The stream of time sweeps away errors, and leaves the truth for the inheritance of humanity.

–Georg Brandes

Genesis, Chapter 21

Heir Apparent

While living in Gerar, Ishmael finished his weaning, and Sarah threw a great feast for him.

Abraham worried. “Is he to be our son now? Have you given up hope for the vision God granted you or the sacrifices that I’ve made?!”

Sarah tried to console him: “We are old. The time for children has passed. Raise Ishmael as your own.”

Abraham looked at his son with disdain: “He will never be my son. There is cruelty in his eyes. His Egyptian mother poisons his mind.”

Sarah looked deep in his eyes with love: “Are you certain he learned cruelty from his loving mother? What of the father who shuns him?”

Abraham left the party angry and paced in the fields, muttering and thinking.

The next morning, Abraham brought water and food to Keturah (who was still called Hagar for having run away). “It is time for you to leave. I am setting you free.” He saw her about to protest, and very likely ask if her son was going with her. He shook his head: “We will care for him until Sarah brings forth my true born heir. Upon that day, I will send Ishmael to you.”

Abraham gave her one of his finest camels. He gave her some of his stoutest slaves to protect her on the journey. Sarah watched them depart, and felt her tears, too hot to cool her husbands temper. Now she could raise Ishmael as her own son, now there was no one to compete for her husbands love. Why did her heart feel so broken?

Keturah Unbound

Keturah did not want to go to Egypt. She left and wandered in the desert for forty days. One day, an angel of Elohim found her crying near a barren rock. “What’s wrong, Keturah?”

She jumped with surprise, but did not fear once she saw his familiar bearing. She replied: “Abraham has sent me away, this time there is no returning. I have lost my son, I have nothing to live for.”

The angel said: “You’ve lost him? Don’t you know where he is? Listen, Abraham is the one who is lost. Even he will see the error of his ways in the end. Look, even in your grief you do not see a new home under your feet.”

Keturah looked at the barren rock and the ground, at first despairing not seeing what the angel meant. Then, she scratched at a dark shadow on the ground with her foot. Water broke free from dry soil.

The angel said: “Things are not lost. I am sure you will see Ishmael again before his years are done, and your son will become a man to be proud of.”

Keturah, who was called Hagar no more, filled her skins from the well and decided to build a home by the spring and the rock, a place welcome to others who are lost and seeking peace.

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