Isaac vs Ishmael Everlasting Covenant

Abraham had 8 sons, Ishmael from Hagar, Isaac from Sarah, and 6 sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah, all from Keturah, his 2nd wife after Sarah died. There is a blessing for all of Abraham’s children but the special everlasting covenant will go to Isaac only because this promise was for Sarah’s son with Abraham and she only had one son.

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The Story of Isaac (Genesis chapters 21-28)

This is an overview of the story of Isaac with some commentary.

Isaac’s story starts in Genesis 21 when Sarah is 90 and Abraham is 100. While all of Abraham’s children are entitled to the blessing, the everlasting covenant is made to Sarah’s only son Isaac. Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn through Hagar (Sarah’s maidservant), is 14 when Isaac is born. When Isaac was weaned and Ishmael is bullying him, and Sarah has Hagar and Ishmael put out permanently. Abraham consults with God and God reminded Abraham that things would be good for them because he promised to bless Ishmael back in Genesis 17. Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away with food and water, and when they run out she sets him on his own and hides because she doesn’t want to watch him die of thirst and hunger. God appears and reminds her of his promise to her back in Genesis 16, and shows her an oasis where she and Ishmael are taken care of. There is a flash-forward of the future where Ismael becomes an archer and Hagar gets him a wife from Egypt where she is from and he has 12 sons and becomes the father of the Ishmaelites.

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Abraham’s Sacrifice

Abraham nearly sacrificing Isaac can be quite a controversial topic but let’s explore what is happening here. Abraham trusted that God would keep the promise to make a covenant nation of his descendants through his son Isaac, the promised son of his wife Sarah. If God was true to this promise, God couldn’t eliminate Isaac because the covenant couldn’t be fulfilled. Abraham trusted that God would be faithful to the promise, so he went forward with sacrificing him, knowing that Isaac couldn’t be taken forever or God would be a liar and covenant breaker.

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