The covenant with Abraham and his descendants is central to Judaism/Christianity and Islam. The following passages from the Bible challenge the claim that God gave Israel the land (If the child is an infant, Islam is correct): Genisis 16:16 "And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ish'mael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ish'mael to Abram." Genesis 21:5 "Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him." [ This guy then went on to find out Ishmael's age. -ed] 100 years old – 86 years old = 14 Add 3 years for Issac's weaning. That would make Ishmael 17 years old in Genesis 21:14-21 [ Read the reference here. -ed] But it is a description of an infant: Does Genesis 21:14 - 21 refer to a 17 year old child, or an infant? If it is in reference to a 17 year old child being carried on the shoulder of his mother, being physically placed in the bush, crying like a baby, mother having to give him water to drink, than the Islamic viewpoint is null and void. Why is there no verbal communications between mother and (17 year old) child? Genesis 21:14 - 21 "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, along with the (17 year old) child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the (17 year old) child under one of the bushes. Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, "Let me not look upon the death of the (17 year old) child." And as she sat over against him, the (17 year old) child lifted up his voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the (17 year old) lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the (17 year old) lad where he is. Arise, lift up the (17 year old) lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the (17 year old) lad a drink. And God was with the (17 year old) lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt. The age of Ishmael at this stage is crucial to the Abrahamic faiths. If he is 17 then the Judeo/Christian point of view about the Abrahamic covenant is correct. This has devastating theological consequences of unimaginable proportions. As the description of Ishmael in Genesis 21:14-21 is that of an infant it can be assumed that someone has moved this passage from an earlier part of the scripture and have got their knickers in a twist. At Genesis 22 Abraham had only 2 sons. The Quran mentions that it was Ishmael that was sacrificed hence the reference in genesis 22:2 your only son can only mean someone has substituted Ishmael names for Isaac!! [ My translation of Genesis 22:2 is: "And He said: 'Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.'" A Christian site also translates Genesis 22:2 as: "And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." -ed] Please can you rationally explain this anomaly? I have asked many persons including my nephews and nieces - unbiased minds with no religious backgrounds but with reasonable command of the English language about this passage and they all agree that the child in the passage is an infant.
I am not well enough versed on this issue, so I have asked Sha'i ben-Tekoa if he could help answer the question. This is his response:
The history of Christianity and Islam is a history of people reading the Torah in translations, taking things out of context, and then using their faulty, out-of-context translations to bash the Torah. Back up to verses 21:9-12. Read them and then tell me that that description of Ishmael is of an infant. The Hebrew word being used in the passages you cite does NOT refer to an infant. It can be translated as "boy." Likewise, in 21:12, G-d refers to Ishmael as a na'ar, which is commonly translated "youth." It is the word later used to describe Yitzhak during the Binding. And the Sages tell us that at that time, Yitzhak the na'ar was 37 years old! And as for the Hebrew particle eth in verse 21:14 (which is untranslatable most of the time when acting as a grammatical signpost pointing to the direct object of the verb) can also mean, as it does here, "with" as in "go along with." It does NOT mean Abraham placed both the waterskin and a baby on her shoulder. What? She had such huge shoulders? He means he placed the waterskin on her shoulder, "and with the boy" was sent away. Indeed: At the time of the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, he is either 16 or 17 (depending on the age of Yitzhak at the time of this weaning celebration. Some Sages say it was common to wean a child at age 2, others at age 3.) And as for 22:2, the expression "your only son" (which is repeated a second time in this story of the Binding of Isaac, 22:12) confirms the sense of 21:11-12, viz: Sarah sees at the weaning party the teenage son of her serving girl - who before he is even born (16:12) is destined to be a "wild ass on a man" - mocking his 2 (or 3)-year-old half-brother. And Sarah, in her prophetic insight, sees the possibility that this wild teenager - whom she has watched grow up - would not hestitate to harm, even kill her son at some point in order to inherit the legacy of Abraham. So she says to her husband, "Drive out this slavewoman with her son.." etc. Abraham is stressed (21:11) by this. He loves his son, his first-born, and does not want to do this. But G-d says to him, more or less, "Listen to your wife. In these matters she knows better than you." Indeed, throughout the Torah, there is simultaneously an acknowledgement of the special relationship between a father and his first-born son (there is even a special name for the first-born, bechor) who gets twice the material legacy of other sons, but also a repeating pattern of the second son becoming the spiritual heir. So it was with Shem, not Japhet, who inherited the spirit of Noah; and so it was with Jacob over Esau, when Rivka, like Sarah before her, makes sure the right, that is the second son gets the important blessing from blind Yitzhak. And see how Jacob in his own blind old age, on his death bed in Egypt (Gen: 48:10-20), overrides the wishes of his beloved son Joseph who wants his first-born son Menashe to receive the great blessing. At that point, Jacob switches the boys' positions and chooses Efraim. Steve, with your questions, you are at ground zero in the relationship between Israelites and Ishmaelites, Arabs and Jews to this very day. The Arabs have never reconciled themselves to the Torah's true version of Ishmael being rejected by his father and losing his birthright. The very word Islam means "submisssion" and points to the Muslim core belief that Ibrahim "submitted" to Allah's command that he bind his son - Ishmael - for a sacrifice in Mecca. Islam, as a name points to this crucial moment in world history when Avraham bound his son and lies about it. And for 14 centuries now, whenever Muslims are asked to explain the discrepancy between the Torah and the Qu'ranic versions of this epsiode, they answer that the Jews are the liars; that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai the correct version, found in the Qu'ran, which the perfidious Jews later re-wrote. In a word, they accuse the Jews of their own crime. What Islam did was to steal the Torah narrative and re-write it, changing the dramatis pesonae and the locale of this pivotal episode. Judaism teaches that the Binding of Isaac took place on the site of the future Temple in Jerusalem. Muslims say no, the binding of Ishmael took place at the Kaaba in Mecca. They also say Hagar was not the serving girl of Sarah but a co-equal wife. Indeed, the Qu'ran contains dozens of Jewish characters from the Bible whose stories are plagiarized and re-written. Likewise, the Arabs in our age have stolen the story of Zionism and re-written history. Major components of Judaism and Zionism have simply been pilfered to create the "Palestinian Narrative" which turned the great saga of Jewish revival from the ashes into an ugly tale of racist imperialism. The Arabs stole the idea of Jewish victimhood at the hands of racist bigots: in the Palestinian Narrative, it is the putatively Paleolithic Palestinians who are the victims of racist, Zionist, bigoted Jews. They stole the concept of our exile, of the Jews being driven from our ancient homeland into Diaspora. They speak of the Palestinian Diaspora. They stole the chapter of our suffering in concentration camps and have kept the so-called "refugee camps" alive to this very day to prove that they too have suffered in camps - with Nazi-like, racist Zionist now in the role of villains. The idea that the Palestinians are an ancient nation and Palestine their ancient homeland is nothing but Zionism purloined - as surely as Islam itself is Judaism purloined in a way even worse than what Christianity did to Judaism. Yours, Sha'i ben-TekoaNow: Discuss! :) Update: I have possibly found the identy of our spammer as there is a public user profile using the same name elsewhere on the net. See screenshot.