After these words – Isaac and Ishmael

B”H

After these words – Isaac and Ishmael

“And it happened after these words [הַדְּבָרִים] that HaShem tested Avraham and said to him, Avraham, … take now your only son – Yitzchaq – whom you love ….” Genesis 22.1, 2;

these words – directs us to 21.10 because the subject matter of 22.2 is Avraham’s only son, Yitzchaq: “Wherefore she said unto Abraham: ‘Cast out (geresh) this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.'”

First, Sarah saw, a) that she was despised by Hagar, and second, b) Ishmael mocking Yitzchaq (Isaac), so she said [these ha’devarim – prophetic words] cast out the bondwoman and her son ….” Then HaShem tells Avraham, “Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad.”

Genesis 21:12 –

And God said unto Abraham: ‘Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her [prophetic] voice; for in Isaac shall seed be called to thee.

Manumission and the Prophetic Word of Sarah

Here (Genesis 20.18), the Torah emphasizes that Sarah was a prophetess. [from Gen. Rabbah 52:13]

“For the L-RD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.” On account of Sarah literally, because of the “prophetic” word(s) of Sarah –

עַלדְּבַר שָׂרָה

21.9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, making sport.

21.10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham: ‘Cast out (גרש ) this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.’

21.14 And Abraham arose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away; and she departed, and strayed in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. וַיְשַׁלְּחֶהָ

Sarah’s use of the term geresh גרש (“[to forcefully] drive away”) and the Torah’s use of the root shalach שלח (“to send”) imply that the purpose behind Sarah’s demand was concerning Isaac’s inheritance and Avraham’s sending was to effect Hagar’s Divorce (“and sent her away) and Ishmael’s t’shuvah (repentance) for he mocked the covenant of circumcision!

Sanhedrin 89b

R. Levi said [in explanation of ‘after these words’]; After Ishmael’s words to Isaac. Ishmael said to Isaac: ‘I am more virtuous than thee in good deeds, for thou wast circumcised at eight days, [and so couldst not prevent it], but I at thirteen years’. ‘On account of one limb wouldst thou incense me!’ he replied: ‘Were the Holy One, blessed be He, to say unto me, Sacrifice thyself before Me, I would obey’, Straightway, G-D did tempt Abraham. Sanhedrin 89b (Midrash Tanhuma-Yelammedenu)

21.9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, making sport.

21.10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham: ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac [laughter].’

Because Ishmael has been disinherited, “middah keneged middah” for “making sport” before the Akeida (“after these words HaShem tested Avraham”); Avraham has only one son whom he loves [enough to give his inheritance over to], Yitzchaq, the son of promise! 17.19

Making sportמְצַחֵֽק

The Talmud Sanhedrin 89b relates that Ishmael mocked Isaac concerning his circumcision; and thus, by extension, made a mockery of HaShem’s halacha, the covenant of circumcision with Avraham and his seed, Isaac. 17.12 (eight days old) “21.4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. ”

“Birthright” (bekhorah בְּכוֹרָה)

The earliest account of primogeniture to be widely known in modern times involved Isaac’s son Jacob being born second (Genesis 25:26) and Isaac’s son, Esau being born first (Genesis 25:25) and entitled to the “birthright”, but eventually selling it to Isaac’s second son, Jacob, for a small amount of food (Genesis 25:31-34) A similar transfer is shown by the writer of 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 where, although the tribe of Judah prevailed above their brethren, nevertheless the “birthright”, the double portion of two tribal allotments, was Joseph’s.

According to the Law of Moses, the firstborn may be either the firstborn of his father, who is entitled to receive a double portion of his father’s inheritance (compared to the other siblings), (Deuteronomy 21:17) or the firstborn of his mother. Deuteronomy 21:15-17 provides inheritance rules preventing the husband with more than one wife from leaving property to the son of the favoured wife.

We find a pattern in the Torah of primogeniture or the right of the first-born to inherit the estate of the father being given over to the second born. Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Jacob and Esau.

The closest Biblical analogy to the disinheritance of the first-born son to our case of Ishmael and Isaac is that of Cain and Abel where Cain is banished for murder of Abel.

The Midrash relates that Ishmael would take his bow and arrows and shoot them at Yitzchaq and say, “I was only pretending” while really intending on murdering Yitzchaq to eliminate any potential rivalry for the inheritence.

From Sarah’s response, “The son of this handmaid [is not worthy] to share an inheritance with [anyone who is] my son” (v. 10), we see that [Yishma’el] used to argue with Yitzchaq about their inheritance. He would say, “I am the firstborn, so I should take a double portion!” They would go out to the field, and Yishma’el would take his bow and shoot arrows at Yitzchaq, “like one who wearies himself shooting firebrands etc., and says: I’m only joking!” (Prov. 26:18).

Some Examples of Laughter in the Tanak:

(18:12) “Sarah laughed within herself saying….” 18:13 “And HaShem said to Avraham, Why did Sarah laugh?” 18.15 “But she denied it and said I did not laugh!” “No, but you did laugh!”

“21.6 And Sarah said: ‘G-D hath made laughter for me; every one that heareth will laugh on account of me.’ ” “He makes the barren woman into a glad mother of children.”

B’rashith – Genesis 17.17

Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

B’rashith 18:2 it says “So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought….”

B’rashith 26.8

And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.

Tehillim – Psalms 126.2

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The L-RD has done great things for them.”

Job 8.21

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.

Tehillim 2.4

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the L-RD holds them in derision.

Tehillim 37.13

But the L-RD laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.

Tehillim 59.8

But you, O L-RD, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision.

Proverbs 29.9

If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.

Job 12.4

I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called to G-D and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.

Ecclesiastes 7.6

For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity.

Tehillim 59.8

But you, O L-RD, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision.

Ecclesiastes 10.19

Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.

Habakkuk 1.10

At kings they scoff, and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it.

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About johnmhummasti

Was the victim of Human Rights Abuses (e.g. Hummasti v Bell, 98-3651-JTC) while a patient in the custody of the US Attorney General and hospitalized under 18 USC 4241 through 4244, et seq.! Interests: Biblical Studies, Talmudic Studies, Dead Sea (Yam Melek [Sea of Kings Soferim]) Scrolls, Scribal (Stam Sofer) Traditions, Cantorial (Hazzan) Psalms (Tehillim). Illustrated Calligraphy (e.g. Ketuvim [Jewish Marriage Contracts], Poetry). Self Published Manuscripts and Screen Plays at yhummastiscribd web site:
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