Gen 21 The events leading up to Isaacs sacrifice, look briefly like this..
Sarah becomes pregnant, has Isaac, a few years later she sends Hagar and Ismael away to the desert. Hagar is met by angel of God in the desert, Abraham meets with Abimelech the Philistine ruler and ensures that a well he built earlier is returned to him.
What was Abraham thinking about? Why did he think about an old well? Why was it important?
I think that Gen 21v11 shows us why Abraham was in the desert "at that time" (v22). He was distressed about Ismael and it was he who sent them on their way to the desert.
I get the sense that there are two stories happening simultaneously.
Track 1 Abraham meets Abimelech the Philistine ruler about the well. He pays dearly for the rights of the well to be returned to him. It had to be marked that "I dug this well" v 30. It could be that Abraham had a need to provide at least water for Ismael and Hagar in the desert and also to preserve a memory for Ismael that Abraham, his father, had not forgotten him.
Track 2 Here we have Hagar and Ismael, (which means God Hears) in the desert and Hager is met by an angel of God. He tells Hagar that God has heard the boy sobbing. It was God who told Hagar to name the unborn child "Ismael" all those years previously. I wonder if she had an "ah ah" moment when the pun of the word "Ismael"dawned on her! sometimes God's preparation for us isn't obvious until we truly understand that God was not taken unawares by situations or events.
Hagar's eyes are opened and she sees the well of water.
Whether it was the precise well that Abraham and Abimelech agreed on in a similar timeframe or not, is really immaterial, and we are not told that it was. But it sure makes a good story worth repeating.
Now to part 2....
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