Ishmaels Tale – one of them

My name is Ishmael bar Abraham, I am also Ishmael bar Hagar. My aunt is Sarah bat Terah, who was barren, she was my father’s half sister. My cousin is Lot ben Haran,ben Milcah. His father died  in the fire, before Abraham’s retinue left Ur of the Caldees; Haran and Milcah being my uncle and aunt.

I  gleaned  information about our Family’s History from my peers,  in my father’s retinue whom he had brought under the shade of the Shekinah.1 By the camp-fires at night, they listened to the stories of Abraham’s exploits and passed them on to me as Mishna.

Abraham passed through Nimrod’s fire by the hand of the living God(Genesis Rabbah 38:11 ) and for that the entire family, believers and non- believers were led away to a Land that God would give him. 2.

Abraham was the son of Terah, as was Sarah while Hagar was a Princess in the house of Pharaoh, I wouldn’t be here  if Sarah had not taken Hagar as a Maidservant during their time in  the Egypt, they went there because of a Famine.

Sarah, even at 65 was beautiful and so Abraham, who feared for his life, told Sarah that she must insist that she was his sister, least they kill him to marry her  when she became  his widow.

The Princes of Egypt commended Sarah to Pharoah who took her into his household. Bereshit 12:16 And Pharoah enriched Abram for her sake, and gave thim sheep,goats and cattle, both male and female donkeys,men servants and maid servants, and camels.

And God sent down plagues on Egypt, on Sarah’s behalf, because Pharoah desired Sarah and had placed her in his harem. Even then, Pharoah persisted until Sarah called down an angel upon him to admonish him, who so terrorised him that Pharoah had his soldiers escort them from the Country. 3

When he (Pharaoh) saw the miracles that were wrought for Sarah, he said, “It is better that my daughter ( Hagar) be a handmaid in this household, than a mistress in another household.” –  Hagar was ha agrikh: and her name meant ‘This is your reward’

[from Gen. Rabbah 45:1]

The plains of Mamre

Abraham and his retinue returned to live in  the plain of Elone  belonging to Mamre the Amorite,( Gen. Rabbah 42:8) in Hebron, where he  built an Altar to the Lord, and, set up a Community,  remaining there under the  protection of God. And it is there that my own history unfolds.

My mother,Hagar

My sainted mother deserves an entitlement of her own else I would not be here and our future would not have materialised.

Mother had returned to Hebron as  my Aunt Sarah’s handmaid. Ten years later, after they had been in Canaan for ten years, as the law allowed,she gave my mother, Hagah, to my father as his second wife so that a child might be born to her as Sarah’s own. (Born between Sarah’s knees.) Apparently a child was conceived that very night, though that child was not me.

As Abraham’s wife, mother disregarded Sarah,and made much of her pregnancy, then Sarah became so jealous and acrimonious toward my mother that she sent her away into the desert where my mother lost that child.

Here are the very words Sarah spoke to Abraham, as would be recorded in the Book

“May my injustice be upon you! I gave my handmaid into your bosom, and she saw that she had become pregnant, and I became unimportant in her eyes. May the Lord judge between me and you!”

Bereshit – Genesis 17:5

I really can not understand my father for allowing Sarah to send my mother and his child away????.

Mum was cast into the desert with nothing but the clothes on her back. There she encountered four Angels  who made four prophecies for her.

The first angel came to her at the fountain on the road to Shur.

And the angel said Hagar, Sarai’s servant, (for God had not yet changed their names.)4 where are you coming from, and where are you going to?” And she said, “l am fleeing from Sarai my mistress,.”

Bereshit 16.8

9 And the 2nd angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and let yourself be afflicted by her.”

Bereshit 16.9

10 And the 3rd angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your seed, and it will not be counted for abundance.”

Bereshit 16.10

Finally the 4th angel spoke, for an angel may only reveal one prophecy.

11 “Behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your affliction.  
12 And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone’s hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.”

Bereshit 16.11,12

My mother realised that it was God who had spoken to her and she said that this was the God of  Seeing and the well became known as Be’er Lachai Ro’i; because she had seen God there.

Yet there was a Promise for me also,I, too will become as the lights of heaven. 5.

I am 12

I was born when my father was 86. I was named Ishmael, according to the Word of God spoken to my father. I am Ishmael ben Abraham, his first born, whose rightful place was given to Isaac, son of the Promise. Bereshit 17.4ff

For the next 12 years my father taught me the ways of God, as they were revealed to him. Yet he was always uneasy in the presence of God and became weak kneed.

