And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The child grew, and was weaned.—According to tradition, Isaac was two years old when weaned. Three years is the age mentioned in 2Chronicles 31:16, 2 Maccabees 7:27; and Samuel was old enough at his weaning to be left at the tabernacle with Eli (1Samuel 1:24). In Persia and India it is still the custom to celebrate the weaning of a child by an entertainment.1 Samuel 1:22-24; 2 Chronicles 31:16. The child seems to have remained for the first five years under the special care of the mother Leviticus 27:6. The son then came under the management of the father.
Abraham made a great feast, &c.—In Eastern countries this is always a season of domestic festivity, and the newly weaned child is formally brought, in presence of the assembled relatives and friends, to partake of some simple viands. Isaac, attired in the symbolic robe, the badge of birthright, was then admitted heir of the tribe [Rosenmuller].
and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned; because he had now escaped the dangers of infancy, and had gone through or got over those disorders infants are exposed unto, and had his health confirmed, and there was great likelihood of his living and becoming a man, since now he could eat and digest more solid and substantial food; and this was great joy to Abraham, which he expressed by making a grand and sumptuous entertainment for his family, and for his neighbours, whom he might invite upon this occasion. Jarchi says, the great men of that age were at it, even Heber and Abimelech. The Jews very impertinently produce this passage, to show the obligation they lie under to make a feast at the circumcision of their infants (w); for this was not at Isaac's circumcision, but at his weaning.
(q) R. Gedaliah, Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 2. 2. (r) Quaestion. in Genesin, fol. 68. K. tom. 3.((s) Annal. Vet Test. p. 9. (t) Pirke Eliezer, c. 30. Vid. Hieron. Quaest. ut supra. (in Genesin, fol. 68. K. tom. 3.) (u) De his Verb. Resipuit. Noe, p. 275. (w) Pirke Eliezer, c. 29. fol. 30. 1.And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. was weaned] Weaning was often, in the East, deferred until as late as the child’s third or fourth year; see 1 Samuel 1:24. It is still regarded as the occasion for a family rejoicing.
8–21 (E). The Expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael
A narrative from E which forms a parallel to that in chap. 16. (J).Verse 8. - And the child grew, - καὶ ἠυξήθη τὸ παιδίον (LXX.): imitated by Luke concerning Christ: τὸ παιδίον ηὔξανε (Luke 2:40) - and was weaned. The verb gamal originally signifies to do good to any one, to do completely; hence to finish, or make completely ready, as an infant; hence to wean, since either at that time the period of infancy is regarded as complete, or the child s independent existence is then fully reached. The time of weaning is commonly believed to have been at the end of the second or third year (cf. 1 Samuel 1:22-24; 2 Chronicles 31:16; 2 Macc. 7:27; Josephus, 'Ant.,' 2:09, 6). And Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. Literally, in the day of the weaning of Isaac; probably, therefore, when Isaac was three years old and Ishmael seventeen. "It is still customary in the East to have a festive gathering at the time a child is weaned. Among the Hindoos, when the time for weaning has come, the event is accompanied with feasting and religious ceremonies, during which rice is formally presented to the child" ('Bible Manners and Customs,' by Rev. J. A. Freeman, M.A., ' Homiletical Quarterly,' vol. 1. p. 78; cf. Roberts' 'Oriental Illustrations,' p. 24).
CHAPTER 21:9-14 Genesis 17:6 (cf. Genesis 18:14): she conceived, and at the time appointed bore a son to Abraham, when he was 100 years old. Abraham gave it the name of Jizchak (or Isaac), and circumcised it on the eighth day. The name for the promised son had been selected by God, in connection with Abraham's laughing (Genesis 17:17 and Genesis 17:19), to indicate the nature of his birth and existence. For as his laughing sprang from the contrast between the idea and the reality; so through a miracle of grace the birth of Isaac gave effect to this contrast between the promise of God and the pledge of its fulfilment on the one hand, and the incapacity of Abraham for begetting children, and of Sarah for bearing them, on the other; and through this name, Isaac was designated as the fruit of omnipotent grace working against and above the forces of nature. Sarah also, who had previously laughed with unbelief at the divine promise (Genesis 18:12), found a reason in the now accomplished birth of the promised son for laughing with joyous amazement; so that she exclaimed, with evident allusion to his name, "A laughing hath God prepared for me; every one who hears it will laugh to me" (i.e., will rejoice with me, in amazement at the blessing of God which has come upon me even in my old age), and gave a fitting expression to the joy of her heart, in this inspired tristich (Genesis 21:7): "Who would have said unto Abraham: Sarah is giving suck; for I have born a son to his old age." מלּל is the poetic word for דּבּר, and מי before the perfect has the sense of - whoever has said, which we should express as a subjunctive; cf. 2 Kings 20:9; Psalm 11:3, etc.
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