Genesis 21:1-7

Genesis 21:1-7
Ordinary A29


The LordA dealt withB SarahC as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised.D 

Notes on verse 1

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “dealt with” = paqad. This is to attend to or visit – can be used for a friendly or violent encounter. So, it can be to oversee, care for, avenge, or charge.
C “Sarah” = sarah. From the same as sarah (princess, mistress, noble lady, queen); from sar (chief, ruler, captain, official, prince). This is Sarah, meaning princess.
D “promised” = dabar. This is to speak, answer, arrange, or declare.

Sarah conceived and bore AbrahamE a son in his old age,F at the timeG of which GodH had spoken to him. 

Notes on verse 2

E “Abraham” = Abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
F “old age” = zaqun. 4x in OT. From zaqen (old, aged, or elder); from zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old age.
G “time” = moed. From yaad (to appoint, assemble or gather selves, agree). This is a meeting, assembly, fixed time. It can be used for a festival or feast. It can also refer to a meeting place.
H “God” = Elohim.

Abraham gave the nameI IsaacJ to his son whom Sarah bore him. 4 And Abraham circumcisedK his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commandedL him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 

Notes on verses 3-5

I “gave the name” = qarashem. Literally “called his name.” Qara is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth. Shem may be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
J “Isaac” = yitschaq. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.”
K “circumcised” = mul. This is to cut off, cut in pieces, or destroy. It is used for to circumcise. It can also mean to blunt.
L “commanded” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).

Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughterM for me; everyone who hearsN will laughO with me.” 

7 And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurseP children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Notes on verses 6-7

M “laughter” = tsechoq. Related to “Isaac” in v3. 2x in OT From tsachaq (see note J above). This is laughter, whether from pleasure or in scorn.
N “hears” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
O “laugh” = tsachaq. Related to “Isaac” in v3 & “laughter” in v6. See note J above.
P “nurse” = yanaq. This is to suckle or to nurse. In a causative sense, it can mean to give milk. So, this word can be used for a nursing mother or for her suckling child.

Image credit: “Visitation” from the Church of Saint Elizabeth in El Sitio, El Salvador.

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