And she called the name of the Lord - She invoked (ותקרא vattikra ) the name of Jehovah who spake unto her, thus: Thou God seest me! She found that the eye of a merciful God had been upon her in all her wanderings and afflictions; and her words seem to intimate that she had been seeking the Divine help and protection, for she says, Have I also (or have I not also) looked after him that seeth me? This last clause of the verse is very obscure and is rendered differently by all the versions. The general sense taken out of it is this, That Hagar was now convinced that God himself had appeared unto her, and was surprised to find that, notwithstanding this, she was still permitted to live; for it is generally supposed that if God appeared to any, they must be consumed by his glories. This is frequently alluded to in the sacred writings. As the word אחרי acharey, which we render simply after, in other places signifies the last days or after times, (see Exodus 33:23;), it may probably have a similar meaning here; and indeed this makes a consistent sense: Have I here also seen the Latter Purposes or Designs of him who seeth me? An exclamation which may be referred to that discovery which God made in the preceding verse of the future state of her descendants.
- The Birth of Ishmael
1. הנר hāgār Hagar, “flight.” Hejrah, the flight of Muhammed.
7. מלאך mal'ak “messenger, angel.” A deputy commissioned to discharge a certain duty for the principal whom he represents. As the most usual task is that of bearing messages, commands, or tidings, he is commonly called a “messenger” ἄγγελος angelos ). The word is therefore a term of office, and does not further distinguish the office-bearer than as an intelligent being. Hence, a מלאך mal'ak may be a man deputed by a man Genesis 32:3; Job 1:14, or by God Haggai 1:13; Malachi 3:1, or a superhuman being delegated in this case only by God. The English term “angel” is now especially appropriated to the latter class of messengers.
1st. The nature of angels is spiritual Hebrews 1:14. This characteristic ranges over the whole chain of spiritual being from man up to God himself. The extreme links, however, are excluded: man, because he is a special class of intelligent creatures; and God, because he is supreme. Other classes of spiritual beings may be excluded - as the cherubim, the seraphim - because they have not the same office, though the word “angelic” is sometimes used by us as synonymous with heavenly or spiritual. They were all of course originally good; but some of them have fallen from holiness, and become evil spirits or devils Matthew 25:31, Matthew 25:41; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:7. The latter are circumscribed in their sphere of action, as if confined within the walls of their prison, in consequence of their fallen state and malignant disposition Job 1:2; 1 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:2. Being spiritual, they are not only moral, but intelligent. They also excel in strength Psalm 103:20. The holy angels have the full range of action for which their qualities are adapted. They can assume a real form, expressive of their present functions, and affecting the senses of sight, hearing, and touch, or the roots of those senses in the soul. They may even perform innocent functions of a human body, such as eating Genesis 18:8; Genesis 19:3. Being spirits, they can resolve the material food into its original elements in a way which we need not attempt to conceive or describe. But this case of eating stands altogether alone. Angels have no distinction of sex Matthew 22:30. They do not grow old or die. They are not a race, and have not a body in the ordinary sense of the term.
2d. Their office is expressed by their name. In common with other intelligent creatures, they take part in the worship of God Revelation 7:11; but their special office is to execute the commands of God in the natural world Psalm 103:20, and especially to minister to the heirs of salvation Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 18:10; Luke 15:10; Luke 16:22. It is not needful here to enter into the uniquenesses of their ministry.
3d. The angel of Jehovah. This phrase is especially employed to denote the Lord himself in that form in which he condescends to make himself manifest to man; for the Lord God says of this angel, “Beware of him, and obey his voice; provoke him not, for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in his inmost” Exodus 23:21; that is, my nature is in his essence. Accordingly, he who is called the angel of the Lord in one place is otherwise denominated the Lord or God in the immediate context (Genesis 16:7, Genesis 16:13; Genesis 22:11-12; Genesis 31:11, Genesis 31:13; Genesis 48:15-16; Exodus 3:2-15; Exodus 23:20-23; with Exodus 33:14-15). It is remarkable, at the same time, that the Lord is spoken of in these cases as a distinct person from the angel of the Lord, who is also called the Lord. The phraseology intimates to us a certain inherent plurality within the essence of the one only God, of which we have had previous indications Genesis 1:26; Genesis 3:22. The phrase “angel of the Lord,” however, indicates a more distant manifestation to man than the term Lord itself. It brings the medium of communication into greater prominence. It seems to denote some person of the Godhead in angelic form. שׁוּר shûr Shur, “wall.” A city or place probably near the head of the gulf of Suez. The desert of Shur is now Jofar.
