INTRODUCTION TO Genesis 16
This chapter gives an account of Abram's marrying his maid, at the instance of his wife Sarai, Genesis 16:1, who, upon conceiving, despised her mistress; of which complaint is made to Abram, who leaving his maid to his wife, to deal with her as she pleased, dealt harshly by her, and therefore fled from her, Genesis 16:4; when she was met by an angel, who advised her to return and submit herself to her mistress, and told her her seed would be greatly multiplied, gave a name to the child she went with, and described his temper and disposition, Genesis 16:7; and then we have the name of God that spoke to her, and of the place where the discourse passed between them, Genesis 16:13; and the chapter is concluded with the birth of Ishmael, and the age of Abram at his birth, Genesis 16:15.
Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.Now Sarai, Abram's wife, bare him no children,.... She is before said to be barren, and he to be childless, Genesis 11:30; God had promised him a seed, but as yet he had none, which was a trial of his faith; he had been married many years to Sarai his wife, she was his wife when they came out of Ur of the Chaldees, and how long before cannot be said; they stayed and dwelt some time at Haran, the Jews (x) say five years, and they had been now ten years in the land of Canaan, Genesis 16:3; and were advanced in years, the one being seventy five, and the other eighty five, so that there was no great probability of having any children, wherefore the following step was taken:
and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar; no doubt but she had many, but this was a principal one, that might be over others, and was chiefly entrusted with the care and management of family affairs under her mistress; she might be the daughter of an Egyptian, born in Abram's house, as Eliezer was the son of a Syrian of Damascus, born there also; or she might be one of the maidservants Pharaoh, king of Egypt, gave to Abram, Genesis 12:16; the Jews (y) have a tradition, that she was a daughter of Pharaoh, who, when he saw the wonders done for Sarai, said, it is better that my daughter should be a handmaid in this house, than a mistress in another, and therefore gave her to Sarai; others say (z) she was a daughter of his by a concubine, but neither is probable: from her came the people called Hagarites, 1 Chronicles 5:10, and Hagarenes, Psalm 83:6; and there were a people in Arabia called Agraei, both by Strabo (a) and Pliny (b); and the latter speaks of a royal city in that country called Agra, which seem to have their names from this person. Melo (c), an Heathen writer, speaking of Abram, says, that he had two wives, one of his own country, and akin to him, and the other an Egyptian, a servant; of the Egyptian he beget twelve sons, who, going into Arabia, divided the country among them, and were the first that reigned over the inhabitants of it; as to her twelve sons, he mistakes, for these were not Hagar's sons by Abram, but her grandsons, the sons of Ishmael, see Genesis 17:20.
(x) Seder Olam Rabba, p. 2.((y) Targum Jon. & Jarchi in loc. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 40. 2.((z) Pirke Eliezer, c. 26. (a) Geograph. l. 16. p. 528. (b) Hist. Nat. l. 6. c. 28. (c) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 19. p. 420, 421.
And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.And Sarai said unto Abram, behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing,.... Or, "hath shut me up" (d); that is, her womb, as were the wombs of the house of Abimelech, Genesis 20:18; so that she could not conceive and bear children; she now at this age despaired of having children, perceiving very probably that it ceased to be with her after the manner of women; and this she refers to the will and power of God; for, as children are his gift, and an heritage from him, Psalm 127:3, so it is his will and pleasure sometimes to withhold this blessing from those who are very desirous of them:
I pray thee go in unto my maid; Hagar, the Egyptian before mentioned; her meaning is, that he would take her to wife, and use her as such:
it may be that I may obtain children by her; for whatsoever were born of her handmaid, and in her house, were her own, and so she should account them, and especially as they would be her husband's, see Exodus 21:4; or, "may be builded by her" (e); for women, by bearing children, build up an house, see Ruth 4:11; hence a son in Hebrew is called "ben", from "banah", to build:
and Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai; without consulting God about it, the proposal being agreeable to the flesh, which may be imputed to the infirmity of the good man; though it does not appear to arise from previous lust predominant in him; but both Sarai's proposal, and his compliance with it, might be owing to the eager desire of each after the promised seed; they both believed the promise, but did not know it, being not as yet revealed, that Abram should have a son by Sarai; so that Sarai knowing her own case and circumstances, might conclude it was to be by another, and by her handmaid; and Abram might reason and judge after the same manner, which inclined him to listen to her: Josephus (f) says, indeed, that Sarai moved this to Abram by the direction and order of God himself; and the Jewish writers say (g), that Abram hearkened to the Holy Spirit of God that was in her.
