|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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran,.... So called from Paran, a city in Arabia Petraea; it reached from the wilderness of Shur to Mount Sinai: the account Adrichomius (q) gives of it is this; Paran or"Pharan is a wilderness, very large, desolate, impassable, and without water, containing, from Mount Sinai to Kadeshbarnea, a journey of eleven days; its land can neither be ploughed nor sown, is wholly dry, barren, and uncultivated; uninhabitable to men, destitute of villages, houses, and cottages; where neither men are seen, nor beasts nor birds; yea, neither trees nor any grass, only rocks and high rough stony mountains; it is taken sometimes for the first part of the desert of Arabia, near Mount Sinai, and sometimes for the last part, towards the land of promise; sometimes it is called the desert of Sin, and sometimes the desert of Sinai, from the mount; but this name Pharan seems to be the most general of the names of this very long desert:''this is the wilderness the Israelites wandered in thirty eight years; what this writer says of it must be understood only of some parts of it, otherwise Ishmael could not have lived in it:
and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt: her own country, for she was an Egyptian, Genesis 16:1; and where they dwelt was not far from it: according to the Jewish writers, he had two wives; the first he divorced, and then married the Egyptian; his first wife, they say (r), he sent for, and took out of the plains of Moab, whose name was Aishah, and the other Phatimah; so the Targum of Jonathan here,"and he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, and took to wife Adisha (or Aisha), whom he divorced, and then his mother took him Phatimah to wife, out of the land of Egypt:''the names of Ishmael's wives seem to be taken from the Arabic writers; for Aishah, or Ayesha, was the name of a daughter of Abubeker, and one of the wives of Mahomet, and Phatimah the name of one of his daughters.
(q) Theatrum Terrae, S. p. 116. (r) Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 30.)
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