translation was made before the textual criticism had been developed into a science and because different books appear to be translated by different men, the Greek translation can sometimes be very uneven.

 

When there are serious disparities between my translation and Brenton’s (or the text of the Complete Apostles’ Bible), I look at the Greek text of the Septuagint (the LXX) to see if a substantive difference actually exists (and I reflect these changes in the English rendering of the Greek text). I use the Greek LXX with Strong’s numbers and morphology available for e-sword. The only problem with this resource (which is a problem for similar resources) is, there is no way to further explore Greek verbs which are not found in the New Testament. Although I usually quote the Complete Apostles’ Bible here, I have begun to make changes in the translation when their translation conflicts with the Greek and note what those changes are.

 

The Masoretic text is the Hebrew text with all of the vowels (vowel points) inserted (the original Hebrew text lacked vowels). We take the Masoretic text to be the text closest to the original. However, differences between the Masoretic text and the Greek, Latin and Syriac are worth noting and, once in a great while, represent a more accurate text possessed by those other ancient translators.

 

In general, the Latin text is an outstanding translation from the Hebrew text into Latin and very trustworthy (I say this as a non-Catholic). Unfortunately, I do not read Latin—apart from some very obvious words—so I am dependent upon the English translation of the Latin (principally, the Douay-Rheims translation).

 

Underlined words indicate differences in the text.

 

Bracketed portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls are words, letters and phrases lost in the scroll due to various types of damage. Underlined words or phrases are those in the Dead Sea Scrolls but not in the Masoretic text.

 

The Targum of Onkelos is actually the Pentateuchal Targumim, which are The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel. On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee by J. W. Etheridge, M.A. Taken from http://targum.info/targumic-texts/pentateuchal-targumim/ and first published in 1862.

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And Yehowah visited Sarah, as which He had said, and so makes Yehowah to Sarah as which He had spoken.

Dead Sea Scrolls                   Unfortunately, what was recovered the Dead Sea Scrolls of Genesis, with very little of the second third of the book being preserved. Nothing of Gen. 21 survives.

Targum of Onkelos                And the Lord remembered Sarah according to that which He had said to her; and the Lord wrought a miracle for Sarah like to that for which Abraham had spoken in prayer for Abimelek. [JERUSALEM. And the Lord wrought miracles for Sarah, as He had spoken.]

Latin Vulgate                          And the Lord visited Sara, as he had promised: and fulfilled what he had spoken.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    AND the LORD remembered Sarah, as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had spoken.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the Lord visited Sarah, as He said, and the Lord did to Sarah, as He spoke.

 

Significant differences:           The targums add the word miracle(s).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           Isaac's birth

The LORD was attentive to Sarah just as he had said, and the LORD carried out just what he had promised her.

Contemporary English V.       The LORD was good to Sarah and kept his promise.

Easy-to-Read Version            The Lord kept the promise he had made to Sarah. The Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.

Good News Bible (TEV)         The LORD blessed Sarah, as he had promised,...

The Message                         GOD visited Sarah exactly as he said he would; GOD did to Sarah what he promised:...

New Berkeley Version           The Lord came to Sarah as He had said; He dealt with her as He had promised [Enabling her to be a mother.].


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then Jehovah visited SarAh and did as [He had promised] her.

Ancient Roots Translinear      Yahweh counted happiness to Sarah as he said when Yahweh did to Sarah as he spoke.

Christian Community Bible     Yahweh was kind to Sarah as he had said, and fulfilled his promise to her.

International Standard V        Isaac is Born

The LORD came to Sarah, just as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.

God’s Word                         The LORD came to help Sarah and did for her what he had promised.

New Jerusalem Bible             Yahweh treated Sarah as he had said, and did what he had promised her.

New Simplified Bible              Jehovah was gracious to Sarah, as he had said. Jehovah did for Sarah what he had promised.

Revised English Bible            The Lord showed favour to Sarah as he had promised, and made good what he had said about her.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And the Lord came to Sarah as he had said and did to her as he had undertaken.

Conservapedia                       And the LORD visited Sarah as He said He would, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken.

The Expanded Bible              A Baby for Sarah

The Lord ·cared for [visited] Sarah as he had said and did for her what he had promised.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 The Ever-living afterwards effect with Sarah what He had promised, and the Lord did for Sarah that which He had said;...

New Advent Bible                  And the Lord visited Sara, as he had promised: and fulfilled what he had spoken.

NET Bible®                             The Birth of Isaac

The LORD visited [The Hebrew verb translated "visit" (pâqad (פָּקַד) [pronounced paw-KAHD]) often describes divine intervention for blessing or cursing; it indicates God's special attention to an individual or a matter, always with respect to his people's destiny. He may visit (that is, destroy) the Amalekites; he may visit (that is, deliver) his people in Egypt. Here he visits Sarah, to allow her to have the promised child. One's destiny is changed when the Lord "visits." For a more detailed study of the term, see G. André, Determining the Destiny (ConBOT).] Sarah just as he had said he would and did [Heb "and the Lord did." The divine name has not been repeated here in the translation for stylistic reasons.] for Sarah what he had promised [Heb "spoken."]. When it comes to making an actual material change to the text, the NET Bible® is pretty good about indicating this. Since most of these corrections will be clear in the more literal translations below and within the Hebrew exegesis itself, I will not continue to list every NET Bible® footnote.

NIV – UK                                The Birth of Isaac

Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

exeGeses companion Bible   SARAH BIRTHS YISCHAQ

And Yah Veh visits Sarah as he said

and Yah Veh works to Sarah as he worded:...

JPS (Tanakh—1917)               And the LORD remembered Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               The Lord took note of Sarah as He had promised, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken.

Kaplan Translation                 Isaac and Ishmael

God granted special providence [Pakad in Hebrew (see Hirsch). Usually translated as 'remembered' or 'visited.'] to Sarah as He said He would, and God did what He promised for Sarah.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Context Group Version          And YHWH visited Sarah as he had said, and YHWH did to Sarah as he had spoken.

English Standard Version      The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised.

Green’s Literal Translation    And Jehovah visited Sarah as He had said. And the Lord did to Sarah as He had spoken.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    Isaac Born, Circumcised, and Weaned

And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as He had spoken. The Lord visited Sarah by doing to her as He had promised, by granting her what she had desired for so many years, a child of her own. Children are a gift of the goodness of God.

Syndein/Thieme                     And Jehovah/God visited Sarah as He had said, and Jehovah/God kept on doing {'asah} unto Sarah as He had intensively decreed/'communicated categorically' {dabar}.

Young’s Updated LT             And Jehovah has looked after Sarah as He has said, and Jehovah does to Sarah as He has spoken.

 

The gist of this verse:          God fulfills His promises to Sarah.


Genesis 21:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

pâqad (פָּקַד) [pronounced paw-KAHD]

to go to a person, to visit, to have personal contact with, to sort out, to visit a person, to commit, to charge to the care of, to fall upon, to attack, to number, to take a census

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #6485 BDB #823

This is a very common and notable verb found throughout the Old Testament; and here for the first time.

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Sârâh (שָׂרָה) [pronounced saw-RAW]

princess, noble woman; transliterated Sarah

proper noun; feminine singular

Strong’s #8283 BDB #979

kaph or ke (כְּ) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaʾăsher (כַּאֲשֶר) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just as; because; according to what manner, in a manner as. Back in 1Sam. 12:8, I rendered this for example.

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; pausal form

Strong’s #559 BDB #55


Translation: And Yehowah visited Sarah, just as He had said [He would];... Several chapters ago, God promised Abraham and Sarah (who was listening from the flap of the tent) that she would become pregnant by Abraham, when he is about 100 years old and she is about 90 years old.


In between this chapter and those promises (Gen. 17:16, 19 18:10), much has happened. After promising Abraham again that he would sire a child by Sarah, God speaks to Abraham about the destruction of Sodom. Abraham intercedes for Sodom, because Lot lives there and gets God to agree that, if there are only 10 righteous men in Sodom, then God would not destroy it. In Gen. 19, the angels of Yehowah go to Sodom to destroy it and 4 other cities. However, they first rescue Lot and his family. Abraham sees the destruction of Sodom from where he lives, and moves from the place southward, so that he passes by the destroyed cities moving toward the Negev. Then, in Gen. 20, Abraham turns about, going northwest, and stays in Gerar, which is a Philistine controlled city. He lies to Abimelech, the king there, about Sarah, and so Abimelech takes Sarah to be his wife. God comes to Abimelech in a dream and warns him that, unless Sarah is returned to her husband, everyone in Abimelech’s family would die. Abimelech and his cabinet are in a panic, and Sarah is quickly restored to Abraham, although Abimelech does reprove Abraham for his lying. Abimelech gives Abraham many presents, as well as an invite to stay anywhere in the land of Gerar (Abimelech apparently controlled a significant portion of the land beyond his city).


Barnes, who usually provides excellent commentary, suggests that Isaac may have been born prior to Abraham and Sarah moving to Gerar. Barnes is wrong, because the real threat of Gen. 20 is Sarah being taken into a harem at the time that she is to conceive the child of promise.


You will note here that, not only is the child that Sarah bears uniquely–born, but this involves a visit from Jehovah Elohim. To visit here is the very common Hebrew verb pâqad (פָּקַד) [pronounced paw–KAHD], which means, to go to a person, to visit, to have personal contact with, to sort out, to visit a person, to commit, to charge to the care of, to fall upon, to attack, to number, to take a census. If you are familiar with the British expression, to sort [something] out; where someone needs to deal with a situation or solve a problem by acting directly or becoming personally involved, that is what this word means. Strong's #6485 BDB #823. This word can be used for the threat of evil (Ex. 20:5 Psalm 59:5) or for the promise of good (Gen. 50:24 Ex. 4:31 Ruth 1:6).

 

The NET Bible: The Hebrew verb translated "visit" (פָּקַד, paqad) often describes divine intervention for blessing or cursing; it indicates God's special attention to an individual or a matter, always with respect to his people's destiny. He may visit (that is, destroy) the Amalekites; he may visit (that is, deliver) his people in Egypt. Here he visits Sarah, to allow her to have the promised child. One's destiny is changed when the LORD "visits." 

 

Thomas Constable: God "visited" Sarah (Genesis 21:1, NIV), a common metaphor that describes God's intervention in nature and human afffairs. The Hebrew word translated "visited" (paqad) also appears when God intervened to save the Israelites from Egyptian bondage (Genesis 50:24-25; Exodus 4:31) and when He ended a famine (Ruth 1:6). It also occurs when He made Hannah conceive (1 Samuel 2:21) and when He brought the Jewish exiles home from Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 29:10). Thus its presence here highlights the major significance of Isaac's birth.


In previous chapters, God came to Abraham in person (which seems to be the case, most of the time). However, here, He appears to work behind the scenes. God is clearly here, at work, directly with Abraham and Sarah, because of the use of the verb pâqad (which is in the Qal, and not the Hiphil).


We are not given any details here as to what the nature of this visit is, but Sarah’s reproductive system, which appeared to have problems from the beginning (Gen. 11:29–30—although the problem could have been partially with Abraham) and was certainly out of order due to her old age (Gen. 18:11), was regenerated by this visit. Similarly, Abraham, who was sexually dead (Gen. 18:12), was now no longer sexually dead. You will recall that circumcision (HTML) (PDF) (WPD) was the sign of regeneration—new life was given to his sexually dead phallus. Furthermore, this effect on Abraham will continue for another 40 or so years. He will be sexual active and potent for some time now. After Sarah passes, Abraham will take another wife and have several sons by her.


Given that Sarah was thought to be beautiful even in the previous chapter, her not having a child was probably not due to a lack of trying—which fact is backed up by her associating sex and conception with pleasure in Gen. 18:12. It is reasonable to suppose that she and Abraham both continued having sex up until the time of Abraham’s age-induced impotence. And this was all overridden by God, as per this verse, where God visits Sarah as He had promised.


Genesis 21:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

YHWH (יהוה) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Sârâh (שָׂרָה) [pronounced saw-RAW]

princess, noble woman; transliterated Sarah

proper noun; feminine singular

Strong’s #8283 BDB #979

kaph or ke (כְּ) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaʾăsher (כַּאֲשֶר) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just as; because; according to what manner, in a manner as. Back in 1Sam. 12:8, I rendered this for example.

dâbar (דָּבַר) [pronounced dawb-VAHR]

to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong’s #1696 BDB #180

The Piel stem is intensive, making dâbar is stronger. It can carry with it the idea of providing guidance and direction, if not a set of mandates (and this would be determined by context). The kind of intensification is determined by context. The Piel may call for talk, backed with action; give your opinion; expound; make a formal speech; speak out; talk it around, to give a somber and tragic report.


Translation: ...consequently, Yehowah did for Sarah just as He had promised [her]. What God has promised Sarah is, He would make it possible for her and Abraham to become parents. Her womb would become functioning again, as would Abraham’s phallus, and they would have a child together, just as God had promised. So, this is about 3 months after the end of Gen. 17.

 

Clarke: That is, God fulfilled his promise to Sarah by giving her, at the advanced age of ninety, power to conceive and bring forth a son.


This passage can certainly be misunderstood. However, I usually try to see these passages in different ways, and even this possibility did not come to me.

The Bible Query on, Did God Impregnate Sarah?

Q:     In Gen 18:10,14 and Gen 21:1,2, does this teach that God impregnated Sarah, as Born Again Skeptic’s p.217 claims?

A:      No. The atheist missed the point that God was not returning to impregnate Sarah, but God returned after the son was born. God only said three things about Sarah’s son.

         1.      God would visit them again next year as Genesis 18:10,14 says

         2.      God would fulfill his promise of Sarah having a Son as Genesis 21:1 says.

         3.      Most importantly, the son will be from Abraham (Genesis 17:15,17). To be precise, the son was from Abraham’s own body as Genesis 15:4 says.

From Bible Query; March 2006 version. Copyright (c) Christian Debater(tm) 1997-2006. Gen. 21:1.

What this does do is set up a parallel situation to the virgin birth, which we will study. Quite obviously, I just took this simply in the way proposed by Clarke in the quote above.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


God has already promised in Gen. 17:15–16 And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." (ESV) Clearly, this is a son of Abraham and Sarah. God confirms this in Gen 18:10a The LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son." (ESV) Sarah is being emphasized in all of this because Isaac being born to her is a picture of Jesus being born to virgin Mary. The emphasis is upon the line of promise as coming from the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15).


Prior to this point in the narrative, we know that Abraham was sexually dead; and that Sarah was long past the age of giving birth. Therefore, God has to make a change in both Abraham and Sarah in order for her to become pregnant. However, the Bible focuses only upon the woman. The Bible does not tell us that Jehovah visits Sarah on one day and Abraham the next. The Bible narrative only focuses upon Sarah. Why? This is because the unique birth of their son is a type of Christ, Who is also uniquely-born. Although God spoke to Joseph about Mary’s pregnancy, God affected no change in Joseph (see Matt. 1:18 Luke 1:27–38). This is because Jesus was virgin-born, so there was no contribution from Joseph (she became pregnant before they married; and there was no out-of-wedlock sex between them—Matt. 1:21–25). Therefore, the narrative here in Genesis says nothing about God visiting Abraham and causing a physical change in him (although, logically, that had to have happened). The idea is to parallel the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ (even though these history of these events were all recorded about two millennia before Christ). Since Joseph had nothing to do with the birth of our Lord, nothing is said about God visiting Abraham and restoring his potency to him. After the fact, an angel visited with Joseph and explained to him what had happened, so that he did not privately divorce Mary (Matt. 1:18–20). So, even though Abraham is a willing and necessary participant in the conception of Isaac, his contribution is not spoken of, only Sarah’s is. That is because Isaac’s birth is a picture of our Lord’s birth.


One of the amazing things is how carefully the Bible fits together as a puzzle. This portion of the book of Genesis, which I believe to have been written 4000 years ago, fits as a carefully-designed counterpart to first chapter of Matthew and Luke. That is, the birth of Isaac is very much a foretelling of the birth of Jesus—actually, to be precise, the birth of Isaac is the type and the birth of Jesus is the antitype.


Now, let’s just assume that Matthew and Luke, just wrote about the birth of Jesus with this in mind—to be a parallel to this chapter of Genesis—then why don’t they allude to it? Why doesn’t one of them say, “And the birth of Jesus fulfills the type established by Isaac”? Or words to that effect? If I was in their shoes and trying to make up stuff about Jesus, but so that it matched up with the birth of Isaac, would I not allude to some of the parallels once of twice? Insofar as I know, most of the parallels drawn between these two births has been done over the past 100 years. Some parallels were drawn before, but this particular subject was most completely fleshed out only recently (relative to the history of Christian thought). So either this is a spectacular hoax, where one author, 4000 years ago writes about the birth of Isaac, including quite a number of details, which two other authors, 2000 years later notice and weave into the birth account of Jesus (but without making mention of it) so that a few writers and exegetes 2000 years after them might catch all of these parallel details and write about them; or this is the Word of God and the plan of God. It is much easier to believe the latter than it is to believe the former. When you see all of the parallels between Isaac’s birth and our Lord’s, you will be quite amazed.


One of the reasons for studying the Word of God and learning what is in the Bible is to build your faith upon substance. Like anything else, these are just words, but we know approximately when these words are written, and we know that there was a clear time period between the Old and New Testaments. Also, these different testaments were preserved by different entities (Jews and Christians) who did not always see eye-to-eye. However, the more I have studied the Bible, the more everything fits together; the more it all makes sense. And there is little reason to think it is this gigantic hoax or some incredible coincidence. This is only one example of type and antitype out of many. It takes a much greater faith to believe that this is a hoax or a coincidence rather than believing this is the Word of God.


The first verb is the Qal imperfect of pâqad (דַקָ ) [pronounced paw-kad' ] and it means to attend to or to visit. The context determines whether this is with friendly or hostile intent. There is a parallelism here:

         Yahweh visited Sarah

                  as He had said

         and Yahweh did to Sarah

                  as He had promised


The last word is the Piel perfect of dâbar (דָּבַר) [pronounced dawb-VAHR] and in the Qal it means simply to speak, however this is the intensive stem and to promise is a reasonable rendition. What was done is God had to make Sarah fertile again; He had to make her womb operational. The results were immediate.

 

Calvin: The language of the historian seems designedly chosen to magnify the power of God as well as His faithfulness to His promise. It was God's grace that brought about that event, as well as the raising of spiritual children to Abraham, of which the birth of this son was typical.


God, for 25 years, has promised Abraham and Sarah a son. This would be the son, through whom all God’s promises would be fulfilled.

 

Modernizing a quote from John Trapp: God repays not His people with words only, as Barack Obama did his people, nor does God fool them with great and wonderful promises, as candidate Obama did his various constituencies; but God’s promises are real, resulting in the performance of His Word. Of the many promises of the man Obama, it may be said, that he has been as the peacock, all in its glorious and changeable colors; which lovely colors changed by the light as he moved. Trapp continues: Great men's words, said one, are like dead men's shoes: he may go barefoot that waits for them. Not so good men; they will stand to their oath, though it tend to their loss. [Psalms 15:4] They are children that will not lie. [Isaiah 63:8] Their Father is a God that cannot lie. [Titus 1:2] He is the God of Amen, as Isaiah called him; [Isaiah 65:16] and "all his promises are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus," [2Corinthians 1:20] "the faithful and true witness". [Revelation 3:14] Judah would not break promise with the harlot, lest he should be shamed. [Genesis 38:23].


——————————

 

Arthur Pink: Isaac was the child of promise. The Lord took great interest in the birth of this boy. More was said about him before his birth than about any other, excepting only Abraham's greater Son.


And so conceives and so gives birth Sarah to Abraham a son in his many years to a set time which promised him, Elohim.

Genesis

21:2

Sarah conceived and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age by a set time which Elohim had promised him.

Sarah conceived and then gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age, at the time which God had foreordained.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so conceives and so gives birth Sarah to Abraham a son in his many years to a set time which promised him, Elohim.

Targum of Onkelos                And she conceived, and Sarah bare to Abraham a son, who was like to himself in his age, at the time of which the Lord had spoken to him.

Latin Vulgate                          And she conceived and bore a son in her old age, at the time that God had foretold her.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

Septuagint (Greek)                And she conceived and bore to Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time according as the Lord spoke to him.

 

Significant differences:           No real differences except Lord in the targum instead of God (Elohim).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Although Abraham was very old, Sarah had a son exactly at the time God had said.

Easy English                          So Sarah became *pregnant. And she had a baby son for Abraham. This son was born at the exact time that God had promised such a long time before.

Easy-to-Read Version            Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. All these things happened exactly like God promised.

Good News Bible (TEV)         ...and she became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham when he was old. The boy was born at the time God had said he would be born.

The Message                         Sarah became pregnant and gave Abraham a son in his old age, and at the very time God had set.

New Berkeley Version           Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the season which God had mentioned to him.

New Life Bible                        Sarah was able to have a child and she gave birth to a son when Abraham was very old. He was born at the time the Lord said it would happen.

New Living Translation           She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Sarah conceived and begat to Abraham a son in his old-age, as God spoke to him at that meeting.

Beck’s American Translation Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son when he was old, at the time God mentioned.

International Standard V        Sarah conceived and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age, at the very time that God had told him.

NIRV                                      Sarah became pregnant. She had a son by Abraham when he was old. He was born at the exact time God had promised him.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And Sarah became with child, and gave Abraham a son when he was old, at the time named by God.

Bullinger Bible                        For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the exact time of which ← God [the Creator] had spoken to him.

Conservapedia                       For Sarah fell pregnant, and bore to Abraham a son in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.