(d) "couclusit me", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius, Schmidt; "occlusit me", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius. (e) "aedificatur", Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt, Cartwright; so Ainsworth. (f) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 10. sect. 4. (g) Jarchi in loc. Bereshit Rabba, ut supra. (sect. 45. fol. 2.)
And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.And Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian,.... Took her by the hand, it is probable, and led her into the apartment where Abram was, and presented her to him; their characters are very exactly described, and the contrast beautifully given, that the affair might be the more remarkable and observable:
after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan; so that he was now eighty five years of age, for he was sventy five when he departed from Haran and came into Canaan, Genesis 12:4; and Sarai, being ten years younger than he, must be sventy five; the Jews from hence have formed a rule or canon; that if a man marries a woman, and she has no children in ten years, he is obliged to marry another (h):
and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife; his secondary wife, or concubine; which, though contrary to the first institution of marriage, was connived at of God, and was practised by good men: nothing can excuse them but their earnest desire after the Messiah, the promised seed; and one may conclude, that nothing but this especially could move Sarai to take such a step, so contrary to the temper and disposition of women in common.
(h) Bereshit Rabba, ut supra. (sect. 45. fol. 40. 2.). Jarchi & Aben Ezra in loc.
And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived,.... The formality of the marriage being over, he enjoyed her as his wife, and she immediately conceived by him:
and when she saw that she had conceived; when she perceived that she was with child:
her mistress was despised in her eyes; she thought herself above her, and treated her as her inferior, with contempt, and reproached her for her barrenness, as Peninnah did Hannah, 1 Samuel 1:6; and it was the more ungrateful, as it was at the motion of her mistress that she was given to Abram for wife.
And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.And Sarai said to Abram,.... Being affronted with the behaviour of her maid to her, she applies to Abram for the redress of her grievance, judging it, perhaps, below her dignity to enter into an altercation with her maid:
my wrong be upon thee; in her passion imprecating evil on him, as a just punishment upon him for suffering wrong to be done her by her maid; or, "is upon thee" (i); pointing at his duty, and suggesting to him what he ought to do; that it was incumbent on him as her husband to right her wrongs, and do her justice, and vindicate her from the calumnies and reproaches of her servant; and tacitly complaining of him, and accusing him with indolence and unconcern at the injury done her, being silent when it became him to check her insolence and chide her for it: or, "is for thee" (k); for thy sake; it was for the sake of Abram chiefly, that he might have a son and heir, which he was very solicitous, that she gave him her maid to wife; the consequence of which was, that she was now insulted and abused by her, and so suffered wrong for his sake; and the rather she might be tempted to say it was on his account, as she might be jealous of a growing affection in him to Hagar, and that he showed greater respect to her, being likely to have a child by her, and so connived at her haughtiness and arrogance:
I have given my maid into thy bosom; to be his wife, Micah 7:5; Sarai had no reason to upbraid Abram with this, since it was not at his solicitations she gave her to him, but it was her own motion:
and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes; when she found herself with child, and hoped to bring forth a son, that should be heir to Abram's large possessions, and inherit the land of Canaan, given to his seed, she began to think highly of herself, and looked with disdain upon her mistress, set lightly by her, made no account of her, showed her no respect, carried it haughtily to her, as if she was beneath her, and as if she had more authority in the house, and a better claim to the affection of Abram, and deserving of more honour and respect, as she was favoured of God with conception, a blessing Sarai never enjoyed:
the Lord judge between me and thee: which was very rashly and hastily said, as if Abram was not inclined and was unwilling to do her justice, and therefore she appeals to God against him, as an unrighteous man, and desires that he would interpose, and by his providence show who was in the right and who in the wrong: or "the Lord will judge" (l); expressing her confidence not only in the justness of her cause, but in the appearance of divine Providence in her favour; believing that the Lord would arise and help her, and defend her against the insults made upon her, and resent the injury done her.
(i) "injuria mea super te est", Cocceius; so Ainsworth. (k) "Vel injuria mea est propter te", Cocceius; "quid si legamus propter te?" Drusius. (l) "judicabit", Junius & Tremellius.
