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Genesis 21Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Finally, a Baby for Sarah

21 The Lord came back to visit Sarah as he said he would, and he kept his promise to her. At exactly the time God said it would happen, Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. Abraham named his son Isaac.[a] Abraham did what God commanded and circumcised Isaac when he was eight days old.

Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born. Sarah said, “God has made me happy, and everyone who hears about this will be happy with me. No one thought that I, Sarah, would be able to have Abraham’s child. But I have given Abraham a son, even though he is old.”

Trouble at Home

Isaac continued to grow, and soon he was old enough to begin eating solid food. So Abraham gave a big party. Sarah saw Hagar’s son playing. (Hagar was the Egyptian slave woman who gave birth to Abraham’s first son.) 10 Sarah said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. Send them away! When we die, our son Isaac will get everything we have. I don’t want that slave woman’s son sharing these things with my son Isaac!”

11 This upset Abraham very much. He was worried about his son Ishmael. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Don’t worry about the boy and the slave woman. Do what Sarah wants. Your descendants will be those who come through Isaac. 13 But I will also bless the son of your slave woman. He is your son, so I will make a great nation from his family also.”

14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and water and gave them to Hagar. She carried them and left with her boy. She left that place and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

15 After some time, when all their drinking water was gone, Hagar put her son under a bush. 16 Then she walked a short distance away and sat down. She thought her son would die because there was no water. She did not want to watch him die. She sat there and began to cry.

17 God heard the boy crying, and God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven. He said, “What is wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid! God has heard the boy crying there. 18 Go help the boy. Hold his hand and lead him. I will make him the father of many people.”

19 Then God allowed Hagar to see a well of water. So she went to the well and filled her bag with water. Then she gave water to the boy to drink.

20 God continued to be with the boy while he grew up. Ishmael lived in the desert and became a hunter. He learned to shoot a bow very well. 21 His mother found a wife for him in Egypt. They continued to live in the Paran desert.

Abraham’s Bargain With Abimelech

22 Then Abimelech and Phicol spoke with Abraham. Phicol was the commander of Abimelech’s army. They said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 So make a promise to me here before God. Promise that you will be fair with me and with my children. Promise that you will be kind to me and this country where you have lived. Promise that you will be as kind to me as I have been to you.”

24 And Abraham said, “I promise to treat you the same way you have treated me.” 25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech because Abimelech’s servants had captured a well of water.

26 But Abimelech said, “I don’t know who did this. You never told me about this before today!”

27 So Abraham and Abimelech made an agreement. Abraham gave Abimelech some sheep and cattle as proof of the agreement. 28 Abraham also put seven[b] female lambs in front of Abimelech.

29 Abimelech asked Abraham, “Why did you put these seven female lambs by themselves?”

30 Abraham answered, “When you accept these lambs from me, it will be proof that I dug this well.”

31 So after that, the well was called Beersheba.[c] Abraham gave the well this name because it was the place where they made a promise to each other.

32 So Abraham and Abimelech made an agreement at Beersheba. Then Abimelech and Phicol, his military commander, went back to the country of the Philistines.

33 Abraham planted a special tree at Beersheba and prayed to the Lord, the God who lives forever. 34 And Abraham lived as a stranger for a long time in the country of the Philistines.


  1. Genesis 21:3 Isaac This name means “he laughs” or “he is happy.”
  2. Genesis 21:28 seven The Hebrew word for “seven” is like the Hebrew word for “oath” or “promise,” and it is like the last part of the name Beersheba. The seven animals were proof of this promise.
  3. Genesis 21:31 Beersheba This name means “well of the oath.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International


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