The Expanded Bible              Sarah ·became pregnant [conceived] and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. Everything happened at the time God had said it would.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...and Sarah conceiving, gave birth to a son to Abraham in his old age, a way that God had promised him.

New Advent Bible                  And she conceived and bore a son in her old age, at the time that God had foretold her.

NET Bible®                             So Sarah became pregnant [Or "she conceived."] and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the appointed time that God had told him.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and Sarah conceives

and births Abraham a son in his old age

at the season Elohim worded to him:...

Kaplan Translation                 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.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And pregnant is Sarah and is bearing for Abraham a son for his old age, at the appointed time of which the Elohim had spoken to him.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age at the set time of which God had spoken to him. God's promise was literally fulfilled, for at just the time that He had named at His last visit the son of promise was born, a stranger in truth, for Abraham was still sojourning in the land of the Philistines. The birth of Isaac was an act of faith on the part of Sarah, who with all her human infirmities was a true child of the Lord, Heb. 11:11.

Syndein                                  For Sarah kept on being pregnant, and kept on bearing Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which 'Elohim/Godhead had decreed/'communicated categorically' {dabar}.

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

Young’s Updated LT             And Sarah conceives, and bears a son to Abraham, to his old age, at the appointed time that God has spoken of with him.

 

The gist of this verse:          Sarah conceived and then bore a son to Abraham, at the time that God had promised them.


Genesis 21:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

Owen lacks the conjunction here in the Hebrew, but has it in the English. However, the Hebrew Old Testament here has the wâw consecutive. The same is true of the Hebrew Bible in sword.

hârâh (הָרָה) [pronounced haw-RAW]

to conceive, to become pregnant, to be with child

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2029 BDB #247


Translation: Sarah conceived... The proper name Sarah actually occurs below in the Hebrew. However, it makes better sense in the English to put it up front.


The conception was helped along by God, in ways we do not understand. Both Sarah and Abraham’s reproductive organs were revitalized, as God had direct contact and sorted everything out. This made it possible for Sarah to conceive.


A set of wâw consecutive followed by imperfect verbs indicates the order in which these things take place. Quite obviously, Sarah conceived first and then she gives birth after.


Genesis 21:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

to give birth, to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

Sârâh (שָׂרָה) [pronounced saw-RAW]

princess, noble woman; transliterated Sarah

proper noun; feminine singular

Strong’s #8283 BDB #979

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

zeqûnîym (זְקֻנִים) [pronounced zeh-koo-NEEM]

old age, extreme old age

masculine plural noun (or adjective); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2208 BDB #279

This word does not occur but 4 times in Genesis; and being in the plural interests me. Perhaps the idea is a piling up of many years.


genesis21.gif

Translation: ...and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age... So there is no confusion, this is a son born to Abraham and Sarah, despite their advanced age.


Sarah gives birth to Isaac (graphic) from Bible Lessons for Kids; accessed September 9, 2014.


Pink: We see...that God is in no hurry in the working out of His plans. Man may fret and fume, hurry and bustle, but Jehovah has all eternity at His disposal and works leisurely and with deliberation.

One aspect of the Old Testament which I find fascinating is there is no miracle or confusion about the birth of a child; a child is first conceived and then it is born. There is a two-step process recogniz ed by the writers of Scripture from the beginning. This goes all the way back to Gen. 4:1–2. This verse indicates that this birth is the one that God had promised. Abraham has already sired one child, whom God has rejected as heir of Abraham and the promises He made to Abraham, and Abraham will have other children also. However, this is the child, the line of Jesus Christ, the line of the Jewish race.

 

There is a history here which Arthur Pink aptly recalls: Some twenty-five years had now passed since Abram had left Ur of the Chaldees, and during these years he had received promise from the Lord that He would make of him a great nation (Gen. 12:2) and that He would make his seed as the dust of the earth (Gen. 13:16). But years went by and Abram remained childless: the promised seed had not been given and Abram was exercised and perplexed. "And Abram said, Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezar of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me You have given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir" (Gen. 15:2, 3). To these questions the Lord returned answer, "This will not be your heir; but he that will come forth out of your own bowels will be your heir" (Gen. 15:4). Another interval passed and yet no child appeared, and "Sarai said unto Abram, Behold, now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing: I pray you, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai, and he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived" (Gen. 16:2, 4). A further thirteen years dragged their weary course and "God said unto Abraham, as for Sarai your wife, you will not call her name Sarai, but Sarah will her name be. And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she will be a mother of nations: Kings of people will be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Will a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? And will Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before You! And God said, Sarah your wife will bear you a son indeed; and you will call his name Isaac" (Gen. 17:15-19). Shortly after this the Lord, accompanied by two angels, appeared unto His servant in the plains of Mamre and, "they said unto him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And He said, I will certainly return unto you according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah your wife will have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old will I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Will I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto you, according to the time of life, and Sarah will have a son" (Gen. 18:9-14).

 

Pink continues: Many are the important truths illustrated in the above Scriptures, and many are the profitable lessons to be learned therefrom. We name a few of them without attempting to enlarge. We see from the above that God is in no hurry in the working out of His plans. Man may fret and fume, hurry and bustle, but Jehovah has all eternity at His disposal and works leisurely and with deliberation. Well for us to mark this attentively- "he that believes will not make haste" (Isa. 28:16). Again, we note here God’s Almightiness. Nothing can hinder or thwart the outworking of His purpose. Abraham may be old, Sarah may be barren, but such trifles present no difficulty to Him who is infinite in power. Abraham may seek to obtain an heir through Hagar, but Jehovah’s plan cannot be foiled: Sarah’s son will be his heir, not Ishmael. Behold, too, the faithfulness of God. The Lord had said Sarah will have a son, and what He promised He performed. His promise may seem unreasonable and impossible to the carnal mind, but His word is sure. Learn, also, how faith is tried and tested. This is in order to display its genuineness. A faith that is incapable of enduring trial is no faith at all. A hard thing was promised to Abraham but, "he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God" (Rom. 4:19, 20). Finally, note that God has a set time for the accomplishing of His will and the fulfilling of His word. Nothing is left to chance. Nothing is contingent on the creature. Everything is definitely fixed beforehand by God. "For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him" (Gen. 21:2). Mark how this is emphasized by repetition- "But my covenant will! establish with Isaac, which Sarah will bear unto you at this set time in the next year" (Gen. 17:21); "At the time appointed I will return unto you, according to the time of life, and Sarah will have a son" (Gen. 18:14). So also we read in another connection, "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it will speak" (Habak. 2:3). Compare Galatians 4:4.


Genesis 21:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

môwʿêd (מוֹעֵד) [pronounced moh-ĢADE]

a specific (set, pre-determined, appointed) time; a point in time; a sacred season, a set feast; an appointed meeting; an appointed place [where people meet; of an assembly]; a specific sign or signal; an assembly

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #4150 BDB #417

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

dâbar (דָּבַר) [pronounced dawb-VAHR]

to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong’s #1696 BDB #180

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

God; gods, foreign gods, god; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...by a set time which Elohim had promised him. Back in Gen. 18, God got very specific with Abraham and told him exactly when a child would be born to him. It would be about a year later. We had the individual Member of the Trinity in v. 1; and here, God is seen as the Trinity. Jesus Christ, the revealed member of the Trinity was involved in the process of making it possible for Sarah and Abraham to have a child. However, the promise had come, essentially from the entire Trinity (as God the Father would have planned this in eternity past).


At the time that God made His final promise to Abraham and Sarah, Sarah is 89 years old, and she will give birth at age 90. This occurs here at God’s set time. God has perfect timing which, to us who are impatient, often seems to be too far off in the future. For 25 years, God has been speaking to Abraham and making a series of promises to him, but this appears to be the first promise upon which God actually acted. The birth of Isaac is the basis for every other promise that God makes to Abraham. For perhaps 30 years, God has been making promises to Abraham, but none of these promises can come to pass without Isaac being born. Everything else depends upon His birth. And yet, all of this time, Abraham was strong in faith. And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb; he did not hesitate at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised He is also able to perform (Rom. 4:19–21; VW). My point is, Abraham did not see this promise fulfilled for 25 years, and then the most fundamental of all the promises is fulfilled. He did not see any of these promises begin to be fulfilled until he was 100 years old, about 25 years after he first stepped out in faith (comparing Gen. 12:4 with Gen. 21:5). Or, see the Abrahamic Timeline (HTML) (PDF). Yet Abraham remained strong in faith all of this time (he certainly slipped up a few time; Gen. 20 is an examples).


God has kept Abraham and his wife alive during some incredible historical events, but that simply kept them alive long enough to have the most fundamental promise of God fulfilled. All of the promises of inheritance in the world would have meant little to a childless Abraham and Sarah. In fact, all of God’s promises to Abraham would have meant nothing at all, apart from the birth of Isaac.


Is there any chance you see the parallel to the birth of Jesus at this point? All of God’s promises to us mean absolutely nothing apart from the birth of Jesus Christ. We have no inheritance unless Jesus has come to this earth. What’s more is, none of these promises made by God to us has any foundation unless Jesus dies for our sins. Therefore, almost immediately after Isaac’s birth—that is, in terms of this recorded narrative—God will ask Abraham to offer up his own son as a sacrifice.


You will note that the Preincarnate Form of our Lord does not seem to appear to Abraham or to Sarah. Our first two verses read: And Yehowah visited Sarah, just as He had said [He would]; consequently, Yehowah did for Sarah just as He had promised [her]. Sarah conceived and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age by a set time which Elohim had promised him. If there is a face to face meeting, nothing is said about that. I don’t believe that God did appear to Abraham, and there is a reason for this. Isaac is representative of the Christ child; therefore, it would confuse the issue for the 2nd Person of the Trinity to be there, physically manifested, at the birth of Isaac, who represents our Lord’s birth into this world. God simply keeps the birth of Isaac as a real event, but one which represents the birth of our Lord.


It is also worth noting that the writer of this passage refers to the Word of God 3 times in the first two verses:


Genesis 21:1–2 Yehowah visited Sarah as He had promised. And Yehowah did to Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.


What God speaks and what God promises is His Word. Even before there was a Bible, there was the concept of God speaking to man, and conveying very specific thoughts. For 25 years, God has been making promises to Abraham; and now, the first of these promises is being brought to pass. The most fundamental promise of all, of those made to Abraham, is being brought to pass. Therefore, Gen. 21:1–2 emphasizes that these are the words of God and God fulfills His Word.


Now go back and re-read those two verses and notice that Sarah is named 3x; Abraham is only named once. Against, the emphasis is upon the woman, the seed of the woman; that is key to the virgin birth of our Lord. This birth is more important than any other, because Isaac’s birth will symbolize our Lord’s birth in so many ways.


We see a similar emphasis in Heb 11:11–12 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful Who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. (ESV, capitalized) Do you see how the birth and conception is closely associated with Sarah, but the fulfillment of the promises are associated with Abraham?

 

Pink: It has been noticed by others that in Abraham we have a striking illustration of election, while in Isaac we get, typically, the precious truth of sonship. Abraham was the one chosen and called by God; Isaac was the one promised and born of God’s power. The historical order of Genesis is thus the doctrinal order of the New Testament. Thus we read in Ephesians 1:4, 5, "According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him: in love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." Isaac brings before us in type regeneration.


V. 2 reads: Sarah conceived and then gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age, at the time which God had foreordained. This birth is a miracle. In order for Abraham to father the child and for Sarah’s body to be able to receive his seed and produce a child, God had to work miracles in both of them. God had to make them both alive again. Abraham’s body was dead sexually; Sarah’s body was dead reproductively. They were at a point in life when, restoration to a former state would be impossible. This is a consistent theme throughout Scripture, that we are dead, and that God must give us life. We are dead, and there is no human solution. Jesus Christ is our only solution.

 

Pink: As it was with Isaac so it is with every Christian. Before any of us could be born again God had to work a miracle. Make no mistake on this point; regeneration is the direct result of the supernatural operation of God. This needs to be stressed today, for regeneration has been so misrepresented by modern evangelists that to the popular mind the "new birth" signifies nothing more than a process of reformation. But the new birth is no mere turning over of a new leaf and the endeavor to live a better life. The new birth is very much more than going forward in a religious meeting and taking the preacher's hand; very much more than signing a card and "joining the church." The new birth is an act of God's creative power, the impartation of spiritual life, the communication to us of the Divine nature itself. Arthur Pink continues: Abraham and his wife- each of them nearly a hundred years old- desiring a son- what could they do? Nothing! absolutely nothing. God had to come in and work a miracle. And thus nature had nothing to glory in. So it is with us. The natural man is not only a sinner, a lost sinner, but he is a helpless sinner impotent, unable to do anything of himself. If help comes it must come from outside of himself. He is, like Abraham and Sarah, shut up to God.


These grand themes of Scripture—written over a period of 2 millennia—occur and reoccur throughout. Man is dead; man is in a hopeless state. And yet, God is able to bring life out of death; God is able to take that which is dead, and He makes it alive. But there is more to this than simply a superiority over nature; God redeems us, as well as makes us alive. God forgives us when He regenerates us. God does not simply give us new life, but He restores us to Himself, as His children, as His prodigal sons.


Gen. 21:1–2 And Jehovah visited Sarah, just as He said He would. Consequently, Jehovah made it possible for Sarah to become pregnant, as He had promised her. Sarah conceived and then gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age, at the time which God had foreordained.

 

J. Vernon McGee: There are some very remarkable truths here that we need to lay hold of. First of all, the birth of Isaac was a miraculous birth. It was contrary to nature. In the fourth chapter of Romans, Paul writes that Abraham "... considered not his own body now dead . . . neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb" ( Rom. 4:19) . Out of death God brings forth life: this is a miraculous birth. We need to call attention to the fact that God did not flash the supernatural birth of Christ on the world as being something new. He began to prepare men for it, and therefore way back here at the birth of Isaac we have a miraculous birth. McGee continues: We also find here that God had to deal with both Sarah and Abraham. They had to recognize that they could do nothing, that it would be impossible for them to have a child. Abraham is 100 years old; Sarah is 90 years old. In other words, the birth of Isaac must be a birth that they really have nothing to do with.


——————————


And so calls Abraham a name of his son, the one being born to him, who has born to him, Sarah, Isaac.

Genesis

21:3

Abraham called the name of his son, the one being born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.

Abraham called the name of his son, Isaac (the boy whom Sarah bore to him).


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so calls Abraham a name of his son, the one being born to him, who has born to him, Sarah, Isaac.

Targum of Onkelos                And Abraham called the name of his son whom Sarah had borne him Izhak.

Latin Vulgate                          And Abraham called the name of his son, whom Sara bore him, Isaac.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him — whom Sarah bore to him — Isaac.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Abraham named his son Isaac,...

Easy English                          Abraham called his new son Isaac. Isaac had been born to Sarah for Abraham.

Easy-to-Read Version            Sarah gave birth to a son, and Abraham named him Isaac [Isaac This name means "he laughs" or "he is happy."].

New Living Translation           And Abraham named their son Isaac.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And AbraHam named the son that was born to him through SarAh, IsaAc (Laughter).

Ancient Roots Translinear      Abraham called the name of his son begotten to him, that Sarah begot to him, Isaac (laughed).

International Standard V        Abraham named his son who was born to him Isaac-the very one whom Sarah bore for him!

God’s Word                         Abraham named his newborn son Isaac.

New American Bible              Abraham gave the name Isaac to this son of his whom Sarah bore him. Mt 1:2; Lk 3:34.

New Simplified Bible              Abraham gave the name Isaac (he laughs) to the son Sarah bore him.

Revised English Bible            The son whom Sarah bore to him Abraham named Isaac,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And Abraham gave to his son, to whom Sarah had given birth, the name Isaac.

Conservapedia                       Abraham named his son that was born to him from Sarah, Isaac [Or literally, "He shall laugh." ].

The Expanded Bible              Abraham named his son Isaac, the son Sarah gave birth to.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Abraham accordingly gave the son born to him, by Sarah, the name of Isaac;...

HCSB                                     Abraham named his son who was born to him--the one Sarah bore to him--Isaac.

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               Abraham gavehis newborn son, whom Sarah had borne him, the name of Isaac.

NET Bible®                             Abraham named his son — whom Sarah bore to him — Isaac [Heb "the one born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac." The two modifying clauses, the first introduced with an article and the second with the relative pronoun, are placed in the middle of the sentence, before the name Isaac is stated. They are meant to underscore that this was indeed an actual birth to Abraham and Sarah in fulfillment of the promise.].

NIV – UK                                Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Avraham called his son, born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Yitz'chak.

Kaplan Translation                 Abraham gave the name Isaac [Yitzchak in Hebrew. See Genesis 17:19.] to the son he had, to whom Sarah had just given birth.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and Abraham calls the name of the son he births,

whom Sarah births to him, Yischaq:...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Abraham named his son whom Sarah bore to him Isaac [laughter].

Concordant Literal Version    And Abraham is calling the name of his son who is born to him, whom Sarah bears for him, Isaac.

English Standard Version      Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. The emphasis is again upon the fact that this was the son of promise, that he was the son of Abraham, not by a servant, but by Sarah, his wife. He complied with God's command in giving his son the name Isaac (he that laughs), Gen. 17:19. As the joyous laughter of Abraham had been caused by the great contrast between the idea and the reality, so the birth was a miracle of God's mercy, whence the son should always be an object of joyful and grateful contemplation.

Modern KJV                           And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him (whom Sarah bore to him) Isaac.

Syndein                                  And Abraham kept on calling the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac {Yitschaq - name means 'laughter'}.

Young’s Updated LT             And Abraham calls the name of his son who is born to him, whom Sarah has born to him—Isaac.

 

The gist of this verse:          Abraham named his newly-born son Isaac.


Genesis 21:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qârâʾ (קָרָא) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to call, to proclaim, to read, to call to, to call out to, to assemble, to summon; to call, to name [when followed by a lâmed]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

shêm (שֵם) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: Abraham called the name of his son,... You will recall that God already told Abraham what to name his son. This sentence has an unusual construction, so that what Abraham names his son is found at the end of this sentence, after twice it is said to be born to Abraham.


Genesis 21:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

to be born; in the participle, being born, receiving birth

Niphal participle with the definite article

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

to give birth, to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Sârâh (שָׂרָה) [pronounced saw-RAW]

princess, noble woman; transliterated Sarah

proper noun; feminine singular

Strong’s #8283 BDB #979


Translation: ...the one being born to him, whom Sarah bore to him,... These are parenthetical phrases, which emphasize and reemphasize the real birth of a son to Abraham and Sarah. We would have expected, given what has come before, for phrasing like this to be left out. The whole idea is, you should not be able to come away from this chapter and think anything other than, Abraham impregnated Sarah, and this is the child she bore.


Genesis 21:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

Yisechâq (יִשְׂחָק) [pronounced yihse-KHAWK]

he laughs; laughing; transliterated Isaac

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3327 & #3446 BDB #850

This is also spelled Yitsechâq (יֹצְחָק) [pronounced yihyse-KHAWK]. When you hear about manuscript discrepancies in the Old Testament, many of them simply involve alternate spellings.


Translation: ...Isaac. Although this is not a wildly composed sentence, it is unusual, particularly with all of the repetition. What is found in the subordinate clause is already covered in v. 2. The writer is apparently making a big deal of this.


Isaac would continue the line of Abraham down through Jacob and then to Moses and Joshua, through David, and eventually to our Lord’s humanity.


God had told Abraham to name his son Isaac (Gen. 17:19). He was given this name for two reasons. When God told Abraham that he would soon have a son, he fell on his face and laughed. The word laughed is tsâchaq (צָחַק) [pronounced tsaw-KHAHKH], which means to laugh; to mock; to play. Strong’s #6711 BDB #850. God, knowing all things at once, knew that Sarah would also laugh at the prospect of having a child (Gen. 18:9–12). Isaac’s name is derived from this verb to laugh.

 

Gill: [Abraham] remembers the order [to name his son Isaac], and is obedient to it; the reason of which name, which signifies laughter, was on account of his laughing for joy at the promise made him, as well as there might be afterwards a further reason for it, from Sarah's laughing through distrust; and it might presignify the joy and laughter that would be expressed by others at his birth.

 

Barnes: This is no longer the laugh of delight mingled with doubt, but that of wonder and joy at the power of the Lord overcoming the impotence of the aged mother.

 

Thomas Constable: Isaac's name ("laughter") was appropriate for two reasons. 1. Isaac would be a source of joy to his parents as the fulfillment of God's promised seed. 2. Both Abraham and Sarah had laughed in amazement and unbelief respectively when told that God had chosen to bless them by giving them a son so late in life (Genesis 17:17; Genesis 18:12).

 

B. H. Carroll: [A]ccording to Paul, Isaac comes into the world the child of promise, and by a miraculous birth. In this respect he is the type of all Christians who are regenerated, born of supernatural power.


——————————


And so circumcises Abraham Isaac, his son—a son of eight days—as which had commanded him Elohim.

Genesis

21:4

And Abraham circumcised Isaac, [his] son, [at] eight days, just as Elohim had commanded him.

And Abraham circumcised Isaac, his son, when he was 8 days old, just as God had commanded him to do.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so circumcises Abraham Isaac, his son—a son of eight days—as which had commanded him Elohim.

Targum of Onkelos                And Abraham circumcised Izhak his son, when the son of eight days, as the Lord had commanded him.

Latin Vulgate                          And he circumcised him the eighth day, as God had commanded him.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Abraham circumcised Isaac on the eighth day, as God commanded him.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek and Syriac leave out the word son (found twice in the Hebrew). The Syriac only has this word once (which is a legitimate way to translate it).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       ...and when the boy was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, just as the LORD had commanded.

Easy English                          When Isaac was 8 days old, Abraham *circumcised him. It was what God had ordered Abraham to do.

