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

Eternal contract

When Abram was nearly a hundred years old, God appeared and said, “I’m God Almighty. Walk before me and be perfect, and I’ll promise you abundance.”

Abram fell on his face.

God continued, “Here’s the promise: I’m making you the father of many nations. Your name is hereby changed to “Abraham,” Father Of Nations. Even kings will come from you. This promise is established forever through your generations. I’ll give you and your offspring this foreign land, all of Canaan forever, and I will be their God.”

Abraham remained flat on the ground with his forehead jammed into the dirt.

“As for you and your side of the promise,” God said, “you and every male among you, through every generation, will have their foreskin removed. This is the sign of our contract. When each boy is eight days old, including slaves born in your house or any other male purchased with money, they will be circumcised. Why? This is an intimate contract, and for it to be irrevocable it must cut into the most intimate part of the flesh. Anyone who has not had his foreskin cut off will himself be cut off from your people, because he will have broken the promise.”

Abraham held his piece and remained still and silent before God.

“As for Sarai,” God continued, “she is now Sarah, and she will give you a son. I will bless her, and from her womb will come nations and kings.”

Abraham suffered a sudden fit of laughter and muttered, “We’re too old to have children.” Then he lifted his head toward heaven. “Bring Ishmael into the blessing. He’s my son.”

God answered, “Sarah will bear you a son next year, and you’ll call him Isaac. Through him my eternal contract will be secured and fulfilled, not with Ishmael. As for Ismael, I will bless him for your sake and give him a large family. He will be a great nation, the father of twelve tribes.”

Abraham took his son Ishmael and all the male slaves born or purchased in his house, and he cut off their foreskins. Then he had Eliezer cut off his own foreskin.

Ishmael was thirteen years old when his foreskin was removed.

Inspiration: Genesis 17