A Child Is Born
Sarah was 100 year old nursing mother when her firstborn nursed at her breast.
The happiness was real.
Gone was the curse of childlessness. Silenced was the cruelty of women, who judged her as cursed by the gods, but now she had living proof of God’s favor.
The Hebrew text in v. 4 is rather sweet.
Laughter has God made me is the literal Hebrew, as Hebrew Scholar Robert Alter so wonderfully describes, but it sounds odd in English, so translators often massage it, but the original in this case is beautiful because in it you can hear Sarah’s voice, and feel her emotions.
People who experience ridiculous joy are not concerned with grammar, and in this case, neither was Sarah.
The baby was called Isaac, the Hebrew word for laughter, and he was circumcised on the 8th day.
After Isaac was weaned, Ishmael was found laughing or mocking Isaac. The details are uncertain, but Sarah immediately felt threatened. The text doesn’t even use his name, Ishmael is simply called, “the son of Hagar the Egyptian.”
Hagar was a slave in Pharaoh’s court, then forced to leave her homeland and work for someone whose language and customs she did not understand. Then she was forced into a sexual encounter with the man of the house, and now years later is suddenly cast aside.
Hagar is the victim of religious hazing, but God will love her, and God will save her.
Rejected By Man But Not By God
God visits Abraham, who was grieved by Sarah’s request, and missing in Sarah’s request is a simple fact: Ishmael is Abraham’s son. The Lord turns Hagar’s pain into a great blessing. Ishmael will also become a great nation because Abraham is his father.
Something About A Well
Abimelech appears again, and his men have journeyed far beyond their homeland in order to hassle Abraham.
Abimelech’s men are trying to pick a fight with Abraham over a well.
Abraham’s solution is thick with irony, first Abraham gathers 7 ewe lambs, and if you are wondering why, so was Abimelech, it seems Abraham is making it up as he goes.
The lambs are given to Abimelech as a covenant, and the place is called Beersheba.
Beer in the Hebrew text is be ‘ er and means well, and sheba means oath and is also the word for the number 7.
It seems Abraham was having fun.