Genesis 20–21: A Promise Fulfilled

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 27


In Genesis 20, God again told Abraham to save his life by saying Sarah was his sister. As a result, the Lord was able to help a man, Abimelech, and his family understand that Abraham was a prophet. The members of Abimelech’s family were blessed because he believed that Abraham was a man of God and a prophet.Sometimes our patience and faith are tested as we seek for the Lord’s promises to be fulfilled. Genesis 21 contains the story of how God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah that she would bear a son was fulfilled. The events in Genesis 21 occurred when Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety. Could there be any question that the birth of their son was anything but a miracle and blessing from God?

Understanding the Scriptures

Genesis 21

Visited (v. 1)Blessed 
Given children suck (v. 7)Breast fed a baby 
Weaned (v. 8)No longer fed with mother’s milk 
Bondwoman (vv. 10, 12–13)Servant 
Heir (v. 10)Part of the family and receive goods from the father 
Grievous (vv. 11–12)Bad 
Spent (v. 15)Used up 
Bowshot (v. 16)The distance a person can shoot an arrow 
Aileth (v. 17)Is wrong with 
Archer (v. 20)Hunter with a bow and arrow 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Genesis 20–21.

Activity A iconWrite a Letter

Imagine yourself in either Abraham’s or Sarah’s situation and write a letter to a friend, telling the story of Isaac’s birth. Include details of the story back to the time when Sarah thought she could never bear children and describe how you would have felt during each part of the story. Include also the meaning of Isaac’s name and how it relates to what happened (see Genesis 21, footnote 6a).