And Abraham softened, swearing to name the child Ishmael

Twe Stephens By Twe Stephens, 20th Feb 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

The controversy between Sari and Hagar that birthed the wild nation that would strive against their brothers and all mankind...

Abram softened, swearing to name the child Ishmael

Many years passed and his entire household prospered and waxed exponentially, and his nation-tribe was now a military force to be reckoned with. The pagan Amorites remained his staunchest allies and a vibrant caravan trade flowed between them and numerous other city-states and nation-tribes in the region. Abram was insanely rich, a shrewd businessman, blessed by God, full of wisdom, and politically powerful. He was guarded day and night by his elite fighters.
Sarai still remained barren, for she was too old to have children, but Abram was possessed no consternations for he absolutely believed everything The One had said; he knew his words were certainty as the sun rising in the east. But his wife hounded him with her guilt about not having an heir, for her faith slowly eroded over the passing years about the promises of The One.
Therefore, Sarai, with great tears in her eyes, offered her Egyptian maid that the Pharaoh had given them, and offered her to Abram to be his second wife.
“I don’t care what you say or how many years have passed. You don’t have to do this. I don’t want to do this for the Lord himself will give me an heir with you.”
Sarai looked at him incredulously. “Since the Lord chose to give me no children and ignored my disgrace despite my continual supplications, I demand, for my sake, you marry Hagar. She will bear our children fulfilling the prophecy of an heir from your own loins. You must take her as your wife for I cannot bear to see you without an heir, no progeny, and no one to carry your legacy. It is a burning I can no longer live with, Abram. If The One promised, that is fine. But please do this so my disgrace will finally be healed.
“Please Abram; take her as your second wife for my sake. Maybe The One meant your heir would come from your loins but not necessarily from my womb. So many years have passed; can’t you admit that you might be wrong or misunderstood? You know The One words are always full of mystery; who can know with absolute surety?”
“No Sarai, I will not take a second wife. I love you with all my heart. You must believe - for you are calling The One a liar. Don’t make me do this for I don’t love her, don’t want her, and only want you - no matter whatever future comes. Are you really fond of manipulating God's plans and promises for your unbelief, and have you counted the cost of what you are asking? We have always stood together shoulder to shoulder; this is plain wrong and verging on blasphemy”
Sari collapsed at her husband’s feet loudly begging him. And over the continuing months, Abram became weary of the continuing discord, nuclear nagging, and the unhappiness of his wife; she wouldn’t let him touch her anymore for her world was masked by the deepest depression. She remained emotionally distraught and illogically neurotic, without logical destiny of any closure.
A frustrated Abram finally acquiesced to obtain some semblance of past normality to his now miserable life. Sarai had never been like this throughout all their marriage, and at some deeper level, he was absolutely amazed how miserable a woman could make a man. Yet, he was black-eyed exasperated of the constant nagging, unending tears, and escalating behavior she couldn’t rationally explain.
On the tenth anniversary of living with the Amorites, in an intensely dismal awkward ceremony, the Supreme Patriarch finally married Hagar in front of his household and the entire nation-tribe, taking her as his second wife - the riotous celebrations continued for seven impossible days.
Hagar conceived. Though she was supposed by law to be subservient to the first wife, she became haughty, cruel, and arrogant as her pregnancy continued, passive-aggressively rubbing Sarai’s disgrace in her face, causing great contention between the two wives.
And finally, an exasperated Sarai screamed at Abram, “It’s your fault Hagar disrespects and despises me, though I gave her the privilege of being your wife. How could you do this to me by taking another wife? The Lord will judge you, Abram, for doing this evil to me!” A slow tear fell.
Abram looked at her incredulously; his mouth fell open as he desperately tried to think of something; anything that would not escalate the crisis trembling full throttle. Sarai made no sense, but he was wise enough not to voice his real feelings, for he knew there was no escaping another uproarious argument. This was the year from stinking Hell.
Abram thought the words men have thought at one time or another about women; they are absolutely crazy. And he remembered the curse inflicted on all women because of Eve, but that knowledge did not make it easier to deal with her. Oh, if she only thought like a man – then I’d be happy and blessed forever, he lamented silently.
He looked at her visage twisted in hurt and frustration waiting impatiently for him to respond.
“Do with her what you want,” he said angrily. He abruptly walked away before this argument could ensnare him in its unbreakable illogical clutches.
And straightaway a seething Sarai beckoned her menservants, and they dragged and bound the screeching second wife’s hands to a tree outside Abram’s massive tent complex, in public view of the whole clan. She got a mighty green switch and beat her viciously on her back with all her might and anger, until the copious flowing sweat burned her eyes, until the blood pooled between her toes, past the moment Hagar’s slumped heavily on the rough wood - screaming insanely in burning agony.
And Sarai shouted, “You will respect me and honor my position as first wife! Never let your damn head swell again for my husband has given you into my hands to do with as I please – anytime I please! Do not ever forget the swelling of your belly is my child – period! You will always mean less than nothing to me and my husband you infidel Egyptian half-breed harlot!”
Sarai threw the blood covered switch down, walked away angrily as Hagar’s servants rushed to their sobbing mistress, helping her struggle to her feet, assisting her to her lavish tent to minister to her many wounds.
And Abram stood in the far background watching with intense sorrow the unfolding drama, wondering what it was about women that they seemingly couldn’t get along with their own kind.
And late into the night, a still sobbing Hagar packed some meager possessions and left her tent, painfully walked away determined never to return, no matter the consequences. She prayed to The One to have mercy on her, protect her from robbers, rapists, or beasts, as she cried for miles in the darkness - walking down the road towards Shur - seething and hating Sarai with all her heart.
