We see the final years of Abraham and all his children. Isaac was the child of promise but he was not the only one Abraham had. Nations came from him.
The first thing we see in our reading today is that Abraham was lonely after Sarah’s death. He took another wife. Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death by Rebekah and Abraham was comforted by Keturah. I’m curious why later she is referred to as Abraham’s “concubine” instead of his wife and being that the word is plural, she wasn’t the only one to comfort Abraham.
Abraham may have been old but he was still able to have children. This wife was unlike Sarah in that area. She had six sons by Abraham. I’m assuming there must have been some daughters in there too but they are not mentioned.
I see names of peoples I recognize Israel bumping up against many generations later mentioned among Keturah’s sons. Midian, Sheba and Dedan are three I recognize without the need of Google. I’m sure there are more tribes or nations named here that I don’t recognize.
All these brothers of Isaac were sent away before Abraham’s death. He wanted to make sure Isaac had plenty of space to spread out. God had promised the land to Abraham through Isaac and none other. Little did he realize that these “brothers” would one day war against each other.
I have a question. I know that the Muslim religion sees Ishmael as the heir of promise. Is there other religions that see Abraham’s sons through Keturah as the heir? Talk about a “string art” picture! I picture an umbrella with a central top spreading out to MANY points along its rim. But only one can be the center support for the whole.
When Abraham dies only two of his sons unite to bury him; Isaac and Ishmael. It had been around seventy years since Ishmael had been in contact with Abraham, but when he heard of his death, he came to care for his father. I believe that speaks to Ishmael’s love for Abraham as well as his duty to him.
Ishmael grew up walking beside his father wherever he went. He received his love, learned from him, was the expected heir, and even received circumcision at Abraham’s hands. Until one day he was put out with nothing but his mother, a water container and some bread. MANY would expect a bitter young man who would hate his father and his brothers. But his willingness to join with Isaac, the only brother he ever knew, speaks differently. I wonder how he learned of his father’s death. Did Isaac send word to him when Abraham was nearing the end of his life? He made it back in time to help Isaac bury their father next to Isaac’s mother. Was this by the hand of God or by communication lines that were reopened after Sarah’s death?
I wonder what kind of “gifts” Abraham gave to his other sons before his death. Did he send a gift to Ishmael? Was Ishmael surprised to find out that Abraham left ALL he had to Isaac? Was he angry about this? Or did he expect this all along because of Sarah’s insistence that he leave? If he knew and came back anyway to care for his father, this gives me a new respect for him. If he didn’t and was surprised, that explains some of the discoursed between the two peoples.
I found it interesting that Ishmael fathered twelve nations and that Israel would father twelve tribes. Ishmael’s nations didn’t stay together like Israel’s tribes. One group of brothers banded together while the other group went their separate ways. I don’t easily recognize the names of these peoples. Abraham’s separation of his sons have any bearing on Ishmael’s sons separating? Later on we will even see Isaac’s sons separating. So the bigger question would be what kept Israel’s sons together? God.
We are told that Ishmael’s sons settled from Havilah to Shur. I’m certain they came into contact with the tribes of Israel when they returned to the Promised Land but I don’t know their nation’s names at that point. Did they recognize their “kinsmen” when they came through? Talk about a family feud!
Father God, thank You for bringing Ishmael and Isaac back together for even one last task. I wish there was peace between the people now but that’s not likely to happen. That’s probably just my motherly heart talking. I want all children to care for one another. I recognize the need for them each to grow and become their own persons but I desire that tether of love between them. I guess that’s why I try so hard to unite the two halves of my family. Mine don’t share any biology but I want them to at least share a small portion of unity. That’s what Camp NaPa is to me. A bond between them that I pray they cherish like I do.
Show me how to foster love between the groups instead of separation. I love ALL my grandchildren and their parents. I recognize the different bindings and separations that have happened with Steve’s children and even my own to some degree. Please heal these wounds and let them build trust between one another. Unite my family please Father. More than an earthly unification, I CRAVE a spiritual unity. My heart’s desire is for them to be united into YOUR family. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM! I want to see that more than ANY other form of unity!
Forgive me for being so short sited and selfish earlier. Let me focus on the important things and let the little things be still. Mend my heart in this area Father. Heal what was broken so long ago. I love You and trust You to do just that.