Genesis 21

Abraham's sons

1 The Lord was kind to Sarah. He did what he had promised to do for her. 2 Sarah became pregnant. She gave birth to a son for Abraham when he was very old. This happened at the time when God had said that it would.

21:2See Genesis 18:10.

3 Abraham called his son ‘Isaac’. This is the son that Sarah gave birth to. 4 When Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him. That is what God had told him to do.

5 Abraham was 100 years old when his son, Isaac, was born. 6 Sarah said, ‘Now God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about what has happened will be happy with me.’ 7 She also said, ‘Abraham would never have thought that I would feed a child at my breasts. But I have given birth to a son for him, even when he is old.’

8 The child grew stronger, and he began to eat food. On that day, Abraham prepared a big party meal.

9 Then Sarah saw that Ishmael was laughing at Isaac. (Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the Egyptian servant.) 10 So Sarah said to Abraham, ‘Send that slave woman and her son away from here. Ishmael must never receive any of our family's things. Everything must belong to my own son, Isaac.’

11 This made Abraham very sad, because Ishmael was his own son.

12 God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be upset about Ishmael or about Hagar. Do whatever Sarah tells you. Your family's descendants will come through Isaac, not Ishmael. 13 But, because Ishmael is also your son, I will make his descendants become a great nation of people too.’

14 Abraham woke up early the next morning. He took some food and some water in a bottle that was made from animal skin. He gave them to Hagar and he put them on her shoulders. Then he sent Hagar away, with their son, Ishmael.

She went and she travelled round the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 After they had drunk all the water, Hagar put her son in the shade under a bush. 16 She herself went and sat down about 100 metres away from him. She thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ As she sat there, she began to cry.

21:14The wilderness of Beersheba is dry and hot. There is not much water there.

17 Ishmael was crying and God heard him. The angel of God spoke to Hagar from heaven. He said, ‘What is the trouble, Hagar? Do not be afraid. God has heard the boy while he is crying there. 18 Go over to him and lift him up. Take hold of his hand and help him to stand. I will make him become a great nation of people.’

21:18God had already told this to Hagar, when she ran away from Sarah. See Genesis 16:10.

19 Then God helped Hagar to see clearly. She saw a well with water in it. She went to the well and she filled the bottle with water. She gave the boy some water to drink.

20 God took care of Ishmael while he grew up. The boy lived in the desert. He became a hunter of wild animals. 21 He lived in the Paran wilderness. Hagar, his mother, found an Egyptian wife for him to marry.

Abraham and Abimelech make an agreement together

22 At that time Phicol was the leader of King Abimelech's army. Abimelech and Phicol said to Abraham, ‘We see that God helps you in everything that you do. 23 So please make a promise to me in front of God. Promise that you will never deceive me, or my children, or my descendants. You are living here in this land as a stranger. I have been kind to you, so please show that you will also be kind to us.’ 24 Abraham said, ‘I promise to do all that.’

25 One day, Abraham complained to Abimelech about a certain well of water. Abimelech's servants had taken the well from Abraham. They said that the well belonged to them. 26 Abimelech said, ‘I do not know who has done this. You did not tell me before. I did not hear about it until today.’

27 So Abraham brought some sheep and some cows and he gave them to Abimelech. The two men made a promise to help each other. 28 Abraham took seven female lambs from the sheep. He put them in a different place from the other animals. 29 Abimelech asked Abraham, ‘Why have you put these seven lambs in a different place?’ 30 Abraham replied, ‘You must accept these seven lambs as a gift from me. That will show that you agree that I dug this well. Everyone will know that it belongs to me.’ 31 Because of that, the name of the place became ‘Beersheba’, because the two men made a promise there.

21:31‘Beersheba’ means ‘well of seven’ or ‘well of the promise’.

32 In that way, they made a promise at Beersheba to help one another. Then Abimelech and Phicol, the leader of his army, returned to the land of the Philistines.

33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba. In that place, he worshipped the Lord who is God for ever.

21:33A tamarisk tree can grow in dry places. It lives for a long time. Abraham was showing that he believed God's promises.

34 Abraham lived in the land of the Philistines for a long time.