Genesis 21-24

Sodom and Gomorrah have been destroyed.  Lot has been saved.  Abraham has, once again, told only a half-truth about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife.  But God remains faithful to his promises, and the time is drawing nigh for Sarah to have her first child…

Genesis 21

  • Sarah indeed became pregnant and birthed her first son, Isaac (which means “he laughs”).  After eight days, Abraham circumcised Isaac.  Abraham was one hundred when Isaac was born.
  • As Isaac got a little older, Sarah one day saw Ishmael making fun of Isac.  She demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away without any family inheritance.  Abraham did not like this; Ishmael was still his son.  God told Abraham to do as Sarah said, and Ishmael will still be the ancestor of a nation.
  • Hagar and Ishmael went away with some provisions from Abraham.  But once the water ran out, Hagar did not know what to do.  She left Ishmael in a bush and walked about one hundred yards away, not wanting to see her son die.
  • God heard Ishmael’s crying and opened Hagar’s eyes so that she saw a well.  Ishmael grew up in Paran and married a young Egyptian woman.  He became an expert archer.  He would become the ancestor of the Ishmaelites (who were hostile to Israel and God).
  • King Abimelech and Phicol (the commander of Abimelech’s army) came to Abraham to ask him to never deceive him, his children, or grandchildren (since they had been loyal to Abraham, letting him live in their country).  Abraham agreed.
  • Abraham told Abimelech that some of his servants had been taking a well of Abraham’s servants.  Abraham gave sheep and oxen to Abimelech, and they made a treaty.  The place where this well is called Beersheba — the “well of the oath.”  Abraham live in this Philistine country for a long time.

Genesis 22

  • God tells Abraham to go from Beersheba to Moriah and sacrifice Isaac there on one of the mountains.  Abraham does so the next morning without question (that the Bible lets us know of anyway).
  • It tooks three days just to get close to the mountain where they would sacrifice.  Abraham told his servants to wait there while he and Isaac prepared the wood for the burnt offering.  Even as Isaac is being tied up and put on the altar, the Bible does not say one thing about Isaac offering any resistance or saying anything.  Talk about honoring your father and mother!  And what faith Abraham must have had also…
  • An angel stopped Abraham just as he was about to sacrifice Isaac.  Abraham found a ram nearby and sacrificed it instead.  Notice the parallel of this story and God sacrificing His own Son for our sins… except God did not stop the sacrifice of His own Son.
  • As a result of this test of faith, God told Abraham once again that his descendants will be countless millions.  Also, he will be blessed richly and through his descendants, all everybody will be blessed (hmmm… foreshadowing of Jesus…).
  • Nahor, Abraham’s brother, had eight sons.  One of the sons, Bethuel, birthed a daughter named Rebekah.  We will hear about her shortly.

Genesis 23

  • Sarah died at the age of 127.  Abraham and Sarah were in Hebron when she died, and he had no place to bury her.  Abraham went to the Hittite elders and asked to buy a burial plot.
  • The Hittites said Abraham was an ‘honored prince’ (Gen. 23:6) — he could pick any tomb he wanted.
  • Abraham asked for the cave of Machpelah.  Ephron, who owned it, offered to give it to Abraham for free.  Abraham insisted he pay for it and ended up giving Ephron four hundred pieces of silver for it.  This same tomb ends up being Sarah’s, Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s burial place.

Genesis 24

  • As Abraham was getting older, he made his oldest servant promise to not let Isaac marry a local Canaanite woman.  Instead, Isaac should marry one of Abraham’s relatives in his homeland.  An angel would prepare the way for the servant.
  • If it did not work out, the servant would be free from the oath.  Isaac could not go and live there with Abraham’s relatives  since God had promised to give the land of Canaan to his descendants.
  • The servant got ten camels and gifts and went to Aram-naharaim (which has a village in it where Nahor lived).  As the servant came beside a well outside the village, he prayed to God that the right woman would offer him and his camels a drink upon him asking for a drink for only himself.  While he was still praying, Rebekah came out.
  • Rebekah was very beautiful and was a virgin.  After she drew water into her water jug, the servant asked her for a drink.  She gave him some from her water jug and offered water for his camels too.  She kept refilling and giving the camels water until they had their fill.
  • The servant gave Rebekah a gold ring for her nose and two bracelets.  He asked who her father (Bethel) was and if he could stay with them for the night.  She said that would be ok.  The servant worshiped God as a result.
  • Rebekah went home and told her family about this.  Laban, Rebekah’s brother, went to the servant and told him to come to their house.  They had a place for his camels and were about to feed him, but the servant had to tell his purpose for coming first.
  • The servant told them every tiny detail, from Abraham’s request, to his prayer, to how Rebekah had been an answer to that prayer, and even how he worshiped God after it.  Laban and Bethuel were convinced.  They allowed Rebekah to go to be the wife of Isaac.  The servant gave Rebekah and her family many nice things.
  • The next morning, Rebekah’s brother and mother wanted Rebekah to stay ten days before heading off.  The servant wanted to leave right then though.  They asked Rebekah, and she left that morning with a woman who had been her childhood nurse.
  • As Rebekah was leaving, her family bless her saying she would become the mother of millions, and her descendants would defeat their enemies.
  • As the servant and Rebekah enter Negev (where Isaac lives), Rebekah sees Isaac and puts her veil on.  Isaac and Rebekah go in his mother’s tent and become husband and wife.  Isaac loved Rebekah a lot; she comforted him from the death of his mother.
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