|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 3. - And Abraham called the name of his son - the naming of a child by its father is, according to partitionists, a peculiarity of the Elohist as distinguished from the Jehovist, who assigns that function to the mother; but vide Genesis 16:15 - that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him (the latter clause being added to distinguish him from Hagar's child), Isaac - laughter; the name appointed for him by God before his birth (Genesis 17:19).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Abraham called the name of his son that was borne unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. Which is the name he was directed to give him, Genesis 17:19; and he remembers the order, and is obedient to it; the reason of which name, which signifies laughter, was on account of his laughing for joy at the promise made him, as well as there might be afterwards a further reason for it, from Sarah's laughing through distrust; and it might presignify the joy and laughter that would be expressed by others at his birth; and perhaps also that he would be the object of the laughter and derision of his brother; such a number of events agreeing with his name.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3, 4. Abraham called the name of his son … Isaac … and circumcised—God was acknowledged in the name which, by divine command, was given for a memorial (compare Ge 17:19), and also in the dedication of the child by administering the seal of the covenant (compare Ge 17:10-12).
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