In trying to understand the situation here, I did a little research. Abraham is now 100. Sarah is now 90. Ishmael is now 14. God and the 2 angels have just told Abraham and Sarah that she will have a son “at the time life begins” in Hebrew, but translated as Spring in English. Sodom and Gomorrah as well as the whole valley including everything that grew on the ground (except Abraham’s household and Zoar) has been destroyed (Genesis 19:25). Genesis 20….Abraham decides he has to move one…likely finding pastures for his herds.
Abraham did not learn the first time…so he tells the same half truth that Sarah is his sister. Again, the king of that area takes her. This king is not evil, so God tells him the truth about Sarah. Abraham and Abimelech make peace. God is faithful even when Abraham went back to old patterns and failed the same test twice! If Abraham had believed that Sarah was pregnant with his promised son…to be born in Spring…would he have been so quick to give her up and his promised son to Abimelech? People might have even thought it was Abimelech’s son! Abraham is known for being a man of strong faith…but sometimes he failed too. No human can be perfect in himself….we need Jesus to be made perfect and righteous. God comes to the rescue again. I am glad God allows us to retake the tests!.
In chapter 21, Sarah gives birth to Isaac. The estimated weaning age during that time was 3 years old. So, now Ishmael would be about 17. Ishmael, who is 17, is bullying Isaac, who is about 3, and Sarah is upset. Hagar is given provisions and with Ishmael is sent out at God’s command. Abraham needs to protect his promised son, Isaac. Abraham is also concerned for his son Ishmael….but God has assured Abraham that Ishmael will live and father a nation.
Hagar gets lost…but God hears again. Hagar is also given a second chance to trust the God of Abraham…remember He had heard her the first time she left. Her son’s name means “God hears”. God is faithful. Ishmael becomes an expert archer and marries an Egyptian woman (remember Hagar was Egyptian).
Abraham and Abimelech make and oath, binding agreement, covenant of peace with one another. So, now Abraham is living peacefully in the land of the Philistines.
Can you see some hints at God’s character and how He operates? How does this apply to your life?