11. ישׁמעאל yı̂shmā‛ē'l Jishmael, “the Mighty will hear.”
13. ראי אל 'êl rŏ'ı̂y “God of vision or seeing.”
14. ראי לחי באר be'ēr -lachay -ro'ı̂y Beer-lachai-roi, “well of vision to the living.” ברד bered Bered, “hail.” The site is not known.
Sarah has been barren probably much more than twenty years. She appears to have at length reluctantly arrived at the conclusion that she would never be a mother. Nature and history prompted the union of one man to one wife in marriage, and it might have been presumed that God would honor his own institution. But the history of the creation of man was forgotten or unheeded, and the custom of the East prompted Sarai to resort to the expedient of giving her maid to her husband for a second wife, that she might have children by her.
A Mizrite handmaid. - Hagar was probably obtained, ten years before, during their sojourn in Egypt. “The Lord hath restrained me.” It was natural to the ancient mind to recognize the power and will of God in all things. “I shall be builded by her,” אבנה 'ı̂bāneh built as the foundation of a house, by the addition of sons or daughters (בנים bānı̂ym or בנית bānôt ). She thought she had or wished to have a share in the promise, if not by herself personally, yet through her maid. The faith of Sarah had not yet come fully to the birth. Abram yields to the suggestion of his wife, and complies with the custom of the country. Ten years had elapsed since they had entered the land they were to inherit. Impatience at the long delay leads to an invention of their own for obtaining an heir. The contempt of her maid was unjustifiable. But it was the natural consequence of Sarai‘s own improper and imprudent step, in giving her to her husband as a concubine. Unwilling, however, to see in herself the occasion of her maid‘s insolence, she transfers the blame to her husband, who empowers or reminds her of her power still to deal with her as it pleased her. Hagar, unable to bear the yoke of humiliation, flees from her mistress.
The angel of the Lord either represents the Lord, or presents the Lord in angelic form. The Lord manifests himself to Hagar seemingly on account of her relationship to Abram, but in the more distant form of angelic visitation. She herself appears to be a believer in God. The spring of water is a place of refreshment on her journey. She is on the way to Shur, which was before Mizraim as thou goest rewards Asshur Genesis 25:18, and therefore fleeing to Egypt, her native land. The angel of the Lord interrogates her, and requires her to return to her mistress, and humble herself under her hands.
I will multiply. - This language is proper only to the Lord Himself, because it claims a divine prerogative. The Lord is, therefore, in this angel. He promises to Hagar a numerous offspring. “Ishmael.” “El,” the Mighty, will hear; but “Jehovah,” the Lord (Yahweh), heard her humiliation. Yahweh, therefore, is the same God as El. He describes Ishmael and his progeny in him as resembling the wild ass. This animal is a fit symbol of the wild, free, untamable Bedouin of the desert. He is to live in contention, and yet to dwell independently, among all his brethren. His brethren are the descendants of Heber, the Joctanites, composing the thirteen original tribes of the Arabs, and the Palgites to whom the descendants of Abram belonged. The Ishmaelites constituted the second element of the great Arab nation, and shared in their nomadic character and independence. The character here given of them is true even to the present day.
God of my vision - (El-roi). Here we have the same divine name as in Ishmael. “Have I even still seen” - continued to live and see the sun after having seen God? Beer-lahai-roi, the well of vision (of God) to the living. To see God and live was an issue contrary to expectation Exodus 33:20. The well is between Kadesh and Bered. The site of the latter has not been ascertained. R. Jonathan gives חוּצא chelûtsā' the Ἔλουσα elousa of Ptolemy, now el -Khulasa about twelve miles south of Beersheba. Rowland finds the well at Moyle or Muweilah, still further south in the same direction. The birth of Ishmael is in the sixteenth year after Abram‘s call, and the eleventh after his arrival in Kenaan.
