|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 9. - And Sarah saw - at the feast already mentioned (Knobel, Keil); probably also on different occasions since the birth of Isaac - the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Παίζοντα μετὰ Ισαὰκ τοῦ υἰοῦ αὐτης (LXX.), ludentem cum Isaaco filio sue (Vulgate), playing like a child (Aben Ezra, Knobel, Tuch, Ilgen), playing and dancing gracefully (Gesenius); but the stronger sense of the word, implying mockery, scoffing, irritating and deriding laughter (Kimchi, Vatablus, Grotius, Calvin, Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Murphy), besides being admissible (cf. Genesis 19:14; Genesis 26:8; Genesis 39:14, 17; Exodus 32:6), seems involved in the Piel form of the participle מְצַחֵק (Kurtz), and is demanded by Galatians 4:29. That Ishmael ridiculed the banquet on the occasion of Isaac's weaning (Malvenda), quarreled with him about the heirship (Fagins, Piseator), and perhaps made sport of him as a father of nations (Hengstenberg), though plausible conjectures, are not stated in the text. Ainsworth dates from this event the 400 years of Israel's oppression (vide Genesis 15:13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian,.... That is, Ishmael, who is not expressed by name, but described by being a son of Hagar, a servant of Sarah's, and an Egyptian woman; all which seems to be observed by way of slight, both to Hagar and her son:
which she had born unto Abraham; not unto Sarah, as she proposed to herself, when she gave her maid to Abraham, Genesis 16:2. This son of Abraham she saw
mocking; either at the entertainment made at the weaning of Isaac; or rather at Isaac himself, laughing at his name, and treating him with contempt as his younger brother, and boasting that he was the firstborn, and that the inheritance belonged to him; and threatening what he would do to him, should he hereafter offer to dispute it with him, under pretence of the promise of God that he should be Abraham's heir, and at which promise also he may be supposed to mock: and that this contention was about the inheritance seems plain from the words of Sarah in Genesis 21:10; and in it Ishmael might not only rise to high words, but come to blows, and beat his brother; for it is observed the word used sometimes so signifies, 2 Samuel 2:14; wherefore the apostle might truly call it a persecution, Galatians 4:29; and as even cruel mockings are, Hebrews 11:35. As for the various senses the Jewish commentators put upon this, there does not seem to be any foundation for them, as that Ishmael was committing idolatry, and endeavouring to draw his brother into it; or was talking in an indecent and lascivious manner, in order to corrupt his mind; or that he was intending and attempting to take away his life, by shooting an arrow at him, and pretending it was but in jest and in play; See Gill on Galatians 4:29.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. Sarah saw the son of Hagar … mocking—Ishmael was aware of the great change in his prospects, and under the impulse of irritated or resentful feelings, in which he was probably joined by his mother, treated the young heir with derision and probably some violence (Ga 4:29).
Genesis 21:9 Parallel Commentaries
Genesis 21:9 NIV
Genesis 21:9 NLT
Genesis 21:9 ESV
Genesis 21:9 NASB
Genesis 21:9 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible