Genesis 21:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 21:18, NIV: "Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.'"

Genesis 21:18, ESV: "Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”"

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

Genesis 21:18, NASB: "Get up, lift up the boy, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.'"

Genesis 21:18, NLT: "Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.'"

Genesis 21:18, CSB: "Get up, help the boy up, and grasp his hand, for I will make him a great nation.""

What does Genesis 21:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Hagar and her son Ishmael have come to the end of their lives, as far as she is concerned. They are out of water and lost in the wilderness. She has recently put him under a bush and sat down some distance from him, expecting him to die. Then an angel of God called to her from heaven. God had heard Ishmael's voice.

Now the angel instructs Hagar to get up and move back to her son, to lift him up and embrace him. In other words, it's not time to give up. The angel renews God's promise that Ishmael would become a great nation. This is the only reason Abraham agreed to Sarah's demand that Hagar and Ishmael be cast out: God's promise to prosper Ishmael, not to destroy him (Genesis 21:12–13).

A common theme of the book of Genesis is that God's plans are often fulfilled in ways we would not have expected. They sometimes take longer to complete than we'd prefer. Hagar's story serves to remind us that our individual stories aren't done until God's promises to us have all been fulfilled, no matter how bleak things look in the moment.