Abraham and Isaac

I. The naming of Isaac (Genesis 21:1-5)

A. Abraham and Sarah conceive.

1. Abraham is 100 (Genesis 21:5).

2. Sarah is 90 (Genesis 17:17).

B. Abraham and Sarah recall the “laugh” they gave at the announcement.

1. Abraham “laughed” when the LORD told him (Genesis 17:17).

2. Sarah “laughed” when she heard in the tent (Genesis 18:12).

3. The Hebrew word is TSCHAQ = “mock” or “deride” – sometimes “play with.”

a. The word is used 12 times in a few select passages.
b. Abraham and Sarah “mocked” (Genesis 17:17; 18:12).
c. Lot was “mocked” when he told his children (Genesis 19:14).
d. Ishmael “mocked” Isaac (Genesis 21:9).
e. Isaac “played with” Rebecca (Genesis 26:8).
f. Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of “mocking” her (Genesis 39:14, 17).
g. Israel’s people “played” around the Golden Calf (Exodus 32:6).
h. Samson was “played with” at his death (Judges 16:25).

C. The name given to this promised son was “He Laughs” or “Laughter”.

1. The play on words is very interesting.

2. The Hebrew word is YITS-CHAQ – adding the “jot” to TSCHAQ

a. YOD is the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet – the smallest letter of the alphabet and the “jot” of Matthew 5:18.
b. Sarah (21:6) cites her “laughter” and her own surprise at bearing a child in her old age (21:7).
c. “Isaac” is the only translation (the proper name) in the Scriptures for the combined Yod – Tsaddi/Cheth/Qoph.
d. It might well be translated “he mocks me!”  Or maybe, “the joke is on us!”

3. The main purpose (seems to be) that Abraham and Sarah are chastised for having “mocked” at the LORD when he promised them something “impossible.”

4. “Isaac” will always remind them of their disbelief at the LORD’s great promise, and of God’s absolute faithfulness and fulfillment.

II. The casting out of the Bondwoman (Genesis 21:9-21)

A. Sarah speaks the sentence of banishment (21:10).

1. Although humanly harsh, God approves (21:12).

2. Hagar and Ishmael become the physical and historical “type” of the distinction between the “flesh” and the “heir” (Galatians 3:23-29).

B. ELOHIM (not JEHOVAH) reiterates His promise about Ishmael.

1. A blessing “because” Ishmael is Abraham’s seed (21:13)

2. A blessing that will produce a “great” nation (21:18)

C. Hagar and Ishmael live and develop in the “wilderness of Paran”.

1. Paran includes the Sinai Peninsula.

2. Ishmael’s descendants develop 12 nations (Genesis 25:12-18).

3. Ishmael’s descendants are included in the Arabic nations today.

D. The “heir” versus the “son of the bondwoman” is an important concept.

1. Galatians 3:16 through 29 is the main biblical passage.

a. The “promise” was made to “the seed” (3:16).
b. The focus is on “Christ”, not Isaac (3:16 – 20).
c. All are under sin, and are “given” the promise by faith (3:22).
d. If we “believe” we are the children of God (3:26).
e. The “faith” excludes “physical” relationships (3:28).
f. We are, therefore, “heirs” according to the promise (3:29).

2. The “heir” promise has been verified by God Himself (Hebrews 6:17-20).

3. The “heir” relationship is a “joint-heir” with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17-21).

4. The promise is “incorruptible” and “reserved” for us (1 Peter 1:3-5).

III. The life among the Philistines (Genesis 21:22-34)

A. Abraham makes an “oath” to Abimelech (21:23-27).

1. It is a promise to live faithfully among the pagans (21:23).

2. It is a promise to treat others kindly (21:23).

3. It may well be the first incident of the “Golden Rule” (Luke 6:31).

B. Abraham makes a second “oath” regarding his residence (21:28-34).

1. The “well” of the “sevens” – Beersheba

2. This is where Abraham is living and will live for many years.

C. Abraham and Isaac dwell in the land of the Philistines for decades.

1. This may well foreshadow the prayer of Jesus (John 17).

2. We have been chosen “out of the world” (John 15:19).

3. We are not to be taken “out of this world” (John 17:15).

4. We are to live within the world, but not of it (1 Corinthians 5:10).

5. We are to shine as “lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

The Patriarchs
ch. 21


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