Easy-to-Read Version            Abraham circumcised [circumcise(d) Cutting the foreskin from a man. In Israel this was proof that a man had made a special agreement to obey God’s laws and teachings.] Isaac when Isaac was eight days old like God had commanded.

New Berkeley Version           ...and, in agreement with Gods command, Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was 8 days old,...

New Life Bible                        Then Abraham did the religious act of the Jews on Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had told him to do.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then on the eighth day, AbraHam circumcised IsaAc, just as God had instructed him.

International Standard V        On the eighth day after his son Isaac had been born [Lit. Isaac was a son of eight days when], Abraham circumcised him, just as God had commanded him.

New American Bible              When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded. Gn 17:10-14; Acts 7:8.

Revised English Bible            ...and when Isaac was eight days old Abraham circumcised him, as decreed by God.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And when his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham made him undergo circumcision, as God had said to him.

Conservapedia                       Abraham had Isaac circumcised when he was eight days old, as God had instructed him to do.

The Expanded Bible              He circumcised [17:10] Isaac when he was eight days old as God had commanded.

NET Bible®                             When his son Isaac was eight days old [Heb "Isaac his son, the son of eight days." The name "Isaac" is repeated in the translation for clarity.], Abraham circumcised him just as God had commanded him to do [Just as God had commanded him to do. With the birth of the promised child, Abraham obeyed the Lord by both naming (Gen 17:19) and circumcising Isaac (17:12).].


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and Abraham circumcises his son Yischaq

- a son of eight days,

as Elohim misvahed him:...

Kaplan Translation                 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And circumcising is Abraham Isaac, his son, at eight days of age as the Elohim had instructed him.

Syndein                                  And Abraham kept on circumcising his son - Isaac being eight days old - as 'Elohiym/Godhead intensively commanded {tsavah}.

Young’s Updated LT             And Abraham circumcises Isaac his son, being a son of eight days, as God has commanded him.

 

The gist of this verse:          Abraham circumcised Isaac when he was 8 days old.


Genesis 21:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mûwl (מוּל) [pronounced mool]

to circumcise; to cut off

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #4135 BDB #557

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yisechâq (יִשְׂחָק) [pronounced yihse-KHAWK]

he laughs; laughing; transliterated Isaac

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3327 & #3446 BDB #850

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: And Abraham circumcised Isaac,... It’s interesting that the vocabulary seems simpler, so far in this chapter, and more repetitive than I have seen before.


As a quick lesson in Hebrew, the reason that we know Abraham is circumcising Isaac is, before the proper noun Isaac, there is the untranslated sign of the direct object.


Circumcision was to be the sign between God and His people. Circumcision set them apart from the rest of the human race. Every circumcised Jew should look and see that this is a sign that God had promised Abraham that at 100 he would sire a son who would be the line of the Messiah and through this son, Abraham would be the father of the Jewish race.


Genesis 21:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

shemônâh ( ׂשְמֹנָה) [pronounced shemoh-NAW]

eight

feminine singular numeral

Strong’s #8083 BDB #1032

yâmîym (יָמִים) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, a set of days; time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398


Translation: ...[his] son, [at] eight days,... This is exactly what God had commanded; all males were to be circumcised. You will recall that, in a previous chapter, God spoke of Abraham obeying Him and of fulfilling the righteousness required of him. This is simply his obedience to God’s Word.


The spiritual significance of 8 days is, God restored the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th, because everything had been provided for Adam. However, Adam sinned, and this began a whole new series of actions by God in order to bring righteousness back to this earth. This is represented by the 8th day and the circumcision of Isaac, which is a reference to spiritual rebirth.


Genesis 21:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kaph or ke (כְּ) [pronounced ke]

like, as, just as; according to; about, approximately

preposition of comparison or approximation

No Strong’s # BDB #453

The kaph preposition can be used of time, and translated about, at; as, when, at the time of.

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaʾăsher (כַּאֲשֶר) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just as; because; according to what manner, in a manner as. Back in 1Sam. 12:8, I rendered this for example.

tsâvâh (צָוָה) [pronounced tsaw-VAW]

to commission, to mandate, to lay charge upon, to give charge to, charge, command, order; to instruct [as in, giving an order]

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong's #6680 BDB #845

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

God; gods, foreign gods, god; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...just as Elohim had commanded him. This final phrase makes it clear that Abraham is obeying what God told him to do.


We also have the word combination kaph ʾăsher for the third time. This signifies a couple of things: a limited vocabulary, perhaps, on the side of the human author; but it also signifies that this is a part of God’s plan from the divine side. Together, these words mean just as; and we are looking at what has occurred, just as God had promised and Abraham doing just as God had commanded.


Circumcision was a sign between God and Jewish believers, as was discussed earlier. It was an external sign of an internal change in a person (exercising faith in the Revealed Member of the Trinity resulting in the rebirth). Furthermore, this external change was not generally observed by others. When you meet some male, you do not know whether or not he is circumcised just as, when you meet any person, you do not know whether or not they have believed in Jesus Christ. However, this was a sign of an acknowledgment of a fulfilled promise (fulfilled in this chapter), the first of many promises which God would fulfill to Abraham.


We have already studied the Doctrine of Circumcision (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). More importantly, there is the relationship between Circumcision and Regeneration (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). Circumcision takes that which is dead and gives it new life—that is the reason for circumcision in the first place. Man is born dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1 Col. 2:13), but God gives him new life (John 3:1–12 Col. 2:13–14), as circumcision represents (Deut. 30:6 Ezek. 11:19–20 Rom. 2:28–29a).


The Jews were thereafter associated with circumcision—not because circumcision was necessary in order for a Jew to be saved—but because circumcision is representative of the second birth or being born again, something which Jesus kept repeating to Nicodemus in John 3. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that outwardly in flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart (Rom. 2:28-29a). Several times in the Old Testament, God speaks of the circumcision of the heart. This is because the key to the relationship of the Jew to God was not this external sign of circumcision, but the internal sign of the circumcision of the heart. Or, to put it in another way, Abraham believed Yehowah and this was credited to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6). Righteousness is achieved through faith in Yehowah, the Revealed Lord; not through circumcision. Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous--even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith (Rom. 4:11; NLT).


——————————


And Abraham a son of a hundred of a year in a being born to him Isaac, his son.

Genesis

21:5

Abraham was 100 years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him.

Abraham was 100 years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And Abraham a son of a hundred of a year in a being born to him Isaac, his son.

Targum of Onkelos                And Abraham was the son of an hundred years when Izhak his son was born to him.

Latin Vulgate                          When he was a hundred years old: for at this age of his father, was Isaac born.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Abraham was one hundred years old when Isaac his son was born to him.

 

Significant differences:           The Latin leaves out the two references to son in the Hebrew. The Syriac and Greek leave out the first reference (which is legitimate).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born,...

Easy English                          Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born for him.

New Berkeley Version           ...Abraham himself being 100 at his son Isaac’s birth.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      Abraham, a son of a hundred years, begot his son Isaac.

Beck’s American Translation Abraham was 100 when his son Isaac was born.

International Standard V        Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

God’s Word                         Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             Now Abraham was a hundred years old when the birth of Isaac took place.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 And Abraham was then one hundred years old when Isaac was born to him.

NET Bible®                             (Now Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.) The parenthetical disjunctive clause underscores how miraculous this birth was. Abraham was 100 years old. The fact that the genealogies give the ages of the fathers when their first son is born shows that this was considered a major milestone in one's life (G. J. Wenham, Genesis [WBC], 2:80).


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Avraham was one hundred years old when his son Yitz'chak [laughter] was born to him.

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and Abraham is a son of a hundred years

when he births his son Yischaq.

Kaplan Translation                 Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible    Now Abraham was a hundred years old, when Isaac his son was born to him.

Green’s Literal Translation    And Abraham was a son of a hundred years when his son Isaac was born to him.

World English Bible                Abraham was one hundred years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him.

Young's Updated LT              And Abraham is a son of a hundred years in Isaac his son being born to him.

 

The gist of this verse:          Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born.


Genesis 21:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (וְ or וּ) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

mêʾâh (מֵאָה) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred, a hundred, hundred

feminine singular numeral construct

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

shânâh (שָנָה) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040


Translation: Abraham was 100 years old... This chapter is quite emphatic; the writer is making it clear that Abraham is very old at this time (he will live to be 175 years old); but there is no way to misunderstand that Abraham is far past the age when he is normally able to sire a child.


We find this commemorated in Rom. 4:19 He [Abraham] did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. (ESV) Dead here refers to being sexually dead. Abraham knew that he was sexually dead when he sired a son by means of Sarah. This is in an homage to Abraham’s faith. Rom. 4:16–17 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his [Abraham’s] offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. (ESV, capitalized)


Genesis 21:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

When verbs in the infinitive construct are preceded by the bêyth preposition, be acts as a temporal conjunction; that is, in their being created = when they were created (Gen. 2:4); in their being in the field = when they were in the field (Gen. 4:8).

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

to be born; in the participle, being born, receiving birth

Niphal infinitive construct

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yisechâq (יִשְׂחָק) [pronounced yihse-KHAWK]

he laughs; laughing; transliterated Isaac

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3327 & #3446 BDB #850

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: ...when his son, Isaac, was born to him. We have the word to be born again for about the 4th time, along with the phrase Isaac, his son, just in case we did not know who this Isaac fellow was.


Abraham and his wife were well past the age of having sex; and yet, God made it possible, after Abraham was circumcised, for him to be capable of having sex and for his wife to be capable of conceiving a child. Where there had been death, God made life. God took that which was dead and regenerated it; He gave it life. Circumcision represented the removal of the old, dead skin and a regeneration of the phallus, representing a regeneration of the life. The idea is to represent the regeneration of the soul which occurs when one believes in the Revealed God (Jesus Christ).


Sarah had been unable to conceive for all of her marriage to Abraham (Gen. 11:30), except at this time. This made the birth of Isaac unique. There will not be another birth like his throughout all of Scripture.


The time frame given here is in accordance with all that is in the historical record.


——————————


And so says Sarah, “Laughter makes to me Elohim, any of the one hearing will laugh to me.”

Genesis

21:6

And Sarah said, “Elohim made laughter to me; everyone hearing [this] will laugh with me.”

And Sarah said, “God has made this laughter with regards to me; everyone who hears this will laugh with me.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so says Sarah, “Laughter makes to me Elohim, any of the one hearing will laugh to me.”

Targum of Onkelos                And Sarah said, The Lord hath done wondrously for me; all who hear will wonder at me.

Latin Vulgate                          And Sara said: God hath made a laughter for me: whosoever shall hear of it will laugh with me.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Sarah said, God has made me to rejoice today exceedingly; everyone that hears the news will rejoice with me.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Sarah said, The Lord has made laughter for me, for whoever shall hear shall rejoice with me.

 

Significant differences:           The targum has wondrously rather than laughter. Rejoice (Syriac, Greek) might be a reasonable substitute for laughter.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       ...and Sarah said, "God has made me laugh. Now everyone will laugh with me.

Easy-to-Read Version            And Sarah said, “God has made me happy. Every person who hears about this will be happy with me.

Good News Bible (TEV)         Sarah said, "God has brought me joy and laughter. Everyone who hears about it will laugh with me."

The Message                         Sarah said, God has blessed me with laughter and all who get the news will laugh with me!

New Living Translation           And Sarah declared, "God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me.” The name Isaac means "he laughs."


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          And SarAh said, 'Jehovah has created laughter for me, because, everyone who hears [about this] will rejoice with me.'

Beck’s American Translation “God has made me laugh,” Sarah said. “And everybody who hears about this will laugh about me.

International Standard V        Now Sarah had said, "God has caused me to laugh [The Heb. name Isaac means laughter], and all who hear about it [The Heb. lacks about it] will laugh with me."

New American Bible              Sarah then said, "God has given me cause to laugh,* and all who hear of it will laugh with me. Gn 17:17.

New Jerusalem Bible             Sarah said: God has given me cause to laugh! All who hear about this will laugh with me!

New Simplified Bible              Sarah said: »God brought me laughter. Everyone who hears about this will laugh on account of me.«

Revised English Bible            Sarah said, ‘God has given me good reason to laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me.’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And Sarah said, God has given me cause for laughing, and everyone who has news of it will be laughing with me.

Conservapedia                       Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me, and everyone who hears about this will laugh along with me." The Hebrew word for "laugh" and "laughter" recalls exactly the name of Isaac.

The Expanded Bible              And Sarah said, "God has made me laugh [Cthe name Isaac is related to a Hebrew word meaning "laugh"]. Everyone who hears about this will laugh ·with [or at] me.

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 Sarah then said,

“God has made a delight for me;

For He has heard my laugh to Him,

All who hear will laugh with me;”...

NET Bible®                             Sarah said, "God has made me laugh [Heb "Laughter God has made for me."]. Everyone who hears about this [The words "about this" are supplied in the translation for clarification.] will laugh [Sarah's words play on the name "Isaac" in a final triumphant manner. God prepared "laughter" (tsechôq (צְחֹק) [pronounced tsehkh-OAK]) for her, and everyone who hears about this "will laugh" (tsâchaq (צָחַק) [pronounced tsaw-KHAHKH]) with her. The laughter now signals great joy and fulfillment, not unbelief (cf. Gen 18:12-15).] with me."


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           Sarah said, "God has given me good reason to laugh; now everyone who hears about it will laugh with me."

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter; everyone who hears will laugh with [for] me.”

Judaica Press Complete T.    And Sarah said, "God has made joy for me; whoever hears will rejoice over me."

Kaplan Translation                 Sarah said, 'God has given me laughter. All who hear about it will laugh [Yitzachak in Hebrew, a play on Yitzchak. It means 'to be happy for me' (Rashi).] for me.'


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And saying is Sarah, "Laughter the Elohim makes for me. Everyone hearing is laughing for me.

English Standard Version      And Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me."

Heritage Bible                        And Sarah said, God has made me laugh so that all who hear attentively will laugh with me.

Syndein                                  And Sarah kept on saying, 'Elohiym/Godhead has manufactured {'asah} laughter {in me}, so that all who hear will 'Isaac'/laugh {tsachaq}.

World English Bible                Sarah said, "God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears will laugh with me."

Young’s Updated LT             And Sarah says, “God has made laughter for me; every one who is hearing laughs for me.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Sarah gives her approval to the name of Isaac, which means laughter. God made Sarah laugh (Isaac), and all who hear about this will laugh with her.


Genesis 21:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Sârâh (שָׂרָה) [pronounced saw-RAW]

princess, noble woman; transliterated Sarah

proper noun; feminine singular

Strong’s #8283 BDB #979

tsechôq (צְחֹק) [pronounced tsehkh-OAK]

laughter, sport, laughingstock

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #6712 BDB #850

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾĚlôhîym (אלֹהִים) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

God; gods, foreign gods, god; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: And Sarah said, “Elohim made laughter to me;... Sarah now was laughing out of joy; before it was out of skepticism and disbelief. But growing inside of her was the baby Isaac (Isaac means laughter); so now she is repeating the play on words that is in the name of her son (the name that God gave him).


God chose the name, but she is warming up to it.


Genesis 21:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kôl (כֹּל) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

shâmaʿ (שָמַע) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

the hearer, the listener; the one being attentive to; to one taking cognizance of; hearing, listening; being attentive

Qal active participle with the definite article

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

tsâchaq (צָחַק) [pronounced tsaw-KHAHKH]

to laugh; to mock; to play

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6711 BDB #850

When followed by the lâmed preposition, this means with [someone].

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (הָיָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.


Translation: ...everyone hearing [this] will laugh with me.” When people hear of her bearing a son, they will laugh with Sarah. When she gives them his name, they will laugh with her. When she tells them all that happened, they will laugh with her.


The lâmed preposition could mean at, over, or concerning, but with is probably closer to the correct meaning as we understand it. This would not be a laughing of derision but a laughing of shared humor and joy.

63411.jpgFrom HiddenMeanings.com accessed March 25, 2013. Using an image from a website does not indicate any sort of endorsement for that website.

Sarah would, along with Abraham, tell about Jesus Christ their Savior (they knew Him as Yehowah Elohim); and they had this child which Sarah bore after 9 months of pregnancy; and this pregnancy was testimony to God’s power and faithfulness. Surely, they knew people in that day and age; and some of them knew about Abraham’s meetings with God and God’s promises to him; and they were skeptical. And then they heard about Isaac; or they saw Sarah, age 90, pregnant. No doubt, some of them believed as well.


Genesis 17:16–17 (a graphic)


Genesis 21:6 And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, so that all who hear will laugh with me.”


There is a masculine noun and a verb found here, both related to laugh; and which are the basis for the name of Isaac. Sarah has quite a relaxed attitude about all of this. The entire situation made her laugh; it made her husband laugh; and so they named their child laughter. Furthermore, this suggests that this is a blessed occasion, as it were. A very happy occasion.


Recall that Abraham and Sarah had quite a large family business. Abraham was able to call up 318 men to go to war back in Gen. 14, so, even though this narrative focuses upon Abraham and Sarah, bear in mind that they had quite a large entourage with them who saw to their livestock business. Therefore, there were many people who celebrated this birth with them all.


Abraham also seemed to have a fairly good relationship with those around him; so there was likely some celebration which occurred with neighboring groups of people as well.


——————————


And so she says, “Who speaks to Abraham, suckles children Sarah; for I have borne a son to his old age.”

Genesis

21:7

Then she said, “Whoever spoke to Abraham, ‘Sarah will nurse a child’? And yet [lit., when, for] I have born a son [to him] regardless of [lit., regarding] his old age.”

Then she said, “Whoever said to Abraham, ‘Sarah will nurse a child?’ Yet I have given birth to his son despite his old age.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so she says, “Who speaks to Abraham, suckles children Sarah; for I have borne a son to his old age.”

Targum of Onkelos                And she said, How faithful was the messenger who announced to Abraham, and said, Sarah will nurse children, for she shall bring forth a son in her old age!

Jerusalem targum                  And she said, What was the announcement which announced to my lord Abraham at the beginning, and said, It will be that she will give suck, because she shall bring forth a son in her old age?

Latin Vulgate                          And again she said: Who would believe that Abraham should hear that Sara gave suck to a son, whom she bore to him in his old age?

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And she said, Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would give suck to children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.

Septuagint (Greek)                And she said, Who shall say to Abraham that Sarah suckles a child? For I have born a child in my old age.

 

Significant differences:           Although the Hebrew is not a difficult vocabulary; this verse is difficult to understand exactly as written. So what we have here are several translators trying to makes sense of this verse.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       Who would have dared to tell Abraham that someday I would have a child? But in his old age, I have given him a son."

Easy English                          She also said, `Nobody could have told Abraham that Sarah would feed sons from her breast. But although Abraham is old, I have had his baby son.'

Easy-to-Read Version            No one thought that I, Sarah, would be able to have Abraham’s child. But I have given Abraham a son even though he is old.”

Good News Bible (TEV)         Then she added, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."

The Message                         She also said, Whoever would have suggested to Abraham that Sarah would one day nurse a baby! Yet here I am! I've given the old man a son!

New Berkeley Version           Then she added, “Who would have told Abraham, ‘Sarah will nurse children’? For I have borne him a son in his old age.”

New Living Translation           Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!"


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          Then she added: 'Who could tell AbraHam that I'm nursing a child, because I've given birth in my old age?'

God’s Word                         Who would have predicted to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet, I have given him a son in his old age."

International Standard V        She also said, "Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse sons? Yet I have given birth to a son in my husband's [Lit. in his] old age!"

New American Bible              Who would ever have told Abraham," she added, "that Sarah would nurse children! Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."

NIRV                                      She continued, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? But I've had a son by him when he is old."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Ancient Roots Translinear      She said, "Who talks of Abraham? Sarah nurses sons! For I begot him a son in his old-age!"

Bible in Basic English             And she said, Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would have a child at her breast? for see, I have given him a son now when he is old.

Conservapedia                       And she said, "Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would ever nurse a son? I have born him a son in his old age."

The Expanded Bible              No one thought that I would ·be able to have Abraham's child [Lsuckle/nurse children], but even though Abraham is old I have given him a son."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...and she continued,

“For Abraham I am a flowing brook,

He has made me suckle children,

For I have borne a son to his age.”

New Advent Bible                  She went on to say [Heb "said."], "Who would [The perfect form of the verb is used here to describe a hypothetical situation.] have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have given birth to a son for him in his old age!"


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

exeGeses companion Bible   And she says,

Who utters to Abraham, that Sarah ever suckle sons

- to birth him a son for his old age?

JPS (Tanakh—1985)               And she added,

Who would have said to Abraham

That Sarah would suckle children!

Yet I have borne a son in his old age.”

Kaplan Translation                 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!'


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And she said, Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children at the breast? For I have borne him a son in his old age!

English Standard Version      And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."

Kretzmann’s Commentary    And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham that Sarah should have given children suck? For I have born him a son in his old age. It was an occasion of great rejoicing; for Sarah, with reference to the name which the Lord had selected for the child, cried out: "Laughter God has prepared for me; all that hear it will rejoice with me," full of astonishment at the miraculously given child. Who would ever have thought or dared to express the idea that she should yet have a child of her own to cuddle and to nurse?

Syndein                                  And she kept on saying, "Who would have intensely uttered {malal} unto Abraham, that Sarah should have caused to give children to suck? For I have born him a son in his old age."

World English Bible                She said, "Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age."

Young’s Updated LT             She says also, “Who has said to Abraham, Sarah has suckled sons, that I have born a son for his old age?”

 

The gist of this verse:          Almost speaking poetically, Sarah remarks that who would have told Abraham that she would nurse a son, a son she has given birth to in Abraham’s old age.


