|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:1-8 Few under the Old Testament were brought into the world with such expectations as Isaac. He was in this a type of Christ, that Seed which the holy God so long promised, and holy men so long expected. He was born according to the promise, at the set time of which God had spoken. God's promised mercies will certainly come at the time which He sets, and that is the best time. Isaac means laughter, and there was good reason for the name, ch. 17:17; 18:13. When the Sun of comfort is risen upon the soul, it is good to remember how welcome the dawning of the day was. When Sarah received the promise, she laughed with distrust and doubt. When God gives us the mercies we began to despair of, we ought to remember with sorrow and shame our sinful distrust of his power and promise, when we were in pursuit of them. This mercy filled Sarah with joy and wonder. God's favours to his covenant people are such as surpass their own and others' thoughts and expectations: who could imagine that he should do so much for those that deserve so little, nay, for those that deserve so ill? Who would have said that God should send his Son to die for us, his Spirit to make us holy, his angels to attend us? Who would have said that such great sins should be pardoned, such mean services accepted, and such worthless worms taken into covenant? A short account of Isaac's infancy is given. God's blessing upon the nursing of children, and the preservation of them through the perils of the infant age, are to be acknowledged as signal instances of the care and tenderness of the Divine providence. See Ps 22:9,10; Ho 11:1,2.
Verse 1. - And the Lord - Jehovah; not because the verse is Jehovistic (Knobel, Bleek, et alii), but because the promise naturally falls to be implemented by him who gave it (vide Genesis 18:10) - visited - remembered with love (Onkelos), ἐπισκέψατο (LXX.; cf. Genesis 50:24; Exodus 4:31; 1 Samuel 2:21; Isaiah 23:17); though it sometimes means to approach in judgment (vide Exodus 20:5; Exodus 32:34). Alleged to be peculiar to the Jehovist (the term used by the Elohist being זָכַר: Genesis 8:1; Genesis 19:29; Genesis 30:20), the word occurs in Genesis 1:24, which Tuch and Bleek ascribe to the Elohist - Sarah as he had said (Genesis 17:21; Genesis 18:10, 14), - God's word of promise being ever the rule of his performance (cf. Exodus 12:25; Luke 1:72) - and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken - i.e. implemented his promise; the proof of which is next given (cf. Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said,.... To Abraham, Genesis 17:16; in a way of mercy and kindness, by fulfilling his promise, giving strength to conceive and bear a child; see 1 Samuel 2:21,
and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken; which intends the same thing in different words; and the repetition is made to cause attention to God's fulfilment of his promise, who is always faithful to his word, even in things very difficult and seemingly impossible, as in the present case: hence the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it, God did a wonder or wonders for Sarah in causing her to conceive when she was so old, and in such circumstances as she was.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ge 21:1-13. Birth of Isaac.
1. the Lord visited Sarah—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 [Calvin].
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