What does Genesis 16:7 mean?
ESV: The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.
NIV: The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.
NASB: Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.
CSB: The angel of the Lord found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.
NLT: The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur.
KJV: And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
NKJV: Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.
Verse Commentary:
Over the last few verses, Abram and Sarai's plan to speed up God's timetable has gone terribly wrong. Sarai's idea was to follow the customs of her time. She would give her Egyptian servant girl Hagar to Abram as his wife. When Hagar bore a child, the child would, belong to Sarai. This, in her mind, would solve the problem of her own barrenness.

Of course, this alternate route to God's promise backfired. Once pregnant and married to Abram, Hagar became contemptuous of Sarai. In the context of that culture, this is hardly a surprise. After all, she had accomplished, seemingly immediately, what Sarai never could. Sarai had to force Abram to confirm that she was still in authority over Hagar. Once he agreed, she "dealt with" Hagar very harshly. And so, Hagar ran, maybe for her life.

Now pregnant and alone, Hagar escapes into the wilderness, to a spring on the road to Shur. Hagar may have been heading back to her homeland of Egypt. The "angel of the Lord" found her by that spring. This "angel of Yahweh" may have been a theophany: God taking on a human form on earth to accomplish a specific purpose. Alternatively, this might have been some other angel or angelic being. The context and phrasing of this chapter seem to suggest this was, in fact, the Lord Himself (Genesis 16:10, 13).
Verse Context:
Genesis 16:1–16 demonstrates that God hears and sees and cares, but that He won't be rushed or manipulated into keeping His promises. Sarai and Abram attempt to receive God's promised child through their own scheme. In this case, by marrying Abram to an Egyptian servant girl. The resulting pregnancy, though, leads to harsh conflict and a surprising revelation from the Lord to Hagar. Her son Ishmael will not be the child of the promise, though he will become a great nation, and his people will live in conflict with everyone. Abram and Sarai will continue to wait for the arrival of their own son.
Chapter Summary:
Sarai, tired of waiting for a child, convinces Abram to go to plan B. She gives her Egyptian slave girl to Abram as a wife, with the understanding that any children will belong to Sarai. Once Hagar is pregnant, however, conflict sets in. Sarai deals harshly with Hagar, and she flees alone into the wilderness. The Lord finds her there and commands her to return and submit to Sarai. However, the Lord also reveals that Hagar's son will have an uncountable number of offspring and that they will live in conflict with everyone. Hagar praises God as the one who sees, returns to Abram and Sarai, and Ishmael is soon born.
Chapter Context:
After formally establishing His covenant promises with Abram in the previous chapter, the Lord still has not given Abram and Sarai a child. Sarai convinces Abram to take her slave girl as a wife in hopes of getting a child that way. Abram agrees. Pregnancy and conflict soon follow. Sarai treats Hagar so harshly that the girl runs off alone into the wilderness. The Lord finds her and commands her to return and submit. He also reveals, however, that Hagar's child Ishmael will become the father of a great people who will live in conflict with everyone.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 6/13/2024 1:27:47 PM
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