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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Lech Lechah 3-6

Go for you

Genesis 15:7 – 17:6

The angel of the LORD also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said to her, "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Yishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction.”

Gen. 16:10-11 ESV

Is Yishmael a blessing or a curse?

In this passage, we have an expression that has been translated: “Behold, you are pregnant...”– in Hebrew hinaj harahהנך הרה . Exactly the same expression is found in Judges 13:5a where the birth of Samson is narrated: “For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son.” (ESV) This is the reason why Rashi deduces that it is not that Hagar had already conceived, but that she would conceive. But, doesn’t the Torah say that she had conceived before? (v.4) Yes, Hagar had conceived before. This leads to interpreting the text as if Hagar had had an abortion. Now, the angel told her to go back to Sarah and submit to her. In this way, she would conceive again.

It is obvious that the Eternal wanted Hagar to conceive a child with Avraham avinu. The Eternal wanted to multiply her offspring so that they couldn’t be numbered. That offspring is nowadays the Arab people.

Other texts also show us that the birth and blessing of Yishmael (Ismael) is part of the Eternal’s plan. Yishmael’s birth was not a curse, but a blessing. Avraham loved his son Yishmael and pleaded for him before the Eternal. The Eternal answered and promised to bless him as it is written in Genesis 17:18, 20: “And Avraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You... As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.” (ESV)

The Torah is very clear to reveal to us the willingness and plan from the Eternal to bless and multiply Yishmael. It is true that the covenant was not with Yishmael but with Yitzchak, and that through Yitzchak would come the descendants of the promise, but this doesn’t rule out the fact that Yishmael has an important role in the world, especially in the last days.

It is also true that the Arab people had greatly hurt their younger brother, the Jewish people, and that they still do it every day. But we have to understand that behind the attacks from the Arabs is the hand of the Eternal. Because of the sins of the Jewish people, the Eternal uses the Arabs, to hurt us. His purpose is that we turn from our sin and seek His face with all our heart and all our might and that we keep his commandments, so that there is peace in the land of Israel and the world. The Arabs are carrying out a divine task.

Now, the Eternal is using them to discipline His chosen people but the future will be very different. The Arab people will leave their false god and will turn to the True One, the Elokhim of Israel, the Elokhim of the Jews, the Eternal, Creator of heaven and earth, Who made a covenant with Yitzchak. Through acknowledging the blessing that comes through Yitzchak and the Jewish people and the blessed seed of David, Messiah Yeshua, the Arabs will be uplifted tremendously and millions of them will partake in the life of the world to come, as it is written in Isaiah 19:22-25: “And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance." (ESV)

Hagar was Egyptian and is called “the Egyptian” (21:9) this is why Yishmael is a bond between Egypt and our father. The offspring of Yishmael mixed with many other peoples and nowadays we can say that the Arab people, with Egypt in the gap, are the offspring of Yishmael. When Islam is broken, Yishmael will humble himself and will seek the Eternal. He will answer and call them: “Egypt, my people”. What a glorious day that will be!

So, the Eternal wanted to have a large people, Yishmael’s offspring, and that’s why the angel sent Hagar back to Avraham and Sarah so that she could conceive again and have a child - not the child of the promise but a son that would be of great blessing.

Let’s not see the Arabs in their present situation, under the curse of the Islam. Let’s focus our sight toward their future when the Eternal intervenes in the Arab world in a powerful way. Then we will see more clearly that that birth of Yishmael wasn’t a mistake but part of a divine plan, important to the world, nowadays and in the future. Don’t stop praying for the salvation of the Arab people. Their salvation will come from the Jews. (John 4:22)

May you see peace upon Israel and blessing upon the whole world,  


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