This is a pretty interesting chapter! The Philistines appear here. It’s perhaps strange to think that they existed before Israel when we’re used to thinking of them as if their sole purpose in life was to frustrate the Israelites and own a giant. But no, they were around much longer than that!
Also, Sarah has a baby. Abraham was 100 so this was quite an achievement! Certainly the provision of God. There’s no doubt that our God is a God of miracles! :) There’s a feast and all is going well.
Then the mood changes suddenly. Sarah wants Hagar and Ishmael (who is also Abraham’s son) cast out of the household because she sees Ishmael mocking and doesn’t want him to share in Isaac’s inheritance. Abraham is concerned, but God seems ok with it. He tells Abraham to go ahead with it and He will provide for them. Why did God do this? Why didn’t God say “tell your wife to stop being so jealous and get over it!”?
One possibility is that God saw it as a legitimate way to ensure harmony in the household and for Isaac to grow up with a mother who wasn’t worrying about a competing son. God thought Sarah’s peace of mind was more important than the chance for Abraham to be with his other son? Hmmmm. Let me know what you think on that one…
Also in this chapter, Abimelek makes a treaty with Abraham. Things have come a ways since the last chapter where Abraham pretended Sarah was his sister to avoid confrontation. Now Abimelek seems to want to ensure he has an ally in Abraham!
It seems that Abimelek is wise enough to know that it’s a sensible idea to be on good terms with those who have the favour and promises of God.
What this chapter tells us about God
- God does miracles! He provided Abraham and Sarah with a child in their old age.
- God provides! As well as providing Abraham and Sarah with a son, He ensured that Hagar and Ishmael were taken care of.
- God’s plans are good! Whatever God’s plan was when He allowed Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away, it’s clear from the events that ensued that He had good plans for both Abraham’s household and the household of Ishmael.
Source Text: Genesis 21