“God was with the lad, and he grew; and he lived in the wilderness and became an archer.  He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt. ”  Gen.21:20-21

We are given a hint about Ishmael’s future as he lay dying under a tree, and Hagar sits down ‘about a bowshot’ away (Gen. 21:16).  We see he becomes an archer.  Ishmael’s future was spoken of by God in Genesis 16:11-12.

The fact that Ishmael got a wife from Egypt says more about Hagar, however, who chose the wife for him.  This calls into question how Hagar felt about Abraham’s beliefs, which he surely made known to his household (Gen. 14:14; 17:23).  Perhaps being sent away left her disenchanted with the Hebrew people so she sought an Egyptian wife for Ishmael.

Hagar has had two experiences with God that we know of:  God spoke with Hagar when she fled from Sarah (Gen. 16), and again when Sarah sent her away (Gen. 21). Hagar also had God’s promise that Ishmael would not die but become a great nation, and so far he has survived as God said.  Her concern that Ishmael would die shows her lack of faith.

So is she turning her back on God by seeking an Egyptian wife for Ishmael, or did she simply see no benefit to have Ishmael marry a Hebrew woman?

 

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