Bible Commentaries
Genesis 21

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

The Lord visited Sarah. The phrase, "the Lord visited," when used in Scripture with reference to a person or a people, indicates some signal token of favour-some remarkable blessing (cf. Exodus 3:16; 1 Samuel 2:21; Luke 1:68). The language of the historian seems designedly chosen to magnify the power of God, as well as His faithfulness to His promise. It was God's grace that brought about that event, as well as the raising of spiritual children to Abraham, of which the birth of this son was typical (Calvin).

Verse 2

For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 3-4

And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

Abraham called ... circumcised. God was acknowledged in the name which, by divine command, was given for a memorial (cf. Genesis 17:19), and also in the dedication of the child, by administering the seal of the covenant (cf. Genesis 17:10-12). His birth is supposed by Wilton (Negeb) to have taken place at Eltolad, which may be rendered 'born of God,' or, 'a supernatural birth.'

Verse 5

And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 6

And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

God hath made me to laugh - literally, God hath prepared laughter (joy) for me; i:e., as Havernick paraphrases it, 'That at which I formerly indulged a sceptical laugh has now been so turned by God as to become to me the subject of laughter or joy.'

All that hear will laugh with me, [Septuagint, sungchareitai moi] - will rejoice with me; congratulate me. These words carry us back to the first announcement of Sarah's child. 'In our record,' continues Havernick, 'there is no thought of a proper strictly so-called derivation of the name of Isaac: it is the simple naive oriental mode of narration, which delights in a pregnant style of expression. This might come about the more readily, since, because of the first laugh of Abraham, God had commanded him to call his son [ yitschaaq (H3327)], laughing.'

The Hebrew language delights in paronomasia, or playing upon a word; and this alliterative tendency appears in this case on three occasions-namely, Abraham's smile of gratification (Genesis 18:17); Sarah's sneer of incredulity (Genesis 18:13; Genesis 18:15); and, lastly, her laugh of realized satisfaction and joy. 'Sarah's laugh was immortalized in the name of her son; and wherefore the sacred historian dwells on a matter so trivial, whilst the world and its vast concerns were then at his feet, I can fully understand. For then I see the hand of God shaping everything to his own ends, and in an event thus casual, thus easy, and thus unimportant, telling forth His mighty design of salvation to the world, and working it up into the web of His noble prospective counsel (Blunt's 'Scripture Coincidences').

Verse 7

And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

Who would have said unto Abraham - [Hebrew, mileel (H4448)] This is a poetical word; and this effusion of Sarah is quoted by Lowth ('Prelect.,' 4:) as being in rhythm. It is a fragment of a thanksgiving song, and the clause as we have it may be rendered:

`Who would have uttered in song - Who would have recited in joyous strains unto Abraham - That Sarah should have given children suck? -

For I have born him a son in his old age.' Cf. 2 Samuel 23:2; Psalms 19:4; Psalms 106:2; Psalms 139:4; Proverbs 23:9, where the same word is used in the original.

Verse 8

And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

The child grew, ... Children are suckled longer in the East than in Europe-boys usually for two or three years; in some cases even for four or five (1 Samuel 1:22-28; 2 Chronicles 31:16: cf. 2Ma 8:27 ), 'My sons, have pity upon me that bare thee, and gave thee suck three years.'

Abraham made a great feast, ... In Eastern countries this is always a season of domestic festivity, and the newly-weaned child is formally brought, in presence of the assembled relatives and friends, to partake of some simple viands. Isaac, attired in the symbolic robe-the badge of birthright-was then admitted heir of the tribe (Rosenmuller).

Verse 9

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

Sarah saw the son of Hagar ... mocking, [Septuagint, paizonta meta Isaak] - playing with Isaac, though not in a sportive humour for the child's amusement. Ishmael was then about seventeen years of age, fully aware of the great change in his prospects, and under the impulse of irritated or resentful feelings, in which he was probably joined by his mother, treated the young heir with derisive insult (as the word is used in Genesis 19:14; Genesis 39:14; Nehemiah 2:19; Nehemiah 4:1), and probably some violence-fighting (2 Samuel 2:14), or inflicting blows (Galatians 4:29); according to a Jewish tradition, which it is supposed Paul adopted. 'As Ishmael must have been instructed by his father concerning the promise made to him-to the blessings of which he laid claim, as being the older son-he "mocked" at the great stir that was made at the weaning of Isaac, as thinking that he could not be deprived of the natural right of his primogeniture. At least, it is very probable that, except it had been thus, Sarah's anger would not have proved so violent, both against Ishmael and Hagar, who had probably encouraged him in these pretensions' (Allix.).

