Sons in the Bible: Sons of Abraham

Abraham and the Lord made a covenant.  The Lord promised him that he would be the father of many nations and have sons more numerous than the stars.  However, there was a catch. Abraham had no children and his wife was well past her child bearing years.

Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to bear children

Sarai {Sarah} grew tired of waiting for a child and did not trust God’s promises.  She gave her handmaiden Hagar to Abram {Abraham} and they had a son, Ishmael, which means God listens.

Sarah mistreated Hagar after she had her son and the slave and her son fled, but at God’s direction returned.

Another decade passed and God renewed his promise. Sarah conceived and gave birth to a son whom she named Isaac, which means laughter.  After all, she laughed when she heard the angels say she would have a son. Sarah was ninety and Abraham was ninety-nine when Isaac was born.

Ishmael was fourteen when Isaac was born. When Sarah found Ishmael teasing Isaac, Sarah had her husband send Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, away.

Hagar has a son

God reassured Abraham that his inheritance and covenant would be passed down through Isaac, but Ishmael would also make a nation because of being Abraham’s son.

Isaac was the son the Lord chose to ask Abraham to sacrifice.  After all, he was the long awaited and promised son.  Abraham faithfully did as instructed, believing God would provide an animal for the sacrifice.  After binding his son and raising the knife the Lord stopped him and provided a ram.

Ishmael wandered in the desert with his mother before settling in the Desert of Paran and becoming an expert in archery. Eventually Ishmael married and had twelve sons and a daughter. {Sound familiar?}

Sarah laughed when the strangers told her she would have a child

Isaac also grew up and after Sarah’s death, Abraham sent a servant back to Mesopotamia to find a wife for his son. Isaac married Rebekah and the couple had twin sons, Esau and Jacob.

Upon Sarah’s death, Abraham married a concubine Keturah and they had six sons:

Zimran—means vine dresser, celebrated, or a song. Father of Abihen, Molich and Narim. One historian mentioned his descendants were the “Banizomenes”.

Jokshan—means hardness, an offense, or a knocking. Father of Sheba and Dedan.

The Lord blessed Abraham and Sarah with a son

Medan—means contention, to twist or conflict. Little else is known about him.

Midian—means judgment, covering or habit. He is considered the ancestor of the Midianite people.

Ishbak—means he will leave or leaving. Little else is known about him, but his descendants may be the Jasbuqu people.

Shuah— meaning ditch, swimming, humiliation or sinks down. “But unlike his brothers, Shuah seems to have turned northward and travelled into northern Mesopotamia, in what is now the northern region of modern-day Syria. As evidenced by cuneiform texts, the land seems to have been named after him, being known as the land of Sûchu which lies to the south of ancient Hittite capital of Carchemish on the Euphrates river.”  Job’s friend Bildad was a Shuhite.

God’s promises would be fulfilled through Isaac

“Josephus tells us that “Abraham contrived to settle them {his sons with Keturah} in colonies; and they took possession of Troglodytis and the country of Arabia the Happy, as far as it reaches to the Red Sea.””

We don’t know for sure, but it seems likely Abraham may have been trying to keep his sons apart from Isaac to avoid conflict with God’s promised covenant.

Abraham died at the age of 175.  Isaac and Ishmael buried their father in the Cave of Machpelah.

The Lord’s promises to Abraham were carried on through his son Isaac and Isaac’s son, Jacob.

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