But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.But Abram said unto Sarai,.... In a meek, mild and gentle manner:
behold, thy maid is in thine hand; though Hagar was Abram's secondary wife he still considers her as Sarai's maid, and as subject to her, and allows her to exercise authority over her; for he still retained the same love and affection for Sarai, his first and lawful wife, and showed the same respect he ever did, and supported her in her honour and dignity:
do to her as it pleaseth thee: not giving her liberty to take away her life, nor even to use her cruelly, but to deal with her as a mistress might lawfully do with a servant, or however exercise that power which a first wife had over a second: perhaps Abram, in complaisance to Sarai, gave her too large a commission, and left it too much in her power to distress Hagar; and it might have been more correct to have heard both sides, and judged between them, and used his own authority, by reproving and correcting as he saw meet; had she been only Sarai's maid and not his wife, it would have been less exceptionable; however, for peace sake, he gave leave to Sarai to do as she would:
and when Sarai dealt hardly with her; or afflicted her (m), not only with words but with blows, as some think, and unmercifully beat her, and laid hard service upon her she was not able to go through, especially in her circumstances; though it may be she only chastised her in such a manner as a mistress may chastise her maid, since the angel seems to approve of what she did, Genesis 16:9; which her proud spirit not being able to bear:
she fled from her face; which was set against her, and was full of wrath and fury: she deserted her service, quitted Abram's house though with child by him; unmindful of the various relations she stood in, which should have obliged her to have kept her place, and especially until she had made proper remonstrances of her ill usage, and could have no redress; but, unable to bear the treatment she met with, meditated a flight into her own country, Egypt, for by what follows it appears she steered her course that way; this flight of hers was agreeable to her name, for Hagar in the Arabic language signifies to "flee", hence the flight of Mahomet is called the Hegira.
(m) "eam affligeret", Tigurine version, Schmidt; "afflixit eam", Fagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ainsworth.
And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.And the angel of the Lord found her,.... This is the first time that mention is made of an angel in Scripture, but is not to be understood of a created angel, but of a divine Person, as appears from Genesis 16:10, the uncreated angel, the Logos or Son of God, called the Angel of God's presence, and the Angel of the covenant, Isaiah 63:9 Malachi 3:1; who often appeared in an human form before his incarnation, being sent by his divine Father on one account or another; and hence called an angel, a messenger, or one sent, as in the fulness of time he was sent in human nature to be the Redeemer of his people; though many of the Jewish writers take this angel to be a man sent of God. Gersom (n) says he was one of the prophets that lived in those times, and observes, that some of their Rabbins say (o) he was Shem, the son of Noah; and Maimonides (p) suggests, that this angel was but a mere man, by comparing this passage with that in Genesis 37:15, "a certain man found him", &c. but the context most clearly confutes this notion, and proves him to be the almighty and omniscient God; since he promises to do what none but the omnipotent Being could do, and declares such things as none but the omniscient God could know: and when it is said he "found Hagar", it is not to be understood as if it was a chance matter, or the fruit and effect of search and inquiry, or as if he had not seen her before; but rather it shows that his eye was upon her, and he had a concern for her, and at a proper time and place appeared to her at once, and unawares, and unthought of by her. And the place where he found her was
by a fountain of water in the wilderness; which lay between Egypt and Canaan, the same through which the Israelites passed afterwards from the one to the other: here was a fountain of water, and meeting with it she stopped to refresh herself:
by the fountain in the way to Shur; a place before or over against Egypt, from whence the wilderness had its name, see Genesis 25:18, which shows that she was making her way to Egypt, as fast as she could, her native country, where in all probability she proposed to continue, and never return more: what the name of the place the angel found her at was, at that time, is not certain, or whether it had any; for it seems to be so called from the Lord's "looking" upon her here, which "Shur" signifies: the Jerusalem Targum calls it Chalaza; and both the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan name it Chagra or Hagra, after her own name, as it should seem: and it is remarkable, that this very place, and the wilderness, and parts adjacent, were the habitation of her posterity, the sons of Ishmael, Genesis 25:18; and must be in Arabia Petraea, which they inhabited; and Ptolemy (q) speaks of a city called Suratta, in that country.
(n) Comment in loc. (o) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 41. 1.((p) Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 42. p. 311. (q) Geograph. l. 5. c. 17.
