|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:14-21 If Hagar and Ishmael had behaved well in Abraham's family, they might have continued there; but they were justly punished. By abusing privileges, we forfeit them. Those who know not when they are well off, will be made to know the worth of mercies by the want of them. They were brought to distress in the wilderness. It is not said that the provisions were spent, or that Abraham sent them away without money. But the water was spent; and having lost their way, in that hot climate Ishmael was soon overcome with fatigue and thirst. God's readiness to help us when we are in trouble, must not slacken, but quicken our endeavours to help ourselves. The promise concerning her son is repeated, as a reason why Hagar should bestir herself to help him. It should engage our care and pains about children and young people, to consider that we know not what great use God has designed them for, and may make of them. The angel directs her to a present supply. Many who have reason to be comforted, go mourning from day to day, because they do not see the reason they have for comfort. There is a well of water near them in the covenant of grace, but they are not aware of it, till the same God that opened their eyes to see their wound, opens them to see their remedy. Paran was a wild place, fit for a wild man; such as Ishmael. Those who are born after the flesh, take up with the wilderness of this world, while the children of the promise aim at the heavenly Canaan, and cannot be at rest till they are there. Yet God was with the lad; his outward welfare was owing to this.
Verse 15. - And the water was spent in (literally, from) the bottle, - so that the wanderers became exhausted, and were in danger of fainting through thirst - and she cast the child - a translation which certainly conveys an erroneous impression, first of Ishmael, who was not an infant, but a grown lad (vide supra, Ver. 14), and secondly of Ishmael's mother, whom it represents as acting with violence, if not with inhumanity; whereas the sense probably is that, having, as long as her rapidly diminishing strength permitted, supported her fainting son, she at length suddenly, through feebleness, released his nerveless hand as he fell, and in despair, finding herself unable to give him further assistance, left him, as she believed, to die where he had flung himself in his intolerable anguish - under one of the shrubs.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the water was spent in the bottle,.... It was all drank up by them, being thirsty, having wandered about some time in a wilderness, where they could not replenish their bottle: the Jewish writers say (e) that when Hagar came into the wilderness, she began to wander after the idols of the house of Pharaoh her father, and immediately the water ceased from the bottle, or was drank up by Ishmael, being seized with a burning fever:
and she cast the child under one of the shrubs; not from off her shoulder, but out of her hand or bosom; being faint through thirst, he was not able to walk, and she, being weary in dragging him along in her hand, perhaps sat down and held him in her lap, and laid him in her bosom; but, imagining he was near his end, she laid him under one of the shrubs in the wilderness, to screen him from the scorching sun, and there left him; the Greek version is, "under one of the fir trees", and so says Josephus (f): some Jewish writers (g) call them juniper trees; and some make this to be Ishmael's own act, and say, that, being fatigued with thirst, he went and threw himself under the nettles of the wilderness (h), see Job 30:7.
(e) Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 30.) Targ. Jon. in loc. (f) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 12. sect. 3.((g) Bereshit, ut supra. (sect. 53. fol. 47. 4.) (h) Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 30.)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. the water was spent, &c.—Ishmael sank exhausted from fatigue and thirst—his mother laid his head under one of the bushes to smell the damp while she herself, unable to witness his distress, sat down at a little distance in hopeless sorrow.
Genesis 21:15 Parallel Commentaries
Genesis 21:15 NIV
Genesis 21:15 NLT
Genesis 21:15 ESV
Genesis 21:15 NASB
Genesis 21:15 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible