Abram’s concubine, Hagar, gave the name ’El ro’i to God when she realized that He had seen her distress. Hagar was running from Abram and Sarai pregnant with Abram’s child (Ishmael). She stopped at a well in the desert. The angel of the LORD met Hagar and spoke about her pregnancy. The angel instructed Hagar to name her son Ishmael as a reminder that God had heard her cries. “Ishmael” means, “God hears.” The angel also made a promise about Ishmael’s future. Relieved that God cared enough to visit her, Hagar exclaimed, “You are a God who sees me.” She also gave a related name to the well.1
Job used a similar phrase when he spoke of the same attribute of God, “Him who sees me” (Job 7:8). In that case, it was not exactly a name of God but it was close. The same attribute of God is mentioned in a few other verses (1 Sam. 16:7; Job. 11:11; 28:24; 34:21; Lam. 3:50). In the New Testament, Jesus (Yeshua‘) coined another descriptive name for God, “Father who sees in secret” (Matt. 6:4, 6, 18).
The Hebrew root word ra’ah is also the root for the word yir’eh in the name Jehovah jireh (Yahweh yir’eh), the LORD who provides.
The God who sees me in Hebrew:
Strong’s Concordance number: 410, 7210
Bible reference: Gen. 16:13
Then [Hagar] called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. (Genesis 16:13-14)
- Genesis 16:1-16 tells the full story. [↩]