Verse 10

Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. Cast out this bond-woman - [ 'aamaah (H519), maid-servant; Greek, paidiskee (G3814) (Galatians 4:22).] The term "bond-woman" or 'slave' refers to the original condition of Hagar. Nothing but the expulsion of both could now preserve harmony in the household. Abraham's perplexity was relieved by an announcement of the divine will, which, in everything however painful to flesh and blood, all who fear God and are walking in his ways, will, like him, promptly obey. This separation was a necessary step for the progressive development of the divine purpose, though brought about by natural causes, as in the earlier removal of Lot. Whether Abraham was then informed or not of the deeper reason for the separation, his own observant and reflecting mind must have perceived, from the mental bias of Ishmael, as well as the unmistakeable indications of the divine blessing pointing in another direction, that the promise was not destined to be fulfilled in that son, whose longer continuance, therefore, in the patriarch's household would be a source of continually increasing embarrassment. Besides, the subordination of all his desires, even of paternal affections, to the object of his high calling, was a part of the religious training to which Abraham was subjected; and his stedfastness in this trial to his natural feelings formed a new stage of advancement in that "faith which overcometh the world."

This story, as the apostle tells us, is "an allegory," symbolizing or illustrating the two covenants-the one the Mosaic law, which was productive of bondage, for Hagar is made a representative of mount Sinai in Arabia, and consequently of the literal Jerusalem; and the other the Gospel, the spiritual Jerusalem, the heavenly or Christian city, which is free from the law of bondage. In other words, Hagar and Sarah, while real personages, and standing to each other in the mutual relations of servant and mistress, were significant of two higher relations-namely, those of the ancient and the Christian churches. The 'persecution' by the son of the Egyptian was typical of the affliction of the Church-Abraham's spiritual seed-by an unbelieving world.

Verse 11

And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

The thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. The parental feelings must have been sadly harrowed by the prospect of ejecting Ishmael. He was asked not merely to expatriate him from the domestic circle, but to sever all the ties which had bound him to the lad who had first awakened the paternal affection in his breast, and in whose society he had much enjoyment.

Verse 12

And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 13

And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

Also of the son of the bond-woman wlll I make a nation.

`What great events from small beginnings rise!'

What could be apparently more insignificant than this family brawl-the outbreak of female jealousy in the tent of a pastoral chief some four thousand years ago? And yet, through means of the bitter animosity and hatred of Sarah, which rendered a separation of Abraham's families necessary, the providence of God accomplished His important design of rearing two independent nations, which have ever since existed in the world; both of which are fulfilling a special destiny, and the special distinguishing features of both of which form one of the most interesting and instructive chapters in the history of the world.

Verse 14

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

Abraham rose up early, ... - 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. There was no guide, no attendant, not even a beast of burden. Calvin ('Commentary on Genesis') suggests that Abraham gave them a small allowance, with the express design of preventing their departure to a great distance; and that he was desirous of retaining them in the neighbourhood of his encampment (cf. Genesis 25:9), in order that he might render whatever kindly offices they might require. Many acts of parental counsel and warm affection, we may be sure, would be rendered, which this concise history does not mention; and Abraham would take every precaution to ensure their safety.

At the same time, it should be borne in mind that their departure had been commanded by a divine oracle, who had assured the patriarch of Ishmael's prosperity, and that Abraham had learned from experience to place such unlimited confidence in the truth and faithfulness of God as to believe that that promise would be performed, even though a miracle must be done to fulfill it.

And gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child. Our translators have followed the Septuagint, which represents Ishmael as but a child carried on his mother's shoulder [kai epetheeken epi ton oomon autees to paidion]. By a slight change in the punctuation, attention to what is added by way of parenthesis, and construing "child" with "took," with which it is properly connected, the meaning is fully brought out, free from all confusion and obscurity, thus:-`And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water (and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder), and the child, and sent her away.'

And wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. Beer-sheba gave name to a large tract of uninhabited country in the southern border of Palestine. Hagar was evidently intending to travel in a southwestward direction, as on a former occasion, to reach the caravan road which led from central Palestine to Egypt, but had gone out of the common direction, in a wide-extending desert, where they missed the track. This desert is proleptically called "the wilderness of Beer-sheba;" for the name of the town, to the south of which it lay, originated in an incident that did not occur until afterward.

Verse 15

And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

The water, ... Ishmael sank exhausted from fatigue and thirst: his mother laid his head under one of the bushes-a dwarfish acacia, or a tamarisk-to smell the damp, while she herself, unable to witness his distress, sat down at a little distance in hopeless sorrow.

She cast, [Hebrew, tashleek (H7993)] - threw, or laid down with a sudden and violent motion [rendered in the Septuagint by erripse]. Both words are used in the same sense (Genesis 37:20; Genesis 37:24; Exodus 1:22; Judges 9:53). Sometimes, however, the Hebrew verb occurs in a milder sense-to put or lay down with tender care (2 Kings 2:16); as also the Greek verb (Matthew 15:30). This meaning it has here. [ Harcheeq (H7368)] - far off, denoting a variable distance (Genesis 37:18; Exodus 2:4; Exodus 20:18; Exodus 20:21; Exodus 24:1; Exodus 33:7; Joshua 3:4; 1 Samuel 26:13; 2 Samuel 15:17; 2 Kings 2:7; Ezra 3:13; Nehemiah 4:19; Nehemiah 12:43); but defined here by the adjunctive comparison, as it were a bow-shot [ kimTachªweey (H2909) qeshet (H7198)] - those drawing the bow; i:e., as far as archers usually shot. [ 'Al (H408) 'er'eh (H7200) bªmowt (H4194) hayaaled (H3206)] - let me not look (or, I cannot look) upon the death of the child. [The verb to see, followed by the preposition bª-, denotes beholding anything painful or sad (cf. Genesis 44:34; Exodus 2:25; Numbers 11:15; Esther 8:6).]

She ... lift up her voice, and wept. [The Septuagint has: aneboeesan de to paidion eklausen, as if they both cried and wept. But Ishmael was then incapable of weeping.] The historical painting in this passage is true to nature, as it represents the speedy exhaustion of a young immature lad, and the greater power of endurance in the mother's frame.

Verse 16

And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verses 17-19

And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

God heard ... the angel of God called. The easy interchange of these names of the same Being is deserving of particular notice (cf. Genesis 31:11; Genesis 31:13; Judges 6:20-21; Judges 17:6-8).

The voice of the lad - i:e., the groans and vehement heavings of fevered and almost expiring nature. Though Moses speaks of the lad's voice being heard in heaven, and not the mothers loud sobbing in the violent manner of the Orientals, it was not that the son was more penitent, or uttered the prayer of faith more than the mother; but "God heard the voice of the lad" because of his relation to Abraham, and of the promise made respecting him. [ Mah (H4100) laak (H3807a)] What aileth thee? But when this elliptical phrase bears this signification, it is always followed by [ kiy (H3588)] that, expressed or understood (cf. Isaiah 22:1). Here it rather denotes 'what wilt thou?' as in Judges 1:14; and in that view it was the answer to her prayer.

Fear not - that the lad shall now die, and my promise be frustrated.

For God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is - [Septuagint, ek tou topou hou estin.] There is perhaps an implied antithesis between that wild desert and the tent of Abraham, where was God's sanctuay, the place where prayer was wont to be made; or perhaps it simply means that God hears, when there is no other ear to hear nor arm to save. It was a striking instance of the truth of the Psalmist's declaration (Psalms 27:10).

Verse 18. Arise, lift up the lad - i:e., persuade him to rise, or assist him in the effort to rise, that he may receive the cooling draught from the spring, which will revive his spirits and re-invigorate his frame.

Verse 19. God opened her eyes. There are few springs in that extensive desert, and these are sometimes so covered by surrounding brushwood that travelers, after long and fruitless search for the precious liquid, have frequently lain down to die in the immediate neighbourhood of a well or a fountain. Incidents of this description-which are far from being of rare occurrence-illustrate the truth of the sacred narrative regarding the extreme sufferings of Ishmael from heat and thirst, and show that, instead of a well being created on the occasion, as some suppose, all that the angel did was to lead Hagar to the discovery of a spring which had escaped her notice. But in this case it was a miraculous interposition that led her to the discovery.