Genesis 21:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

mîy (מִי) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; whose, whomever; what; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

mâlal (מָלַל) [pronounced maw-LAHL]

to utter, to speak, to express

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #4448 BDB #576

Mâlal has two, and possibly three, very different meanings; it means to utter, to speak (Gen. 21:7 Job 8:2 33:3 Psalm 106:2 Prov. 6:13); to scrape, to rub (as per BDB in Prov. 6:13); a third meaning seems to be to languish, to wither, to fade (as per BDB), but I believe that to cut off, to cut back seem to be better renderings (see Gen. 17:11 Job 14:2 18:16 24:24 Prov. 37:2). Although BDB lists these as the same word, Strong and the New Englishman’s concordance spell the latter word nâmal and its Strong’s number is #5243.

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4

yânaq (יָנַק) [pronounced yaw-NAHK]

to cause one to nurse [suck], to nurse; to give suck to

3rd person feminine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #3243 BDB #413

bânîym (בָּנִים) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; children; people; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Sârâh (שָׂרָה) [pronounced saw-RAW]

princess, noble woman; transliterated Sarah

proper noun; feminine singular

Strong’s #8283 BDB #979


Translation: Then she said, “Whoever spoke to Abraham, ‘Sarah will nurse a child’? Or less precisely, Then she said, “Whoever said to Abraham, ‘Sarah will nurse a child?’” Who could have predicted such a thing? Who would ever look at Abraham and Sarah and suggest, “I believe they are thinking about having children.” Such a thought would never occur to a normal person, given that Abraham is 100 and Sarah is 90.

 

John Calvin gives this the same interpretation: such a thing would never have entered into the mind of any one. Therefore, she concludes, that God alone was the Author of it. Gill similarly writes: No one a year ago could ever have thought of such a thing, much less have come and told Abraham that he should have a child or children by Sarah; the thing was incredible, and next to impossible; none but God himself...could have declared this, as none but he could bring it about, the thing is so marvellous and astonishing.


The bulk of these past few chapters have been straightforward narrative not requiring a great deal of exegesis to understand. Having waited meany decades (we do not know how long Abraham and Sarah had been married), Sarah is bubbling over with enthusiasm about the birth of her son. She is finally understanding and believing in God with a greater strength of faith.

 

Of her laughter, Ellicott writes: God has made me to laugh.-Sarah’s laugh was one of mingled emotions. Joy was uppermost in her mind, but women do not laugh for joy at the birth of a child. Doubtless she called to mind the feelings with which she listened to the announcement of her bearing a son, made by those whom she then regarded as mere passing wayfarers (Genesis 18:12), but whom she had now long known to be the messengers of God. And still the event seemed to her marvellous and astonishing, so that “all that hear," she said, "will laugh with me”-Heb., for me, or over me-not "will ridicule me," but will be merry at the thought of an old woman of ninety having a son.


Genesis 21:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (כִּי) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

BDB gives this list of definitions: 1) that, for, because, when, as though, as, because that, but, then, certainly, except, surely, since; 1a) that; 1a1) yea, indeed; 1b) when (of time); 1b1) when, if, though (with a concessive force); 1c) because, since (causal connection); 1d) but (after negative); 1e) that if, for if, indeed if, for though, but if; 1f) but rather, but; 1g) except that; 1h) only, nevertheless; 1i) surely; 1j) that is; 1k) but if; 1l) for though; 1m) forasmuch as, for therefore.

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

to give birth, to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

zeqûnîym (זְקֻנִים) [pronounced zeh-koo-NEEM]

old age, extreme old age

masculine plural noun (or adjective); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2208 BDB #279


Translation: And yet [lit., when, for] I have born a son [to him] regardless of [lit., regarding] his old age.” Less precisely: Then she said, “Whoever said to Abraham, ‘Sarah will nurse a child?’ Yet I have given birth to his son despite his old age.” Yet, even though no one would ever suggest that such a thing could occur, Sarah has still given birth to his son.


As an aside, note that Sarah speaks of Abraham’s old age and not her own.


A few translations present Sarah’s words as poetry:

Then she said,

“Whoever spoke to Abraham,

‘Sarah will nurse a child’?

Except I have born a son [to him] regardless of [lit., regarding] his old age.”


This and the previous verse are very poetic in nature.


Sarah has given birth and she still cannot imagine that this happened. Sarah is testifying to the fulfillment of the promises which God made to Abraham and to her. This all came about as a fulfillment of the promises of God. And, for 25 years, God has been making these promises. No one other than God could have seen this coming.


So far, we have studied the first 7 verses:


Genesis 21:1–5 The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what He had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. And Abraham named their son Isaac. Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. (NLT pronouns referring to God have been capitalized)


God had a specific time frame, and Isaac was born according to God’s timing and God’s plan.


Genesis 21:6–7 And Sarah declared, "God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!" (NLT)


Even though Abraham and Sarah would live longer than we do today (to ages 175 and 137, respectively), age 100 for a father was too old and age 90 for a mother was too old. This was outside of the realm of possibility. However, with God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27b). This does not mean that your or I will grow to 175 and have children at age 100—all of that took place for a reason. Isaac’s birth was not simply another person born in the line of Christ; Isaac’s birth was to foreshadow the birth of Jesus.


Like many actual historical events of the Old Testament, the birth of Isaac foreshadows the birth of our Lord. This is a topic that we have covered before, and it has been posted online as well (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

The Parallels Between the Birth of Isaac and the Birth of Jesus

Birth of Isaac

Birth of Jesus

His birth was impossible. Abraham and Sarah were long past the age of being able to have children. Gen. 17:17 18:10–14 21:7 Rom. 4:19

His birth was impossible. He was born of a virgin. Isa. 7:14 Matt. 1:22–23 Luke 1:26–31

Isaac’s birth was unique. No one in the Bible was born the same way as Isaac. Gen. 21:1–2

Our Lord’s birth was unique. No one was ever born as He was. Luke 1:36–37 John 3:16 (only-begotten = uniquely born).

His birth was foretold. God, on many occasions, spoke to Abraham, telling him that Isaac would be born to him. McGee: When God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees twenty-five years earlier, God had said to him, "I am going to give a son to you and Sarah." Now twenty-five years have gone by, and God has made good His promise. See Gen. 12:7 13:15–16 15:1–5 17:1–7, 16 18:10

McGee: God also said to the nation Israel, "A virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son." When the day came that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was a fulfillment of prophecy. Both births had been promised. His birth was foretold on many occasions in the past. God spoke of the Seed of the woman and His words are recorded in Gen. 3:15 Isa. 7:14 9:6–7 Luke 1:26–31, 35 (as well as elsewhere).

Arthur Pink points out: Isaac was the child of promise. The Lord took great interest in the birth of this boy. More was said about him before his birth than about any other, excepting only Abraham's greater Son.

There was a long interval between the prophecy of birth and Isaac’s actual birth. From the first time that Abraham heard about his offspring, it was 25 years before this was brought to pass. Compare Gen. 12:7 with Gen. 21:1–3.

There was a long interval between the prophecy of birth and our Lord’s birth. Isaiah’s prophecies are the best known, and he wrote and spoke about 700 years before the birth of our Lord. God spoke of the Seed of the woman thousands of years before our Lord’s birth. Gen. 3:15 Isa. 7:14 9:6–7

All of the various promises that God made to Abraham are dependent upon the birth of Isaac. If Isaac is not born, then all of these other promises are meaningless. Abraham cannot be the father of a special people to God unless he had that first son.

All of God’s promises to Israel mean nothing apart from the birth of Jesus Christ. There must be a Savior, or everything that God promised to Israel is meaningless.


Similarly, all of the promises which God has made to us are meaningless without the birth of Jesus Christ.

When the announcement of the imminent birth was made, Sarah was incredulous, and thought that such a thing was impossible. Gen. 18:9–12

When the announcement of the imminent birth was made, Mary was incredulous, and thought that giving birth to a son as a virgin was impossible. Luke 1:34

Sarah was assured by God that He is able to do what He has promised. Gen. 18:13–14

Mary is assured by God that He is able to do that which He has promised. Luke 1:34, 37

Isaac was named before his birth. Gen. 17:19 21:3

Jesus was named before His birth. Matt. 1:21

The name Isaac was rich with meaning and related directly to Abraham and Sarah. Gen. 17:17 18:12–15

The name Jesus was rich with meaning and directly related to the people He would save. Matt. 1:21 Luke 1:31–33

His birth was a result of a visit from God. Gen. 21:1–2

His birth was a result of a visit from God. Matt. 1:18 Luke 1:35

The change required for Isaac to be born was brought on by a visit of Yehowah to Sarah. Although a change had to be wrought in Abraham as well, that is never discussed. The focus has to be upon the woman in order to set up the parallel situation. Gen. 21:1

This is to parallel the virgin birth of Jesus, where Jesus is born only of the woman without any contribution from Joseph. The reason for this is, the sin nature is passed down through the father, so the father has to be eliminated from the birth equation. Isa. 7:14

The emphasis upon Sarah: Gen. 21:1–2 focuses upon Sarah and God interacting with Sarah. Abraham is named in v. 2, but not as having anything to do with the birth of Isaac. So Sarah miraculously has her reproductive processes activated.

The emphasis upon Mary: Jesus is virgin-born, so there is no contribution of any sort by Joseph, our Lord’s legal father. So Mary is miraculously impregnated apart from Joseph.

As far back as Gen. 3:15, the focus has been upon the Seed of the woman; this is simply continued through Sarah.

The birth of Isaac occurred at God’s appointed time. Gen. 21:2

The birth of Jesus occurred at God’s appointed time. Gal. 4:4

The birth of Isaac was miraculous. God had to override the limitations of nature. Abraham was no longer able to father children and Sarah’s reproductive organs had shut down. Gen. 18:11–13 Rom. 4:18–21

The birth of Jesus Christ was miraculous; God had to override the limitations of nature. Mary was a virgin, and it is physically impossible for a woman to give birth apart from a man. Isa. 7:14 Matt. 1:23 Luke 1:34

Where there had been death (Abraham was no longer potent and Sarah could not conceive), God brought life. This is the meaning of circumcision; that which is dead, God brought to life.

Where we are born dead in our trespasses and sins, God regenerates us (makes us alive to Him). Out of death, God brings life. Eph. 2:1

The birth of Isaac brought great happiness to the household of Abraham. Gen. 21:6

The birth of Jesus is also a cause for great celebration and happiness. Luke 1:14, 58

There was great joy when Isaac was born. Gen. 21:6

There was great joy when Jesus was born. Luke 1:46–47 2:10–11

The birth of Isaac did not just cause joy but conflict. However, we are not to overly concerned about the conflict in this world. Gen. 21:9–12

The birth of Jesus did not just cause joy but conflict. However, we are not to be overly concerned about the conflict in this world. John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV) See also Matt. 10:37 Gal. 5:17

All of the promises of God to Abraham are based upon the birth of Isaac. If Isaac is not born, then none of the promises that God made to Abraham can come to pass. This is the most fundamental event upon which every other promise is based.

All of God’s promises to us are based upon the birth and then death of our Lord. If Jesus is not born, then none of God’s promises can come to pass. That Jesus died for us sins is the fundamental event upon which all other promises are based.

Another way of putting this is, Isaac was the down payment of the many promises which God has made to Abraham. God cannot make Abraham’s descendants like the sand of the sea without there being Isaac first.

Jesus Christ is the down payment of the many promises God has made to Israel over the years. There is no millennial kingdom apart from the King.

Isaac represents the line of promise; and Ishmael is cast out of Abraham’s household. Gen. 21:3, 10, 12, 14 Rom. 9:7 Heb. 11:18

Jesus represents the line of promise, the firstborn of many brothers. Rom. 8:29

Our relationship to Jesus Christ is likened to the Jews relationship to Isaac. Gal. 4:28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.

Isaac, the son of Abraham, will be obedient to his father unto death. Gen. 22:1–10

Jesus, the Son of God, will be obedient to His Father unto death. Philip. 2:5–8

The greatest parallel of all comes in the next chapter (Gen. 22), where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his uniquely-born son.

Some of these examples came from http://www.ovrlnd.com/Teaching/Typology.html accessed February 26, 2013.

3 or 4 examples came from David Guzik’s Commentary on the Old Testament; courtesy of e-sword; ©2006; Gen. 21:2–7.

2 examples are from C. I. Scofield, Scofield Notes from the Scofield King James’ Bible; from e-Sword, Gen. 21:3.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


When faced with the information found in the Bible, we have logical choices. Regarding these many parallels (and those between the birth of Isaac and the birth of Jesus is just one set of such parallels), there are 3 logical explanations: (1) this was all a great hoax perpetrated by the early Christian writers, who after perpetrating said hoax, forgot to tell anyone that is what they were doing. Paul never, in any of his epistles, talks about this. Luke, nowhere in his gospels, speaks about type and antitype and refers back to the birth of Isaac. (2) This was all a giant coincidence. There are a lot of parallels, but they just happened. No one planned for them; they just are. After all, there are coincidences in life. (3) This is the Word of God and these words are really recorded by God the Holy Spirit in order to set up a set of parallels 2000 years later.

 

When dealing with the Lord Jesus Christ, we also have a limited number of possibilities: (1) He was the greatest liar of all time, fooling millions of people into thinking that He was the Messiah when He really was not. (2) Jesus was completely delusional. He was like some nutball you take out of a sanitarium, that you take off his meds. Or, (3) Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God as He claims. There is no 4th option. You cannot say that He was a great teacher, because He made claims about Himself that were either true or false. If these claims were all false, then He was a liar. If He believed these claims and these claims were false, then He was a nutcase.

 

When you begin to logically explore these options, and then throw in things like the science of the Bible and the fulfilled prophecy of the Bible, then it is hard to see the Bible as anything other than the Word of God.

 

Then there are all of these little things. In the past year or so, I have begun to include quotations on various topics related to the subject at hand or to the particular chapter of the Bible that I am writing about. Having the internet, I have access to the thoughts of millions of men over a period of thousands of years. And, surprisingly enough, the quotations which are most on point and are most accurate generally come out of the Bible. So, on the one hand, I have the Bible as a source written by about 40 different men over a period of 2000 or so years; and then I have all of the writings of the entire world of all mankind and man’s collective wisdom—and there tends to be greater wisdom that comes out of the Bible.


Sometimes, so many parallels become overwhelming. So let’s simplify this.

T. H. Leale Sums up the Parallels of the Births of Isaac and Jesus

1.      Both births were announced long before.

2.      Both occur at the time fixed by God.

3.      Both persons were named before their birth.

4.      Both births were supernatural.

5.      Both births were the occasion of great joy.

6.      Both births are associated with the life beyond.

From http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/view.cgi?bk=0&ch=21 accessed September 7, 2014. Many commentators did this.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


So far, we have studied the first 7 verses of Gen. 21, which are all about the birth of Isaac:


Gen 21:1–7 And יהוה [= Yehowah] visited Sarah as He had said, and יהוה did for Sarah as He had spoken. So Sarah conceived and bore Araham a son in his old age, at the appointed time of which Elohim had spoken to him. And Araham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Yitsḥaq [= Isaac]. And Araham circumcised his son Yitsḥaq when he was eight days old, as Elohim had commanded him. And Araham was one hundred years old when his son Yitsḥaq was born to him. And Sarah said, “Elohim has made me laugh, and everyone who hears of it laughs with me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Araham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.” (The Scriptures 1998+)


These points are fairly basic, but reasonably important:

Ray Pritchard on, What Abraham learned from the birth of Isaac

A.      Abraham learned that God keeps His Word.

The most important verse in the whole chapter is verse 1. Here is what it says in the Living Bible: "Then God did as he had promised, and Sarah became pregnant and Abraham a baby son in his old age, at the time God had said." Did you notice where God is in that verse? He's at the beginning at he's at the end: "Then God did as he had promised;" "at the time God had said." That's why Sarah got pregnant and why Abraham is now changing diapers at the age of 100.

All the God promises Abraham was predicated on Abraham fathering a son. God allowed Abraham to wait for a great deal of time before beginning at that point.

 

B.      Abraham learned that God's timing is always perfect.

Approximately 25 years have passed since God first spoke to Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees. During that time Abraham had many adventures and many spiritual ups and downs. Sometimes he fervently believed God, but often he doubted. Time and again God appeared to him to remind him of his promise. I'm sure he often wondered why God was taking so long to keep his Word.

Let the story of Isaac's birth remind you of this truth: God is never early and he is never late. He's also not in a hurry and he doesn't work according to our timetable. How often do we fret and fuss and fume when God delays his answers to our prayers. How much better to say, "Lord, let your will be done in your own time in your own way."

God has a perfect timetable. We may not understand it all of the time; but the more doctrine that you know, the more likely you are to understand what is going on in your life.

 

C.     Abraham learned that God's power is unlimited.

This is Paul's point in Romans 4:21, where he says that Abraham believed God's promise because he was "fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." To use Paul's terms he wanted both Abraham and Sarah to be "as good as dead" physically so that when the child was born, only God could get the credit. No one could say to Abraham at the age of 100, "Oh, you rascal!" because Abraham did nothing but believe what God had said. When Abraham held little Isaac in his arms, he knew that nothing was too hard for the Lord.

This does not mean that you look for a miracle in each and every circumstance. Given the period of time over which the Bible was written, there are actually very few miracles over human history. Furthermore, most of those miracles were done for a specific reason. When Jesus began His public ministry, these miracle were His credit card; they showed that He was the Messiah. In the Church Age, God’s power is primarily in His Word. It is more normal for a believer to go through his entire life and never see a miracle than it is for us to witness unqualified miracles.

 

D.     He learned that God can turn sorrow into joy.

In Genesis 17 & 18 we are told that both Abraham and Sarah laughed in unbelief when God promised that within a year Sarah would give birth to child. But when the year had passed, Isaac was born. His name means "laughter." It was both a statement of total joy and a reminder that God's promises are no laughing matter.

Has God made a promise to you? If so, you may be sure that he will keep it. You may waver, but he will not waver. You may doubt but that will not stop God. This morning your eyes may fill with tears, but remember the word of the Lord: "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy" (Psalm126:5).

From Keep Believing; accessed September 9, 2014; with some editing.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Finally, Isaac was born. God had made many promises to Abraham, in Person, and these promises essentially were based upon Abraham having a son of his own loins. Only on one recorded occasion did Abraham finally say, “Listen, God, I need to have a son and I don’t have a son. Your promises are only fulfilled to me if I have a son. How can I be assured that I will really have a son?” Which concern God answered with a covenant (that is, God drew up a contract between Himself and Abraham—Gen. 15).


But finally, at age 100, Isaac is born to Abraham; and Isaac is the down payment of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. This birth essentially gets the ball rolling. None of God’s promises to Abraham make any sense apart from Isaac being born (as we discussed in the previous chapter, this is analogous to Jesus Christ being born (and dying for our sins). Nothing in the Bible makes sense apart from that fundamental truth. Without Jesus, God’s other promises to us are meaningless.


Isaac’s Birth in the New Testament:

 

Isaac’s birth is spoken of in two New Testament passages. As usual, enough of the surrounding text will be incorporated, so that the full meaning might be understood. We begin in v. 13 of Rom. 4, although there is nothing about the birth of Abraham’s son until v. 17. However, we need to get the context for what is being said.

 

Rom. 4 is all about justification by faith versus justification by works.

 

Rom 4:13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he [Abraham] would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

 

The Jews are the racial offspring of Abraham. However, Paul would shake this notion up somewhat in Rom. 4. What Paul will eventual speak of is the heirs of Abraham by faith.

 

Paul gets a lot of mileage from using Abraham as an illustration. All Jews recognize Abraham as their father, but there was no Mosaic Law in the time of Abraham. Therefore, Paul can point to things which are true about Abraham, and say, “And because you are Jews, these things are also true about you.” Most importantly is, Abraham was not justified by the Law because there was no Mosaic Law during his time. Therefore, Abraham cannot be justified by any part of the Law.

 

It should be worth noting that this letter to the Romans is going to a church which is mostly gentiles, although there is a substantial Jewish population. Furthermore, there is always the challenge of legalism for any church, with or without the challenge of Judaism. Therefore, to understand all of this, we need to look at the Doctrine of Legalism. Because few Christians understand the life into which they have been born, because a lack of the knowledge of the Word of God, they do not understand what legalism is, and how pernicious it is.


This comes from the Doctrine of Legalism (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). However, originally, that material comes primarily from the sources listed below.

The Abbreviated Doctrine of Legalism

1.      Fundamental to understanding legalism, is to understand the concept of grace. Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind because of the work that has been done on our behalf by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. Grace means that man has received from God that which he has not earned or deserved. Nothing that we are, and nothing that we can do, is enough to qualify us for anything that the Lord has to give us. In fact, our human works are a matter of arrogance, which God will not tolerate. Isa. 64:6 describes how God views our works: All our righteousnesses are as filthy [lit., menstruous] rags in His sight.

2.      The concept of legalism:

         1)      Legalism is the belief that you can do something meritorious and thereby be rewarded in some way by God for doing good works or following some religious system of customs, laws and/or rituals.

         2)      Legalism connotes any system of merit, by which a person tries to please God, or to assist God, or to glorify God by means of his own human power.

         3)      Religious legalism promotes a system of works as man’s approach to God. Religious legalism is whatever system that teaches that a person can do something to earn or merit salvation or blessing from God.

         4)      Religious legalism also refers to any system of religious bondage imposed on someone by another individual, or by an organization, that attempts to make that person a practitioner of legalism. Often, bullying tactics or ostracism are used to keep people in line.

