|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:9-13 Let us not overlook the manner in which this family matter instructs us not to rest in outward privileges, or in our own doings. And let us seek the blessings of the new covenant by faith in its Divine Surety. Ishmael's conduct was persecution, being done in profane contempt of the covenant and promise, and with malice against Isaac. God takes notice of what children say and do in their play; and will reckon with them, if they say or do amiss, though their parents do not. Mocking is a great sin, and very provoking to God. And the children of promise must expect to be mocked. Abraham was grieved that Ishmael should misbehave, and Sarah demand so severe a punishment. But God showed him that Isaac must be the father of the promised Seed; therefore, send Ishmael away, lest he corrupt the manners, or try to take the rights of Isaac. The covenant seed of Abraham must be a people by themselves, not mingled with those who were out of covenant: Sarah little thought of this; but God turned aright what she said.
Verse 13. - And also of the son of the bond-woman will I make a nation. Literally, to nation I will set or put him; a promise already given (Genesis 17:20), but here repeated to render Ishmael's dismissal easier. Because he is thy seed. "Thy son according to the flesh, though not after the promise, as Isaac was" (Ainsworth); a proof that men may sometimes receive mercies for their fathers' sakes.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation,.... A great nation, as is promised, Genesis 17:20; and such the Ishmaelites and Saracens have been, and the Turks now are, the descendants of Ishmael. The Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, a people of thieves, or a thieving people; as were the Saracens, and who are thought to have that name from the Arabic word "sarac" (y), to thieve; though they would have it derived from Sarah: but it is not agreeable to the promise of God to Abraham, that when for his comfort he is told that his son Ishmael and his descendants should become a great nation, that they should be described as a company of thieves and robbers; and especially when the reason of the promise is given:
because he is thy seed; or thy son; here the word "seed" is again used of a single individual; see Genesis 4:25.
(y) "furatus fuit, furto abstulit", Golius, col. 1167. Castel. col. 2626.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation—Thus Providence overruled a family brawl to give rise to two great and extraordinary peoples.
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