And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid,.... He calls her by her name, which might surprise her, and describes her by her character and condition, in order to check her pride, and put her in mind of her duty to her mistress; and to suggest to her, that she ought to have been not where she was, but in the house of her mistress, and doing her service:
whence camest thou? this question the angel asked, not as ignorant, for he that could call her by her name, and describe her character and state, knew from whence she came; but he said this not only to lead on to what he had further to say to her, but to put her upon considering from whence she came, what she had left behind, and what blessings she had deprived herself of; she had not only left her husband and her mistress, but the house of God; for such Abram's family was, where the worship of God was kept up, and where the Lord granted his presence, and indulged with communion with himself:
and whither wilt thou go? he knew her intention and resolution was to go to Egypt, and he would have her think of the place whither she intended to go, as well as that she had left, as that her journey to it was dangerous, through a wilderness; that the country she was bound for was a wicked and an idolatrous one, where she would not have the free exercise of her religion she had embraced, nor any opportunity of attending the pure worship of God, and would be liable to be drawn into a sinful course of life, and into idolatrous worship:
and she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai; this was very ingenuously said, she acknowledges Sarai to be her mistress, and owns that, she had displeased her, and caused her face to be against her; and confesses the truth, that she had fled from her, not being able to bear her frowns and corrections, at least her spirit was too high to submit to them.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.And the angel of the Lord said unto her,.... The same angel; though Jarchi thinks that one angel after another was sent, and that at every speech there was a fresh angel; and because this phrase is repeated again and again, some of the Rabbins have fancied there were four angels (r), and others five, but without any reason:
return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands; go back to her, humble thyself before her, acknowledge thy fault, enter into her service again, and be subject to her; do her work and business, bear her corrections and chastisements; and "suffer thyself to be afflicted" (s), by her, as the word may be rendered; take all patiently from her, which will be much more to thy profit and advantage than to pursue the course thou art in: and the more to encourage her to take his advice, he promises the following things, Genesis 16:10.
(r) Bereshit Rabba, ut supra. (sect. 45. fol. 41. 1.) (s) "te patere affligi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "quid si, patere te affligi?" Drusius.
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.And the angel of the Lord said unto her,.... The same as before, who, by what follows, appears to be Jehovah himself:
I will multiply thy seed exceedingly; not that she should have many children herself, for that she had more than this one she now went with, is not certain; but that that seed she had conceived should be exceedingly multiplied, and he should have a numerous posterity, as he had twelve princes sprung from him, the heads of Arab nations:
that it shall not be numbered for multitude; such the Turks are at this day, supposed to be the seed of Ishmael, Hagar's son.
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.And the angel of the Lord said unto her,.... Continued his discourse with her, informing her she should have a son, and what his name should be, and what his character, and the place of his habitation:
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.
(s) Pirke Eliezer, c. 32. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 2. 1.
And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.And he will be a wild man,.... Living in a wilderness, delighting in hunting and killing wild beasts, and robbing and plundering all that pass by; and such an one Ishmael was, see Genesis 21:20; and such the Saracens, his posterity, were, and such the wild Arabs are to this day, who descended from him; or "the wild ass of a man" (t); or "a wild ass among men", as Onkelos; or "like to a wild ass among men", as the Targum of Jonathan; wild, fierce, untamed, not subject to a yoke, and impatient of it, see Job 11:12; such was Ishmael, and such are his posterity, who never could be subdued or brought into bondage, neither by the Assyrians, nor Medes and Persians, nor by the Greeks nor Romans, nor any other people (u); and at this day the Arabs live independent on the Turks, nay, oblige the Turks to pay a yearly tribute for the passage of their pilgrims to Mecca, and also to pay for their caravans that pass through their country, as travellers into those parts unanimously report; wherefore Aben Ezra translates the word rendered "wild", or "wild ass", by "free", and refers to the passage in Job 39:5. These people having been always free, and never in bondage, always lived as free booters upon others:
his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; signifying, that he would be of a quarrelsome temper and warlike disposition, continually engaged in fighting with his neighbours, and they with him in their own defence; and such the Arabs his posterity always have been, and still are, given to rapine and plunder, harassing their neighbours by continual excursions and robberies, and pillaging passengers of all nations, which they think they have a right to do; their father Ishmael being turned out into the plains and deserts, which were given him as his patrimony, and as they suppose a permission from God to take whatever he could get. And a late traveller into those parts observes (w), that they are not to be accused of plundering strangers only, or whomsoever they may find unarmed or defenceless; but for those many implacable and hereditary animosities which continually subsist among themselves, literally fulfilling to this day the prophecy of the angel to Hagar, Genesis 16:12; the greatest as well as the smallest tribes are perpetually at variance with one another, frequently occasioned upon the most trivial account, as if they were from the very days of their first ancestor naturally prone to discord and contention.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren; the sons of Abram by Keturah, the Midianites, and others; and the Edomites that sprung from Esau, the son of his brother Isaac; and the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob, another son of Isaac; and his kinsmen the Moabites and Ammonites, upon all which he and his posterity bordered, see Genesis 25:18. It may be rendered, "he shall tabernacle" (x), or dwell in tents, as he did, and his posterity afterwards; particularly the Scenite Arabs, so called from their dwelling in tents, and the Bedouins, such were the tents of Kedar, one of his sons, Sol 1:5; the same with them to this day: according to Jarchi, the sense of the phrase is, that his seed should be large and numerous, and spread themselves, and reach to the borders of all their brethren.
