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Author Topic: Ishmael's age and Sara's departure  (Read 2225 times) Average Rating: 0
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Theophilos78
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« on: April 28, 2009, 11:32:09 AM »


I have been debating (actually arguing and exchanging insults  Grin) with a Muslim poster at an anti-Islamic forum for a few days. This Muslim guy claims that Ishmael was an infant when Sara asked Abraham to cast Hagar and her son out of the house. His argument relies on the personal interpretation of the following verses:

Genesis 21:14-16
So Abraham rose up in the morning, and taking bread and a bottle of water, put it upon her shoulder, and delivered the boy, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Bersabee. And when the water in the bottle was spent, she cast the boy under one of the trees that were there. And she went her way, and sat overagainst him a great way off, as far as a bow can carry, for she said: I will not see the boy die: and sitting overagainst, she lifted up her voice and wept.

The Muslim poster suggests that Ishmael cannot have been at the age of 13 or 14 at that time because of Hagar's awkward action of throwing him under a shrub.

More, the Muslim guy insists that Abraham did not live with Sara and Isaac, quoting the following verses to support his theory:

Genesis 21:33-34
And Abimelech and Phicol, the general of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Palestines. But Abraham planted a grove in Bersabee, and there called upon the name of the Lord God eternal. And he was a sojourner in the land of the Palestines many days.

He says this verse means that Abraham lived in Beersheba even before the test of holocaust.

Genesis 23:1-2
And Sara lived a hundred and twenty-seven years. And she died in the city of Arbee which is Hebron, in the land of Chanaan: and Abraham came to mourn and weep for her.


Why did Sara die in Hebron and not in Beersheba? When did she separate from Abraham's place in Beersheba and go to Hebron? What was the reason?

I only told the Muslim scholar that the account in Genesis emphasizes Abraham and Isaac's burial in the same place as Sara. I added that Hebron was the place where Sara and Abraham had a tent and were visited by angels for the annunciation of Isaac's birth. Does anyone know why there is an implicit separation between Sara and Abraham in Genesis? How does Orthodox Christianity explain that? Are there any Jewish traditions that shed some light on this issue and endorsed by Orthodoxy? How old was Ishmael when sent away with his mother?

Thanks for your help from now. Wink

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Dan-Romania
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2009, 12:42:07 PM »

I was digging a little into Genesis to give you some facts : about the age of Ismael he was around 15 years old . In chapter 12 of Genesis says that at the time God call Abraham he was 75 years old and in Genesis 16 it says that Sarrai gave Agar to Abraham 10 years after they came in Canaan , wich happened in the chapter so 75 + 10 = 85 the age on wich Ismael was born , maybe 1,2 years later . In chapter 21 it says Isaac was born to Abraham while Abraham had 100 years . 100-85 = 15(-1/-2) the age of Ismael . In Genesis chapter 13 verse 18 says Abraham made his house in Mamvri wich is in Hebron and made an altar to God there. It says that Abraham sojourned in the land of Palestine many days(Gen 21:33-34) as you wrote it . It doesn`t say he remain there . Anyway afaik in Genesis 22 God tries Abraham faith and says to him to bring his only son , Isaac as sacrifice on the mount Moria wich i know it is in Jerusalem(afaik , i might be wrong). Anyway there is more to go from Beer Sheeva to Moria than to Hebron to Moria . As it says in Genesis Abraham lived in Mamvri wich is in Hebron . There is where he greeted the three angels . And in Hebron his wife Sarra died , wich is where he had his home , where they lived . In chapter 21:33-34 it says that Abraham stayed in Palestine many days , the time he stayed there is counted in days , not in years . But the episode of the sacrifice of Isaac one chapter after 21 , chapter 22 , must of happened some years after that . Isaac was old enough and he communicated with his father . The relatation about the death of Sarra is made in chapter 23 . As you said , Abraham , Isaac , Sarra  were all burried in Hebron , and my opinion is that he lived in Hebron at Mamvri . That is what i understand from the Bible and how i interpret it .
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2009, 02:38:37 PM »