         5)      Legalism includes the concept that God will bless, help, and prosper the one living according to whatever legalistic standards have been established. These standards may be the application of the norms and standards or society, some subgroup of society (a particular church or denomination), or from a misinterpretation of the Bible (e.g., Sabbath-keeping in the Church Age).

         6)      Therefore, legalism is the belief in and the practice of human religious regulations and taboos because one believes that is the way to please God, to become spiritual, and to live the Christian life. Legalistic people, because they work for God's blessing, often confuse cause and result, and thereby misunderstand grace.

3.      There are four principal spiritual transactions in which human works are not acceptable to God: salvation, spirituality, spiritual growth (resulting in spiritual maturity), and eternal rewards. Very briefly, legalism is against salvation by grace (Gal. 1:6–9 2:16), spirituality by grace (Gal. 3:2–5 5:5), and the freedom to live the Christian way of life by grace—which is the freedom to live apart from pressure imposed by a religious community or a taboo list (Gal. 4:8–11 5:1–5).

4.      As an aside, Satan has two overall strategies with regards to people on this earth: (1) to keep them from the gospel; and (2) for those who have believed in Jesus Christ, to neutralize their spiritual lives. Huge numbers of believers have had their spiritual lives neutralized by legalism (which means, nearly nothing of what they do on this earth has any eternal consequence). Legalism is used by Satan to accomplish both of these objectives.

5.      Legalism and salvation:

         1)      Legalism in salvation is the concept that you must do something more than have faith in Christ in order to gain God’s approval (or you must do something other than or in addition to exercising faith in Christ). That is, even in some legalistic Christian faiths, there is the belief that there is a set of additional works that must be done or that there is some often poorly-defined set of minimal standards which must be adhered to in one’s lfe. If you do not meet those standards, then you did not really believe in the first place; or you had a head belief, but not a heart belief. Let me emphasize that this is a false view of salvation.

         2)      There are many religious systems which teach salvation by works, or which try to mix works with faith, such as:

                  (1)     Believe + keep the Law of Moses.

                  (2)     Believe + be circumcised.

                  (3)     Believe + water baptism.

                  (4)     Believe + confess your sins.

                  (5)     Believe + give up your bad habits and fully surrender; make Jesus Lord of all.

                  (6)     Believe + make a public display or some sort (come forward or raise your hand); or have great sorrow or a show of tears.

                  (7)     Believe + join a church.

                  (8)     Believe + live some minimal sort of Christian life. This is what is found most often in today’s Christianity. Those who promote this sort of legalism will never state is in this way, but they will carefully explain, “If you still do thus-and-so, maybe you did not really believe in Jesus in the first place.” Or, “Maybe you have a head belief but not a heart belief.” If there is no evidence of salvation, then, perhaps you were never really saved. “After all,” they will tell you, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;” (not understanding what they have just said). This is the most insidious attack upon salvation. The believer who is under attack for not acting like a Christian then has two ways to go: he can abandon his faith altogether because he did not have enough faith or he can enter into a life of legalism, adhering to whatever set of standards that quasi-Christian group has established.

                  (9)     What is added to faith is just a matter of the time and place; Christian converts in Paul’s day were told they needed to believe and be circumcised; it is unlikely that any significant group of legalists today adds circumcision to faith in Christ.

                  (10)   However, the gospel of Jesus Christ is to have faith alone in Christ alone; it is believe + nothing. Placing your faith in Jesus Christ is a non-meritorious choice; and that is our only means to connect with God. We have no other means by which we can initially establish a relationship with God. Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6). God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It's not the result of anything you've done, so no one can brag about it (Eph. 2:8–9; God’s Word™).

         3)      Legalism is diametrically opposed to salvation by grace. Gal. 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him Who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to the one we [originally] proclaimed to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is proclaiming to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (WEB, slightly modified). Gal. 2:16 Still we know that a person is not justified [i.e., made right with God] by [perfect obedience to] the law of Moses, but rather through faith in [the person and work of] Christ. [Knowing this] we have trusted in Christ Jesus [to save us], so that we might be made right with God by trusting in Him and not by [our compliance with] the requirements of the law of Moses. Because by such law-compliance no one can be made right with God. (AUV–NT)

         4)      Rom. 4:4–5 Now wages are not considered a gift if the person has to work for them, but [rather] an obligation [of his employer]. But to the person who believes in God, who makes ungodly people right with Himself apart from doing good deeds, that person’s faith is considered by God [as the basis] for being righteous. (AUV–NT) Or, to state this in a different way, how can salvation be the gift of God if you have to work for it?

         5)      Legalism becomes a heavy yoke or load to live under. No man has the ability to impress, bribe, coerce, or trick God into giving him salvation. The attempt to work for your salvation is taking on an impossible burden. In Matt. 11.28–30, [Jesus said], “Come to Me, all of you who are overworked and overburdened and I will give you rest [i.e., spiritual refreshment]. Accept My reins [on your life], and learn about Me, because I am gentle and humble, and [in My service] you will experience rest in your spirits. For My reins [on your life] are easy [to respond to] and the burden I place [on you] is light.” (AUV–NT; pronouns referring to Jesus are capitalized)

6.      Legalism and fellowship with God:

         1)      Grace is the means by which our fellowship with God is restored. We name our sins to God and God forgives us these sins. 1Cor. 11:31 1John 1:9

         2)      We are forgiven, not because we feel badly, we do penance, we promise never to commit that sin again; we are forgiven because Jesus Christ died for that sin on the cross. The means by which our fellowship is restored is based upon grace, and not upon legalism. Again, all we do is admit our sins.

         3)      This naming of our sins both restores our fellowship with God and resumes the filling ministry of the Holy Spirit. Being led by the Spirit is not a 50-50 proposition; we are either led by the Spirit or we are not. 1John 3

         4)      Legalism in the Christian life is using some meritorious system in order to get back into fellowship (into God’s good graces, so to speak). This could include penance, begging for forgiveness, promising never to commit a particular sin again, promising God an overall improvement in your life, working up a deep sorrow over your sins, confessing your sins to a priest, doing penance, etc.

         5)      Some adherence to certain norms and standards are not wrong—such as functioning under the laws of divine establishment, which is a divine code designed for all people in all nations. Adhering to the laws of divine establishment make you a better person socially, and this adherence makes for a better nation, but it does not make you spiritual. You can be a good person in society, and yet not filled with the Holy Spirit.

7.      Legalism and the Christian life:

         1)      After salvation, legalism is abandoning grace as the basis of our spiritual lives.

         2)      If we are saved by grace, then it is logical that spirituality and spiritual growth are also by grace. Gal. 3.2–5 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain--if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? (ESV, mostly) Gal. 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (ESV)

         3)      As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the freedom to live the Christian way of life by grace—which includes the freedom to live apart from pressure imposed by a religious community or a list of taboos. Gal. 4.8–11 Previously, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and empty elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once again? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. See also Gal. 5.1–6.

         4)      Some forms of legalism are easy to define; e.g, Legalism is the belief in and the practice of human religious regulations and taboos because one believes that is the way to please God, become spiritual, and live the Christian life. This could include tithing, going to church, and not doing the things which some sub-group of Christians tell you not to do (don’t misunderstand this to mean that the Christian can do anything).

         5)      Legalism is a set of do’s or don’t’s, adherence to which mean that a person is spiritual or a good Christian. Here is the problem: with a list of do’s and don’t’s, quite obviously, Charley might be better than Lucy who might be better than Linus when it comes to adherence to this list. However, in the Christian life, there is no such thing as a 50 percenter. You are saved or you are not; you are spiritual or you are not. Now, there are different stages of growth, but this is completely different from imperfectly following a list of do’s and don’t’s.

8.      Legalism versus grace apparatus for perception:

         1)      Grace apparatus for perception is terminology developed by R. B. Thieme, Jr., which means that all believers have the same ability to grow through knowledge of Bible doctrine and the same ability to be productive in the plan of God, no matter what their mental or physical deficiencies. If a person is able to understand the gospel and to believe in Jesus Christ, then he is able to execute the Christian way of life as a mature believer. We all reach spiritual maturity in the same way: God’s grace system, which is the ability to understand with all the saints what the will of God is. Eph. 3:18–19

         2)      Every believer has the same crack at the Christian way of life—including Christian maturity—whether they have an IQ of 70 or of 130.

         3)      The full doctrine of the grace apparatus for perception is found here and here.

         4)      Examples of legalism in the Christian Life, which are also examples of pseudo-spirituality and the pseudo Christian life. These are things that Christian churches, groups and believers do, instead of actually growing in grace and the knowledge of God’s Word.

                  (1)     Taboos: thinking one is spiritual because he doesn't do certain things or follows a certain do's and don't’s. I don’t know that this is really much of a part of mainstream Christianity as it used to be.

                  (2)     Imitating Personalities: the idea that living the Christian life is conformity in dress, mannerisms, speech, etc. I have observed this, and it is quite entertaining, but unrelated to the spiritual life. This can occur in all kinds of churches. How many Sunday School teachers at Berachah Church attempted to imitate Bob’s personality when teaching young children?

                  (3)     Relative Righteousness: "your sins are worse than mine, therefore I am more spiritual" or "I am spiritual and you are carnal." Spiritually is an absolute state—you are or you are not.

                  (4)     Ecstatics: spirituality by speaking in tongues, groaning, getting in a trance, fainting. This is a very big deal today (primarily the speaking in tongues and the trance-like states) and has been a corruption of the Christian life for over a century now.

                  (5)     Asceticism: spirituality by self-sacrifice or extreme self-denial; giving up normal activities or even necessities in the mistaken notion that God is impressed. This is not generally found in the U.S. anymore, where we tend to be very self-indulgent; but is more common outside of the U.S. This is a very big deal in monasteries.

                  (6)     Ritualism: This is the idea that one is spiritual or growing because he goes through various forms of ceremony or ritual. Spiritual maturity is ascribed to those who do this and look really holy while doing it. In the Apostle's day, the Jews promoted circumcision as necessary to the Christian walk. These days, any sort of ritual may be used, including singing (I am not saying that singing is wrong, but it is mostly unrelated to spiritual growth, unless one concentrates on the words and the words are Biblically accurate).

                  (7)     These examples often take the place of spiritual growth. That is, instead of being filled with the Spirit and learning Bible doctrine and growing, one or more of these other things are offered up instead.

                  (8)     This describes most churches today. They practice various forms of legalism, rather than the filling of the Holy Spirit (by naming one’s sins to God—1John 1:9) and growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18).

9.      Legalism and false systems of production:

         1)      One of the biggest problems of legalism is, confusing means with results. Legalism posits the idea that you are spiritual if you are faithful in praying, giving, witnessing, attending church, and so forth. But these legitimate activities are a result of Christian growth and the filling of the Holy Spirit. When the emphasis is placed upon doing these things, that is putting the cart before the horse. These things are not the means for spirituality or growth in Christ.

         2)      The grace principle is this: when you are in fellowship, occupied with Christ, and controlled by the Holy Spirit, all of your activities bring eternal reward (gold, silver, precious stones—1Cor. 3:10–14). You are producing divine good, and the spiritual power for your efforts comes from God as a grace provision. The amount that you produce is, of course, limited or enhanced by your spiritual growth.

         3)      When you are out of fellowship (with unconfessed sin), you are occupied with yourself, you control yourself, everything is chaos. You therefore produce human good (wood, hay, and stubble—1Cor. 3:10–14). There is no spiritual power supporting your efforts, and there is no reward for them in heaven. This describes most believers today. Most believers today spend a majority of their time out of fellowship, and they only get back into fellowship by accident (they shock themselves so much with a series of sins, that they acknowledge these sins, and are restored to fellowship).

         4)      Obedience to God's Word is not legalism. Remember the definition. Everything you do has the potential for reward in heaven, under the right circumstances. The key is being in fellowship, and growing by grace and the Word of God.

         5)      The legalist thinks that the good works he does for God will not only keep him in fellowship and walking with the Lord but will also make him more spiritual and a great Christian. This is confusing means and results.

Much of this was originally taken from the following websites:

http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics/legalism.html

http://gracebiblechurchwichita.org/?page_id=260

http://www.spokanebiblechurch.com/study/Bible%20Doctrines/dictionary-bible-doctrine.htm


Isaac’s birth in the New Testament continued:

 

So far, we studied one verse in the New Testament (which passage will reference Isaac’s birth) and the doctrine of legalism:

 

Rom 4:13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he [Abraham] would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

 

God made promises to Abraham, and God did not do this because Abraham followed the law, but because Abraham exercised faith in the Revealed God.

 

In the apostle Paul’s time, There were those trying to place believers under the Mosaic Law, and Paul told them to go back and examine Abraham, who received promises not based on the Law, as there was no Mosaic Law during the time of Abraham. The promises that God mad to Abraham were based upon the righteousness of faith.

 

Throughout most of the letter to the Romans, Paul makes use of the Old Testament. In fact, in the book of Romans alone, Paul quotes nearly 100 separate Old Testament verses. The books of the Old Testament are his Scriptures, and he uses them as authoritative, even though he is speaking mostly to non-Jews. Paul is writing in the pre-canon period of the New Testament era, so he is in the Church Age. Yet he makes his theological points quoting the Old Testament.

 

The Church Age is neatly divided into two time periods—there is the early church, at which time the apostles had authority over more than one church, there were sign gifts which gave God’s authority to the apostles, and during which time they wrote the New Testament, which are the authoritative words of the apostles. Then there is the post-canon period, which began between a.d. 70–100, at which time, it is the apostles’ writings which become authoritative, and at which time, all the apostles are martyred (save John). So we no longer have apostles traveling about from church to church, or to missionary fields, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching Bible doctrine. All that remains are their writings. Therefore, their writings are taken as authoritative and their writings take the place of the apostles. Their writings become the New Testament, the sum of which become the canon of the New Testament.

 

By the time of the canon of Scripture came about, the apostles have been recognized as being from God, as carrying the words of truth, and what they left behind were the authoritative Word of God, which we call the New Testament. Like the Old Testament, these words came from a variety of authors (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter, Jude and possibly a 9th author of Hebrews); but, unlike the Old Testament, these writings were written and recognized as being authoritative over a relatively short period of time (less than 70 years).

 

Paul lived in the pre-canon period of the Church Age, where his teaching and writings were beginning to be understood as authoritative. Before his authority was fully recognized, Paul (and the other apostles) had sign gifts, which meant he could do healings, miracles, and speak in languages which he did not know (Acts 28:8–9 Rom. 15:19 1Cor. 14:18 2Cor. 12:12). However, these sign gifts necessarily faded as Paul’s authority (and the authority of the other apostles) became established (Rom. 1:1 1Cor. 9:1–3 13:8–10 2Cor. 11:5 Philip. 2:26–27 2Tim. 4:20). If you look up these passages, they may seem to be a random collection of unrelated things, but Paul on many occasions has to establish his authority as an apostle, which is a man who can speak authoritatively on all matters of Bible doctrine. He had sign gifts which established his authority as an apostle (Acts 19:11–12 1Cor. 14:18). However, as time went on, his authority became established among the people of God, and therefore, Paul no longer needed to perform miracles to prove that his teaching was from God. As a result, he was unable to heal the sick after a time (Philip. 2:26–27 1Tim. 5:23 2Tim. 4:20). This was no longer necessary; his authority as an apostle was clearly established.

 

Paul could always refer to the Old Testament Scriptures as authoritative, as they were accepted as the Word of God by believers all over. However, Paul also taught doctrines which were outside of the realm of the Old Testament, and these are the doctrines of the Church Age—the mystery doctrines—doctrines which are only known to those within a certain fraternity (by application, these doctrines were not known in the Old Testament, but were known only to believers in the Church Age—Rom. 11:25 1Cor. 2:7 Eph. 1:7–10).

 

Much of the point that is being made here, Paul sums up in Eph. 3:1–7 This is the reason that I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles, [pray for you. See 3:14-19]. [Note: Paul here digresses from his prayer, begun in 1:15-16, to explain the circumstances of his being a prisoner on behalf of these Gentiles]. [I assume] you have heard about my commission [to minister] to you, which was given to me by God’s unearned favor [= grace of God]. [It is] that God’s secret plan [= the mystery doctrine of the Church Age] [i.e., revealed in the Gospel preached to Gentiles. See verse 6] was made known to me by way of a revelation. [See Acts 9:15; 22:21]. I have already written to you [about this] briefly [i.e., probably a reference to 1:9ff]. So, when you read this you will be able to understand my insight into the secret plan of Christ, which was not told to people of previous generations as it has now been revealed to His [i.e., Christ’s] holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit. This secret plan is that the Gentiles [now] share in the inheritance along with us [Jews], and are fellow-members of the body [i.e., the church], and that they share, along with us [Jews], in the promise of the Gospel, in [fellowship with] Christ Jesus. I was made a minister [of the Gospel] according to the gift of God’s unearned favor, which was given to me according to the working of His power. (AUV–NT with two additional notes by me).

 

This mystery doctrine is Church Age doctrine; or doctrine which is peculiar to the Church Age; doctrine which is not taught in the Old Testament. This means that Paul will teach doctrines which are, from time to time, outside of the Age of Israel (such as, the gentiles would share in the inheritance of God).

 

However, there are principles which are true in all dispensations. Many of these principles Paul is able to glean from the Old Testament. Logically, Paul will show that God has a gracious relationship to all believers; and not a relationship based upon legalism (again, legalism is the system by which we do something in order to be saved, blessed or rewarded by God).

 

Paul uses Abraham as an illustration because nearly all Jews acknowledge Abraham as their father, and Jesus is the true heir of Abraham. Also, the gentile believers in Rome would have known about Abraham and that he is considered to be the father of the Jewish race. However, Abraham lived 500 years prior to the Law, so one cannot say that Abraham was blessed because he followed the Law. Therefore, when God promised blessing to Abraham and his offspring, this was based upon Abraham’s righteousness of faith and not due to his adherence to the Mosaic Law. There was no Mosaic Law when these promises were given to Abraham. Therefore, Abraham was not blessed because he kept the Law.

 

Back to our passage in Romans:

 

Rom 4:14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs [to the promises of God], faith is null and the promise is void.

 

There is a clear contrast. If the promises of God are those who adhere to the Mosaic Law—and the true heirs of Abraham adhere to the Mosaic Law—then the faith of Abraham is meaningless and the promises that God made to Abraham, based upon faith, are void.

 

The first verb is kenoô (κενόω) [pronounced kehn-OH-oh], which means, 1) to empty, make empty; 1a) of Christ, He laid aside equality with or the form of God; 2) to make void; 2a) deprive of force, render vain, useless, of no effect; 3) to make void; 3b) cause a thing to be seen to be empty, hollow, false. Thayer definitions only. Strong’s #2758. Paul writes here that, if the inheritance promised by God comes through adherence to the law, then faith is deprived of its force; faith is rendered vain, useless and of no effect; faith is empty, hollow, and false. This is because the approach to God is either through the Law or through faith; if we approach God through the Law, then faith is made empty, hollow and false.

 

The second verb is katargéô (καταργέω) [pronounced kaht-ahr-GEH-oh], which means to be idle, to render inactive, to be useless, ineffective. Strong’s #2673. God made promises to Abraham—that has been much of the focus of our study of Abraham in Genesis—but if our heirship of God’s blessings is based upon the Mosaic Law, then the promise of God is useless and ineffective.

 

Rom 4:14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null [or, empty, void, deprived of power, vain, useless, of no effect, empty, hollow, false] and the promise is void [or, ineffective, useless, idle].

 

So, this indicates that there is no middle ground; there is no halfway point where people who have faith and adhere to the Law are also heirs to the promises of God. If Law is the basis of blessing, then their faith is vain, useless, empty and false; in fact, the promise which God made is void, ineffective and useless—if that promise is predicated upon keeping the Law. However, there was no Mosaic Law for Abraham to follow, so what meaning do God’s promises to Abraham have, if one must adhere to the Mosaic Law in order to be heir to them? This makes no sense to require believers in the Church Age to adhere to the Mosaic Law in order to be considered true believers, when Abraham himself did not follow the Mosaic Law.

 

Abraham had to accept God’s promises on the basis of faith because there was no Mosaic Law. And if he is an heir by faith, then the Jews are heirs by faith as well. If Abraham is the father of the Jews, then he sets the example—his life sets the pattern. Furthermore, if Abraham is our father by faith, then he sets the example for us—believers in the Church Age—as well.

 

Similarly, there is no mixture of works and faith, either for salvation or for spirituality.

 

Rom 4:15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

 

All people transgress the Mosaic Law. Therefore, from a righteous God, we can expect nothing from Him but wrath. That is, if our relationship to God defined by the Mosaic Law. The Law defines sin in many areas, and since all men sin, the best the Law can do is pronounce us sinners. If we are sinners, then we have no relationship with God. We can only be judged by God. The Ten Commandments themselves condemn all mankind. It is no good if you follow commandments 1–9 but not 10 (or whatever). That makes you a sinner. Unless we keep the Law perfectly, in all respects, we cannot depend upon the Law for our righteousness. Since no one keeps the Law perfectly, no one can depend upon the Law for righteousness.

 

Paul adds ...but where there is no law, there is no transgression. Is Paul saying that a person has a better chance of a relationship to God if he lives in Timbuktu or in outer Mongolia, where there is no Law of Moses being taught? Of course not! We are speaking of two different systems which are fundamental to our relationship to God: Law versus faith. So, we are speaking of two realms here, one of law and one of faith; in the realm of law, we are transgressors; in the realm of faith—where there is no lawthere is no transgression. We have to be in one sphere or the other, in our relationship to God. Because we cannot keep the Law fully, the Law brings God’s wrath upon us. Therefore, if we are in the realm of the law, then we have transgressed against God, and God can give us nothing but wrath. However, if we are in the realm of faith, where there is no law, then there is no transgression. In the realm of faith, we are outside of the Law, and therefore, not subject to the condemnation of the Law. Furthermore, if we are in the realm of faith, then we are modeling Abraham, who is our mutual father (the father of Jews and gentiles alike who have exercised faith in Jesus Christ).