(t) "onager hominis", Cocceius, Schmidt. (u) Vid. Diodor. Sicul. Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 131. (w) Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 238, 239. Ed. 2.((x) "figet tabernacula", V. L. "tabernaculabit", Malvenda.
And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her,.... Either she called on the name of the Lord, and prayed unto him, that he would forgive her sin and give her some fresh tokens of his love; and also gave him thanks for his gracious regards unto her, that he should look upon, and look after so mean a creature, and such a backslider as she was, and return her, and make such gracious promises to her; so the Targum of Onkelos,"she prayed in the name of the Lord;''and the Targum of Jonathan is,"and she confessed, or gave thanks before the Lord, whose Word spake unto her;''and the Jerusalem Targum takes in both prayer and praise,"and Hagar gave thanks, and prayed in the name of the Word of the Lord, who was revealed unto her:''in which may be observed the sense of the ancient synagogue, that this angel that appeared to Hagar, and talked with her, was the Word of the Lord, the eternal Logos, or Son of God: or else the sense is, that she gave the following name or epithet to the Lord, that vouchsafed to discourse with her:
thou God seest me; she perceived by experience his eye was upon her wherever she was, and saw all she did; saw all her transgressions, her contempt of her mistress, and her flight from her; saw her when she was at the fountain, and reproved and recalled her, and sent her back; saw all the workings of her heart, her repentance and sorrow for her sins; looked and smiled upon her, and gave her exceeding great and precious promises: he looked upon her, both with his eye of omniscience and providence, and with his eye of love, and grace, and mercy; yea, she was sensible that he was not only the God that saw her, but saw all things; was God omniscient, and therefore gives him this name under a thorough conviction and deep sense of his omniscience; and so Onkelos paraphrases the words,"thou art he, the God that sees all things;"
for she said, have I also here looked after him that seeth me? this she said within herself, either as blaming herself, that she should not look after God in this desolate place until now, and call upon him, and praise his name, whose eye was upon her, and had a concern for her, and care over her; and yet so ungrateful she had been as to neglect him, and not seek after him as it became her: or as wondering that here, in this wilderness, she should be favoured with the sight of God, and of his angel, whom she had seen in Abram's house; where to see him was not so strange and marvellous, but it was to have a sight of him in such a place, and under such circumstances as she was: or else as admiring that she should be alive after she had had such a vision of God, it being a notion that pretty much obtained, that none could see God and live, only his back parts were to be seen; wherefore others read the words, and they will bear such a version, "have not I also seen here the back parts of him that seeth me?" (y) so Moses did, Exodus 33:23.
(y) So Fagius.
Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.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.
And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.And Hagar bare Abram a son,.... Being returned to his house, and received by him, and reconciled to Sarai, she brought forth a son to Abram, according to the prediction of the angel:
and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael; and this name Jarchi suggests he gave by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that dwelt in him: but it is highly reasonable to suppose, that Hagar upon her return reported to Abram the whole of the conversation she had with the angel; wherefore Abram believing what she said, in obedience to the order and command of the angel, gave him this name.
And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.And Abram was eighty years old when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram. Which is easily reckoned, for he was seventy five years of age when he left Haran, Genesis 12:4; and he had been ten years in Canaan when Hagar was given him by Sarai for his wife, Genesis 16:3; and so must be then eighty five years of age, and of course must be eighty six when Ishmael was born.