Design By Humans

Genesis 21. Child Abandonment is God's Will.

Genesis 21.

1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

The LORD pays Sarah a visit and does what he says he will. Alright...

2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

Hurrah, Sarah is finally pregnant, in her nineties, will she carry to term?

3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

Yes! Abraham now has a son (Again).

4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

Yeah, this whole circumcision thing wasn't adequately explained. Why does God want foreskins again?

5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

Isaac is born 2048AE. Note that Eber from Genesis 11 is still alive.

6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

I suppose laughter is one symptom of joy and it's considered infectious (not unlike some of the diseases Sarah carries), OK I'll go with this.

7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

She says that it's old age but her and Abram's great-great-great-great-grandfather is still alive and won't die for another five score years.

8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

My son no longer drinks breast milk... Party!

9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

Here comes the jealousy again.

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.

Yes, there it is. Sarah tells Abraham to cast out and abandon his first son and his mother.

11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

I would imagine so.

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.

Oh, God agrees with Sarah. I exhibit no surprise in finding that God would come down on the slightly less humane side of the argument.

13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

God promises to look after Ishmael and Hagar if Abraham casts them out. What a nice deity.

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.

Some bread and a bottle of water? Is that really enough for your first born son? couldn't Abraham have cast them out with better resources? God said to cast them out but he didn't say to be unusually cruel, did he? It wouldn't be out of character I suppose.

15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

So, inevitably the water runs out and Hagar throws Ishmael under a shrub, it's out of the sun I guess.

16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

Seems like a reasonably emotive action.

17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

OK, Another messenger? This one is invisible though, is Hagar hearing things? Is this voice merely a facet of Hagar's personality?

18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

Is the 'I' here God or the messenger?

19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

Hmm, is God taking credit for something that someone else did again? I think that Hagar probably found the well herself.

20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.


21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

Ishmael now has a wife. Good for him.

22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:

Why is Abimelech still kissing Abraham's arse? These ancient rulers come across as remarkably gullible.

23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

Well at least Abimelech, with the benefit of experience, recognises that Abraham is likely to try to cheat him again and asks him not to.

24 And Abraham said, I will swear.

Abraham agrees not to try to cheat Abimelech again. What a good man (for the non Brits, this last sentence is meant sarcastically).

25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.

Abraham gets mad at Abimelech because a servant has taken away a well.

26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.

Abimelech denies all knowledge.

27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.

Were these Abimelech's sheep and oxen to begin with?

28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.


29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?


30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

OK, So Abraham has dug a new well and given lambs to Abimelech to protect it?

31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

Right... We seem perhaps to have gone back in time as the place was already called Beersheba when Hagar and Ishmael were thrown out. Is this the well that Hagar fills the water bottle from?

32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

Has Abimelech gone home? Is Gerar the land of the Philistines?

33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

Hmm, is this grove the source of the shrub Hagar put Ishmael under? Is this story being told in a non-linear manner?

34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

Right you are then.


  • This chapter seems to make far more sense if you start at verse 22 and then go back to verse 1 when you reach the end.
  • God condones throwing your kids out if your wife gets jealous and asks you to.
  • Why is Ishmael not considered a valid heir? Abraham did take Hagar for a wife and Ishmael is of his seed. Seems like a valid heir to me.
  • There's not really a lot else to note here.

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