 

There is no overlap between those who stand upon faith and those who stand upon the Law. These are two separate and distinct realms.

 

Rom 4:14–15 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null [or, empty, void, deprived of power, vain, useless, of no effect, empty, hollow, false] and the promise is void [or, ineffective, useless, idle]. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law [which is in the realm of faith] there is no transgression.

 

There are two realms: the realm of faith and the realm of Law. When one adheres to (holds to) the Law, then their faith is empty, vain and of no effect. Furthermore, the promise of God is void and useless. This is because the Law brings forth wrath. God looks at us, measures us against His perfects standards, and then condemns us, as a matter of law. He cannot do anything else if only the Law of God is applied. But where there is no Law [that is, being in the realm of faith], there is no transgression. Faith has to be properly directed toward Jesus Christ; and then, after salvation, toward what is taught in the Bible. And in that realm of faith, there is no transgression.

 

Remember when Gen. 15:6 said, And Abraham believed in Jehovah, and He counted it unto him for righteousness? Transgressions were not a part of this equation. Here, Abraham is in the sphere of faith and all of the merit lies in the object of his faith. Therefore, there is no transgression.

 

Rom 4:16 That is why it [the promise] depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (ESV, which is used mostly in this lesson)

 

This verse can be a bit confusing, because it appears that Paul is saying it is okay for two types of people to receive salvation: those who adhere to the law and those of faith. When Paul speaks of those who are adherents of the law, he is referring to Jews who were under the Law of Moses and aware of God’s Law. However, their relationship to God has to be based upon faith in Christ (in the Old Testament, faith in the Revealed God); not upon their strict adherence to the Mosaic Law.

 

Sharing the faith of Abraham means, Abraham believed in the Revealed Lord and this was credited to him as righteousness. Those who share this faith are those who also believe in the Revealed Lord, Who is Jesus Christ (Who is God revealed to us—John 14:8–12); and God has also credited them with righteousness.

 

Then Paul writes something which might have startled most of the Jews in Rome and some of the Romans: he writes that Abraham is the father of us all. Paul is not writing to an all Jewish church. We have no idea how many of those at the Roman church are Jews, but certainly just a percentage of them—say 10%. Jews have, at many times in history, seen their father Abraham as being a defining factor in their lives; a separating factor from all that is impure. And yet, Paul is writing to a mostly gentile church calling Abraham the father of us all.

 

The key is sharing the faith of Abraham. When Paul writes this letter, Abraham has been dead for 2000 years. So, what does this mean?

 

Let’s get a more accurate translation:

 

Rom 4:16 For this reason [it is] of faith, that [it should be] according to grace, for the promise to be secure to all the seed [fig., descendants], not to the [one] of the Law only, _but_ also to the [one] of [the] faith of Abraham, who is father of all of us... (ALT)

 

Rom. 4:16 For this reason, the promise [i.e., of being made right with God] comes through faith [in God], according to His unearned favor, so that it may be [given] with certainty to all of Abraham’s descendants. The promise is given not only to those [who live] under the law [i.e., the Jews], but also to [all] those [who live] by faith, like Abraham. Abraham is the [spiritual] father of all of us [believers],... (AUV–NT)

 

So, what is the promise of Abraham? The promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world (from v. 13). This promise, which comes through faith according to grace, is given to all of Abraham’s descendants. These promises made to Abraham are not just for those subject to the Law of Moses (that is, the Jews) but to anyone who lives by faith, which, incidentally, includes Abraham (many times, Paul will make this point in his letter to the Romans, as well as elsewhere).

 

Isaac’s birth in the New Testament continued:

 

We are in the early portion of Gen. 21, where we are studying the birth of Isaac. This birth is alluded to on several occasions in the New Testament, which includes the passage of Romans which is now before us (Rom. 4:13–24).

 

Gen 21:1–7 And Jehovah visited Sarah as He had said, and Jehovah did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah had borne to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, God has made laughter for me, and all who hear will laugh with me. She also said, Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would suckle a son? For I have borne him a son in his old age. (Voice in the Wilderness).

 

Like many narratives of the Old Testament, at first glance, there does not appear to be much to talk about. But there is.

 

This is what we have studied so far (in the AUN–NT version, with an additional note or two from me thrown in)

 

Rom 4:13–16 For it was not through [obedience to] law [See 3:31] that the promise to Abraham or his descendants of inheriting [the best of] the world [was made], but through their being considered righteous because of [their] faith [in God]. For if [only] those who are obedient to the law deserve an inheritance, [then their] faith [in God] is for nothing, and God’s promise is nullified. For the law brings [God’s] wrath [i.e., because of man’s failure to obey it perfectly], but where there is no law [which is being in the sphere of faith instead], there is no [responsibility for] sin. For this reason, the promise [i.e., of being made right with God] comes through faith [in God], according to His unearned favor [= grace], so that it may be [given] with certainty to all of Abraham’s descendants. The promise is given not only to those [who live] under the law [i.e., the Jews], but also to [all] those [who live] by faith, like Abraham. Abraham is the [spiritual] father of all of us [believers],...

 

Abraham does not inherit the promises made to him by God through his obedience to the Law, because the law only brings God’s wrath. The promise is based upon God’s grace—His unmerited favor, which we attain by faith, a non-meritorious system of perception (everyone has faith; so it is the object of our faith which has all of the merit). These promises are for all of Abraham’s descendants, which includes us who are Abraham’s progeny through faith—we who have believed in the same Revealed Lord.

 

If we live by faith, Abraham is our father. Now, this is not some nebulous faith in something other than ourselves—faith in itself is not meritorious—but the object of faith has all of the merit (or lack of same). So, if you believe that Harry Potter is real, and you have great faith in that, you are not in the faith of Abraham.

 

That was a goofy example; so let’s take a real example. One thing which has become the object of faith for many today is science; I have known many people who talk about how they have great faith in science. One person told me that she only believes in peer-reviewed studies (which was a very foolish for an educated woman to say, because she believed in lots of things that had not been scrutinized by scientists). Science is sometimes good and accurate; and science is sometimes quite foolish in its attempts to prove that everything in this world just came about apart from God. But there is no real merit in science; science cannot fix our sin nature; and, at best, science can modify our actions or provide useful technologies for us. But there is no spiritual merit in science and people who place their faith in science are lost (except as recognizing the science is a helpful tool in this life). There is no ultimate redemption to be had by having faith in science.

 

Furthermore, scientists and those who claim to be scientists have sin natures, and therefore, they have agendas which are related to their beliefs, which beliefs are established apart from scientific research and which beliefs interfere with their science. So there are many so-called scientists with agendas: the global warming crowd, the evolution crowd, the God-does-not-exist crowd. These scientists will not discover or theorize anything which goes against that which they fundamentally believe, and will interpret their data in accordance with what it is that they believe. So many “scientists” begin with a philosophical point of view based upon faith, and they do not allow the science that they espouse to run counter to that faith.

 

As has been observed, science has become highly politicized in the past few decades (I write this in 2013)—at least in some areas. Therefore, every powerful hurricane or every harsh winter or any record temperature here or there becomes additional evidence of climate change, in the eyes of some scientists and by many of those who have placed their faith in science (which is not the view of all scientists). Furthermore, now it appears that news outlets like to exaggerate the claims of global warming and hurricanes (for instance), and act as if, for instance, the hurricane Sandy is unique in its size, path and destructiveness, when it is not.

 

The way that these things get twisted is amazing. One article explains how climate change is making hurricanes more destructive. The simple reason for increased destruction caused by hurricanes is, there are more people and property in more places than there were before. 50 years ago, a hurricane may follow a particular path and miss any populated areas. Today, that same hurricane can strike the same area with the same force, but it is much more destructive because now there are people and structures in that same path.

 

Let me be more specific about this particular faith—it is a faith often that mankind is at least partially to blame, and that by changing our light bulbs, or driving different cars, or by reducing our consumption of energy, that climate change will be averted or put off. In most cases, those who have faith in climate change believe that huge sums of money funneled to the government (or to climate change groups) for the purpose of changing climate change will ultimately have a ameliorative affect on the climate. Millions of people believe this, because we all have faith and we all believe in things. So Paul’s sphere of faith includes the object of Jesus Christ when it comes to salvation and the Word of God when it comes to our life as Christians. Again, it is the object which is key, not the faith itself.

 

As an aside, how does the Christian view science? Like everything in this life, science can become corrupted. Science is no more pure than anything else in life. Science is a tool and has provided wonderful things for us in terms of conveniences, energy and medical care; but that does not mean that science is above corruption and dogma. Scientists have sin natures, and their nature not only affects their own personal lives, but it also affects their work. Therefore, it should not be a shock to anyone that science can be corrupted just like anything else.

 

Let’s look at that final verse again:

 

Rom. 4:16 For this reason, the promise [i.e., of being made right with God] comes through faith [in God], according to His unearned favor [= grace], so that it may be [given] with certainty to all of Abraham’s descendants. The promise is given not only to those [who live] under the law [i.e., the Jews], but also to [all] those [who live] by faith, like Abraham. Abraham is the [spiritual] father of all of us [believers],... (AUV–NT with one insertion)

 

Faith is the Greek word pistis (πίστις) [pronounced PIHS-tihs], which means, 1) conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it; 1a) relating to God; 1a1) the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ; 1b) relating to Christ; 1b1) a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God; 1c) the religious beliefs of Christians; 1d) belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same; 2) fidelity, faithfulness; 2a) the character of one who can be relied on. Thayer definitions only. Strong’s #4102. So faith is used not just as a system of perception, but what is believed is incorporated by this word. We use this word in the same way. When we speak of the Christian faith, we are not just referring to the non-meritorious act of believing, but primarily to the Christian doctrines which we believe in.

 

So, faith both incorporates our trust, conviction and belief along with what is the object of our faith, which are the promises of God (and, more widely, Bible doctrine).

 

Rom 4:17 as it stands written, "I have made you the father of many nations" —in the presence of the God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

 

On the one hand, this particular reference in Gen. 17:5 means that Abraham would be the father of many Jewish and gentile nations. However, Paul puts a bit of a spin on this, stating that Abraham is the father of us all (referring to believers), suggesting perhaps that there would be many nations who are made up of predominantly believers. Abraham, in the realm of faith, is the father of these nations as well.

 

So Paul takes a promise which, in the context of Gen. 17, refers to both Jewish and Arabic nations (which Abraham is the father of), but then Paul applies this passage to Jewish and gentile nations which are predominantly made up of believers. This is fascinating, because Christianity was not a thriving all-encompassing faith adhered to by most of the world—not when Paul wrote. Tradition has it that all of the Apostles save John would be martyred for their faith. So Paul was looking out into the future, at a time when the faith of Abraham would define the population of even gentile nations. This is because God gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. This nations of Christians do not even exist, yet God will call things that do not exist into existence. Abraham is the father of such nations as are defined by the faith of most of the population in Jesus Christ (at one time, near the era of Paul, this was the Roman empire, and, as of late, this was Great Britain of a century ago; and today it is the United States and South Korea).

 

The statement that Paul is making here is quite amazing. At one time, just Israel, and then later Israel and Judah, were client nations to God, made up of mostly believers. However, here Paul looks down the corridors of time, and he sees a widespread faith in Jesus Christ as occurring in some gentile nations, which makes Abraham the father of those nations as well.

 

Paul’s taking an Old Testament passage and putting a different spin on its interpretation is quite weird for some believers. Some believers expect that when a passage of the Old Testament is quoted in the New, that Paul is going to explain to us exactly what this passage means; or that Paul is going to show how this passage is fulfilled during his era. But Paul does not do that. Paul takes this Old Testament passage, which nearly everyone who reads it ought to understand that it refers to Jewish and Arabic nations, where Abraham is the genetic progenitor of such nations; and Paul gives this a completely new meaning, where Abraham will be the father of a number of nations which are based upon the fundamental faith in Jesus Christ. And this is based up Abraham being our father because of his faith in the Revealed Lord.

 

You see, I am not Jewish, and, chances are, most of you reading this are not Jewish. But Abraham is my father, because he exercised faith in the Revealed Lord; and you and I have similarly exercised faith in Jesus Christ, the Revealed Lord. He set the pattern for us, and we have followed his pattern of faith, making him our father.

 

Rom. 4:16–17 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the Law [that is, the Jews], but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham [anyone who believes in the Revealed Lord], who is the father of us all (as it stands written, I have made you a father of many nations) in the presence of Him whom he believed; God, who makes the dead alive and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. (Mostly the VW)

 

We are dead in trespasses and sins, and God makes the dead alive; and then God calls those things which do not exist—gentile nations who have faith in Him—into existence.

 

Rom 4:18 In hope he [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be."

 

Abraham’s faith was remarkable, because he did not have a lot of reason to believe God. For 25 years, God had been making promises to Abraham, all of which hinged upon the birth of his son Isaac, and Abraham exercised faith in God’s promises. Again, that is the key to this chapter, the theme, if you will: faith versus adherence to the Law of Moses.

 

The word translated hope here is elpís (ἐλπις) [pronounced el-PIS], which means, hope, desire of some good with expectation of obtaining it; that latter phrase means confidence. When the Bible speaks of the hope of the resurrection or our hope of salvation; the word is obviously confidence, expectation. It only means hope in the sense of being the opposite of the Gentiles who have no hope or who are hopeless. Zodhiates. Strong’s #1680.

 

So, even though Abraham had no reason to have confidence in God and in the birth of Isaac, he was, nevertheless, strong in faith, and he trusted in God for the birth of his son through Sarah. Yet, Abraham had few reasons to have such a great trust.

 

Rom 4:19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.

 

God told Abraham that he would father a child by Sarah, and that this would occur after their reproductive equipment quit. Abraham’s faith continued. Remember when he was circumcised. I can guarantee you, as a male, whether you are sexually dead or not, the idea that you, as an adult, ought to be circumcised to indicate that you have faith in God’s promises, is uniquely abhorrent if you lack that faith. When God said to Abraham, “You need to cut off a portion of the skin around your sexually dead phallus” Abraham responded with faith, not with, “Are you bleeping kidding me?” I can assure you that any male who allows any sharp object anywhere near that area has to be operating on a great deal of faith. Abraham was not weak in faith when he evaluated his own sexual impotence, as he was 100 years old; nor was he weak in faith when taking into consideration the fact that Sarah had been barren for all of her life (Abraham has probably known Sarah from age zero on up).

 

A normal male, a male who lacked faith in the promises of God, would have said, “Look, I am too old to be potent and Sarah has always been barren; so let’s skip this whole circumcision thing. You want me to offer up a lamb on the altar? No problem. But if You want me to cut away the skin around my phallus, I’ll pass on that one.” Yet Abraham, who was not weak in faith, was circumcised, along with the other males of his compound (indicating that they too had great faith in the God of Abraham).

 

Now, Abraham was very successful and very rich; but not a single promise that God made to him had come to pass; and most of God’s promises were such that Abraham would never see them come to pass—yet Abraham continued with great faith in the Revealed God.

 

Rom 4:20–21 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

 

The faith that Abraham had in God, at this point in his life, is quite astounding. Abraham was fully convinced that God would do exactly as He had promised him.

 

It is this great faith that gives glory to God. That phrase may cause some people problems. What is the deal? Is God this grand Egotist Who needs people to say, over and over again, “You are great, God; I really mean that”? That is not how it is. Glorification of God is a matter of focus, and God wants us to focus upon Him, because it is in Him that we have our salvation. Don’t look to Abraham, don’t look to Sarah, and for goodness sakes, don’t look to me. Abraham’s faith in God glorifies God; it shifts the focus of man and angels toward God. It forces us to examine God’s grace, God’s veracity, God’s promises, and God’s character. Can God be trusted? When God promises us something, can we depend upon Him to stand by His promises? When we read over and over again, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved;” do we respond with skepticism or are we able to allow our focus and our faith to be on Him? When we near death—and we will all come near to death and experience it—to whom do you look for your life in eternity? Do you look toward your own self and your own puny works—many of which often were working in cross-purposes with God’s plan? Do you look toward your sons or your daughters or to your spouse? Or do you look to God? Abraham’s faith gives glory to God; Abraham’s faith tells us where it is appropriate to adjust our focus and then to place our faith. Giving glory to God tells us where we should direct our own focus. It is in the Revealed God—in Jesus Christ—where we have our salvation.

 

And, so that there is no misunderstanding, this is not developing a set of holy sayings that irritate the people around you (“Give glory to God, brother”). It is a matter of soul-focus.

 

So there is no misunderstanding, we all have faith and we all choose where to place our faith. I recall talking to one very cute liberal and she told me she only placed her faith in peer-reviewed, scientific studies. Well, there are no peer reviewed studies on eternity; there are no peer-reviewed studies on death—other than the fact that it is inevitable. And if you are placing your faith in some man, or some man’s opinion, then you had better be willing to take the responsibility for pointing your faith in that direction—because it is not your faith but the object of your faith which has the merit, or lack of same.

 

In the plan of God, the Bible is unequivocal: your eternal relationship with God is 100% dependent upon the Person and work of Jesus Christ. It depends not even 1% on what you have done or achieved.

 

So when you see the phrase, where this or that gives glory to God—that is because God is our proper focus—and Jesus Christ, His Son, is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life—no man comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). "For it is by Him that we have life and we move and exist; so also some of the wise men among you have said: ‘Our lineage is from Him.’ ” (Acts 17:28). God can be trusted; God’s Word can be trusted.

 

This is what we have studied in Romans so far:

 

Rom 4:13–19 For it was not through [obedience to] law [See 3:31] that the promise to Abraham or his descendants of inheriting the [new] world [kingdom] [was made], but through their being considered righteous because of faith [in the Revealed God]. For if those who are obedient to the law deserve an inheritance, [then their] faith [in the Revealed God] is for nothing, and God’s promise is nullified. For the law brings [God’s] wrath [i.e., because of man’s failure to obey it perfectly], but where there is no law [which is being in the sphere of faith], there is no [liability for] sin. For this reason, the promise [i.e., of being made right with God] comes through faith [in the Revealed God], according to His unearned favor, so that it may be [given] with certainty to all of Abraham’s descendants. The promise is given not only to those [who live] under the law [i.e., the Jews], but also to [all] those [who live] by faith, like Abraham. Abraham is the [spiritual] father of all of us [believers],as it stands written, "I have made you the father of many nations" —in the presence of the God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be." He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.

 

There are two spheres: one of faith and one of law. In the sphere of law, we stand condemned; in the sphere of faith we are made righteous (our faith must be directed toward the Revealed God, Jesus Christ). Abraham, who exercised faith in the Revealed God and His promises, is our father, we who are of the faith. So Abraham is not just the father of the Jewish race, he is the father of all believers.

 

Furthermore, he had confidence in God when God promised him that he would be made the father of many nations, because God can call into existence that which does not exist. And Abraham had this confidence despite his own age, his sexual death, and the barrenness of his wife’s womb.

 

Rom 4:20–21 No distrust made him [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.

 

Abraham, despite having nothing but promises before him—no actual fulfillment for over 25 years—was strong in faith to God, and this faith gives glory to God, as Abraham was fully persuaded that God could and would do all that He promised.

 

Rom 4:22 That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."

 

One of the most quoted Old Testament passages in the New Testament is Gen. 15:6 (along with Psalm 110:1). Abraham’s faith is his righteousness; because it is not the faith itself, which is a choice, but the object of the faith wherein is all the merit. The object of Abraham’s faith is God, often known to him as the Angel of the Lord.

 

Here, Paul is not speaking of Abraham’s faith giving him salvation righteousness; this is an experiential righteousness based upon his faith, which faith gives glory to God because Abraham was fully convinced that God could do that which He promised. This is faith built upon faith; this is faith in the experiential life of the believer.

 

Therefore, there is a salvation faith which Abraham exercised in the past, but his faith in God and in God’s promises are another kind of faith, a faith which glorifies God. We know this as experiential righteousness or experiential sanctification.

 

Rom 4:23–24 But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in Him Who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord.

 

That faith is important is well-known to those in the Old Testament so that Paul can teach it in the New. Changing dispensations does not mean that everything is turned upside down; there are some changes in the way that God administers His household on earth. However, faith is always presented as superior to works, throughout all dispensations. And the object of faith is the key. Old Testament Jews were not saved by keeping the Law; they were saved by exercising faith in the Revealed Lord, which is exactly the same way that we are saved (if Jews were saved by keeping the Law, then what about Abraham, who did not have the Mosaic Law?). We believe in the Revealed Lord (Jesus Christ), just as Abraham did, and we are saved forever.

 

There is also a faith, exercised by the mature or maturing believer, toward Bible doctrine, which is an experiential faith, which glorifies God.

 

So, just in case you blinked and missed it, Paul is teaching the primacy of faith and the importance of the object of faith; Abraham believed God when it came to having a son, and God brought that to pass. His faith was vindicated; and the importance of his faith stands even to this day. Because Abraham believed and this was counted to him as righteousness, Paul is able to take this passage to use it today, to teach the same thing to us in the Church Age.

 

————————————————

 

Now let’s take a look at Heb. 11, which is the faith chapter

 

Heb 11:11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful Who had promised.

 

Sarah had never conceived in 88 years. Sarah had been barren her entire life. And now, not only did she continue to be barren, but she was also barren simply due to her age. But Sarah had faith herself—something which is not really spoken of in the Old Testament. But the writer of Hebrews, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, knows that she also had faith in what God had promised. Her trust was in the God Who has promised her a son.