After hours of hard walking she stopped by the desert spring to rest her screaming back and drink deep of the crystal waters. Putting her face in her hands, she began to weep bitterly, not knowing what to do, or where to go: having no family, a stranger in a strange land - born a slave in the luxurious palace complex of Pharaoh.
Warmness irradiated the torn muscles of her screaming back overwhelming all of her; she looked up, there was a man dressed in the whitest linen she’d ever seen, with exquisitely woven golden sandals on his feet. Her heart jumped startled while she rapidly paged through every horrible scenario that could happen. She felt as if she was going to faint.
The Angel of The One looked at her compassionately. “Hagar, maid of Sarai, tell me where you’re coming from and where are you going to?”
She tried to fall on her face before this Angel, but her violently trembling body refused to respond. She marveled at The One’s voices for many second before she answered cracking deep with utter panic, “I am running away from my mistress.”
“Return to your mistress and act like you should, for deep in your heart you know you’ve brought these woes upon yourself. But, for Abram’s sake I will make your progeny into a great nation for the child you carry is male – a son. You will name him Ishmael (God hears), because The One has heard and seen your woes. Ishmael will birth a fanatical nation – free and untamed spiritually as the wild ass! He will strive against everyone and everyone will be against him, in spite of the fact he dwells near the land of his kinsmen.”
The One disappeared in a violent flash of light. It took twenty minutes for Hagar to finally stand up; her back was completely healed. Rejoicing, she joyfully walked the several slow hours back to her tent. She was ecstatic she saw the Living God and lived to talk about it. The news travel like wildfire throughout the entire nation-state, for she told anyone who’d listen about her visitation and healing by The One. All marveled as they saw her back, totally smooth without a hint of scar or trauma.
Abram softened, swearing to name the child Ishmael, which caused more tension between him and his wife. But the attention Hagar received only ignited Sarai’s heart with violent jealously, for The One had never visited her, and she was the first wife of the Supreme Patriarch; Hagar was only a lowly half-breed born of a slave. She was a fool to involve her in the relationship she enjoyed with her husband.
The clan renamed the spring near the visitation, which was between Kadesh and Bered, The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me. After the fullness of her pregnancy, Hagar gave a beaming Abram a son whom he lovingly named Ishmael, in sight of his wife. And Sarai swore she would do everything she could to get rid of Hagar, for she deeply resented the deep respect she noticed in his eyes for her, as he held the crying infant. Abram was eighty-six years old when the first tears of ecstatic joy crashed and buckled his knees - as he looked at his son for the very first time, loudly praising the Lord and Hagar.
Thirteen slow years passed on the rolling plains of Mamre; Abram’s flocks and riches swelled to unimaginable proportions forcing him sell fifteen thousand animals to cull the herds to a more manageable number. Sitting in his favorite spot leaning against the rough bark of the gnarled olive tree drinking deeply of his wineskin, his skin tingled uncomfortably as everything darkened. Against his will, he looked upward seeing an enormous translucent golden disk hovering silently thirty yards above him.
Suddenly there was a gigantic flash brightness blinding him for a second – he fell instantly to his face trembling violently.
The One, as always, ignored his condition as his voices vibrated the bedrocks of his very soul.
“Stand before me and be thou perfect for today I consummate the covenant I sworn under my thigh to you, to make you into a mighty nation...“
As the One’s voices continued as the Continuum calmed the numerous anomalies of his flesh.
”…Neither shall your name be Abram (Exalted father), but thy name shall be called Abraham (Father of Nations): for I have made thee a father of many nation. And I will give to you and your progeny an everlasting covenant to be a God to you, and all the seed after thee.
“This is my covenant in which you shall keep – to obey the terms I now set before your face. This determination is between you and me and all your seed - for this will be the proofs you accept this covenant. Every male amongst you shall be circumcised. And he that is eight days old, the number of new beginnings, shall be circumcised - also every foreign-born slave as well as everyone in your clan. This is a permanent part of the contract that applies to you and all your prosperity. Your bodies will thus always be marked as participants in the testament of my everlasting covenant, which spans this life and even the eternities to come. Anyone who refuses shall be cut off and evicted from the congregation of his people - for he has violated my contract.
“Regarding your wife, her name shall no longer be called Sarai but Sarah (Princess), for her womb will birth mighty nations bearing my name. And I will bless her and give you a son from her, and she will be the mother of many nations. Many kings shall rise amongst your posterity.”
And Abram thought about all the years between first promises to now- too many years had passed. And inside he couldn’t help but laugh within himself as a smile crested upon his face; me - be a father at one hundred years old, and Sarah to have a baby at ninety. Yes Lord, mightily bless Ishmael!
The One knew his thoughts, “No that is not what I said. Sarah thy first wife shall bear your son; you will name him Isaac (Laughter) because you laughed at me in disbelief. And I will sign my covenant with him and his descendants forever - for my covenant and promise will be within him and not Ishmael.
“As for Ishmael, I will bless him because you love him. Therefore, I will cause him to also multiply into great nations. From his loins, twelve great princes will be born; but nevertheless this particular contract will be with Isaac, who will be born about this time next year. This is the fulfillment of the covenant I swore to you when I first walked between the halves almost two decades ago.”
In a flash of light The One disappeared. Abraham couldn’t help but look up at the massive rotating gold disk. It tarried a moment and shot upwards, disappearing into the bluest of skies with thousands of sliver crafts riding its wake.
And Abraham, Ishmael, and every male over eight days old in his immediate household, including his thousands of slaves, servants, and bondservants’ foreskins were removed, until late into the evening, even past the next day. Within the next week every fighter, male, and foreigner who were his nation-tribe were also circumcised. Those refusing were excommunicated and forcibly driven from their lands.

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