Vayeira (Genesis 21)–The Abandonment of Ishmael

So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and gave her the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.     (Genesis 21:14)

Twice in this parsha, Abraham, under instruction from God, puts his son in mortal danger. The second, better known instance occurs in the story of the binding of Isaac (Genesis 22).  But it also occurs here, in the preceding chapter, which we could call the abandonment of Ishmael.  In both cases, Abraham rises early in the morning, and arranges provisions for a journey. In both cases, the boy is saved when the Angel of YHWH calls out to the his parent (in this case, Hagar,  Ishmael’s mother), and offers a way out of what had seemed to be an inevitable doom.

These and other parallels are obvious, although I hadn’t noticed them before.   That said, I’m not sure what, if anything, to make of them. What do you think?

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