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Ishmael – The Archer of Paran: Part Two

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Ishmael – The Archer of Paran

A Biblical Fiction Story

Read about the birth of Ishmael beginning in Genesis 16.

Part Two Read Part One

“Please stay with us a while longer, my brother,” Ishmael coaxed as Isaac made preparations to depart, “We have just come to know each other and we may never again see each other.”

“The God of our father, Abraham, may decree otherwise, Ishmael. Perhaps he may move you to visit with us. Would you then visit?”

“This God of Abraham is your God, Isaac; he is not my God. Long ago, at your birth, He made this clear when He told Abraham to drive my mother, Hagar, and me into the desert. There I almost perished from thirst. This is the God you serve, Isaac. He is the God who cheated me from my rightful inheritance and bestowed it on you, at the whim of a jealous woman. I am aware that my subjects also worship the God of our father, Abraham. I permit them to do so because they need a god to worship. I do not, especially one such as yours who hated me and Hagar, my mother, but loved, Sara, your jealous, hate-filled, vengeful mother. There are no gods for me, especially the God of Abraham.”


Isaac gazed intently at his brother. Then he said, “Tell me again how you and your mother, Hagar, were saved from death in the desert.”

Ishmael gestured with impatience. He appeared mildly agitated. “Do we not have better things to discuss at your departure than a thing that happened so long ago? I have told you that I no longer bear hatred for what was done to my mother and me. Why would you have me repeat these things now? They are best left in forgetfulness, now that we have seen each other.”

“For my sake, please indulge me in this that I ask, Ishmael, my brother. I have a purpose in asking it of you,” Isaac pleaded.

Still somewhat angry, Ishmael complied. “After your mother forced us into exile in this desert (Genesis 21:9-21), we no longer had water. My mother, Hagar, had saved most of the little water Abraham gave to us for me to drink, but it was not very much and was soon gone. I was dying of thirst and could no longer walk and even stand. After I fell to the sand, Hagar could not bear to see my death, so she laid me under a bush and moved away a little distance from me. She began weeping. She afterward told me that an angel of God spoke to her . . . ”

When Isaac lifted a hand to indicate that he wanted to interrupt, Ishmael ceased speaking and gestured for him to do so.

Whose God?

“Whose God sent the angel to your mother and you, my brother?” he inquired, “Was it the God of our father Abraham, or one of the gods whom even you say do not exist?”

Ishmael stared, dumfounded. He understood now why his brother asked for him to tell the story of his and Hagar’s deliverance from death.

“I await your answer, Ishmael. Whose God sent the angel who delivered you from death?”

Ishmael’s composure returned, and he began to laugh uproariously and the others joined in. “So, Isaac,” he acknowledged, “You have ensnared me with my own words. We all know it was the God of Abraham who sent the angel. It was He who saved me and my mother from death.”

“And did this angel sent by the God of our father, Abraham, say anything else?” Isaac asked.

Ishmael again went silent, before answering. This time his silence was a long one, but no one dared breech it, not even Isaac. When he finally did speak, his features were thoughtful, and his tone held a seriousness quality, hitherto not manifested during his account.

“Yes, my brother, the angel told my mother he would make me into a great nation.”

“And has that not already begun?” his brother inquired, “The God of our father Abraham has blessed you with twelve brave sons. Each is a mighty warrior; so mighty that the armies of Egypt. They say that even the Rephaim of Bashan and the Amorites and other nations fear them.”

“You have heard of these things among your tribes?” Ishmael asked with surprise.

“All my people know of these things, my brother, as do all the other tribes that dwell in our land. We hear of them from the caravans that pass our way,” Isaac informed him.

Our Nation

“And what else do they say of me?” Isaac did not respond.

“Now it is you who does not answer, Isaac. I ask that you please tell me what those in the caravans say of me.”

“Yes, I shall tell you though it is not a good thing,” Isaac responded with resolve, it is said that you and your sons attack the caravans. Then you kill all the men and sell the women as slaves. Is this so?”

“Yes, it is so; we do these things, Uncle Isaac,” Messa, interjected, arrogantly. “And why should we not do so. This desert is our nation. Even the pharaoh has agreed to this. We attack those who refuse to pay us tribute for passing through a land that is ours and not theirs. Do not other nations do the same? You may be a peaceful, cowardly man, who fears to do battle for what is his, but we are . . .”


A forceful slap across his right cheek cut short his words. “Silence!!” his father commanded, “You dare to insult your uncle?! Do you not know that he is a mighty chief of many tribes?! And since when do you answer for your father? My brother asked the question of me, not of you. You will kneel before him with your face to the sand and you will ask for his forgiveness. Then you will leave this place and return to your castle, with those who have come with you!”

“Yes, my father,” Messa meekly answered, kneeling with his face in the sand, “Please forgive my foolish and insulting words, Isaac, my uncle. I spoke in ignorance.”

Isaac reached down to him, lifted him to his feet and embraced him. “I gladly forgive you Messa, my nephew.”

Motioning to his manservant, Isaac whispered something to him. The man immediately went to a reposing camel, reached into a pack on its hump, and then returned to his Isaac, handing him a golden diadem.

“My nephew, I place in your hands this diadem as a token of my forgiveness. Please remember me and know that I choose now to forget your words spoken to me in haste. As you return to your home, my heart goes with you. Live long and may you choose peace and not war.” With those words, he kissed Messa on both cheeks. After Messa and his people rode away, Isaac again turned to Ishmael.


“My people know that each of your sons’ rules from a castle that belongs to him alone and that together, they rule all the desert tribes. My people have heard of The Ishmaelite Confederacy. Some speak of it with fear, knowing how you were exiled by our father.”

“They need not fear me or my sons. I shall never attack you and your people. Neither I nor my sons would ever commit fratricide and do as Cain did to his brother, Able, “Ishmael categorically responded.

“I know this, for I now know you and your sons, my brother. But, my people have yet to meet you. For this reason I entreat you to visit with us, that my people may see that we love each other as a family should love. Again, I entreat you to visit my people with your sons and their families,” Isaac pleaded.

Ishmael surveyed the faces surrounding him. One by one, as his eyes took inventory of his sons. Each of the eleven nodded his assent.

“Yes, I have now decided; we shall go with you, to visit your family, Isaac,” he stated, “But before we leave, I must make preparations for the protection of my people. My sons and I must give orders to our warriors who remain behind. Then we shall depart with you.”

Part Three

© Josprel (Joseph Perrello)

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