Posted by: biblestudyseattle | October 27, 2016

Isaac & Ishmael

Ishmael was born out of desperation.  Sarai had passed menopause, and YHWH didn’t seem to be moving on his promise to give Abram an heir.  When they took matters into their own hands, things turned out badly.  24 years after the promise, YHWH spoke again to Abram reiterating his promise of an heir.  He also made the covenant of circumcision:  “Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him. Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.”  Genesis 17:23-24

This did not happen before Ishmael was born.  Paul explains that these two represent two different covenants:  “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman.  But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise.  This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children [t]who are to be slaves; she is Hagar.  Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.  But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.  For it is written,

Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear;
Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor;
For more numerous are the children of the desolate
Than of the one who has a husband.”

And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.  But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.  But what does the Scripture say?

Cast out the bondwoman and her son,
For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.”

So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.”  Galatians 4:22-31

Paul also quotes Isaiah 54 about who is the mother, but that is a different post.  Circumcision is detailed in the Torah of Moses:  “So circumcise [b]your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.”  Deuteronomy 10:16  And,

The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

“Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.”   Deuteronomy 30:5-7

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