Who was the offered son of Abraham? Is it Ishmael or Isaac? This has been a point of controversy between Muslims from one side, and from Jews and Christians from the other side. This article is not just showing a Bible difficulty that yielded in an inconsistency, but it can also give a hint on how the Jews intentionally changed the name of the offered son from Ishmael to Isaac. The question to the Bible is:
How old was Ishmael when he went with Agar?
The Bible tells that Ishmael was about 16 years old when he went with Agar:
Gen 17:24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. Gen 17:25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old,
when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Then when Abraham begat Isaac , he was 100 yrs old (Genesis 21:5), then Isaac grew and weaned(Genesis 21:8), this will take about 2 yrs, this means that Ishmael was about 16 yrs old when he went with Agar as Genesis 21 tells, my question is: how could Agar go all that way carrying a 16 yr old lad? As we can see from the rest of the chapter:
Gen 21:14And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of
water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and gave her the child,
and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-
sheba. Gen 21:15 And the water in the bottle was spent , and she cast the child
under one of the shrubs. Gen 21:16 And she went , and sat her down over against
him a good way off, as it were a bowshot . For she said, Let me not look upon the
death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lifted up her voice, and wept .
Gen 21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad. And the angel of God called to Hagar
out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not . For God hath
heard the voice of the lad where he is. Gen 21:18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold
him in thy hand. For I will make him a great nation. Gen 21:19 And God opened her
eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went , and filled the bottle with water,
and gave the lad drink. Gen 21:20 And God was with the lad, and he grew. And he
dwelt in the wilderness, and became, as he grew up, an archer.
The chapter goes as if Ishmael was a baby whom his mother lifts then puts, and he is silent, which doesn’t match with a 16 yr old lad, it may be said that in Genesis 21:14, it says ” putting it on her shoulder, and gave her the child”, so it doesn’t mean that she really lifted him up, the case is that the Septuagint tells it very clearly:
21:14 And Abraam rose up in the morning and took loaves and a skin of water, and
gave [them] to Agar, and he put the child on her shoulder, and sent her away,
and she having departed wandered in the wilderness near the well of the oath.
I think that the reason for this is what is said in the next chapter:
Gen 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham, and
said unto him, Abraham. And he said, Here am I. Gen 22:2 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.
We as Muslims believe that Ishmael was the one offered, and we believe that the
Jews altered the word Ishmael to Isaac , and the above difficulty is the evidence,
since the scripture tells “after these things”, which are supposed to be happened
when Ishmael was a baby, and since it is supposed that Ishmael was the firstborn
son of Abraham, then it will mean that the only son here means him not Isaac, who haven’t been born yet if Ishmael was a baby , so for the Jews to get rid of this problem, they rearranged the chapters, and put the event of Isaac birth before that chapter, but it yielded that difficulty.
Actually the Jews were accused of corruption in other issues, and this article is talking about Christian early church fathers accusing the Jews of Bible intentional corruption. This can be added to the accusations list.Follow me onby