I have been debating (actually arguing and exchanging insults  Grin) with a Muslim poster at an anti-Islamic forum for a few days. This Muslim guy claims that Ishmael was an infant when Sara asked Abraham to cast Hagar and her son out of the house. His argument relies on the personal interpretation of the following verses:

Genesis 21:14-16
So Abraham rose up in the morning, and taking bread and a bottle of water, put it upon her shoulder, and delivered the boy, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Bersabee. And when the water in the bottle was spent, she cast the boy under one of the trees that were there. And she went her way, and sat overagainst him a great way off, as far as a bow can carry, for she said: I will not see the boy die: and sitting overagainst, she lifted up her voice and wept.

The Muslim poster suggests that Ishmael cannot have been at the age of 13 or 14 at that time because of Hagar's awkward action of throwing him under a shrub.

More, the Muslim guy insists that Abraham did not live with Sara and Isaac, quoting the following verses to support his theory:

Genesis 21:33-34
And Abimelech and Phicol, the general of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Palestines. But Abraham planted a grove in Bersabee, and there called upon the name of the Lord God eternal. And he was a sojourner in the land of the Palestines many days.

He says this verse means that Abraham lived in Beersheba even before the test of holocaust.

Genesis 23:1-2
And Sara lived a hundred and twenty-seven years. And she died in the city of Arbee which is Hebron, in the land of Chanaan: and Abraham came to mourn and weep for her.


Why did Sara die in Hebron and not in Beersheba? When did she separate from Abraham's place in Beersheba and go to Hebron? What was the reason?

I only told the Muslim scholar that the account in Genesis emphasizes Abraham and Isaac's burial in the same place as Sara. I added that Hebron was the place where Sara and Abraham had a tent and were visited by angels for the annunciation of Isaac's birth. Does anyone know why there is an implicit separation between Sara and Abraham in Genesis? How does Orthodox Christianity explain that? Are there any Jewish traditions that shed some light on this issue and endorsed by Orthodoxy? How old was Ishmael when sent away with his mother?

Thanks for your help from now. Wink


Why do you trust this Muslim fellow enough to give credence to his interpretation of Genesis?
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2009, 02:54:55 PM »

I was digging a little into Genesis to give you some facts : about the age of Ismael he was around 15 years old . In chapter 12 of Genesis says that at the time God call Abraham he was 75 years old and in Genesis 16 it says that Sarrai gave Agar to Abraham 10 years after they came in Canaan , wich happened in the chapter so 75 + 10 = 85 the age on wich Ismael was born , maybe 1,2 years later . In chapter 21 it says Isaac was born to Abraham while Abraham had 100 years . 100-85 = 15(-1/-2) the age of Ismael . In Genesis chapter 13 verse 18 says Abraham made his house in Mamvri wich is in Hebron and made an altar to God there. It says that Abraham sojourned in the land of Palestine many days(Gen 21:33-34) as you wrote it . It doesn`t say he remain there . Anyway afaik in Genesis 22 God tries Abraham faith and says to him to bring his only son , Isaac as sacrifice on the mount Moria wich i know it is in Jerusalem(afaik , i might be wrong). Anyway there is more to go from Beer Sheeva to Moria than to Hebron to Moria . As it says in Genesis Abraham lived in Mamvri wich is in Hebron . There is where he greeted the three angels . And in Hebron his wife Sarra died , wich is where he had his home , where they lived . In chapter 21:33-34 it says that Abraham stayed in Palestine many days , the time he stayed there is counted in days , not in years . But the episode of the sacrifice of Isaac one chapter after 21 , chapter 22 , must of happened some years after that . Isaac was old enough and he communicated with his father . The relatation about the death of Sarra is made in chapter 23 . As you said , Abraham , Isaac , Sarra  were all burried in Hebron , and my opinion is that he lived in Hebron at Mamvri . That is what i understand from the Bible and how i interpret it .