 

The verb translated considered here is hêgeomai (ἡγέομαι) [pronounced hayg-EH-ohm-ahee], which means 1) to lead; 1a) to go before; 1b) to be a leader; 1b1) to rule, command; 1b2) to have authority over; 1b3) a prince, of regal power, governor, viceroy, chief, leading as respects influence, controlling in counsel, overseers or leaders of the churches; 1b4) used of any kind of leader, chief, commander; 1b5) the leader in speech, chief, spokesman; 2) to consider, deem, account, think. Thayer Definitions only. Strong’s #2233. It is the latter group of meanings which are pertinent. Whom does she consider faithful and trustworthy? The Revealed God. Towards Whom is her faith directed? Toward the Revealed Lord. She may have laughed when she first heard that she was going to become pregnant, but she did believe at some point after that.

 

How did Sarah view God? She saw Him as pistos (πιστός) [pronounced pis-TOSS], which means faithful, trustworthy, dependable, worthy of trust; exhibiting fidelity; believing, confiding, trusting; credible. Thayer Definitions: 1) trusty, faithful; 1a) of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; 1b) one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust; 1c) that can be relied on; 2) easily persuaded; 2a) believing, confiding, trusting; 2b) in the NT one who trusts in God’s promises; 2b1) one who is convinced that Jesus has been raised from the dead; 2b2) one who has become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and author of salvation. Strong’s #4103. You will note the similarities to the Greek word pistis (previously studied).

 

Both Sarah and Abraham were both made fully aware when they would have a child and who the participants would be (themselves, as opposed to a surrogate like Hagar). Both Sarah and Abraham had faith in God and in what He had promised to do. The emphasis in the Old Testament, prior to conception, was on Sarah, because the emphasis on the birth of our Lord is the virgin birth. Therefore, throughout the Old Testament, the emphasis was on the Seed of the Woman (with Eve) and upon Sarah and God visiting her (you will recall that the text only spoke of God visiting Sarah before the birth of her son).

 

There is also a great power here, which Paul in Romans and the writer of Hebrews do not go into: Abraham and Sarah, a married couple, exercised faith in the same direction, toward the same things—toward the Revealed Lord and His promises. This is a great corporate witness, and is one of the great strengths of a good marriage. Recall when Jesus said, “When 2 or 3 are gathered in My name, then there I am in the midst of them.” This can be exploited (in a good way) by a married couple every time that they pray together or exercise their spiritual gifts together. A married couple going in the same direction, both maturing and exercising faith toward Bible doctrine, form a very powerful witness for God, and their shared prayers are powerful and effective.

 

Heb 11:12 Therefore from one man [Abraham], and him as good as [sexually] dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

 

Here we have one of the fundamental themes of Scripture—out of death, God brings life. Abraham was sexually dead, but from him, there were descendants born, as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the grains of sand by the seashore (these are hyperbole, by the way).

 

From the death of Jesus Christ—His dying for our sins—God brings life to all men who believe in Him. From our spiritual death (we are all born spiritually dead), God brings life; we are born again. What this new life entails is the regeneration of our human spirit, so that we are able to take in correct information about God and store it (just as our souls take in information about the world around us, and we process and store that information as well). Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; former things passed away [e.g., the control of the sin nature], then suddenly new things [the human spirit; the divine operating assets] came into existence (2Cor. 5:17; Brodie).

 

Heb 11:12 Therefore from one man [Abraham], and him as good as [sexually] dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

 

That one man in v. 12 is Abraham; and Abraham is without a child by Sarah and he is too old to father a child by Sarah—he is as good as dead—and to him would be born descendants, as many as the stars of heaven and as many is the grains of sand at the seashore. The writer of Hebrews is not saying that Abraham is near to dying, he is saying that Abraham is sexually dead.

 

In order for this verse to be true, that first son had to be born to Abraham, and that was Isaac. Nothing that God promises Abraham can come to pass if there is no uniquely-born son.

 

There is something else which must be said at this juncture: when there is a New Testament passage which quotes or refers to an Old Testament, that is not all that can be said about that event in the Old Testament; nor is that the only way to understand or interpret that Old Testament event. We have already studied how the birth of Isaac parallels the birth of our Lord. This is not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament. Paul does not spend a chapter explaining how the birth of Isaac foreshadows the birth of our Lord. God knows that believers long after the fact would be able to understand and explain such things. Furthermore, most of the work on that particular topic is quite recent. However, it is just as valid as Paul’s teaching on the Old Testament (apart from the fact that, every word that Paul wrote was inspired by God the Holy Spirit).

 

Here is why Paul used the Old Testament as he did: there were not many who questioned the authority of the Old Testament in the time of Jesus. The pharisees and scribes tried on many occasions to distort the Old Testament teachings, but they recognized that the Old Testament was accurate and authoritative.

 

Today, this is no longer the case. Smarty-pants intellectuals have done everything in their power to lessen the authority and power of the Old Testament, including attacking the authorship of the Old Testament, and they have come up with the weirdest, most bizarre system to explain the various authors (the JEPD theories, which has been previously discussed). However, no matter how far out they go on these theological theories, which lead nowhere except away from the truth, they are stuck with the parallels between the birth of Isaac and the birth of our Lord; the parallels between of offering of Isaac and the crucifixion of our Lord (that will be found in a future lesson). This kind of information, insofar as I know, has been developed fairly recently, and is quite detailed and persuasive. And no amount of weird theories about Old Testament authorship can explain away these parallels. The same thing is true of the many times we find Jesus in the book of Genesis, and the same thing is true when we examine the remarkable things in the book of Genesis. The end result for the believer today is, we have confidence that the Bible is not some random book; nor it is some really smart book—it is the Word of God. The things which are contained simply in the book of Genesis cannot be explained in any other way. So, just at the very time that mankind needs a few good reasons to have faith in the Bible as the Word of God, these reasons are provided by God (through His servants).


Most of these things have already been covered in one form or another in previous studies, but it is a good time to summarize them:

Reasons Why We Can Believe the Bible is the Word of God

1.      The scientific evidence:

         1)      The Big Bang theory is actually presented in the first sentence of the first chapter of Genesis.

         2)      Man is made out of the chemicals of the ground—how did the author of Genesis know this?

         3)      The Bible teaches that man can be cloned and this cloning can be modified.

2.      The genetic evidence:

         1)      There are a half-dozen linear genealogies found in the Bible that lead us directly from Adam to Jesus. These are the only linear genealogies found in the Bible and there are about a half-dozen different authors involved. How did they know? Most of them (with the exceptions of Matthew and Luke) recorded these genealogies long before the birth of Jesus. How did they know which lines to follow? And so there is no mistaking this, it is not just the important people of the Bible who are in this line. Moses is not in the line of Christ (but Joshua is).

         2)      The first linear genealogy in the Bible contains the gospel message.

         3)      Whether the Bible speaks of Eve through whom will come the Seed of the Woman or speaks of Sarah, and how God visits Sarah prior to the birth of Isaac, the emphasis is always upon the woman. Jesus is born of a virgin because, in this way, the sin nature is not passed down to Him (the sin nature is passed down through the man because Adam sinned knowingly; he was not deceived). How is it possible to have this aspect of Christian theology taught throughout the Bible when most Christians today do not even understand it?

3.      The evidence of foreshadowing:

         1)      Not only is the birth of Isaac one of the most important incidents of the book of Genesis, but all of the promises of God are based upon this birth. So it is with the birth and death on the cross of our Lord.

         2)      There are multiple parallels between the births of Isaac and Jesus.

         3)      There are multiple parallels between the offering of Isaac and the offering of our Lord on the cross for our sins. This will be covered when we get to Gen. 22.

         4)      These are not the only instances of foreshadowing. I have never sat down to count them, but there must be at least 100 instances where Jesus Christ is foreshadowed in the Old Testament. How does that happen in some ancient, random book?

4.      The evidence of the consistency of Genesis with the thrust of the rest of the Word of God:

         1)      When God credits Abraham with righteousness, this is based upon faith. This is fundamental to orthodox Christianity, and is not found in religion. In all religions, there is a quid pro quo. If you want to get into heaven, you had better do more than just believe in the doctrines of your faith.

         2)      People argue about theology all the time. Even so-called Christian cults question the Trinity; and all cults require a mixture of faith and works for a person to stand justified before God. Yet, somehow, the authors of Genesis write that which is completely consistent with orthodox Christian theology.

         3)      The idea that an innocent creature is killed to atone for sin is found in the 3rd and 4th chapters of Genesis.

         4)      The concept of the Seed of the Woman is found in the 3rd chapter of Genesis.

         5)      The Persons of Godhead and the essence of God—Genesis is consistent with everything found in the New Testament epistles.

This is merely a smattering of evidence. There are hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of books written on apologetics (reasoned arguments or writings in justification of the truth of the Bible or of the reality of Jesus Christ). The things listed above are simply a few things which we have already studied.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Because we will spend a great deal of time in the New Testament in this section, and that all of this fits together under the heading of, The Son of the Slave-woman Persecutes the Son of the Free-woman, we will keep this entire lesson together. These individual lessons tend to be 4 or 5 pages in length; and this lesson is about 9–10 pages—therefore, this counts as two lessons.


So far we have covered the first 7 verses of Gen. 21:


Gen 21:1–7 The LORD came to Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what He had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. Abraham named his son who was born to him--the one Sarah bore to him--Isaac. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him. Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, "God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me." She also said, "Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age." (HCSB)


When God told Abraham that he would have a son, Isaac was born. All of this was joyous to Sarah—it made her laugh—and all those who knew them laughed as well. This son was named Isaac, because that means laughter and that is the name God had designated for him. And Sarah kept telling everyone who would listen to her, “Who would have told Abraham that his wife would nurse a child [at her age]? [Who told them? God told them]. Therefore, I have given birth to Abraham’s son in his advanced age.”


However, there were two people who were not laughing with Sarah.


——————————


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


Hagar and Ishmael are Cast out of the Abrahamic Compound


I have made a few changes on Murai’s excellent work. ESV is used below.

Hajime Murai Organizes Genesis 21:8–21

Structure

ESV Text

A(21:8–11)          Abraham grieves at losing his child

And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son.

         B(21:12–13)        The promises of God

But God said to Abraham, "Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring."

                  C(21:14)    Abraham sends Hagar into the wilderness with bread and water

So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

A'(21:15–16)        Hagar grieves, fearing that her child will die

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, "Let me not look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.

         B'(21:17–18)        The promises of God

And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation."

                  C'(21:19–21)        Hagar lives in the wilderness, the LORD gives water

Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

From http://www.valdes.titech.ac.jp/~h_murai/bible/01_Genesis_pericope_e.html accessed September 8, 2014.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


And so grows the child and so he is weaned and so makes Abraham a feast great in a day of a weaning of Isaac.

Genesis

21:8

So the child grew and was weaned. Therefore, Abraham prepared a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

So the child grew and was weaned. On that day, Abraham prepared a great feast for Isaac.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so grows the child and so he is weaned and so makes Abraham a feast great in a day of a weaning of Isaac.

Targum of Onkelos                And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day when Izhak was weaned.

Latin Vulgate                          And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast on the day of his weaning.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And the child grew and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

Septuagint (Greek)                And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast the day that his son Isaac was weaned.

 

Significant differences:           The Latin leaves out Isaac’s name.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Common English Bible           The boy grew and stopped nursing. On the day he stopped nursing, Abraham prepared a huge banquet.

Contemporary English V.       The time came when Sarah no longer had to nurse Isaac, and on that day Abraham gave a big feast.

Easy English                          The baby grew and Sarah began to give solid food to him. So Abraham organised a big *feast on the day when Isaac stopped drinking milk from his mother.

Easy-to-Read Version            Isaac continued to grow. Soon he was old enough to begin eating solid food. So Abraham gave a big party.

New Berkeley Version           The child grew big enough to be weaned [Usually on the fifth birthday.] and on Isaac’s weaning day Abraham prepared a great feast.

New Life Bible                        When the child grew old enough to stop nursing, Abraham made a special supper on that day.

New Living Translation           When Isaac grew up and was about to be weaned, Abraham prepared a huge feast to celebrate the occasion.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

International Standard V        Hagar and Ishmael Leave

The child grew and eventually was weaned, so Abraham threw a tremendous banquet on the very day Isaac was weaned.

NIRV                                      Isaac grew. The time came for his mother to stop nursing him. On that day Abraham had a big dinner prepared.

Revised English Bible            The boy grew and was weaned, and on the day of his weaning, Abraham gave a great feast.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And when the child was old enough to be taken from the breast, Abraham made a great feast.

Conservapedia                       The child grew up, and was weaned. Abraham held a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

The Expanded Bible              Hagar and Ishmael Leave

Isaac grew, and when he ·became old enough to eat food [was weaned], Abraham gave a great feast [Lon the day of his weaning].

NET Bible®                             The child grew and was weaned. Abraham prepared [Heb "made."] a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

exeGeses companion Bible   And the child grows and weans:

and Abraham works a great banquet

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


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. This was probably when the child was about three years of age. Samuel served in the sanctuary from the time that he was weaned (1Sam. 1:22-28). A Hebrew mother is quoted in 2Maccabees 7:27 as saying to her son that she gave him "suck three years."

Concordant Literal Version    And growing up is the boy and being weaned. And making is Abraham a great feast on the day of the weaning of Isaac, his son.

the day they wean Yischaq.

Fred Miller’s Revised KJV     And the child grew and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

Heritage Bible                        And the child became large, and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast the day Isaac was weaned.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. So Abraham shared the grateful joy of his wife, making the occasion of his son's weaning a great festival, with the customary feast. This happened when Isaac was about three years old. This story reminds us of the greater miracle of the birth of Jesus, who also, but in a far more wonderful manner, was born contrary to the course of nature. Isaac, too, is a type of the believers of all time. For just as he was born by virtue of the divine promise, so we are spiritual children of the promise, Rom. 9:8; Gal. 4:28; 1Peter 1:23.

Syndein                                  And the child kept on growing, and was caused to be weaned. And Abraham manufactured {'asah} a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

Young’s Updated LT             And the lad grows [up] and is weaned, and Abraham makes a great banquet in the day of Isaac’s being weaned.

 

The gist of this verse:          Abraham holds a big feast on the day that Isaac is weaned.


Genesis 21:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

gâdal (גָּדַל) [pronounced gaw-DAHL

to be [become] great; to grow; to be greatly valued [celebrated, praised]; to twist together, to bind together

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1431 BDB #152

yeled (יֶלֶד) [pronounced YEH-led]

child, one born; son, boy, youth

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3206 BDB #409


Translation: So the child grew... Isaac appears to be healthy, from the text, and he grows older (he is still a child).

genesis211.gif

Abraham is even more indulgent with this child than he was with Ishmael. He has attempted to intercede and have Ishmael to be the child of promise, but to no avail. It was not in God's plan for that to happen. God’s plan has to take into consideration the thoughts and acts of all those in the line of Abraham and Isaac.





And the child grew and was weaned (a graphic). Taken from The Last Days Calender, accessed September 10, 2014. This was one of the few pieces of art that could be called sweet. Many portrayals of Sarah regarding the birth and young age of Isaac have her looking pretty long in the tooth. Abraham was concerned that she might be taken from him when they were in Gerar (and she was), which suggests that she was still reasonably attractive at her age (this was not simply a perception thing on Abraham’s side).




Genesis 21:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

gâmal (גָּמַל) [pronounced gaw-MAHL]

to be weaned; to receive [a reward, a blessing]

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal perfect; pausal form

Strong’s #1580 BDB #168


Translation: ...and was weaned. The series of wâw consecutive followed by imperfect verbs indicates a series of chronological actions, some of which may indicate continuous action, some of which may not. There will be a final day that Isaac nurses on breast milk, and that is the day spoken of here.

 

J. Vernon McGee speaks to this weaning: This little fellow first lived by feeding on his mother's milk, but there came a day when he had to be weaned. Even this has a lesson for us. When mamma is getting the bottle ready for the little baby in the crib, everything in his entire body is working. He's got his feet up in the air, he's got his hands up in the air, and he's yelling at the top of his voice - he wants his bottle! "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (1Peter 2:2 ). It is wonderful to be a new Christian with an appetite like that for the milk of the Word. But the day comes when you are ready to start growing up as a believer. Instead of just reading Psalm 23 and John 14 - wonderful as they are - try reading through the entire Bible. Grow up. Don't be a babe all of the time. Notice God's admonishment in Hebrews 5:13-14 . "For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to those who are of full age ..." Grow up, my friend.


Genesis 21:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʿâsâh (עָשָֹה) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare, to manufacture

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4

mishteh (מִשְתֶּה) [pronounced mishe-TEH]

a feast, a drink, a drinking bout, a party, a banquet

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4960 BDB #1059

gâdôwl (גָּדוֹל) [pronounced gaw-DOHL]

large, great or mighty [in power, nobility, wealth; in number, or magnitude and extent], loud, older, important, distinguished; vast, unyielding, immutable, significant, astonishing

masculine singular adjective

Strong’s #1419 BDB #152

be (בְּ) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yôwm (יוֹם) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

Together, these are literally translated in the day; however, we may understand it to mean in that day; in this very day; at once, presently; lately; by day; in the daytime; throughout the day; in this day, at this [that] time; now; before that. These interpretations often depend upon when the action of the verb takes place.

When followed by an infinitive, this can be rendered in the day in which, in the day when, in the day that; when.

gâmal (גָּמַל) [pronounced gaw-MAHL]

to be weaned; to receive [a reward, a blessing]

Niphal infinitive construct

Strong’s #1580 BDB #168

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yisechâq (יִשְׂחָק) [pronounced yihse-KHAWK]

he laughs; laughing; transliterated Isaac

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #3327 & #3446 BDB #850


Translation: Therefore, Abraham prepared a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. The parents decided that there would be a day that Isaac no longer nurses, and on the day, Abraham prepares a great feast to celebrate this.

 

The NET Bible notes: 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.


Therefore, the celebration is, the child is old enough where Abraham and Sarah believe that he will live to be an adult. This is some discussion of the age that he is weaned by Clarke, suggesting 3 years, 5 years and even 12 years. However, I think we can reasonably stay with age 2 or 3.


We go through various stages of growth in our lives, and one of those is the time that we stop taking mother’s milk. Abraham celebrates this with a feast. One of the things which I have noticed, at least in the young life of those in the Jewish faith is, they mark off various stages of youth, one of them being the time in which a child is weaned. Today, Jewish tradition celebrates the circumcision and then the bar mitzvah (or bat mitzvah, for girls), which symbolizes a stage of young adulthood.


There is also the concept of the arc of a man’s life, and there are events which are universal, or very nearly universal, in the life of every man (and woman). We all go through this stage as a child, completely dependent upon our parents—a dependence which continues for quite a long time. Isaac reaches that first stage, the first stage of a move from complete dependence to some independence from his mother, the day he is weaned.


——————————


And so sees Sarah son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, jesting [with Isaac, the son of hers].

Genesis

21:9

But Sarah saw the son of Hagar (the Egyptian [woman]), whom she had given birth to for Abraham, making sport with her son Isaac.

But Sarah saw the son of Hagar (this is the Egyptian woman whom had given birth to him for Abraham); and he was making fun of her son Isaac.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so sees Sarah son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, jesting [with Isaac, the son of hers]. The text in brackets is found in the Greek but not in the Hebrew.

Targum of Onkelos                And Sarah observed the son of Hagar the Mizreitha, whom she bare to Abraham, mocking with a strange worship, and bowing to the Lord.

Jerusalem targum                  And Sarah observed the son of Hagar the Mizreitha, whom she bare to Abraham, doing evil works which are not fitting to be done, mocking in a strange worship.

Latin Vulgate                          And when Sara had seen the son of Agar, the Egyptian, playing with Isaac, her son, she said to Abraham.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    And Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.

Septuagint (Greek)                And Sarah, having seen the son of Hagar the Egyptian, who was born to Abraham, sporting with Isaac her son,...

 

Significant differences:           Both targums have a second half that is much different than the Hebrew.

 

The Syriac actually matches the Hebrew exactly. The Latin and Greek add some additional text; and there is even more text in the Latin, which simply belongs with the next verse. The additional text appears to be warranted.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Contemporary English V.       One day, Sarah noticed Hagar's son Ishmael playing, and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that Egyptian slave woman and her son! I don't want him to inherit anything. It should all go to my son."

Easy English                          Sarah saw Abraham's other son. Hagar the *Egyptian had given birth to that son for Abraham. That other son was laughing at Isaac.

Easy-to-Read Version            Hagar was the Egyptian slave woman who had had Abraham’s first son. Sarah saw Hagar’s son playing. {Sarah became upset.}

Good News Bible (TEV)         One day Ishmael, whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, was playing with Sarah's son Isaac.

The Message                         One day Sarah saw the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, poking fun at her son Isaac.

New Berkeley Version           But Sarah noticed the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had borne Abraham, teasing [The Septuagint has, “laughing at her son Isaac.”].

New Century Version             But Sarah saw Ishmael making fun of Isaac. (Ishmael was the son of Abraham by Hagar, Sarah's Egyptian slave.)

New Life Bible                        Hagar And Ishmael Are Sent Away

But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian make fun of Isaac. Abraham was the father of Hagar's son.


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          However, SarAh noticed Hagar's son (the one who was born to AbraHam through the Egyptian [woman]) playfully making fun of their son IsaAc.

Ancient Roots Translinear      Sarah saw the son Hagar the Egyptian begot for Abraham laughing.

God’s Word                         Sarah saw that Abraham's son by Hagar the Egyptian was laughing at Isaac.

