Genesis 16:7
And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
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(7) The angel of the Lord.—Heb., of Jehovah. (See Excursus at end of Book.)

In the way to Shur.—Hagar evidently fled by the usual route leading from Hebron past Beer-sheba to Egypt. The wilderness was that of Paran, in which Kadesh was situated. The fountain by which Hagar was sitting was on the road to Shur, which is a desert on the eastern side of Egypt, forming the boundary of the territory of the Ishmaelites (Genesis 25:18) and of the Amalekites (1Samuel 15:7; 1Samuel 27:8), and reached by the Israelites soon after crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 15:22; Numbers 33:8). It is now called J’afar.

Genesis 16:7. Here is the first mention we have in Scripture of an angel’s appearance; who arrested her in her flight. It should seem she was making toward her own country, for she was in the way to Shur, which lay toward Egypt. It would be well if our afflictions would make us think of our home, the better country. But Hagar was now out of the way of her duty, and going farther astray when the angel found her. It is a great mercy to be stopped in a sinful way, either by conscience or providence.16:7-16 Hagar was out of her place, and out of the way of her duty, and going further astray, when the Angel found her. It is a great mercy to be stopped in a sinful way, either by conscience or by providence. Whence comest thou? Consider that thou art running from duty, and the privileges thou wast blest with in Abram's tent. It is good to live in a religious family, which those ought to consider who have this advantage. Whither wilt thou go? Thou art running into sin; if Hagar return to Egypt, she will return to idol gods, and into danger in the wilderness through which she must travel. Recollecting who we are, would often teach us our duty. Inquiring whence we came, would show us our sin and folly. Considering whither we shall go, discovers our danger and misery. And those who leave their space and duty, must hasten their return, how mortifying soever it be. The declaration of the Angel, I will, shows this Angel was the eternal Word and Son of God. Hagar could not but admire the Lord's mercy, and feel, Have I, who am so unworthy, been favoured with a gracious visit from the Lord? She was brought to a better temper, returned, and by her behaviour softened Sarai, and received more gentle treatment. Would that we were always suitably impressed with this thought, Thou God seest me!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.7. And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain—This well, pointed out by tradition, lay on the side of the caravan road, in the midst of Shur, a sandy desert on the west of Arabia-Petræa, to the extent of a hundred fifty miles, between Palestine and Egypt. By taking that direction, she seems to have intended to return to her relatives in that country. Nothing but pride, passion, and sullen obstinacy, could have driven any solitary person to brave the dangers of such an inhospitable wild; and she would have died, had not the timely appearance and words of the angel recalled her to reflection and duty. The Son of God, who oft appeared in man’s shape, before he took man’s nature, is called an Angel or Messenger, because he was the Angel of the covenant, Malachi 3:1, and was sent upon divers messages to men in the Old Testament, and at last was to be sent in the flesh as God’s great Ambassador, or Messenger of peace and reconciliation.

Shur, a place near Egypt, Genesis 25:18 1 Samuel 15:7 Exodus 15:22, being her native country. And the angel of the Lord found her,.... This is the first time that mention is made of an angel in Scripture, but is not to be understood of a created angel, but of a divine Person, as appears from Genesis 16:10, the uncreated angel, the Logos or Son of God, called the Angel of God's presence, and the Angel of the covenant, Isaiah 63:9 Malachi 3:1; who often appeared in an human form before his incarnation, being sent by his divine Father on one account or another; and hence called an angel, a messenger, or one sent, as in the fulness of time he was sent in human nature to be the Redeemer of his people; though many of the Jewish writers take this angel to be a man sent of God. Gersom (n) says he was one of the prophets that lived in those times, and observes, that some of their Rabbins say (o) he was Shem, the son of Noah; and Maimonides (p) suggests, that this angel was but a mere man, by comparing this passage with that in Genesis 37:15, "a certain man found him", &c. but the context most clearly confutes this notion, and proves him to be the almighty and omniscient God; since he promises to do what none but the omnipotent Being could do, and declares such things as none but the omniscient God could know: and when it is said he "found Hagar", it is not to be understood as if it was a chance matter, or the fruit and effect of search and inquiry, or as if he had not seen her before; but rather it shows that his eye was upon her, and he had a concern for her, and at a proper time and place appeared to her at once, and unawares, and unthought of by her. And the place where he found her was

by a fountain of water in the wilderness; which lay between Egypt and Canaan, the same through which the Israelites passed afterwards from the one to the other: here was a fountain of water, and meeting with it she stopped to refresh herself:

by the fountain in the way to Shur; a place before or over against Egypt, from whence the wilderness had its name, see Genesis 25:18, which shows that she was making her way to Egypt, as fast as she could, her native country, where in all probability she proposed to continue, and never return more: what the name of the place the angel found her at was, at that time, is not certain, or whether it had any; for it seems to be so called from the Lord's "looking" upon her here, which "Shur" signifies: the Jerusalem Targum calls it Chalaza; and both the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan name it Chagra or Hagra, after her own name, as it should seem: and it is remarkable, that this very place, and the wilderness, and parts adjacent, were the habitation of her posterity, the sons of Ishmael, Genesis 25:18; and must be in Arabia Petraea, which they inhabited; and Ptolemy (q) speaks of a city called Suratta, in that country.

(n) Comment in loc. (o) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 41. 1.((p) Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 42. p. 311. (q) Geograph. l. 5. c. 17.

And the {d} angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

(d) Which was Christ, as appears in Ge 16:13,18:17.