Peace, Dan-Romania

Thanks for your answer.

How can you explain the verse that talks of Hagar's throwing Ishmael under a tree? This is the part that sounds a bit baffling. Some biblical commentaries I read (the footnotes in an American Catholic Bible edition) cause more trouble because they say that the current Hebrew text is faulty(!) I tend to side with those who cling to the theory that Ishmael was not an infant at that time, but became weak and helpless (like an infant) in the heat of the desert and through dehydration.

As for Sara's departure, I totally agree with what you say. According to the accounts in Genesis, it was highly possible for Abraham to have two different houses/tents in different locations. Sara probably died when she stayed in Hebron. After all, that became the place of burial even for Abraham. This shows that Hebron was another significant place for Abraham.

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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2009, 03:00:42 PM »


Why do you trust this Muslim fellow enough to give credence to his interpretation of Genesis?

What has driven you to the faulty conclusion that I trusted that Muslim guy and gave credence to his erroneous interpretation? Huh Were that the case, I would not have had a debate (or an argument) with him. I only wonder if this issue has already been brought up in the Orthodox theological world? What is the OFFICIAL teaching of the Church concerning Ishmael's age at the time of his departure from Abraham's house. I would love to get access to the traditional commentary on the Hebrew scriptures by Orthodox fathers and theologians.
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2009, 03:15:48 PM »


Why do you trust this Muslim fellow enough to give credence to his interpretation of Genesis?



What has driven you to the faulty conclusion that I trusted that Muslim guy and gave credence to his erroneous interpretation? Huh Were that the case, I would not have had a debate (or an argument) with him. I only wonder if this issue has already been brought up in the Orthodox theological world? What is the OFFICIAL teaching of the Church concerning Ishmael's age at the time of his departure from Abraham's house. I would love to get access to the traditional commentary on the Hebrew scriptures by Orthodox fathers and theologians.
Christ is Risen!

he was a pre-teen: all the ancient sources attest to that.  Further, ancients comment on the Arabs circumcizing their sons around 13 because Ishmael was circumcized at that age, whereas the Jews do it on the 8th day, like Isaac (and per God's instructions).

and your friend's Muslim tradition claims Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba ( Roll Eyes).  Was he an infant?

There are plenty of shrubs in the Middle East to throw an adult, let alone a child under.
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2009, 04:40:44 PM »


Why do you trust this Muslim fellow enough to give credence to his interpretation of Genesis?

What has driven you to the faulty conclusion that I trusted that Muslim guy and gave credence to his erroneous interpretation? Huh
Your own statements. Wink  After all, you did acknowledge as true his premise that Sarah separated from Abraham's residence in Beersheba to go to Hebron.  This may in fact be true, but you had not previously stated this apart from the context of your dialogue with your Muslim acquaintance, which led me to believe you heard this first from him.

Why did Sara die in Hebron and not in Beersheba? When did she separate from Abraham's place in Beersheba and go to Hebron? What was the reason?


What is the OFFICIAL teaching of the Church concerning Ishmael's age at the time of his departure from Abraham's house.
Is there an OFFICIAL Orthodox teaching on EVERYTHING?  I didn't think the Orthodox Church was THAT centralized.
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2009, 04:45:47 PM »


I have been debating (actually arguing and exchanging insults  Grin) with a Muslim poster at an anti-Islamic forum for a few days. This Muslim guy claims that Ishmael was an infant when Sara asked Abraham to cast Hagar and her son out of the house. His argument relies on the personal interpretation of the following verses:

Genesis 21:14-16
So Abraham rose up in the morning, and taking bread and a bottle of water, put it upon her shoulder, and delivered the boy, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Bersabee. And when the water in the bottle was spent, she cast the boy under one of the trees that were there. And she went her way, and sat overagainst him a great way off, as far as a bow can carry, for she said: I will not see the boy die: and sitting overagainst, she lifted up her voice and wept.

