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"Off you go, Hagar, you and the boy. One bottle of water oughta do ya."

Isaac was born in the year 2,117 B.C.E. and circumcised the eighth day according to the commandment of God. Not only did the aged Sarah give birth to him, she nursed him as well, but on the day when Isaac was weaned and Abraham held a large feast in honor of the occasion, Sarah decided the tent wasn't big enough for two sons of Abraham. She insisted that her husband send Hagar and Ishmael packing.

Abraham was inconsolable, but God assured him that he would make a nation of Ishmael because he was his seed. So Abraham gave Hagar a bottle of water and a little bread and sent her off into the Negev desert outside of Beersheba, which looks a lot like the Yakima Firing Range south of Ellensburg, Washington.

Very soon they drank all the water in the bottle, so Hagar hid the child under some sagebrush and went about fifty yards away to cry. She did not want to see the death of her only child. But God heard her crying and sent a ministering angel, who promised Hagar that God would make of him a great nation. And she was led to a nearby well of water.

Ishmael and Hagar lived in the wilderness under God's care, and he became an archer. When he was of age, Hagar obtained a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.

The rest of Genesis chapter 21 seems at first read just a minor story about the Philistine named Abimelech and Abraham making nice. Abraham agrees to treat Abimelech honorably unto the third generation. Abimelech agrees that Abraham dug the well at Beersheba with his own hand and hands it back to him. Only when one considers that much of Genesis was actually written by someone in the time of Israel as a kingdom, and the Philistines were their mortal enemies, does it become clear what is really going on.

Imagine someone in the 1870s writing a biography of George Washington, and in the book this author has the nation's first president make a side trip out to the Black Hills where he concludes a treaty with the forefather of Sitting Bull and George W. gets recognition for a gold mine there which he dug with his own hands. It's a retroactive claim for a land grab, and the claim is made with a forked tongue.

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