Background to Gen 21

Genesis 21 can be broken up into 3 parts
Gen 21:1-7: The birth of Isaac, the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham
Gen 21:8-19: Sending away of Hagar and Ishmael
Gen 21:22-34: Abraham’s covenant with Abimelech.


  1. How did God show his compassion to Ishmael?
  2. Why did Abimelech make a covenant with Abraham?

Answers and Thoughts

  1. God show his compassion for Ishmael when he spoke to Hagar and to provide a well for the child’s survival. The bible records that it is God who heard the cry of Ishmael (Gen 21:17-18). Although the birth of Ishmael not something that please God, God still hear the prayer of Abraham about Ishmael and made him a great nation too (Gen 17:20-21).
  2. Abimelech can see that God is with Abraham (Gen 21:22-23). He wanted to ensure that there would be peace between him and Abraham.