Genesis 21:1-13 . BIRTH OF ISAAC.
14. Abraham rose up early, &c.--early, that the wanderers might reach an asylum before noon. Bread includes all sorts of victuals--bottle, a leathern vessel, formed of the entire skin of a lamb or kid sewed up, with the legs for handles, usually carried over the shoulder. Ishmael was a lad of seventeen years, and it is quite customary for Arab chiefs to send out their sons at such an age to do for themselves: often with nothing but a few days' provisions in a bag.
wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba--in the southern border of Palestine, but out of the common direction, a wide extending desert, where they lost their way.
15. the water was spent, &c.--Ishmael sank exhausted from fatigue and thirst--his mother laid his head under one of the bushes to smell the damp while she herself, unable to witness his distress, sat down at a little distance in hopeless sorrow.
19. God opened her eyes--Had she forgotten the promise ( Genesis 16:11 )? Whether she looked to God or not, He regarded her and directed her to a fountain close beside her, but probably hid amid brushwood, by the waters of which her almost expiring son was revived.
20, 21. God was with the lad, &c.--Paran (that is, Arabia), where his posterity has ever dwelt (compare Genesis 16:12 ; also Isaiah 48:19 , 1 Peter 1:25 ).
his mother took him a wife--On a father's death, the mother looks out for a wife for her son, however young; and as Ishmael was now virtually deprived of his father, his mother set about forming a marriage connection for him, it would seem, among her relatives.
Genesis 21:22-34 . COVENANT.
22. Abimelech and Phichol--Here a proof of the promise ( Genesis 12:2 ) being fulfilled, in a native prince wishing to form a solemn league with Abraham. The proposal was reasonable, and agreed to [ Genesis 21:24 ].
25-31. And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well--Wells were of great importance to a pastoral chief and on the successful operation of sinking a new one, the owner was solemnly informed in person. If, however, they were allowed to get out of repair, the restorer acquired a right to them. In unoccupied lands the possession of wells gave a right of property in the land, and dread of this had caused the offense for which Abraham reproved Abimelech. Some describe four, others five, wells in Beer-sheba.
33. Abraham planted a grove--Hebrew, "of tamarisks," in which sacrificial worship was offered, as in a roofless temple.
34. Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land--a picture of pastoral and an emblem of Christian life.