He taught me the 7 Noahide Laws, (6) as handed down by Mishna. They are the basis of Civilised Society  by which our Community lived.

It is shaping up to become an interesting year. So far Lot has been kidnapped and father has fought with the 5 kings, he has been crowned king of Aram.

Most importantly, Mamre the Amalakite revealed to him that his weakened knees occur because neither he nor our Community have entered into the Covenant of Circumcision.

As confirmed by God. we enter the Covenant on my 13 birthday, my father is 99.

Every Male in the Community is circumcised. Afterwards I returned to my allotted tasks and Abraham had to lie down and Sarah bandaged his hurt.

Three days later we reach the climax of Abraham’s joy, yet he fails to recognize his Prophets for who they are. God brings angels to him in the likeness of men. — [from Gen. Rabbah 48:9, Exod. Rabbah 25:2]

  • One to bring the news [of Isaac’s birth] to Sarah,
  • and one to overturn Sodom,
  • and one to heal Abraham. Rashi 7.

Dad is still in pain.

1.the Lord appears to him in the plains of Mamre, as he sits at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day.
2 He lifts his eyes and sees three men standing beside him, he runs toward them from the entrance of the tent, and prostrates himself before them. (Paraphrased) Bereshit 18.1,2

Dad doesn’t seem to know whether to send them on or offer them hospitality. So he suggests water for their feet and bread to sustain them before they pass by.

He suspects them of being Arabs who prostrate to idols and did not want idolatry to enter our home. But he, nevertheless rushes into the kitchen, asks Sarah to prepare some cakes and runs off into the fields and returns with three calves.

Dad gave them to me and I slit their throats and skinned them, and cut out their tongues,the choicest part for a visitors feast. Dad had said, several times that such deeds,when done cheerfully were mitzvahs to God. Not quite, this time, because I intended to make a jacket for myself from the hides, perhaps some sandals?

Dad set a table for them in the field and fed them cream and milk and a calves tongue each. And they appeared to eat, But he did not bring the bread because at that moment Sarah began menstruating and the bread became unclean.

The first angel asked for Sarah and said that when they returned next year, at the same time, for it was Passover; My aunt would have a son. Isaac would be born at Passover.

Sarah laughed to herself, at the thought of all that this announcement meant.

Did Sarah laugh-The Lord spoke to Abraham, saying “14 Is anything hidden from the Lord? At the appointed time, I will return to you, at this time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Bereshit 18.14

1.Shekhinah is the English transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning “dwelling” or “settling” The word shekhinah is not present in the Bible, and is first encountered in the rabbinic literature.. 

2. He (Terah) took him (Abraham) and gave him over to Nimrod. (Nimrod) said to him: Let us worship the fire! (Abraham) said to him: Should we not then worship water, which extinguishes fire! (Nimrod) said to him: Then, let us worship the water! (Abraham) said to him: Should we not then worship the clouds, which carry the water? (Nimrod) said to him: Then, let us worship the cloud! (Abraham) said to him: If so, Should we not then worship the wind, which scatters the clouds? (Nimrod) said to him: Then, let us worship the wind! (Abraham) said to him:[ .. ]

3. Read The Jewish Womens Archive for one of the Stories about Sarah

4. Bereshit 17.5

5. And God said 20 regarding Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I have blessed him, and I will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him exceedingly; he will beget twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.

5 Bereshit 17.20
  • 6. The seven Noachide laws, as traditionally enumerated are:
  • Do Not Deny God
  • Do Not Blaspheme God
  • Do Not Murder
  • Do Not Engage in Incestuous, Adulterous or Homosexual Relationships.
  • Do Not Steal
  • Do Not Eat of a Live Animal
  • Establish Courts/Legal System to Ensure Law Obedience.

Except for the seventh law, all are negative commands, and the last itself is usually interpreted as commanding the enforcement of the others

7 Noahide Laws
  • 7. Michael, the greatest of the archangels, walked in the middle, with Gabriel to his right and Raphael to his left.
  • All three angels were commanded to carry out a specific mission.
  • Gabriel’s mission was to destroy Sodom.
  • Michael’s mission was to inform Sarah that she would give birth to Isaac in a year’s time.
  • Raphael’s mission was to heal Abraham (from his recent circumcision) and save Lot.
  • Rashi writes, “Although Raphael’s mission included two tasks, they were considered a single mission since they were both acts that saved people.”
The Angel of healing


One comment

Like to hear from you

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.