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Genesis 21

Abraham's sons

1 The LORD was good to Sarah. He kept his promise to her. 2 Sarah became pregnant. She gave birth to a son. Abraham was his father. Abraham was old. This happened at the time that God said it would.

21:2See Genesis 18:10.

3 Abraham called his son Isaac. This is the son that Sarah gave birth to. 4 Isaac was 8 days old. Abraham circumcised him. This is what God had told him to do.

21:4See chapter 17.

5 Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. 6 Sarah said, ‘God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about my son will be happy with me.’ 7 She also said, ‘Who would think that I would have a child? But I have given Abraham a son, even when he is old.’

8 The child grew, and his mother weaned him. On that day, Abraham gave a big feast.

21:8Weaned means that Isaac did not have to drink his mother's milk any more.
21:8A feast is a time of eating and drinking.

9 Sarah saw that Ishmael was laughing at Isaac. Ishmael was Hagar's son. Hagar was the slave from Egypt. 10 Sarah said to Abraham, ‘Send that slave woman and her son away. He must never have a part in the inheritance. He will not have a part with my son Isaac.’

21:10Inheritance is what someone receives after a person dies.

11 This made Abraham very sad, because it was about his son Ishmael.

21:11Ishmael is Hagar's son. He is also Abraham's son.

12 God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be sad about the boy Ishmael and your female servant. Listen to Sarah. Do whatever she tells you, because I will continue my promise through Isaac. 13 I will also make many people from the descendants of Ishmael, too. I will do that because he is your son.’

14 Abraham was awake early the next morning. He took some food. And he took a bottle that someone had made out of animal skin. He filled it with water. He put the food and water on Hagar's shoulders. Then he sent Hagar and her son Ishmael away. She went to the desert of Beersheba.

21:14The desert of Beersheba is dry and hot. There is not very much water there.

15 After they had drunk the water, Hagar put her son under a bush. 16 She thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ As she sat near the boy, she began to cry. Then she went away from him. She sat down. She was not very far away from him. 17 God heard the boy crying. The angel of God spoke to Hagar from heaven. He said ‘What is the matter Hagar? Do not be afraid. God has heard the boy crying, while the boy is lying there. 18 Lift the boy up. Take him by the hand. I will make him into a great people.’

21:18God has told Hagar this, when she ran away from Sarah (16:10).

19 Then God opened Hagar's eyes. She saw a well of water. Hagar filled the bottle with water. And she gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy while he grew up. The boy lived in the desert. He became an archer.

21:20A desert is a hot, dry place. It has lots of sand. There is not much water there.
21:20An archer is someone who can use a bow and arrows to kill an animal. An arrow is like a stick with a sharp point at the end.

21 The boy lived in the desert of Paran. And his mother found a wife for him. The wife was from Egypt.

Abraham and Abimelech make a covenant

22 At that time Abimelech and Phicol, his officer, said to Abraham, ‘God is with you in everything that you do. 23 Tell me that you will not do things in a false way. You will not do anything false with me or with my children or with my descendants. Do this before God. You live here as a foreign person. Be kind to me, as I was to you.’ 24 Abraham said ‘I will do as you say.’

25 Then Abraham told Abimelech about a well of water. Abimelech's servants had said that the well belonged to them and not to Abraham. 26 Abimelech said ‘I do not know who has done this. You did not tell me before. I only heard about it today.’ 27 Abraham brought sheep and cows. He gave them to Abimelech. The two men made a promise. 28 Abraham separated 7 young female sheep from the other sheep. 29 Abimelech asked Abraham ‘Why have you separated 7 young female sheep? What does this mean?’ 30 Abraham replied ‘Take these 7 young female sheep from my hand. You know that I dug this well. This shows that you know it.’ 31 So he called that place Beersheba. He called it that because the 2 men made a promise there.

21:31Beersheba means ‘well of seven’ or ‘well of the promise’.

32 So they made a promise at Beersheba. Abimelech and Phicol, his officer, returned to the land of the Philistines.

33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba. He called on the name of the LORD who is for ever. That is the God who never changes.

21:33A tamarisk tree is a tree that can grow without using much water.

34 Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.