A Daily Genesis

Genesis 21:17-21

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 21:17a . . God heard the cry of the boy,[/B]

I don't think Ishmael, at near eighteen, was bawling his eyes out like a little girl. Rather; his "cry" was a plea for help. Exactly what he said is unknown. But God heard him and responded. I strongly suspect that in those seventeen or so years with Abraham, Ishmael learned how to pray; and very likely he prayed at bed time with his mom Hagar. She knew Abraham's god too-- at first hand.

God had promised Hagar and Abraham that He would multiply Ishmael (Gen 16:10, Gen 17:20). So God cannot allow Ishmael to die before generating a posterity.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 21:17b-19 . . and an angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her: What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heeded the cry of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him. Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and let the boy drink.[/B]

Now we're back on personal terms; and the angel speaks to Hagar by name rather than by her previous status as a slave; which would now be inappropriate because she's emancipated.

This particular angel wasn't an apparition but rather just a voice-- granted a very unusual voice. First it spoke for God, then it spoke as the Yhvh who would make good on the promise that God made to Hagar at Gen 16:10-11and the one made to Abraham at Gen 21:13.

I bet the water was right there all the time but Hagar was so exhausted and distraught that she hadn't seen it. Everybody gets that way once in a while. Sometimes the answer to our problem is right under our noses but oftentimes can't see it because we're just too upset at the time.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 21:20a . . God was with the boy and he grew up;[/B]

I don't know why so many Christians and Jews have such a low opinion of Ishmael. How many of his detractors are able to boast that God was with any of them as they grew up?

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 21:20b . . he dwelt in the wilderness and became a bowman.[/B]

Archery must have become a traditional skill in Ishmael's family. One of his male progeny, Kedar, produced a clan of bowmen who used their skills not only in hunting, but also in warfare. (Isa 21:16-17)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 21:21a . . He lived in the wilderness of Paran;[/B]

The Wilderness of Paran encompassed a pretty big area. It was south of the Negev, on the Sinai peninsula, roughly between Elat on the east and the Suez canal on the west.

To look at that region today you'd wonder what appealed to Mr. Ishmael; but apparently it was a whole lot more pleasant in his day 3,900 years ago; which wouldn't surprise me since the Sahara itself was at one time pluvial and inhabited.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 21:21b . . and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.[/B]

A girl from Egypt was apparently a better choice than the girls of Canaan; from among whom Abraham would later not want a wife for his son Isaac (Gen 24:3-4).

I wonder how Hagar traveled to Egypt. Did she go on to become prominent in the caravan business? I bet you one thing. She was very careful that her boy did not get himself hitched to a Sarah-type personality. And no way would Hagar ever have one for a mother-in-law either.

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