Genesis 21:8-14 gives the account of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Ishmael and Hagar. On the day that Isaac was weaned, Abraham made a feast in celebration. At this time, Sarah, Isaac’s mother sees that Ishmael, whom her servant Hagar had borne to Abraham was mocking Isaac. So she told Abraham to cast out Hagar and her son, so that Ishmael would not share in the inheritance with Isaac. Abraham was grieved with Sarah’s request for he deemed Ishmael to be his son as well. God told Abraham, not to be grievous on account of Ishmael or Hagar and to hearken to the voice of Sarah, for in Isaac shall his offspring be named. God then promised Abraham that out of Ishmael he shall make nations come as well, recognizing Ishmael to be Abraham’s son (though not the promised one as was Isaac). Abraham woke up early the next morning and gave Hagar bread and a bottle of water and sent her and Ishmael away. The next time we read of Ishmael in the presence of Abraham is at Abraham’s burial where Isaac and Ishmael bury Abraham in the cave at Macpelah (Genesis 25:8-9). In other words, for the rest of Abraham’s life, he was deprived of a relationship with Ishmael, his son through Hagar.
The banishment of Ishmael and Hagar may seem harsh to us, but we must not fail to recognize that God recognized the sonship of Ishmael with Abraham and even blessed Ishmael, despite the fact that Ishmael was the seed of Abraham, come about, by Abraham’s own doing, and not God’s plan.
Points to ponder:
What is of crucial importance in this account is that Abraham obeyed God even over his personal concerns for his own family. He chose following God’s commands over his child and the child’s mother. God is seeking us to follow his commands even if that means we need to give up our own self interests and loved ones. Will you obey God over your own …?
Genesis 21:8- 14 (KJV)
8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.
12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.
14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.