Genesis Chapter 21


(James 1:8)
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

The entire history of the nation of Israel is an illustration of the battle between the two natures of mankind, saved or unsaved. This battle is between the flesh and the spirit, here the flesh is represented by Ishmael and Isaac represents the child of promise, the child of the spirit. The sins of the flesh were evident in Sarah and Abraham, in agreeing to tell all strangers who they met that Sarah was Abraham's sister and not his wife, out of fear of the local custom of wife-stealing, instead of the fear of God. In addition, there were two responses by Abraham and Sarah to God's promise of Isaac, one of the flesh and one of faith. The one of the flesh was Sarah giving Abraham her handmaid, Hagar, then Abraham having a son of the flesh with Hagar named Ishmael. Ishmael lives today in all of the enemies of Israel surrounding her, the Arab nations who have always wanted to, tried to, want to and still try to destroy her. That all behind them now, they have come to have the child of promise and faith, Isaac, through whom would come Jacob (Israel) and the twelve tribes of Israel, present today. The battle of the flesh and spirit in us is represented by the battle of children the flesh (Ishmaelites) and the children of the promise, Israel. As is the daily struggle between them, so is the struggle real and daily within us, between our two natures, the flesh and the spirit. As Abraham loved Ishmael, so must we love our enemies. As Abraham was to send Ishmael away, so are we to evict, oust, purge sin.

(Genesis 21:1)
And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
  • The LORD favored Sarah with a baby, fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 18

VIS'ITED, pp. Waited on; attended; inspected; subjected to sufferings; favored with relief or mercy.

(Genesis 18:10-15)
And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

(Numbers 23:19)
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

(Genesis 21:2)
For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
  • The birth of Isaac is similar to the birth of Christ:

    • Timely (in the fullness of time)
    • Miraculous for both Sarah and Mary
    • Sarah as good as dead (as well as Abraham), Mary a virgin

  • It says in Hebrews 11 that she "received strength to conceive seed"
  • This is a supernatural, miraculous birth, as both Abraham and Sarah were "as good as dead" to childbearing
  • This should have been a sign, a forerunner to think about for the Old Testament Jews of the New Testament birth of Christ
  • God waited past the point of childbirth to show that all things are possible with God

(Genesis 18:14)
Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

(Galatians 4:4)
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

(Hebrews 11:11-12)
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

(Matthew 19:26)
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

(Jeremiah 32:17)
Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

(Genesis 21:3)
And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
  • Isaac was the child of promise
  • In calling him Isaac, Abraham was obedient to God, because he could have chosen any name, a regal one, a pompous one, a proud one, a fighting name, named him after a long lost relative, etc.
  • The name Isaac means "laughter", the thing Abraham did at the news of his future coming child, and Sarah did later, and then denied she did upon the announcement to Abraham and her by God that he would be born one day

(Genesis 17:17)
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

(Genesis 17:19)
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

(Genesis 18:12-15) Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

(Genesis 21:4)
And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.
  • Circumcision is a Jewish commandment, given by God for purpose of undeniably distinguishing a man from the surrounding peoples in a time of war. Since it was unique to Jews, they were unable to deny who and what they were
  • Eight days is medically the perfect and only time to do this to a newborn, not a day earlier or later,


  1. Vitamin K, needed for proper blood-clotting, is known to peak on the eighth day of a baby's life
  2. God doesn't make mistakes
  3. Only on the eighth day also, the amount of prothrombin, a blood-clotting protein produced in the liver, is present and actually elevated above one-hundred percent of normal—and the eighth day is the only day in the life of a male child in which this will be the case, under normal conditions.
  4. With both chemicals at their peak, if surgery must be done, the eighth day is the perfect day to perform it.
(Genesis 21:5)
And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
  • And hundred years old is indeed "as good as dead"!

(Genesis 21:6)
And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.
  • It is certain that, throughout the ages, this story told to people probably made many of them laugh
  • This laughter is one of joy, not doubt, as the first one was

(Genesis 21:7)
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.
  • The obvious implied answer to her question is, "No one!"
  • In addition to getting pregnant, carrying the child, delivering the child safely, she had to, at her old age, nurse that same child

(Genesis 21:8)
And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
  • This would be perhaps at the age of three to five years
  • May we be mature Christians after three years of prayer, careful study, discipling by others
  • In this whole Isaac-Ishmael contrast,being compared to our two natures, this part is the discipleship, growth of the believer, going from milk to solid food
  • As this weaning process is natural to babies, and guaranteed by time that any baby will grow to maturity, it should be the same for us, completely natural to mature
  • If we do not grow, we stifle and are not fruitful, able to use our sword effectively

(1 Corinthians 3:1-2)
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

(Hebrews 5:13)
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

(Hebrews 5:14)
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

(Genesis 21:9)
And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
  • This is simply more laughter, this time from a half-brother of the flesh, a future (and now present) enemy
  • Most often the ones most favored and used of God are the ones that the world considers a laughing-stock, to be mocked
  • Such will be the case for Isaac then, the LORD Jesus Christ then as now, and now today us, mocked, scorned, derided, persecuted by virtue of who and what we are, and nothing we even do


(Galatians 4:22-31)
For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

(Genesis 21:10)
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.
  • Representing the flesh, the bondwoman here is Hagar the handmaiden of Sarah
  • Since the flesh cannot dwell with the spirit, this is an illustration of the struggle again in us
  • While it would not have been a custom to cast out the handmaiden with a child of the patriarch, God allowed it, as He allows the sin and flesh of the children of this world to coexist with the Spirit, the children of God, just not in the same body at the same time

(Genesis 21:11)
And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.
  • Abraham loved Ishmael as we love our flesh...he just had to start to love God's plan more
  • There is a time to let go of the flesh, the ways of this world, the nature of this world, our sin
  • Ishmael is not actually going away, as he will grow into the enemy nations of Israel

(Genesis 21:12)
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.
  • The difference between hearkening to the voice of one's wife here and in the Garden is the will of God
  • In the Garden, the Will of Man was exercised to subvert God's will, leading the world into sin, nd was according to God's Plan overall, in giving man a free will
  • Here, it leads to Isaac becoming part of a great, eternal nation through whom the Messiah would one day come, according to God's Plan, but according to His Will
  • "In Isaac shall thy Seed be called" is "Jesus Christ will come from my people Israel"(Jacob, son of Isaac)
  • Isaac, being offered in obedience later by Abraham, becomes a type of Christ

(Genesis 3:17)
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

(Genesis 21:13)
And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.
  • Conversely, Ishmael's descendants become the enemies of Israel, more numerous one earth on any given day, always at odds, if not always at war
  • The Sovereignty of God means even His enemies will have a place, if only to resists Him and irritate, temporarily, His chosen people, throughout history until the end at Armageddon

(Genesis 21:14)
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.

(Genesis 21:15)
And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

(Genesis 21:16)
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.

(Genesis 21:17)
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.

(Genesis 21:18)
Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

(Genesis 21:19)
And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

(Genesis 21:20)
And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

(Genesis 21:21)
And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

(Genesis 21:22)
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:

(Genesis 21:23)
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.

(Genesis 21:24)
And Abraham said, I will swear.

(Genesis 21:25)
And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.

(Genesis 21:26)
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.

(Genesis 21:27)
And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.

(Genesis 21:28)
And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.

(Genesis 21:29)
And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?

(Genesis 21:30)
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.

(Genesis 21:31)
Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

(Genesis 21:32)
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.

(Genesis 21:33)
And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

(Genesis 21:34)
And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

Genesis Chapter 22


Daily Verse