International Standard V        Nevertheless, when Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian-whom Hagar had borne to Abraham-making fun of Isaac [The Heb. lacks of Isaac], she told Abraham, "Throw out this slave girl, along with her son, because this slave's son will never be a co-heir with my son Isaac!" V. 10 is included for context.

New American Bible              Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing with her son Isaac;...

NIRV                                      But Sarah saw Ishmael making fun of Isaac. Ishmael was the son Hagar had by Abraham. Hagar was Sarah's servant from Egypt.

New Jerusalem Bible             Now Sarah watched the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.

New Simplified Bible              Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was laughing in mockery.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian playing with Isaac.

Bullinger Bible                        And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, laughing and mocking again.

Conservapedia                       And Sarah watched as the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham, making fun.

The Expanded Bible              But Sarah saw ·Ishmael [Lthe son of Hagar the Egyptian] ·making fun of Isaac [laughing; or playing].

NET Bible®                             But Sarah noticed [Heb "saw."] the son of Hagar the Egyptian — the son whom Hagar had borne to Abraham — mocking [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.] [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).].


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

Complete Jewish Bible           But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom Hagar had borne to Avraham, making fun of Yitz'chak;...

exeGeses companion Bible   And Sarah sees the son of Hagar the Misrayim,

whom she birthed to Abraham, ridiculing:...

Judaica Press Complete T.    And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, making merry.

Kaplan Translation                 But Sarah saw the son that Hagar had born to Abraham 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).].

The Scriptures 1998              And Sarah saw the son of Haar the Mitsrite, whom she had borne to Araham, mocking.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking [Isaac].

Concordant Literal Version    And seeing is Sarah the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she bore for Abraham, making fun of Isaac her son.

English Standard V. – UK       But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing [Possibly laughing in mockery].

Heritage Bible                        And Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham, laughing at Isaac.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    Hagar and Ishmael Cast Forth

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. It was a jeering laughter, a sneer, which Ishmael affected, perhaps as early as the festival of weaning. Unbelief, jealousy, and pride were aroused in Ishmael by the fact that Isaac was plainly the heir of the household. The mimicking, mocking, ridiculing on the part of Ishmael against Isaac could not long remain hidden from Sarah.

New King James Version       And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing.

Syndein                                  {Verses 9-13: Ishmael's Laughter}

And Sarah kept on perceiving {ra'ah} the son of Hagar the Egyptian {Ishmael}, which she had born unto Abraham, intensively laughing/'Isaac'ing {tsachaq}.

Young’s Updated LT             And Sarah sees the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she has borne to Abraham, mocking.

 

The gist of this verse:          Sarah observes Ishmael, the son of Hagar, mocking her son.


Genesis 21:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

râʾâh (רָאָה) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to observe; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

Sârâh (שָׂרָה) [pronounced saw-RAW]

princess, noble woman; transliterated Sarah

proper noun; feminine singular

Strong’s #8283 BDB #979

ʾêth (אֶח) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bên (בֵּן) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Hâgâr (הָגָר) [pronounced haw-GAWR]

flight, fugitive; transliterated Hagar

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #1904 BDB #212

Mitserîy (מִצְרִי) [pronounced mitse-REE]

Egyptian, of Egypt; a Mitsrite, or inhabitant of Mitsrajim

gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #4713 BDB #596


Translation: But Sarah saw the son of Hagar (the Egyptian [woman]),... Sarah is keeping her eyes open during this celebratory occasion, and she notices the son of Hagar, Ishmael. Abraham first tried to fulfill the covenant from God through him.


The story of Abraham and Hagar is found in Gen. 16 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).


In fact, if you will recall, this was originally Sarah’s idea, but which fell flat with God. Even when God was assuring Abraham that he would have a son by Sarah, he called to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You.” But God looks on the inside of a man, and there was not enough inside Ishmael to perpetuate the Jewish race, who would be God’s people. Furthermore, God had intended that Sarah to be the mother of the Jewish family.


Genesis 21:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ʾăsher (אֲֹשֶר) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

yâlad (יָלַד) [pronounced yaw-LAHD]

to give birth, to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget

3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3205 BDB #408

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to; belonging to; by

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ʾAberâhâm (אַבְרָהָם) [pronounced ahbve-raw-HAWM]

father of a multitude, chief of a multitude; transliterated Abraham

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #85 BDB #4

tsâchaq (צָחַק) [pronounced tsaw-KHAHKH]

to jest; to make sport of; to toy with; to make a toy of; to play

Piel participle

Strong’s #6711 BDB #850


Translation: ...whom she had given birth to for Abraham, making sport... Ishmael would be about 16 or 17 at this time (Ishmael was 14 when Isaac was born), and he was Abraham’s son all of this time. It is obvious that Abraham had doted on him and spent a great deal of time with him. So, this new son was emotionally a problem for Ishmael. Whereas, he should have responded as an adult (he was a young adult at this time), he did not—he responded like a spoiled child. Although there are several meanings for the verb above, it seems to be clear that he was treating Isaac derisively. He was not a protective big brother; he was an antagonized older brother, jealous of the attention that he had lost.


Interestingly enough, the verb above, to make sport, to jest, to toy with; is very similar to Isaac’s name in the Hebrew. What this could suggest is, Ishmael was making fun of Isaac’s name. Now, this is somewhat daft for a young adult to be making fun of a 3 year old child. Paul refers to Ishmael’s laughter as persecution in Gal. 4:29 (which will be studied in great detail in this chapter).


Some commentators state that this is the beginning of the Egyptian persecution of Israel, but I just don’t buy into that at all.

 

Barnes: His laugh was therefore the laugh of derision. Rightly was the child of promise named Isaac, the one at whom all laugh with various feelings of incredulity, wonder, gladness, and scorn.

 

John Calvin: [Ishmael’s laughter] was not a childish and innoxious laughter, appears from the indignation of Sarah. It was, therefore a malignant expression of scorn, by which the forward youth manifested his contempt for his infant brother.

 

Poole: And this carriage proceeding from a most envious and malicious disposition, and being a sufficient indication of further mischief intended to him, if ever he should have opportunity, it is no wonder it is called persecution (Gal. 4:29).

 

Pink: [I]t was the birth of Isaac which revealed the true character of Ishmael. We know practically nothing of Ishmael's life before the birth of Isaac, but as soon as this child of promise made his appearance the real nature of Hagar's son was made manifest. He may have been very quiet and orderly before, but as soon as the child of God's quickening-power came on the scene, Ishmael showed what he was by persecuting and mocking him. Here again the type holds good. It is not until the believer receives the new nature that he discovers the real character of the old. It is not until we are born again we learn what a horrible and vile thing the flesh is. And the discovery is a painful one: to many it is quite unsettling. To those who have supposed that regeneration is an improving of the old nature, the recognition of the awful depravity of the flesh comes as a shock and often destroys all peace of soul, for the young convert quickly concludes that, after all, he has not been born again. The truth is that the recognition of the true character of the flesh and a corresponding abhorrence of it, is one of the plainest evidences of our regeneration, for the unregenerate man is blind to the vileness of the flesh. The fact that I have within me a conflict between the natural and the spiritual is the proof there are two natures present, and that I find the Ishmael-nature "persecuting" the Isaac-nature is only to be expected. That the Ishmael-nature appears to me to be growing worse only goes to prove that I now have capacity to see its real character, just as the real character of Ishmael was not revealed until Isaac was born.


Bear in mind that Ishmael could have understood that he was out and Isaac was in; and that Isaac would inherit the lion’s share of Abraham’s estate; however, he should have also understood that this is God’s will.


The Greek adds the text below, which I believe was lost from the original Hebrew.

Genesis 21:9c Text from the Greek Septuagint

Greek/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

Strong’s Number

meta (μετά) [pronounced meht-AH]

with, among, in the company of, in the midst of

preposition with the genitive

Strong’s #3326

Isaak (Ίσαάκ) [pronounced ee-sah-AHK]

to laugh; laughter; transliterated Isaac

proper singular noun

Strong’s #2464

tou (το) [pronounced tu]

of the; from the, [away, out] from the; from the source of; by the; than the

masculine singular definite article, genitive/ablative case

Strong’s #3588

huios (υἱός, ο, ὁ) [pronounced hwee-OSS]

son, child, descendant; pupil; follower

masculine singular noun, genitive/ablative case

Strong’s #5207

autês (αὐτς) [pronounced ow-TAYC]

her, hers; of her; from her

3rd person feminine singular; ablative/genitive case

Strong’s #846


Translation: ...with her son Isaac. The Greek adds that this antagonism was directed toward little Isaac. Now, if Ishmael is antagonistic toward Isaac at 3 years old, imagine how bad this could get in the next 5 or 10 years. Sarah observed his behavior and was concerned for Isaac’s safety.


Genesis 21:9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian (whom she had borne to Abraham) mocking her son Isaac.


The last few words of this verse are not found in the Hebrew; they are, however, found in the Greek text, and appropriately added (there are several instances of phrases and even entire sentences which have been dropped out of the preserved Hebrew text which were preserved in the Greek text).


Recall that Abraham, at the insistence of Sarah, had relations with her slave woman, Hagar, and Hagar bore Abraham a son, Ishmael (Gen. 16). This son would have been about 16 or 17 by this time—a particularly obnoxious time in any person’s life—and he was being quite obnoxious here, mocking his recently weaned half-brother. The idea is, there was no familial love exhibited; Hagar and Ishmael did not share in this celebration; Ishmael mocked the recently-weaned son. Hagar, through her son, would have been the heir to all that was Abraham’s, and Abraham was a very rich man (Gen. 13:2). She had, in her own mind, material stability with her son as the only heir of Abraham. However, this son Isaac changed everything. Hagar’s 401k accounts were suddenly worthless. Her stock portfolio had crashed. Hagar went from having a rather comfortable retirement to having nothing. There is no doubt that her attitude toward Isaac overflowed to her son and impacted him.


Despite all of the promises that God made to Abraham, it is likely that Hagar and Ishmael doubted them; and Ishmael would have been Abraham’s natural heir (and Abraham had a grand fortune). Although we read about Hagar and Ishmael in the New Testament, at no time do we hear about their great faith in God’s promises to Abraham. Therefore, a son by Abraham’s wife was not a welcome sight to Hagar or to Ishmael. This birth was no blessed event to them; this celebration of his being weaned did not give them any happiness. Consequently, in their own minds, they had nothing about which to celebrate. This ended their financial security. It was as if they had gone to their well of savings, and found out that every company in which they had invested went broke, and all they had were baskets-full of worthless stock certificates.


For 13 years after Ishmael had been born, as Abraham and Sarah got older and older, Hagar saw her position as heir through Ishmael grow more and more secure. And she would have been heir to great wealth. And then Isaac is born, and this meant that she would have been left with a comparative pittance; therefore, her attitude toward Isaac was not one of shared happiness. No doubt that Ishmael, even as a young teen, heard about her true feelings about Isaac, which were anything but warm and joyous. So, like many teens, the opinion of his mother became his opinion.


We do not know what words were spoken. Perhaps Hagar said, “If not for this little boy, you, Ishmael, would be heir to all that is Abraham’s.” Whatever was said, Hagar’s dislike of this new son became Ishmael’s dislike as well. The birth of Isaac changed everything for them.


V. 9 reads: But Sarah saw the son of Hagar (this is the Egyptian woman whom had given birth to him for Abraham); and he was making fun of her son Isaac. Just as there is a natural conflict between the two sons of Abraham, so there is the natural conflict between our two natures.

 

J. Vernon McGee: The coming of this little boy Isaac into the home sure did produce a great deal of difficulty. We find that the boy who was the son of Hagar, Ishmael, was mocking. We begin now to see the nature and the character of Ishmael. Up to this point, he seems to be a pretty nice boy, but now, with the appearance of this other son in the family, Ishmael really shows his true colors. This is an illustration, by the way, of the fact that a believer has two natures. Until you are converted, you have an old nature, and that old nature controls you. You do what you want to do. As the old secular song put it, you are "doing what comes naturally." What you do that comes naturally is not always the nicest sort of thing. But when you are born again, you receive a new nature. And when you receive a new nature, that is where the trouble always begins. Paul writes in the seventh chapter of Romans of the battle going on between the old nature and the new nature: "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil; which I would not, that I do" (Rom. 7:19). That is, the new nature doesn't want to, but the old nature wants to do it, and the old nature is in control. The time comes when you have to make a decision as to which nature you are going to live by. You must make a determination in this matter of yielding to the Lord. You either have to permit the Holy Spirit to move in your life, or else you have to go through life controlled by the flesh. There is no third alternative for the child of God. The son of the bondwoman must be put out. That is exactly what we have here in Genesis: the son of the bondwoman Hagar had to be put out.

 

Arthur Pink explains this is in his own vocabulary: [T]he coming of Isaac into Abraham's household aroused opposition and produced a conflict. "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had borne unto Abraham, mocking" (Gen. 21:9). In the epistle to the Galatians we are shown the dispensational meaning and application of this, and there we read, "But as then he that was born after the flesh (Ishmael) persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now" (Gal. 4:29); but it is with the individual application of this type that we are now concerned. Ishmael exemplifies the one born after the flesh: Isaac the one born after the Spirit. When Isaac was born the true character of Ishmael was manifested; and so when we are born again and receive the new nature, the old nature, the flesh, then comes out in its true colors. Just as there were two sons in Abraham's household, the one the product of nature, the other the gift of God and the outworking of Divine power, each standing for a totally different principle, so in the believer there are two natures which are distinct and diverse. And just as there was a conflict between Ishmael and Isaac, so the flesh in us lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh (Gal. 5:17).


To match the type, Ishmael does not become a better man when Isaac is born. He does not look at Abraham, Sarah and Isaac and think, “Okay, no problem. This is God’s plan; I will just go with it.” Ishmael became antagonistic toward Isaac. It is unlikely that all of this came from Ishmael by himself; it is likely that Hagar helped him develop some of his anger (which can certainly be done with a young person). But, seeing this from what it all represents, Ishmael plays his role as we would expect—he becomes antagonistic toward Isaac, even though Isaac is, for all intents and purposes, an innocent child.


Isaac’s name is built upon the word for laughter.

Laughing with Isaac

1.      Isaac’s name is closely associated with the verb to laugh.

2.      When Abraham is about 100 years old, and his wife is 90, God tells Abraham that he will father a son by her. Abraham thought that this was quite funny and laughed. Gen. 17:17

3.      Because Abraham laughs, God said, “You will name your child he laughs.” Gen. 17:18

4.      Later, Sarah overhears the Revealed God telling Abraham that he would father a child by Sarah, and that this would happen quite soon, and she laughed within herself at such a thing. No doubt, there was some skepticism in this laugh. God called her on this. Gen. 18:12–15

5.      After Isaac was born, Sarah spoke of all those who hear of this birth as sharing with her the laughter of such an amazing occurrence, both of the parents being so old. Gen. 21:6

6.      In this final connection, where Ishmael is said to mock, laugh out, deride Isaac; the verb is a cognate of Isaac’s name; however, it is in the Piel stem, which is the intensive stem. The implication is, Ishmael is not laughing and having fun with baby Isaac, but he apparently has ill motives toward the boy, who would take away his inheritance.

7.      Ishmael did not yitz'chaq-liy (laugh with her); he m'tzachëq Yitz'chäq (he mocked Isaac).1

8.      When Sarah observes this, she tells Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out of their compound. Isaac’s rightful inheritance is a key issue, and what Sarah observes makes her worried for him. Gen. 21:9–10

There are a variety of emotions which can be expressed by laughter—delight, derision, joy, skepticism, and the simple response to something which sounds quite funny. All of these emotions are associated with the birth of Isaac. One might reasonably say that these are the varied human responses to the birth of Jesus as well.

1 Taken, in part, from Leupold, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/leupold/genesis.xxiii_1.html accessed September 8, 2014.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines


——————————


What Sarah does next may seem harsh, but, like any mother, she was going to protect her son.


And so she says to Abraham, “Cast out the maid the this, and [cast out] her son; for will not possess a son of the maid the this with my son, with Isaac.”

Genesis

21:10

Consequently, she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave-woman and her son, for the son of this slave-woman will not inherit with my son Isaac.”

Consequently, she said to Abraham, “Throw this slave-woman out along with her son. No son of a slave-woman will inherit along side my son, Isaac.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text (Hebrew)        And so she says to Abraham, “Cast out the maid the this, and [cast out] her son; for will not possess a son of the maid the this with my son, with Isaac.”

Targum of Onkelos                And she said to Abraham, Cast out this handmaid and her son: for it is not possible for the son of this handmaid to inherit with my son; and he to make war with Izhak.

Latin Vulgate                          Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.

Peshitta (Syriac)                    Therefore she said to Abraham, Expel this maidservant and her son; for the son of this maidservant shall not be heir with my son Isaac.

Septuagint (Greek)                ...that she said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman shall not inherit with my son Isaac.

 

Significant differences:           The targum has to make war with; which is not in the Hebrew text. The verb I translate to possess can also mean to inherit.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

Easy English                          So Sarah said to Abraham, `Send away this woman that is a slave. And send away her son too. That son of a female slave shall not *inherit with my son, Isaac.'

Easy-to-Read Version            Sarah said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. Send them away! When we die, our son Isaac will get everything we have. I don’t want that slave woman’s son sharing those things with my son Isaac!”

Good News Bible (TEV)         Sarah saw them and said to Abraham, "Send this slave and her son away. The son of this woman must not get any part of your wealth, which my son Isaac should inherit."

The Message                         She told Abraham, "Get rid of this slave woman and her son. No child of this slave is going to share inheritance with my son Isaac!"

New Century Version             So Sarah said to Abraham, "Throw out this slave woman and her son. Her son should not inherit anything; my son Isaac should receive it all."

New Life Bible                        So Sarah said to Abraham, "Put this woman servant and her son out of your home. The son of this woman servant will never get any of the riches of the family as will my son Isaac."

New Living Translation           So she turned to Abraham and demanded, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won't have it!"


Partially literal and partially paraphrased translations:

 

American English Bible          So she told AbraHam: 'Throw this slave woman and her son out, because I won't have the son of this slave receive an inheritance with my son, IsaAc.'

Ancient Roots Translinear      She said to Abraham, "Expel this maidservant and her son: For the son of this maidservant is not heir with my son, Isaac!”

God’s Word                         She said to Abraham, "Get rid of this slave and her son, because this slave's son must never share the inheritance with my son Isaac."

International Standard V        ...she told Abraham, "Throw out this slave girl, along with her son, because this slave's son will never be a co-heir with my son Isaac!"

New American Bible              ...so she demanded of Abraham: "Drive out that slave and her son! No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!" Jgs 11:2; Gal 4:30.

NIRV                                      Sarah said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman. Get rid of her son. The slave woman's son will never have a share of the family's property with my son Isaac."

New Jerusalem Bible             'Drive away that slave-girl and her son,' she said to Abraham, 'this slave-girl's son is not to share the inheritance with my son Isaac.'

New Simplified Bible              She said to Abraham: »Get rid of that slave woman and her son.«


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Bible in Basic English             So she said to Abraham, Send away that woman and her son: for the son of that woman is not to have a part in the heritage with my son Isaac.

Conservapedia                       So she told Abraham, "Drive this slave woman and her son away from here! The son of this slave will not share the estate with my son! Not with Isaac!"

The Expanded Bible              So Sarah said to Abraham, "·Throw [Drive] out this slave woman and her son. Her son should not inherit anything; my son Isaac should receive it all [Gal. 4:21-5:1]."

Ferar-Fenton Bible                 ...and said to Abraham, “Drive out my maid and her son, for the son of this slave shall not be an inheritor with my son Isaac.”

HCSB                                     So she said to Abraham, "Drive out this slave with her son, for the son of this slave will not be a co-heir with my son Isaac!"

NET Bible®                             So she said to Abraham, "Banish [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.] that slave woman and her son, for the son of that slave woman will not be an heir along with my son Isaac!"

NIV, ©2011                             ...and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac."


Jewish/Hebrew Names Bibles:

 

exeGeses companion Bible   ...and she says to Abraham,

Expel this maid and her son:

for the son of this maid supersedes not my son

- with Yischaq.

Kaplan Translation                 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!'


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Concordant Literal Version    And saying is she to Abraham, "Drive out this maidservant an her son, for not shall he enjoy the tenancy--the son of this maidservant--with my son, with Isaac!"

English Standard Version      So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac."

Green’s Literal Translation    And she said to Abraham, Drive away this slave-girl and her son, for the son of this slave-girl shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac.

Heritage Bible                        And she said to Abraham, Drive out this maidservant, and her son, because the son of this maidservant shall not hold possession with my son, with Isaac.

King James 2000 Version      Therefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

Kretzmann’s Commentary    Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. This was not a matter of petty jealousy, but was spoken in agreement with the promise of the Lord. Till now Hagar had been suffered in the house of Abraham, but Sarah's demand was that the slave be driven forth, that Abraham renounce all connection with her and her son.

Syndein                                  Therefore she kept on saying to Abraham, " 'Drive away'/'Cast out' this bondwoman and her son. For the son of this bondwoman shall not keep on being heir with my son, even with Isaac."

Updated Bible Version 2.11   Therefore she said to Abraham, Cast out this slave and her son. For the son of this slave will not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

World English Bible                Therefore she said to Abraham, "Cast out this handmaid and her son! For the son of this handmaid will not be heir with my son, even with Isaac."

Young’s Updated LT             And she says to Abraham, “Cast out this handmaid and her son; for the son of this handmaid has no possession with my son—with Isaac.”

 

The gist of this verse:          Sarah demands that her slave girl and her son be sent away.


Genesis 21:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (וַ) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore, consequently; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

ʾâmar (אָמַר) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (לְ) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition