22 Jan. Genesis 21:1-21

22 Jan. God fulfils his promise to Abraham

"The LORD cared for Sarah as he had said, and did for her what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age."

"Everything happened at the time God had said it would. Abraham named his son Isaac [meaning 'he laughs'], the son Sarah gave birth to. He circumcised Isaac when he was eight days old as God had commanded."

"Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born. And Sarah said, 'God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.'..."

"Isaac grew, and when he became old enough to eat food, Abraham gave a great feast. But Sarah saw Ishmael [his half-brother] making fun of Isaac. (Ishmael was the son of Abraham by Hagar, Sarah's Egyptian slave.) So Sarah said to Abraham, 'Throw out this slave woman and her son. Her son should not inherit anything; my son Isaac should receive it all.'"

"This troubled Abraham very much because Ishmael was also his son. But God said to Abraham, 'Don't be troubled about the boy and the slave woman. Do whatever Sarah tells you. The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac. I will also make the descendants of Ishmael into a great nation because he is your son, too.'"

"Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a leather bag full of water, He gave them to Hagar and sent her away. Carrying these things and her son, Hagar went and wandered in the desert of Beersheba."

"Later, when all the water was gone from the bag, Hagar put her son under a bush [in the shade]. Then she went a short distance and sat down. She thought, 'My son will die, and I cannot watch this happen.' She sat there and began to cry."

"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. Help him up and take him by the hand. I will make his descendants into a great nation."

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

"God was with the boy as he grew up. Ishmael lived in the desert and became an archer. He lived in the Desert of Paran, and his mother found a wife for him in Egypt."

          (Genesis 21:1-21)


After another dishonest encounter - this time introducing Sarah into the harem of Abimelech, the King of Gerar - Abraham was forced to move again, and settled further south at Beersheba (see Genesis 20:1-18).

In due course, God kept his covenant promise with Abraham, and his elderly wife Sarah finally became pregnant. Abraham's son Isaac was born in c.1829BC. In accordance with God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac later became the father of a nation – the Jews.

Immediately after Isaac was born, however, Sarah was intensely jealous and became increasingly hostile to his elder half-brother Ishmael and his mother Hagar, her Egyptian slave girl (see Genesis 16:1-16). Abraham, who was saddened by his wife's actions, tried to intervene, but with no success.

As a result, Hagar and her son (who, according to Exodus 16:16 and 21:5 was now a teenager, aged 13) were forced to leave. Hagar and Ishmael wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba.

In this arid desert, they both nearly died of thirst, but God revealed a nearby well, and promised that Ishmael, like Isaac, would also become the father of a nation – the Arabs.

Many commentators date the longstanding hostility between Jews and Arabs to this Biblical event, as Ishmael – the elder son and heir – was displaced by his younger half-brother, Isaac.

Ishmael grew up in the arid Wilderness of Paran. He developed his archery skills so he could shoot wild animals for food, and he eventually married a young woman from Egypt.

The photo (by Daniel Baránek) shows Abraham's Well, believed to be on the site of Abraham's encampment at Beersheba.

You can read more about Abraham's relationship with Abimelech, the Philistine king of Gerar, @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/23-the-journeys-of-adam-enoch-noah-abraham/abraham-journeys-south-and-isaac-is-born/

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