We could not think of these important words, and call to mind the sufferings of Jesus that we poor sinners might receive pardon and be redeemed unto God by His most precious blood, without feeling a holy restraint upon us and an earnest desire to suffer for Him who suffered and endured so much for us. If we dwell on these things, dear self, with its dignity, will be humbled, and its place will be occupied by a childlike simplicity which will bear reproof from others and will not be easily provoked. A self-willed spirit will not then come in to rule the soul. EW 112.1
The true Christian's joys and consolation must and will be in heaven. The longing souls of those who have tasted of the powers of the world to come and have feasted on heavenly joys, will not be satisfied with things of earth. Such will find enough to do in their leisure moments. Their souls will be drawn out after God. Where the treasure is, there will the heart be, holding sweet communion with the God they love and worship. Their amusement will be in contemplating their treasure—the Holy City, the earth made new, their eternal home. And while they dwell upon those things which are lofty, pure, and holy, heaven will be brought near, and they will feel the power of the Holy Spirit, and this will tend to wean them more and more from the world and cause their consolation and chief joy to be in the things of heaven, their sweet home. The power of attraction to God and heaven will then be so great that nothing can draw their minds from the great object of securing the soul's salvation and honoring and glorifying God. EW 112.2Read in context »
Every ship sailing the sea of life needs to have the divine Pilot on board; but when storms arise, when tempests threaten, many persons push their Pilot overboard, and commit their bark into the hand of finite man, or try to steer it themselves. Then disaster and wreckage generally follow, and the Pilot is blamed for running them into such dangerous waters. Do not commit yourselves into the keeping of men, but say, “The Lord is my helper”; I will seek His counsel; I will be a doer of His will. All the advantages you may have cannot be a blessing to you, neither can the highest class education qualify you to become a channel of light, unless you have the co-operation of the divine Spirit. It is as impossible for us to receive qualification from man, without the divine enlightenment, as it was for the gods of Egypt to deliver those who trusted in them. Students must not suppose that every suggestion for them to prolong their studies is in harmony with God's plan. Let every such suggestion be taken to the Lord in prayer, and seek earnestly for His guidance,—not only once, but again and again. Plead with Him, until you are convinced whether the counsel is of God or man. Do not trust yourself to men. Act under the divine Guide. FE 348.1
You have been chosen by Christ. You have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb. Plead before God the efficacy of that blood. Say unto Him: “I am Thine by creation; I am Thine by redemption. I respect human authority, and the advice of my brethren; but I cannot depend wholly upon these. I want Thee, O God, to teach me. I have covenanted with Thee to adopt the divine standard of character, and make Thee my counselor and guide,—a party to every plan of my life; therefore teach me.” Let the glory of the Lord be your first consideration. Repress every desire for worldly distinction, every ambition to secure the first place. Encourage heart purity and holiness, that you may represent the true principles of the gospel. Let every act of your life be sanctified by a holy endeavor to do the Lord's will, that your influence may not lead others into forbidden paths. When God is the leader, His righteousness shall go before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. FE 348.2Read in context »
You have had an opportunity to show whether your religion was a practical reality. You have taken liberties in the sight of God and holy angels that you would not take under the observation of your fellow men. True religion extends to all the thoughts of the mind, penetrating to all the secret thoughts of the heart, to all the motives of action, to the object and direction of the affections, to the whole framework of our lives. “Thou God seest me,” will be the watchword, the guard of the life. You may take these lessons home. You have need to learn, and may God help you. Ellen G. White. LYL 69.3Read in context »
If the character of the men connected with the office at Battle Creek were so transformed that they could have a helpful influence over those under their control, then the outlook would be more encouraging. Whatever the men employed there may think of their ability, I have reason to say that many will need to improve greatly before they are qualified to fill their positions acceptably. They may feel competent to give counsel, but they are themselves in need of counsel from Him who is unerring in wisdom. Great and important interests are in danger of being misshaped and of coming forth defective from their hands. If all felt their ignorance more, and would depend less on self, they might learn of the great Teacher meekness and lowliness of heart. 5T 558.1
God is observing everything that transpires in the office. “Thou God seest me,” should be always in mind. Everyone who bears responsibilities in the office should be courteous and kind to all. An ever-abiding sense of the presence of Christ would prevent the encroachment upon others’ rights which is so common in the world's practice, but which is an offense to God. The love of Jesus must be incorporated into the lives of the workers in the several departments of the office, in order that justice may be done, not only to the work, but to one another. 5T 558.2
The very first work, my brethren, is to secure the blessing of God in your own hearts. Then bring this blessing into your homes, put away your criticisms, overcome your exacting ways, and let the spirit of cheerfulness and kindness prevail. The atmosphere of your homes will be carried with you to the office, and heavenly peace will surround your souls. Wherever the love of Jesus reigns there is pitying tenderness and thoughtfulness of others. The most precious work that my brethren can engage in is that of cultivating a Christlike character. 5T 558.3Read in context »