And the angel of the LORD said to her, Behold, you are with child and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael; because the LORD has heard your affliction.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ishmael.—That is, God heareth. Like Samuel, Ishmael received his name from the events of his mother’s life, and not from anything in his own. There was, however, no rule in this matter, and the naming of children in the Book of Genesis is very diversified.Genesis 16:11. Ishmael — That is, God will hear; and the reason is, because the Lord hath heard — He hath, and therefore he will. The experience we have had of God’s seasonable kindness in distress should encourage us to hope for the like help in the like exigencies. Even there where there is little cry of devotion, the God of pity hears the cry of affliction: tears speak as well as prayers.
behold, thou art with child; this she knew, and it is said, not for her information, as to this respect, but to lead on to something else he had to acquaint her with, she did not know. Jarchi indeed would have the sense to be, "thou shall conceive" or "be with child", as was said to Manoah's wife, Judges 13:5; for it is a fancy of his, that Hagar had miscarried, and he, supposes the angel to promise her, that if she would return, or when she should return, she should conceive again; but this is said and supposed without any foundation:
and shalt bear a son; this was what she hoped for, but was not certain of; but the angel assures her of it, that the child she went with was a son, which none could foretell but God, that is omniscient:
and shall call his name Ishmael; the Jews (s) observe, there were six persons who had their names given them before they were born, and Ishmael is one of them; the six were Isaac, Genesis 17:19; Ishmael, here; Moses, Exodus 2:10; Solomon, 2 Samuel 12:24; Josiah, 1 Kings 13:2; and the Messiah, Isaiah 7:14, the reason of his name follows:
because the Lord hath heard thy affliction: heard of it, had took notice of it, and observed, and fully understood the nature and cause of it; he had heard her groans and sighs under it, and her prayer and cries for deliverance from it; and so the Targum of Onkelos,"for the Lord hath received thy prayer,''which she had put up in her affliction, both when in the service of her mistress, and since her flight from her.And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. thou shalt call his name Ishmael] That is, God heareth. The name is to be given by the mother. Cf. note on Genesis 4:1; Genesis 4:25. The name “Ishmael” may mean either “God hears,” or “may God hear.” See also Genesis 21:17. The reason for the name is explained by the words, “because the Lord hath heard (shâma‘) thy affliction.”
heard thy affliction] See note on Genesis 16:6. The expression means that Jehovah has either heard of the persecution Hagar has received, or, more probably, has heard the prayer uttered by her in her affliction (Genesis 16:6). Cf. Exodus 2:24; Exodus 4:31.Verse 11. - And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and thou shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael. "God shall hear," or, "Whom God hears," the first instance of the naming of a child before its birth (cf. afterwards Genesis 17:19; 1 Kings 13:2; 1 Chronicles 22:9; Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:13). Because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. Τῇ ταπεινώσει (LXX.), "thy prayer" (Chaldee), of which there is no mention, though men's miseries are said to cry when men themselves are mute (Calvin; cf. Exodus 1:24; 3:7). Genesis 15:4) did not seem likely to be fulfilled, even after the covenant had been made, Sarai resolved, ten years after their entrance into Canaan, to give her Egyptian maid Hagar to her husband, that if possible she might "be built up by her," i.e., obtain children, who might found a house or family (Genesis 30:3). The resolution seemed a judicious one, and according to the customs of the East, there would be nothing wrong in carrying it out. Hence Abraham consented without opposition, because, as Malachi (Malachi 2:15) says, he sought the seed promised by God. But they were both of them soon to learn, that their thoughts were the thoughts of man and not of God, and that their wishes and actions were not in accordance with the divine promise. Sarai, the originator of the plan, was the first to experience its evil consequences. When the maid was with child by Abram, "her mistress became little in her eyes." When Sarai complained to Abram of the contempt she received from her maid (saying, "My wrong," the wrong done to me, "come upon thee," cf. Jeremiah 51:35; Genesis 27:13), and called upon Jehovah to judge between her and her husband,
(Note: בּיניך, with a point over the second Jod, to show that it is irregular and suspicious; since בּין with the singular suffix is always treated as a singular, and only with a plural suffix as plural.)
Abram gave her full power to act as mistress towards her maid, without raising the slave who was made a concubine above her position. But as soon as Sarai made her feel her power, Hagar fled. Thus, instead of securing the fulfilment of their wishes, Sarai and Abram had reaped nothing but grief and vexation, and apparently had lost the maid through their self-concerted scheme. But the faithful covenant God turned the whole into a blessing.
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