Genesis 16:14
Why the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
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(14) Beer-lahai-roi.—That is, Well of the living-seeing (of God), the well where God has been seen, and the beholder still lives. It became afterwards a favourite dwelling-place of Isaac (Genesis 25:11), and was probably, therefore, surrounded by pastures, but its site has not been identified. For Kadesh see Genesis 14:7. Bered is absolutely unknown.

Genesis 16:14. The well was called Beer-lahai-roi — The well of him that lives and sees me. It is likely Hagar put this name upon it, and it was retained long after. This was the place where the God of glory manifested the special care he took of a poor woman in distress. Those that are graciously admitted into communion with God, and receive seasonable comforts from him, should tell others what he has done for their souls, that they also may be encouraged to seek him and trust in him.16:7-16 Hagar was out of her place, and out of the way of her duty, and going further astray, when the Angel found her. It is a great mercy to be stopped in a sinful way, either by conscience or by providence. Whence comest thou? Consider that thou art running from duty, and the privileges thou wast blest with in Abram's tent. It is good to live in a religious family, which those ought to consider who have this advantage. Whither wilt thou go? Thou art running into sin; if Hagar return to Egypt, she will return to idol gods, and into danger in the wilderness through which she must travel. Recollecting who we are, would often teach us our duty. Inquiring whence we came, would show us our sin and folly. Considering whither we shall go, discovers our danger and misery. And those who leave their space and duty, must hasten their return, how mortifying soever it be. The declaration of the Angel, I will, shows this Angel was the eternal Word and Son of God. Hagar could not but admire the Lord's mercy, and feel, Have I, who am so unworthy, been favoured with a gracious visit from the Lord? She was brought to a better temper, returned, and by her behaviour softened Sarai, and received more gentle treatment. Would that we were always suitably impressed with this thought, Thou God seest me!God of my vision - (El-roi). Here we have the same divine name as in Ishmael. "Have I even still seen" - continued to live and see the sun after having seen God? Beer-lahai-roi, the well of vision (of God) to the living. To see God and live was an issue contrary to expectation Exodus 33:20. The well is between Kadesh and Bered. The site of the latter has not been ascertained. R. Jonathan gives חוּצא chelûtsā' the Ἔλουσα elousa of Ptolemy, now el-Khulasa, about twelve miles south of Beersheba. Rowland finds the well at Moyle or Muweilah, still further south in the same direction. The birth of Ishmael is in the sixteenth year after Abram's call, and the eleventh after his arrival in Kenaan.

- The Sealing of the Covenant

1. שׁדי shaday, Shaddai, "Irresistible, able to destroy, and by inference to make, Almighty." שׁדד shādad "be strong, destroy." This name is found six times in Genesis, and thirty-one times in Job.

5. אברהם 'abrâhām, Abraham, from אברם 'abrām "high-father," and הם hām the radical part of המין hāmôn a "multitude," is obtained by a euphonic abbreviation אברהם 'abrâhām, "father of a multitude." The root רהם rhm is a variation of רום rvm; affording, however, a link of connection in sound and sense with the root המה hāmâh "hum, be tumultuous," from which comes המון hāmôn a "multitude." The confluence of the biliterals רם rm and הם hm yields the triliteral רהם rhm occurring in Arabic, though not elsewhere in our written Hebrew. The law of formation here noticed is interesting and real, though רהם rhm may not have been an actual result of it.

11. נמלתם nemaltem formed from נמל nāmal, "circumcised." מוּל mûl "cut, circumcise."

15. שׂרה śārâh Sarah, "princess."

19. יצהק yı̂tschāq Jitschaq, "laughing."

The present form of the covenant is not identical with the former. That referred chiefly to the land; this chiefly to the seed. That dwelt much on temporal things; this rises to spiritual things. That specifies only Abram; this mentions both Abram and Sarai. At the former period God formally entered into covenant with Abram ברית כרת kārat berı̂yt, Genesis 15:18); at present he takes the first step in the fufillment of the covenant ברית נתן nātan berı̂yt, seals it with a token and a perpetual ordinance, and gives Abram and Sarai new names in token of a new nature. There was an interval of fourteen years at least between the ratification of the covenant and the preparation for the fulfillment of its conditions, during which Abraham's faith had time to unfold.

13. called the name—common in ancient times to name places from circumstances; and the name given to this well was a grateful recognition of God's gracious appearance in the hour of Hagar's distress. This name may have respect, either,

1. To God, The well of him that liveth (i.e. of the true and living God) and seeth me, i.e. taketh care of me. Or,

2. To Hagar, The well of her that liveth, i.e. who though she gave up herself for dead and lost, yet now is likely to live, both in her person and in her posterity, and seeth, or did see, namely, God present with her. Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi,.... That is, the fountain where the angel found her, Genesis 16:7; this, from the appearance of God to her at it, was afterwards called by her and others by this name, which signifies "the well of him that liveth and seeth me"; that is, of the living and all seeing God, and who had taken a special care of her, and favoured her with a peculiar discovery of his love to her: or this may have respect to herself, and be rendered, "the well of her that liveth and seeth"; that had had a sight of God, and yet was alive; lived though she had seen him, and after she had seen him, and was still indulged with a sight of him. Aben Ezra says, the name of this well, at the time he lived, was called Zemum, he doubtless means Zemzem, a well near Mecca, which the Arabs say (z) is the well by which Hagar sat down with Ishmael, and where she was comforted by the angel, Genesis 21:19,

behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered; Kadesh is the same with Kadesh Barnea in the wilderness, Numbers 13:3. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan call it Rekam, the same with Petra, the chief city of Arabia Petraea, inhabited in later times by the Nabathaeans, the posterity of Ishmael: and Bered is nowhere else mentioned, it is called by Onkelos Chagra or Hagra, by which he interprets Shur, Genesis 16:7; and by the Targum of Jonathan it is called Chaluza, a noted town in Idumea, the same with Chelus, mentioned with Kades in the Apocrypha;"And to all that were in Samaria and the cities thereof, and beyond Jordan unto Jerusalem, and Betane, and Chelus, and Kades, and the river of Egypt, and Taphnes, and Ramesse, and all the land of Gesem,'' (Judith 1:9)and so Jerom (a) speaks of a place called Elusa, near the wilderness of Kadesh, which in his times was inhabited by Saracens, the descendants of Ishmael; and this bids fair to the Bered here spoken of, and seems to be its Greek name, and both are of the same signification; for Bered signifies hail, as does Chalaza in Greek, which the Targumists here make Chaluza; between Kadesh and Barath, as Jerom (b) calls it, Hagar's well was shown in his days.

(z) See Pitts's Account of the Mahometans, c. 7. p. 103. (a) In Vita Hilarionis, fol. 84. 1.((b) De loc. Heb. fol. 89. E.

Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
14. Beer-lahai-roi] The R.V. marg. the well of the living one who seeth me is an impossible translation of the text. Another rendering is, “Well of the Seeing alive,” i.e. “Where one sees God and remains alive.” The popular belief was, that he who saw God would die. See previous note.

Probably the name Beer-lahai-roi was explained by a popular etymology which connected its pronunciation with the sound of the Hebrew words ḥai = “living” and roi = “vision.” A well, or spring, in a desert was generally deemed by the early nomad peoples to be frequented by a Divine presence.

between Kadesh and Bered] For Kadesh, see note on Genesis 14:7. Bered has not been identified. Hagar’s well is commonly supposed to be the same as Ain Muweileh, a spot where there are springs, S. of Beersheba, and on the caravan road to Egypt.Verse 14. - Wherefore the well was called - in all likelihood first by Hagar - Beer-lahai-roi, or the well of him that liveth and seeth me (A.V.); but either

(1) the well of the living one of vision, i.e. of God, who appeared there (Onkeles, Rosenmüller, Lange) or

(2) the well of the life of vision, i.e. where after seeing God life was preserved (Gesenius, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy), or where in consequence of seeing God a new life was imparted (Inglis). Behold, it is between Kadesh (vide Genesis 14:7) and Bered. Of uncertain situation; but the well has probably been discovered in Ain Kades (called by the Arabs Moilahi Hagar), to the south of Beersheba, and about twelve miles from Kadesh (cf. Keil in lees). Hagar no doubt intended to escape to Egypt by a road used from time immemorial, that ran from Hebron past Beersheba, "by the way of Shur." - Shur, the present Jifar, is the name given to the north-western portion of the desert of Arabia (cf. Exodus 15:22). There the angel of the Lord found her by a well, and directed her to return to her mistress, and submit to her; at the same time he promised her the birth of a son, and an innumerable multiplication of her descendants. As the fruit of her womb was the seed of Abram, she was to return to his house and there bear him a son, who, though not the seed promised by God, would be honoured for Abram's sake with the blessing of an innumerable posterity. For this reason also Jehovah appeared to her in the form of the Angel of Jehovah. הרה is adj. verb. as in Genesis 38:24, etc.: "thou art with child and wilt bear;" ילדתּ for ילדת (Genesis 17:19) is found again in Judges 13:5, Judges 13:7. This son she was to call Ishmael ("God hears"), "for Jehovah hath hearkened to thy distress." עני afflictionem sine dubio vocat, quam Hagar afflictionem sentiebat esse, nempe conditionem servitem et quod castigata esset a Sara (Luther). It was Jehovah, not Elohim, who had heard, although the latter name was most naturally suggested as the explanation of Ishmael, because the hearing, i.e., the multiplication of Ishmael's descendants, was the result of the covenant grace of Jehovah. Moreover, in contrast with the oppression which has had endured and still would endure, she received the promise that her son would endure no such oppression. "He will be a wild ass of a man." The figure of a פּרא, onager, that wild and untameable animal, roaming at its will in the desert, of which so highly poetic a description is given in Job 39:5-8, depicts most aptly "the Bedouin's boundless love of freedom as he rides about in the desert, spear in hand, upon his camel or his horse, hardy, frugal, revelling in the varied beauty of nature, and despising town life in every form;" and the words, "his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him," describe most truly the incessant state of feud, in which the Ishmaelites live with one another or with their neighbours. "He will dwell before the face of all his brethren." פּני על denotes, it is true, to the east of (cf. Genesis 25:18), and this meaning is to be retained here; but the geographical notice of the dwelling-place of the Ishmaelites hardly exhausts the force of the expression, which also indicated that Ishmael would maintain an independent standing before (in the presence of) all the descendants of Abraham. History has confirmed this promise. The Ishmaelites have continued to this day in free and undiminished possession of the extensive peninsula between the Euphrates, the Straits of Suez, and the Red Sea, from which they have overspread both Northern Africa and Southern Asia.
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