Genesis 21:10
Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
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(10) Bondwoman.—Heb., ammâh. This word is rightly translated handmaid in Galatians 4:22, &c., Revised Version. It is rendered maid in Genesis 30:3, and in the plural, maidservants, in Genesis 20:17, where, as we have seen, it means Abimelech’s inferior wives. So also in 1Samuel 25:41, Abigail professes her willingness to descend from the position of an ammâh to that of a maidservant in David’s honour. The rendering “bondwoman “unduly depresses Hagar’s condition, and with it that of the Jewish Church in the allegory contained in Galatians 4:22-31.

Genesis 21:10. Cast out the bond-woman — This was a type of the rejection of the unbelieving Jews, who, though they were the seed of Abraham, yet, because they submitted not to the gospel covenant, were unchurched and disfranchised. And that which above any thing provoked God to cast them off, was, their mocking and persecuting the gospel church, God’s Isaac, in its infancy.

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.The dismissal of Hagar and Ishmael. "The son of Hagar ... laughing." The birth of Isaac has made a great change in the position of Ishmael, now at the age of at least fifteen years. He was not now, as formerly, the chief object of attention, and some bitterness of feeling may have arisen on this account. His laugh was therefore the laugh of derision. Rightly was the child of promise named Isaac, the one at whom all laugh with various feelings of incredulity, wonder, gladness, and scorn. Sarah cannot brook the insolence of Ishmael, and demands his dismissal. This was painful to Abraham. Nevertheless, God enjoins it as reasonable, on the ground that in Isaac was his seed to be called. This means not only that Isaac was to be called his seed, but in Isaac as the progenitor was included the seed of Abraham in the highest and utmost sense of the phrase. From him the holy seed was to spring that was to be the agent in eventually bringing the whole race again under the covenant of Noah, in that higher form which it assumes in the New Testament. Abraham is comforted in this separation with a renewal of the promise concerning Ishmael Genesis 17:20.

He proceeds with all singleness of heart and denial of self to dismiss the mother and the son. This separation from the family of Abraham was, no doubt, distressing to the feelings of the parties concerned. But it involved no material hardship to those who departed, and conferred certain real advantages. Hagar obtained her freedom. Ishmael, though called a lad, was at an age when it is not unusual in the East to marry and provide for oneself. And their departure did not imply their exclusion from the privileges of communion with God, as they might still be under the covenant with Abraham, since Ishmael had been circumcised, and, at all events, were under the broader covenant of Noah. It was only their own voluntary rejection of God and his mercy, whether before or after their departure, that could cut them off from the promise of eternal life. It seems likely that Hagar and Ishmael had so behaved as to deserve their dismissal from the sacred home. "A bottle of water."

This was probably a kid-skin bottle, as Hagar could not have carried a goat-skin. Its contents were precious in the wilderness, but soon exhausted. "And the lad." He took the lad and gave him to Hagar. The bread and water-skin were on her shoulder; the lad she held by the hand. "In the wilderness of Beer-sheba." It is possible that the departure of Hagar occurred after the league with Abimelek and the naming of Beer-sheba, though coming in here naturally as the sequel of the birth and weaning of Isaac. The wilderness in Scripture is simply the land not profitable for cultivation, though fit for pasture to a greater or less extent. The wilderness of Beer-sheba is that part of the wilderness which was adjacent to Beer-sheba, where probably at this time Abraham was residing. "Laid the lad." Ishmael was now, no doubt, thoroughly humbled as well as wearied, and therefore passive under his mother's guidance. She led him to a sheltering bush, and caused him to lie down in its shade, resigning herself to despair. The artless description here is deeply affecting.

10. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman—Nothing but the expulsion of both could now preserve harmony in the household. Abraham's perplexity was relieved by an announcement of the divine will, which in everything, however painful to flesh and blood, all who fear God and are walking in His ways will, like him, promptly obey. This story, as the apostle tells us, in "an allegory" [Ga 4:24], and the "persecution" by the son of the Egyptian was the commencement of the four hundred years' affliction of Abraham's seed by the Egyptians. 1892 She was enraged by this fact, and perceived it was but a beginning and earnest of greater evil designed by him against her beloved Isaac; being also guided by the wise counsel and providence of God, as appears from Genesis 21:12. Though the fact was done by Ishmael, yet Sarah plainly saw that this and other like carriages were from his mother’s instigation and encouragement, who being of an imperious and petulant disposition, as appears from Genesis 16:4,9, in all probability comforted herself, and animated her son, by that right he had to his father’s inheritance as he was his first-born, as may be gathered both from the custom of women in such cases, and from the last words of this verse. Besides, if the mother had been continued, she would easily have prevailed with Abraham to fetch the child back again.