Verse 20

And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

He grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. Maurer renders it, 'he dwelt in the wilderness, and was growing up an archer' - i:e., acquiring greater skill and expertness in archery. His posterity have ever dwelt in that part of the Arabian desert, and they obtained by the bow the venison and wild fowl on which they subsisted; because he was averse to the plow, like the Bedouin of the present day ('inhabitant of the desert,' according to D'Arvieux), who uses the gun in preference either to agricultural or pastoral pursuits.

Verse 21

And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

Paran. Paran, which was further south than the wilderness of Beer-sheba, corresponded generally to the desert now called Et-Tih, bounded on the north by the southern mountains of Canaan, on the west by the wilderness of Shur, on the south by Jebel et-Tih, and on the east by mount Seir. When Ishmael removed to the wilderness of Paran is not recorded; whether immediately on recovery, or he tarried for a time in the neighbourhood of the well (cf. 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. This incident is viewed by Paul (Galatians 4:22-26) as an allegorical representation of the old, or Sinaitic covenant. Hagar (Agar) was in bondage; and although for a time she was owned, protected, and supported by Abraham, she was ultimately thrust out, together with her son, into the wilderness, to let Sarah and the legitimate heir enjoy the exclusive possession of Abraham's love, as well as the undivided privileges of the inheritance. The old covenant, or Jewish dispensation occupied a similar position in the household of God: it was in bondage, and kept the yoke of servitude on the necks of his children. For a time it enjoyed the protection and support of the heavenly Master; but eventnally it was displaced by the better dispensation, or Christian Church, which, as 'the Lord's wife,' was entitled to all the honours and privileges of the married relation; so that, in order to afford unrestricted scope for the free and full expansion of the latter's spiritual offspring, the former, with its children, was sent into a wild and cheerless desert, among a race "whose hand is against every man, and every man's hand against them."

Verse 22

And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:

Abimelech and Phichol. Here is 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. The manifest tokens of the divine blessing which rested on Abraham and his extensive flourishing establishment made a deep impression on the minds of these people, among whom, as with Melchizedek, the knowledge and worship of the true God still lingered. The record of a league proposed on such grounds as are stated is exceedingly interesting, as it affords a glimpse of early history, which shows that the lapse of the nations into idolatry and superstition was gradual.

Abimekech and Phichol the chief captain of his host. Abimelech (see the note at Genesis 20:3). Phichol - i:e., mouth of all; all-commanding. Here is a further notice of the early Philistine kingdom, whose capital was Gerar. It had a hereditary king, a standing army, and privy counselor (cf. Genesis 26:26). The size of this kingdom may be judged of 'by the territory of the Tiy bah Arabs (the modern successors of those pastoral Philistines), which extends northward to the vicinity of Gaza and Beer-sheba. Its boundary must have taken a southeasterly course from Khirbet el-Jerar (the ruins of Gerar), and probably followed the direction of the modern route from Gaza, which joins the great caravan road between central Canaan and Egypt at the entrance of Wady er-Ruhaibeh' ('Biblical Researches,' and 'Negeb').

Verses 23-24

Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 25

And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.

Abraham reproved ... 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 infeft 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 ground, and dread of this had caused the offence for which Abraham reproved Abimelech. The king having given a satisfactory explantation, the preliminary difficulty in the way of his proposed alliance was removed, and Abraham secured himself in possession of the well.

Verse 26

And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 27

And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.

Both of them made a covenant. The account of this treaty is very interesting, as it is the earliest instance of a national or social league on record, while at the same time the special form by which the compact was ratified is not again noticed in the Old Testament history.

Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech. The presentation of these gifts was intended as a reciprocal act of kindness to the king, and an indication of Abraham's wish to live on terms of amity with his neighbours.

Verses 28-29

And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 30

And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

These seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand. Abimelech's acceptance of this specific present was an earnest or pledge of his acknowledgment that the well was the patriarch's property; and while the former donation was, on Abraham's part, a token of his friendly disposition, the select ewe lambs (the number seven being a sacred and significant number) were given and received as a symbol of infeftment in the possession of the watering-place.