The Muslim poster suggests that Ishmael cannot have been at the age of 13 or 14 at that time because of Hagar's awkward action of throwing him under a shrub.
I think maybe your Muslim acquaintance has gotten hung up on a translation issue.  For instance, the Orthodox Study Bible translation uses the word "placed" to describe how Hagar hid Ishmael under a shrub.  The English word used to convey what Hagar actually did can have a great influence on how an English speaker understands this verse.

From what English version of the Bible is your Muslim acquaintance drawing his arguments?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2009, 04:46:42 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2009, 05:11:33 PM »


Christ is Risen!

he was a pre-teen: all the ancient sources attest to that.  Further, ancients comment on the Arabs circumcizing their sons around 13 because Ishmael was circumcized at that age, whereas the Jews do it on the 8th day, like Isaac (and per God's instructions).

and your friend's Muslim tradition claims Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba ( Roll Eyes).  Was he an infant?

There are plenty of shrubs in the Middle East to throw an adult, let alone a child under.

Haqqan Qaam!

That Muslim guy is not interested in what the Koran suggests about Ishmael and Abraham no matter how many times I have quoted the verses that confirm the account in Genesis with regard to whom God asked Abraham to offer as a holocaust. That Muslim guy is a true mystery. He makes vain attempts to manipulate the narrative in Genesis and support his allegation that the child offered by Abraham was Ishmael rather than Isaac, which is refuted by the Koran and endorsed only by some Muslim apologists that embrace the so-called Gospel of Barnabas.

Thanks for your reply and peace!


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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2009, 05:28:51 PM »


Your own statements. Wink  After all, you did acknowledge as true his premise that Sarah separated from Abraham's residence in Beersheba to go to Hebron.  This may in fact be true, but you had not previously stated this apart from the context of your dialogue with your Muslim acquaintance, which led me to believe you heard this first from him.

My own statements? HUH?

I have never acknowledged his basic allegation that Sarah was somehow separated from Abraham prior to her death. I only thought that Sara MIGHT HAVE LIVED in a different place at the time of her death since there is nothing explicit in the narrative of Genesis about Sara's location until her death in Hebron. The account in Genesis does not tell the reader WHY Sara was in Hebron when she died, does it?

My dialogue with that Muslim guy only led me to read the Genesis more carefully and speculate reasons for Sara's death in Hebron. I even thought that Sara died in Hebron so that Abraham could have a formal dialogue with the inhabitants of that region (could be a different form of his treaty in Beersheba) and purchase a burial place (maybe a foreshadowing of Jacob's purchase of a burial place, which is mysteriously attributed by the first martyr Stephen to father Abraham in Acts)  Roll Eyes

 
Is there an OFFICIAL Orthodox teaching on EVERYTHING?  I didn't think the Orthodox Church was THAT centralized.

Are you asking ME about it? I am trying to learn IF that's the case.  Cheesy

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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2009, 05:36:42 PM »


I think maybe your Muslim acquaintance has gotten hung up on a translation issue.  For instance, the Orthodox Study Bible translation uses the word "placed" to describe how Hagar hid Ishmael under a shrub.  The English word used to convey what Hagar actually did can have a great influence on how an English speaker understands this verse.

From what English version of the Bible is your Muslim acquaintance drawing his arguments?

He generally picks up the worst biblical version with the most overt translation errors.  Grin

Nevertheless, the Muslim apologist somehow knows that the English equivalent of the Hebrew word in the original text is THROW. A website highlighting this meaning of the Hebrew word remarks, "Heb 'threw,' but the child, who was now thirteen years old, would not have been carried, let alone thrown under a bush. The exaggerated language suggests Ishmael is limp from dehydration and is being abandoned to die", which is absolutely disregarded by the Muslim poster.

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