Genesis 16:13

13 So she named the Lord who spoke to her, "You are El-roi"; for she said, "Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?"

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Genesis 16:13 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 16:13

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?" F25 so Moses did, ( Exodus 33:23 ) .


F25 So Fagius.

Genesis 16:13 In-Context

11 And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Now you have conceived and shall bear a son; you shall call him Ishmael, for the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild ass of a man, with his hand against everyone, and everyone's hand against him; and he shall live at odds with all his kin."
13 So she named the Lord who spoke to her, "You are El-roi"; for she said, "Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?"
14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
15 Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Perhaps [God of seeing] or [God who sees]
  • [b]. Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.