A Daily Genesis

Genesis 16:13-16

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:13a . . And she called Yhvh who spoke to her: You Are El-roi[/B]

The author of Genesis was privy to the identity of the mysterious person speaking with Hagar but she wasn't, and that's why she gave him a name of her own. But I cannot be certain what it is because there seems no consensus among translators how best say it in English; neither in Jewish bibles nor in Christian bibles. In Hebrew; the words are: [I]'Ataah 'Eel R'iy[/I]

The JPS Tanakh translates it: You are El-roi

The Stone Tanach translates it: You are the God of Vision

The KJV translates it: Thou God seest me

The NIV Translates it: You are the God who sees me

A Catholic Bible (NAB) translates it the same as the Stone Tanach.

Hagar, familiar with many gods in the Egyptian world, was unsure of the identity of this particular divine being speaking with her so she gave it a pet name of her own. I like it because her god is a personal god, one that meant something just to her-- rather than some scary alien way out in space who doesn't care one whit about individuals. Hagar's god knew about the baby and gave the little guy a name. That is a very personal thing to do and must have been very comforting to a girl at the end of her rope.

What took place between these two travelers is very precious. They met as strangers, but before they parted, one named the other's baby and became godfather to a runaway slave's child. The other gave her new god a pet name to remember him by. Hagar's experience was very wonderful.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:13b . . by which she meant: Have I not gone on seeing after He saw me![/B]

The rendering of 16:13b is more or less an educated guess because the Hebrew in that verse is very difficult. She could have said: Have I here seen him here who sees me? In other words: The god who knows me is in this place? I can appreciate her surprise. You might expect to find God in a grand Italian cathedral, but certainly not along a dusty road in the middle of nowhere. And you might also expect a divine being to speak with a President Barak Obama or a Pope Benedict, but certainly not to an insignificant nobody who meant very little to anybody.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:14 . .Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it is between Kadesh and Bered.[/B]

Heretofore, this particular source of water had no specific name. [I]Beer-lahai-roi[/I] is another Hebraic toughie. It could mean: The well of him who knows me.

Kadesh is located nearby El Quseima Egypt about 15 miles south of the border town of Nizzana. Just northeast of there is the wilderness of Shur; a region adjoining the Mediterranean to the north and the Suez canal to the west. Shur extends somewhat south along the eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez.

But the well wasn't there. It was between Kadesh and Bered. The Onkelos Targum renders Bered; Chaghra', which is the usual equivalent of Shur, while the Jerusalem Targum renders it Chalutsah, which is also Shur (Ex 15:22). So precisely where Hagar's well was located is totally unknown so far. It was just somewhere between Kadesh and Shur.

[B][SIZE=1]FYI[/SIZE]:[/B] I don't think those of us living in modern industrialized countries like the U.S.A. appreciate the importance of water in Hagar's part of the world. Those of us in the Pacific Northwest and/or Hawaii sure don't. But without water; people die, plants wither, birds fall out of the sky, and livestock eventually drops dead.

Water, in the form of humidity, fog, and/or liquid is literally life itself in some parts of the world; ergo: to have that celestial being meet with Hagar at a source of water in the Mideast is very significant; and only one of many such meetings people in the Bible experienced with God and/or His designated messengers.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:15 . . Hagar bore a son to Abram, and Abram gave the son that Hagar bore him the name Ishmael.[/B]

Hagar must have told her master about the experience and darned if the old man didn't believe her story and comply with God's choice of name for the boy. Taking part in naming a boy was serious business in those days. In doing so, Abram officially and publicly accepted Ishmael as his legal son. The boy was supposed to be Sarai's son too, but there's no record she ever really accepted the lad.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 16:16 . . Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.[/B]

That was about eleven years after Abram entered Canaan (Gen 12:4) and 14 years before Isaac's birth (Gen 21:5). Both of Ishmael's parents were Gentiles. Hagar was an Egyptian and Abram was a Babylonian.

According to ancient Judaism, the angel who spoke with Hagar was God's word-- The Memra' of sacred Jewish literature.

[COLOR=#008000][B]T.[/B][/COLOR] And she gave thanks before the Lord whose Word spake to her, and thus said, Thou art He who livest and art eternal; who seest, but art not seen! (Targum Jonathan)

[COLOR=#008000][B]T.[/B][/COLOR] And Hagar gave thanks, and prayed in the Name of the Word of the Lord, who had been manifested to her, saying; "Blessed be You, Eloha, the Living One of all Ages, who has looked upon my affliction." For she said; "Behold, You are manifested also to me, even as You were manifested to Sara my mistress." Wherefore she called the well: The Well at which the Living and Eternal One was revealed. And, behold, it is situate between Rekam and Chalutsa. (Jerusalem Targum)

So then, it's pretty well established in the Old Testament book of Genesis, in the New Testament book of John, and in the Targums, that God's mysterious Word is actually the Yhvh of the Old Testament.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:1-3)

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