7–14. Hagar and the Angel at the Well

7. the angel of the Lord] The Angel, i.e. messenger, of Jehovah is the personification of Jehovah. Observe that in Genesis 16:10 He identifies Himself with Jehovah, expressing in the first person sing. what He will do (cf. Genesis 21:18, Genesis 22:15-18).

In all probability, in the development of religious thought, the Angel of Jehovah marks an intermediate stage between the simple anthropomorphisms of Genesis 3, 11, 18, and the later, more spiritual and abstract, conception of the Divine Being.

a fountain of water] i.e. a spring of water, which in the desert would mean an oasis towards which tracks would converge. See Genesis 24:13.

in the way to Shur] Probably, on the main trade route leading to her own country of Egypt. “Shur,” mentioned also in Genesis 20:1 and Genesis 25:18, has not been identified. It seems to mean “a wall”; and very probably was the name given to some spot on the line of the Egyptian frontier fortifications on the north-east, not far from the present Suez Canal. Possibly=the modern Tell abû-Sêpheh, 20 miles S. of Port Said.Verse 7. - And the angel of the Lord. Maleach Jehovah, elsewhere styled Maleach Elohim (Genesis 21:17; Genesis 31:11); supposed but wrongly to be a creature angel (Augustine, Origen, Jerome, Hofmann, Bamngarten, Tholuck, Delitzsch, Kurtz), for the reasons chiefly

(1) that the term angel commonly designates a class of spiritual beings (Genesis 19:1; Genesis 32:1; Job 4:18; Psalm 91:11; Matthew 13:41; John 20:12, et passim);

(2) that the ἄγγελος κυρίου of the New Testament (Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:9; Acts 12:7) is always a created angel;

(3) that the meaning of the term מַלְאָך, one sent, from לָאַך, to depute (Gesenius), one through whom work is executed, from לָאַך, to work (Keil), implies a certain degree of subordination, which is afterwards more distinctly recognized (1 Chronicles 21:27; Zechariah 1:12);

(4) that the distinction between the unrevealed and the revealed God was not then developed as in later times, and particularly since the advent of Christ - to every one of which arguments, however, it is comparatively easy to reply (cf. Keil and Lange in love). With more force of reason believed to have been the Divine Being himself, who already as Jehovah had appeared to Abram (the Fathers, the Reformers, Hengstenberg, Keil, Lange, Havernick, Nitzsch, Ebrard, Steir, Kalisch, Ainsworth, Bush, Wordsworth, Candlish), since -

1. The Maleach Jehovah explicitly identifies himself with Jehovah (Ver. 10) and Elohim (Genesis 22:12).

2. Those to whom he makes his presence known recognize him as Divine (Genesis 16:13; Genesis 18:23-33; Genesis 28:16-22; Exodus 3:6; Judges 6:15, 20-23; Judges 13:22).

3. The Biblical writers constantly speak of him as Divine, calling him Jehovah without the least reserve (Genesis 16:13; Genesis 18:1; Genesis 22:16; Exodus 3:2; Judges 6:12).

4. The doctrine here implied of a plurality of persons in the Godhead is in complete accordance with earlier foreshadowings (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 11:7) and later revelations of the same truth.

5. The organic unity of Scripture would be broken if it could be proved that the central point in the Old Testament revelation was a creature angel, while that of the New is the incarnation of the God-Man. Found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness. Properly an uninhabited district suitable for pasturing flocks, from a root signifying to lead to pasture; hence a sterile, sandy country, like that here referred to, Arabia Deserta, bordering on Egypt (Genesis 14:6; Exodus 3:1). By the fountain. The article indicating a particular and well-known spring. In the way to Shur. "Before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria" (Genesis 25:18); hence not Pelusium on the Nile (Jos., 'Ant.,' 6:07, 3), but probably the modern Dachifar in the north-west of Arabia Deserta (Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Keil, Lange). Hagar was clearly directing her flight to Egypt. As the promise of a lineal heir (Genesis 15:4) did not seem likely to be fulfilled, even after the covenant had been made, Sarai resolved, ten years after their entrance into Canaan, to give her Egyptian maid Hagar to her husband, that if possible she might "be built up by her," i.e., obtain children, who might found a house or family (Genesis 30:3). The resolution seemed a judicious one, and according to the customs of the East, there would be nothing wrong in carrying it out. Hence Abraham consented without opposition, because, as Malachi (Malachi 2:15) says, he sought the seed promised by God. But they were both of them soon to learn, that their thoughts were the thoughts of man and not of God, and that their wishes and actions were not in accordance with the divine promise. Sarai, the originator of the plan, was the first to experience its evil consequences. When the maid was with child by Abram, "her mistress became little in her eyes." When Sarai complained to Abram of the contempt she received from her maid (saying, "My wrong," the wrong done to me, "come upon thee," cf. Jeremiah 51:35; Genesis 27:13), and called upon Jehovah to judge between her and her husband,

(Note: בּיניך, with a point over the second Jod, to show that it is irregular and suspicious; since בּין with the singular suffix is always treated as a singular, and only with a plural suffix as plural.)

Abram gave her full power to act as mistress towards her maid, without raising the slave who was made a concubine above her position. But as soon as Sarai made her feel her power, Hagar fled. Thus, instead of securing the fulfilment of their wishes, Sarai and Abram had reaped nothing but grief and vexation, and apparently had lost the maid through their self-concerted scheme. But the faithful covenant God turned the whole into a blessing.

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