There are so many derogatory referrences to Ishmael in the Bible, one has to wonder.
Genesis 16:11-12 refers to him as a "wild (censored) of a man". How is this the Bible's answer to the affliction?
Then Genesis 22:2 calls Isaac Abraham's "only son". What happened to Ishmael?
It is also very strange that after God having sanctified Sarah's choice to let Abraham have a son from Hagar, the son is cast out on Sarah's wishes,
as she feels jealous because of her own son.
The Bible is also very insistent that only in Isaac will Abraham's covenant be fulfilled.
All this goes contrary to what is said in the Bible elsewhere:
In Genesis 12:2-3, long before any child was born, all families of Abraham are blessed with the covenant.
Then in Genesis 17:4 the covenant is explained again "You shall be the father of a multitude of nations...". Genesis 17:9 then explains to who the
covenant shall be passed on: "You and your descendants after you". What is the mark of this covenant? Genesis 17:10 "Every
male among you
shall be circumcised", and then, for further proof, Genesis 17:13 "So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant." Ishmael is then
circumcised. He is obviously a part of the covenant.
Also, what happened when Ishmael was sent away with his mother, when they were almost dead? God provided them with water. They were not left to
Then there is the prophecy the people of Kedar (Ishmael's descendant) in Isaiah 42:11. The Bible says that someone will be sent there. That is then
also proof that Ishmael's line is not exempt from the covenant. Then there is the prophecy of the person who will stem from Jesse. Jesse was also
Then there is the law of the 1st born in Deutronomy 21:15-17. The fact that Sarah was jealous of Ishmael doesn't remove his inheritence. The fact
that Hagar was Sarah's bondwoman doesn't remove Ishmael's inheritence. Hagar is even called as Abraham's wife. At the very least, Ishmael would be
entitled to equally what is entitled to Isaac.
Genesis 21:13 promises a great nation from the son of Abraham's bondwoman (Ishmael) because "he is your seed". This is while only 1 line before, it
says "While Isaac shall your seed be called". If it is plainly stated there, that Ishmael is from Abraham's seed, then how can Genesis 22:2 be
Here is my take on this. I know all the Bible literalists will hate me for this, but let me try and explain myself. Consider that these texts came
into the hands of some Christian monk much, much after the birth of Jesus. He wanted to cement Jesus's position as God's answer to the covenant with
Abraham. He saw that Isaac being the 2nd son, somewhat weakened this, so some additions and deletions were made. The editor did not realise that both
sons of Abraham could have been part of the Covenant with Abraham.
Ok, ok, before you all scream at me, let me put forward my points:
First of all is the constant back and forth, sometimes calling Isaac Abraham's "only son", and sometimes Ishmael is also mentioned. It can't be
true both ways.
Also, almost everytime Hagar was mentioned, it was accompanied by "bondwoman" and "the Egyptian" (perhaps some racial perception of Egyptians was
being put into use?). God doesn't work by class and race. Those are not reasons to exclude someone from the covenant.
Then there is the matter of age. According to Genesis 16:16, Abraham was 86 when Ishmael was born. Then in Genesis 21:5, Abraham was 100 when Isaac
was born. So Ishmael would be 14 at the birth of Isaac. According to Genesis 21:8-14, Isaac had just been weaned when Hagar and Ishmael were sent
away. Bible scholars say that a child should be weaned at the age of 3. That would make Ishmael 17 when he was sent away with Hagar. Now what follows
seems very unlikely for a teenager at 17. According to Genesis 21:14, Ishmael is set on Hagars shoulders. Whaaaat? Why does a 17 year old need to be
carried. Then in Genesis 21:15, when the water is gone, Hagar puts Ishmael under a bush. Again...a 17 year old? She then walks away because she
"cannot watch the boy die". Huh? A 17 year old boy should be taking care of his mother, not the other way around. Why didn't Ishmael follow his
mother? Then Ishmael starts crying. Very odd behaviour for a 17 year old. Then Hagar and Ishmael are saved, and Hagar is commanded to "lift the boy
up". How is an old woman carrying a 17 year old? I thought that according to the Bible, at the age of 12, a male is considered an adult, not a
What does this all mean? I believe that Ishmael was still a baby when Abraham was commanded by God to send him and Hagar away. If he was still a baby,
Isaac could not have been born yet, and sending Ishmael away was purely a commandment from God, and had nothing to do with Sarah's jealousy. In order
to nullify Ishmael from the prophecy (and strengthen Isaac's line- Jesus), some editor degraded the Ishmael's status in the Bible.
God promised an "Everlasting Covenant" to Abraham, so his descendants will continue being king's of nations till the end. The line didn't stop at
Jesus, there was also Ishmael. There is also, of course, the theory of the continuation of Jesus's own line, but that wasn't the stress of my
So, blast away. I probably made a mistake here and there, explain how I am wrong
[edit on 15-4-2005 by babloyi]
[edit on 15-4-2005 by babloyi]