Ishmael’s bio

When Abraham was a hundred years old, Sarah bore him a son they named “Isaac,” He Laughs, remembering God’s promise.

“God made me laugh,” Sarah exclaimed with joy, “and everyone who hears our story will laugh too.”

Abraham circumcised Isaac at eight days old, and on the day he was weaned, Abraham hosted an elaborate feast. Sarah saw Ishmael poking fun at little Isaac at the celebration, so she told her husband, “Get this slave woman and her son out of our lives. That child will never share in Isaac’s blessing.”

This made Abraham sad, because he loved his son Ishmael.

God said, “Don’t worry, Abraham. Do whatever Sarah says, because it will be through Isaac that your name will be carried. But because Ishmael is your son, I’ll make a nation through him, too.”

Abraham got up early the next morning, packed bread and water, and sent Hagar and Ishmael away. They wandered in the wild deserts of Beersheba, but they soon ran out of water. Hagar placed a dehydrated Ishmael under a shade tree to die of thirst. She walked about a hundred yards away so she didn’t have to watch him suffer, and she wept in grief.

God heard Ishmael wailing for his life, and an angel spoke to Hagar from the spiritual realm. “What’s wrong, Hagar?” the angel asked. “Don’t worry about your son, because God heard his cry. Go to your son and lift him from the ground. I’ll make him a great nation.”

God led her to a well of water. She ran over, filled the water skin, and brought it to her son to drink.

God remained near as the boy grew into a man. He was an expert bowman and lived in the wilderness of Paran. Hagar found him a wife from Egypt, and Ishmael had twelve sons, who became twelve tribal kings. Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years.

Inspiration: Genesis 21, 25

Cruel mistress

Sarai heard Abram often talk of fathering a great nation. She wanted to pave a way for God’s promise to be fulfilled for Abram, so she suggested that since she couldn’t bear children, Abram should sleep with her Egyptian slave, Hagar.

Abram tossed the idea around for a about a decade, until Sarai pressed the issue, bringing Hagar personally into his bed chambers. When Hagar got pregnant, she hurled insults at Sarai and adopted an air of superiority over her.

Sarai ignited, and Abram took the brunt of her wrath. “I offered you my slave as a second wife, and she became a monster. What are you going to do about it?”

Abram deflected. “She’s your slave, and this was your idea,” he said, unaffected. “Take care of the situation however you wish.”

On that very day, Sarai’s treatment of Hagar became so unbearable that the slave escaped and ran away into the wilderness.

An angel of God approached Hagar as she trudged along a spring toward Egypt. “Hagar, where’d you come from?” the angel asked. “And where are you going?”

Continuing along the path undeterred, she answered, “I’m getting away from my cruel mistress.”

The angel stepped in front of Hagar, blocking her way. “Turn around,” the angel said. “Go back and submit to Sarai. In return, I’ll give you more descendants than a census can track.”

Hagar dropped to her knees and held her belly. How can I go back to that abusive woman? she thought.

The angel of God knelt beside her and said, “Your son will be named Ishmael, because God hears your cries of anguish. But you should know, Ishmael will make an ass of himself and will have enemies all around him, including his own family.”

“I’ll call you Elroi,” Hagar answered in astonishment, “because you’ve apparently seen God and live to tell about it.”

After the encounter, the well of the spring was called “Beerlahairoi,” Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.

Hagar returned to her mistress, bore Abram a son, and named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old.

Inspiration: Genesis 16