Wherefore she said unto Abraham, cast out this bondwoman and her son,.... Hagar, Sarah's handmaid and bondservant, and her son Ishmael; by this it appears that Hagar was concerned in this affair, and set her son on to mock Isaac, at least she encouraged him in it, buoying: him up with his being the firstborn, and having a right to the inheritance; wherefore Sarah saw plainly that there would be no peace nor comfort for her and her son, unless Hagar and her son were turned out of doors, for which she moves Abraham; and this not merely in a passion, but by divine direction and influence, as is evident from God's approbation of it:

for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac; which he would seem to be, if continued, and would think himself so, and there would be continual bickerings about it; wherefore, to put it out of all doubt who was heir, she desires that he and his mother both might be cast out of the house, which would be a clear determination of this matter. Sarah may seem to take upon her too much, to be so peremptory, as to declare who should, and who should not be heir, which more properly belonged to Abraham, whom she called her lord, Genesis 18:12; but what will sufficiently free her from any charge of this kind is the revelation of the divine will, and the promise of God that so it should be; namely, that the covenant God had so often renewed with Abraham should be established with Isaac, and not with Ishmael, Genesis 17:19. Now what was the design of God, in guiding Sarah to make such a motion as this to Abraham, is taught us by the Apostle Paul, who makes these two women to be types and figures of the two covenants, and their sons of those that are under them, see Galatians 4:22.

Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
10. “Hebrew custom provided for the recognition of the children of the maid-servant (Genesis 30:3), and Ishmael according to the Elohist (Genesis 21:10) was coheir with Isaac” (Stanley Cook, p. 140).

Verse 10. - Wherefore she said - though with an admixture of sinful feelings, non dubito arcane Spiritus instinctu gubernatam fuisse ejus linguam et mentem (Calvin); vide Galatians 4:30 - unto Abraham, Cast out - by some kind of legal act (as divorce: cf. Leviticus 21:7, 14; Leviticus 22:13; Isaiah 57:20), which should insure the disinheriting of Ishmael (Bush); though probably- this is to import later Mosaic legislation rote the records of primitive tunes - this bondwoman - a term ill befitting Sarah, who had given Hagar to her husband as a wife (Genesis 16:3) - and her son (who was Abraham's offspring, though not the promised seed; a consideration which should have mitigated Sarah's anger): for the son of this bondwoman (a repetition evincing the bitter ness of her contempt and the intensity of her choler) shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. Notwithstanding the assurance (Genesis 17:21) that the covenant was made with Isaac, Sarah was apprehensive lest Ishmael should contrive to disinherit him; an act of unbelief into which she was manifestly betrayed by her maternal fears and womanly jealousy. Genesis 21:10Sarah therefore asked that the maid and her son might be sent away, saying, the latter "shall not be heir with Isaac." The demand, which apparently proceeded from maternal jealousy, displeased Abraham greatly "because of his son," - partly because in Ishmael he loved his own flesh and blood, and partly on account of the promise received for him (Genesis 17:18 and Genesis 17:20). But God (Elohim, since there is no appearance mentioned, but the divine will was made known to him inwardly) commanded him to comply with Sarah's demand: "for in Isaac shall seed (posterity) be called to thee." This expression cannot mean "thy descendants will call themselves after Isaac," for in that case, at all events, זרעך would be used; for "in (through) Isaac shall seed be called into existence to thee," for קרא does not mean to call into existence; but, "in the person of Isaac shall there be posterity to thee, which shall pass as such," for נקרא includes existence and the recognition of existence. Though the noun is not defined by any article, the seed intended must be that to which all the promises of God referred, and with which God would establish His covenant (Genesis 17:21, cf. Romans 9:7-8; Hebrews 11:18). To make the dismissal of Ishmael easier to the paternal heart, God repeated to Abraham (Genesis 21:13) the promise already given him with regard to this son (Genesis 17:20).
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