Genesis 25:12-18: Brotherly hostility!

“12 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16 These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps. 17 Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. 18 His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go towards Ashur. And they lived in hostility towards all the tribes related to them.” NIV UK

‘’And they lived in hostility towards all their brothers’’ (18b).

Conflict, division, hostility, murder are all consequences of the fall (see Genesis 4). They are the bad fruit of sin entering into the world. Christians should endeavour to ‘’seek peace and pursue it’’ (1 Peter 3:11), but we do so with realism, recognising the sinful forces constantly at play in the world, and in our own hearts, which would tear us apart if left unchecked.

As previously noted, Abraham and Sarah chose their own path when Abraham slept with Hagar. Although they could be forgiven, and Ishmael could be blessed, the consequences of sin could not be undone. The world continues to suffer from them today.