Verse 31

Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

Wherefore he called that place Beer-sheba - [Hebrew, Beer-shaba here, and Beer-sheba in Genesis 26:33. The name originated in one of two circumstances, either because, nishbª`uw (H7650), "they sware both of them;" or from sheba` (H7651), seven.] In the account of a renewed transaction of the same kind, in the history of Isaac, the oath alone is stated as the foundation of the name (Genesis 26:28; Genesis 26:33). Delitzsch combines both these circumstances in tracing the derivation of the name. [The place where this league was made received the name bª'eer-Shaaba` (H884) - i:e., seven-well, "because there they sware both of them." 'It does not follow from this note of Moses that he interpreted the name "oath-well," and took shªba` (H7651) in the sense of shªbu`aah (H7621).] The idea is rather the following:-The place received its name from the seven lambs, by which Abraham secured to himself possession of the well, because the treaty was sworn to on the basis of the agreement confirmed by the seven lambs. There is no mention of sacrifice, however, in connection with the treaty. Shaaba` (H7650), to swear-literally, to seven one's self, not because in the oath the divine number three is combined with the world number four; but because from the sacredness of the number seven-the real origin and ground of which are to be sought in the number seven of the work of creation-seven things were generally chosen to give validity to an oath among the ancient Arabians' (Herodotus, 4: 8: see further, the note at Genesis 26:1-35).

Verse 32

Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

Thus they made a covenant at Beer-sheba. A large town rose in later times on that spot, which is well known as the southern boundary point of Palestine. It is now called Bir es-Seba, and is situated in Wady es-Seba, which Robinson ('Biblical Researches') describes as 'a wide watercourse, or bed of a torrent running

W.S.W. toward Wady Essuny.'

And they returned into the land of the Philistines - i:e., from Beer-sheba into their own country; not, it must be remembered, what was afterward posessed by the Philistine nation-the Shephelah, or lowlands, the extensive fertile plain on the coast of the Mediterranean-but the kingdom of Gerar, as described above.

Verse 33

And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

Abraham planted a grove - [Hebrew, 'eshel (H815)]. The tarfa or tamarisk, used here collectively and without the article-a wood or grove of tamarisks. The Septuagint improperly has [aroura], a field. The tamarisk is an evergreen, with a light feathery foliage. Its hardy nature fits it to grow in the desert; and accordingly M. Bovet, a French naturalist, states that the region south of Beer-sheba is full of tamarisks, which seem to flourish in that scanty soil and breezy climate-neither of which is adapted for the produce of the terebinth or the palm, and that many of them were of considerable size, measuring three or four yards in circumference, and from twelve to fifteen yards in height. Such roofless temples as groves were common in Palestine and other countries, into which a more artificial architecture had not been introduced in early ages, before they had become perverted to the rites of an impure superstition; and the circumstance of the patriarch planting a grove in Beer-sheba, instead of contenting himself with a simple altar of turf or stones, as at Sichem and Bethel (Genesis 12:7-8), shows that it was designed for permanent worship.

Although it is said that Abraham planted the grove in Beer-sheba, "it is probable that he would choose a more sequestered spot than the well, which must have been a place of common resort-the scene of merriment and often of contentions-and the preposition bª- is frequently used in our version as denoting a loose indefinite contiguity.' Thus, in Deuteronomy 34:3, "the south, and the plain of (Hebrew, in) the valley of Jericho;" and in Joshua 5:13, "Joshua was by Jerico;" while it appears from Genesis 21:10 that he was at some distance from that town, (cf. 24:26; Judges 9:6, etc.)

Verse 34

And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days. Beer-sheba itself was not in the Philistine territory, but the wilderness-the great wide plain was a common-where the flocks of Abimelech and Abraham equally pastured. The patriarch, whose large establishment required an extensive circuit of pasture land, had more room in Beer-sheba than at Hebron, and hence, it became a chief and favourite residence, his numerous bands of retainers enabling him to keep at bay the Amalekite plunderers, who were settled on the borders of the desert. Wilton has shown ('Negeb') that the expression "many days" signifies at least three years, from a comparison of 1 Kings 2:38 with Gen. 21:39 , and of Acts 9:23 with Galatians 1:18.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.