|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 19. - And God opened her eyes. Not necessarily by miraculous operation; perhaps simply by providentially guiding her search for water, after the administered consolation had revived her spirit and roused her energies. And she saw a well of water, בְּאֵר מַיִם, as distinguished from בּור, a pit or cistern, meant a fountain or spring of living water (cf. Genesis 24:11, 20; Genesis 26:19, 20, 21). It had not been previously observed by Hagar, either because of her mental agitation (dolors quasi caeca. Rosenmüller), or because, as was customary, the mouth of the well was covered - and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink - which was certainly the first of the youth s necessities, being needful to the preservation of his life and the reviving of his spirits.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water,.... Which she saw not before; not that she was really blind and had her eyes opened, or her sight restored, but they might be holden or restrained by the providence of God, that she should not see it before; or, through inattention and distraction of mind, might not observe it; or her eyes might be swelled with weeping and crying, that she saw it not; though it is not improbable that this well was not in being before, but was immediately produced by the power of God, who when he pleases can open mountains in the midst of the valleys, and make the wilderness a pool of water, Isaiah 41:18, the Jewish writers (k) say, it was created between the two evenings, that is, on the evening of the seventh day of the creation. Happy are those whose eyes are opened, by the Spirit and grace of God, to see the well of living water, the fountain and fulness of grace that is in Christ, where thirsty souls may come and drink and take their fill.
And she went and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad to drink; with which he was refreshed and recovered from his fainting, and was restored to health again.
(k) Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 30.)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. God opened her eyes—Had she forgotten the promise (Ge 16:11)? Whether she looked to God or not, He regarded her and directed her to a fountain close beside her, but probably hid amid brushwood, by the waters of which her almost expiring son was revived.
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