Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 21- Isaac is Born

1 And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.

God is always faithful in keeping His promises.

This would have been about 2108AH (1938BC).

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

Sarah is about ninety years old.

3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

6 And Sarah said, “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”

7 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.”

Jewish legend says that the neighbor women didn’t believe Isaac was really Sarah’s child. To prove it she had them all bring their babies and she nursed the whole neighborhood. That is why this verse is in the plural. This is a fun story, but it is not biblical so should be repeated as what it is- legend.

8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

Before the invention of formula and commercial baby food, babies were often nursed until they were three to five years old. This greatly increased the bonding between the child and mother and supplied baby with many needed nutrients and better immunity, as well as adding natural spacing between children.

  • Abraham was 75 when he left Haran (chapter 12:4).
  • He was 85 when he married Hagar (chapter 16:1-3).
  • He was 86 when Ishmael was born (16:16).
  • He was 99 when he was circumcised (chapter 17:1-21) and Isaac was promised, and Ishmael was 13.

  • Verse 5 says Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born (25 years after Abraham became a “sojourner in the land” by leaving Haran), so Ishmael was 14.

  • Galatians 3:17 says The Law was given 430 years after the Covenant was made with Abraham (see also Exodus 12:40).

Yet in Genesis 15:13 God told Abraham his seed would be strangers in the land for 400 years (see also Acts 7:6).

So, the nation Israel were “strangers” for 430 years beginning with Abraham’s entrance into Canaan, while Abraham’s SEED were only strangers for 400 years. Isaac was born 25 years after Abraham began his travels, so this weaning (the time when Ishmael is cast out and Isaac confirmed as the true seed) must have happened when Isaac was 5 (2113, 1933BC).

9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

10 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.”

Ishmael was teasing Isaac. This angered Sarah and she demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be kicked out of the house.

11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

It was standard practice that a child born to the wife of the household would be the main inheritor but that the child born to the master of a slave woman because of previous infertility would still be kept in the house and treated special. Abraham not only loved his son, he didn’t want to violate social custom.

12 And God said unto Abraham, “Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

13 “And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”

“Isaac is your true son and will inherit your property and the promise of the Messiah. But I will be good to Ishmael too, for your sake.”

14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

This “child” was 19 (he was13 when he was circumcised, Isaac was born a year later and weaned at 5.) Though today’s Jews hold children twelve and up as responsible adults, obviously God held this teen as still a child.

15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

This was some powerful strong woman. My teenagers have all been bigger than me, and I’m not a small or short woman!

16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, “Let me not see the death of the child.” And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

It is always a hard thing for a mother to see her child suffering. Hagar had been used to get this child because of Sarah’s infertility and now she has been kicked out of her home, against all social customs.

17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, “What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

18 “Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.”

God gives the comfort Hagar is needing. But He doesn’t just stop with words. He gives her the physical things she is needing right now.

19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

We read later that Ishmael had twelve sons and became a great nation. In fact, he is the ancestor of most of those in the Middle East today.

22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, ‘God is with thee in all that thou doest:

23 “Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.”

Abraham was very rich and powerful. Abimelech was scared of him.

24 And Abraham said, “I will swear.”

25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.

26 And Abimelech said, “I wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.”

Someone took Abraham’s well away, a very serious thing in this desert land. Abimelech had no idea who did it.

27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.

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

29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, “What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?”

30 And he said, “For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.”

This doesn’t make sense to our modern western minds because sheep would not make very good witnesses, what with their limited vocabulary and all. But this is actually a typical legal contract in this time period. It is much like giving collateral today.

31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

Beersheba means “Well of Oath.”

32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

The Bible tells us that Ham’s grandsons were the fathers of the Philistines.

33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.