Abraham and Sarah held a party celebrating that their miraculously born child, Isaac, was weaned. I am sure 90 year old Sarah was very thankful that day had finally arrived. Hagar, Sarah’s maid, and Ismael, the son she bore to Abraham, were at the party. Ismael was probably around 16 years of age at this point. During the party Ishmael showed his jealousy by mocking Isaac.
It is understandable that Ismael would be jealous after years of being the only child, the inheritor of all of Abraham’s wealth.
Sarah noticed the jealousy and she was not going to allow it to harm the unity of bond she had with her husband Abraham. She told Abraham that Hagar and Ismael needed to be cast out. Abraham was distraught over the thought of being separated from Ismael, whom he loved. God knowing Abraham’s heart gave him guidance by instructing him to listen to Sarah and cast out the bondservant and her son. God choose not to acknowledge their names. God knows that Abraham is still concerned for them and He assures Abraham that they will be well and that from Ishmael many people will come, even mighty nations.
Symbolic spiritual meaning:
While this is a very real story with even more drama in it than just mentioned, it also has deep spiritual meaning. Rabbi Paul, the writer of the book of Galatians, wrote “it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.” Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.” Galatians 4:22-31
Two women, two sons, two locations, two covenants:
In this week’s sermon Rabbi Jeff Zaremsky helps us understand what these two women, two sons, two locations represent, and what are the two covenants. Is one of the covenants, the one represented by Hagar and Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments, as is commonly taught in some circles? Are the Ten Commandments to be cast out? No, of course not! God forbid, as Rabbi Paul would say. That would not make sense in light of what the rest of the Bible says regarding the Ten Commandments which were given by God Himself, written with His own finger, on tablets of stone, placed inside the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Rabbi Paul says are: “The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” Romans 7:12. And Yeshua said, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:18.
So than what are the two covenants? Watch the sermon and hear how Rabbi Jeff makes it plain as day for us.
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