THE SEEDS OF ABRAHAM -
Father of the Arabs,
Father of the Hebrews -
ancestors of some modern Jews.


By Marijonas Vilkelis
March 2001


(Sanskrit=Sanctuary)


It is implicit from the book of Genesis that Abraham's extreme and lame action to exile from home and haven his first son Ishmael and his mother, would inevitably be perpetuated through the ages of his future generations. Until it was dealt with and healed, Abraham's inherent deficiencies would manifest as debilitating predispositions within the characteristics of his descendants.

This particular trait of Abraham's unfinished business would pass down through his second, ultimately favored son Isaac, through the Hebrews to the modern Jewish tribes.

It could not be buried or diminished with time. It has been variously dithered with and deferred for some four millennia. Now it can be deferred no more. What was then a familial problem has now manifest as an international confrontation. It is time for the true Jewish descendants of Abraham to say "come home" to their neglected and oppressed half brothers, the Palestinian Arabs. There is no more justification or room in the wilderness in which to perpetuate the banishment of their kin. Critical complexities heralding the call to perfection and the end of compromise have arisen.

It appears the Western world has been strategically misguided into believing that the Jewish people of Israel and the world are by and large Semitic and therefore the rightful heirs to the Israel of Jesus' time and the "Promised Land" mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. Instead, the current Israeli regime is expose to a cruel, opportunistic and usurpic group of rulers more likened to the Bolsheviks than in any way to Abraham's lineage. If they are not Semitic people in the line of Abraham they have no legitimacy in their persistent claim to the Promised Land.

Western media and columnists rarely, if ever, make serious reference to the long historical relationship of the Arab and Abrahamic Jewish people. Because in the West the Bible is not generally accepted as a credible or plausible historical document, serious consideration or reference to it is ignored. Ironically however, both Abrahamic Jews and Arabs while disagreeing over certain interpretations and extrapolations, officially recognise these ancient Scriptures as the documentation of their origin and the foundation of their social and political fabrics. The broad Western public however remains unaware of the inherent factors behind the Arab-Israeli conflicts. If Genesis is a true historical record, the Middle East conflict can be seen as very much a core issue revealing the nature of humanity's struggle against self inflicted misery and Divine alienation. Until this fundamental issue is treated, world wide conflict will continue to escalate in severity and scope.

Without referencing the Old Testament (especially the Book of Genesis), the Israeli - Palestinian crisis appears more like a political conflict instead of the actual age old cultural problem laying deep below. Politics and religion are merely the mechanisms through which the more fundamental cultural conflict is manifesting. Attempting to heal the crisis politically is a case of treating symptoms without addressing the cause. The problems will inevitably continue to erupt in other increasingly devastating crises. Instead, if the cultural problem is repaired, remedial politial evolution will follow naturally.

The following discussion focuses on events surrounding Abraham's life around the time he fathers Ishmael and Isaac. It attempts to correlate the primary events of that period to the perpetuating Middle Eastern crisis in modern times. There are however many factors and deeper complexities arising out of Genesis which are beyond the scope of this discussion. The Genesis story of this period suggests itself as the details of the factors and dynamics which comprise the equation of human genealogy and of nation formation - maybe in some ways as precisely as reactants and products can be predicted from elements compiled in the scientific Periodic Table.

Abraham's birth name was Abram. His name was changed to Abraham in his 99th year just before the birth of his second son Isaac. Throughout this discussion he will be referred to as Abraham which is taken to mean "father of many nations". Also his first wife Sarai is renamed Sarah at the same time as Abraham. She will be referred to by her latter name throughout this discussion. Reference is drawn from the King James Version of Genesis 15 to 26. Genesis is written in compressed form and leaves much of the detail to extrapolation. Much of the following discussion draws such extrapolation from around the life of Abraham. Various versions of the book of Genesis can be referenced HERE.

It is important to get an overview of the events and circumstances surrounding the Jewish and Arab people. The flow of events begin with Abraham, and his wife Sarah who is also his paternal half sister. He is a descendant of Noah's son Shem and has two brothers Nahor and Haran, the latter of whom is the father of Lot. Abraham therefore is Lot's uncle, so clearly the particularly outstanding qualities of these two close relatives reveal that some special fruition of humanity has occurred at this time in Shem's lineage. Abraham's human qualities are special enough that he is able to commune with God and to be the chosen forefather of future nations destined to survive until the end of days. However gracious Abraham is, he nevertheless bears inherent afflictions and characteristics which precipitate events that he undoubtedly wished were otherwise - especially that he could deal with these matters personally instead of perpetrating them as unfinished business into the future ages of his descendants. Some of these events can be traced through history and be identified within the dynamics of modern events such as the Middle Eastern crisis.


THE VISION

Abraham was informed in an audience with God that he would father a son who would generate descendants as uncountable in number as are the stars in the sky. He and the generations after him would inherit through God a defined area of land. This land later became known as the "Promised Land" and according to Genesis 15:18-21 it stretches from the "river of Egypt" (Presumably the Al Arish in Sinai, although some believe the Nile) to the river Euphrates, in which case it includes Lebanon, sections of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and probably Turkey. This area of land is much greater than the current boundaries of Israel, but more about this later.

A DECADE OF ANTICIPATION

Ten years after the announcement of his heir-to-be and residing in Canaan, part of the land promised to him and his descendants, Abraham was still without a son.

The more time passed, the more engrossed in concern and intrigue he would have become. During periods of struggle to hold faith, self-scrutiny would unleash doubts that would eat at anything he once believed to be true. Sarah, his wife for many years before the promise of his heir-to-be had not succeeded in producing children. She had become regarded as barren, so Abraham's rekindled hopes of an heir through her would have hinged on wishing for a miracle. As the years went by, Abraham and Sarah, would have delved deeply for what might be wrong. They would have considered the possibility that Abraham misinterpreted the prophecy and even questioned whether his heir was to be born through Sarah. Finally Sarah succumbed, possibly out of humility if not coercion to sense of duty, that the problem lay with her. After an especially tense decade of maternal hoping, yearning and preparation, she wished for children by any means. She beckoned Abraham to conceive children (not just a single son) for her with Hagar who was an Egyptian servant of hers. Sarah's surrender to being barren is indicated by her entertainment of not only a son, but children, who were to be borne for her through Hagar.

By this stage Abraham, probably quite desperate, sensed relief and potential fulfillment at Sarah's surrender to barrenness and her request for children through Hagar. From this point he was helplessly swept along by their mutual intent that Hagar should also be his wife. He initiated a polygamous relationship. Hagar conceived to him and immediately problems arose revealing inherent frailty in Sarah and especially in Abraham.

Once Abraham's spirit was unified to Hagar's and resident in her womb, she was transformed from servant to hostess. She suddenly sensed privilege and empowerment and could no longer stoop to her mistress. Sarah became disparaged and reacted to Hagar's attitude as though it was insolence and despise. She complained bitterly to Abraham who found himself over his depth to contain the situation. His conscience, responding to premonition of what was yet to come, would occasionally have stirred with unrest after conceiving with Hagar. His soul knew of the other son-to-be, but his physical self could not hear the message clearly. He would have sensed his dream not fully accomplished and a lingering emptiness would have hung in his heart.

Consequently, when jealousy and contempt erupted between the women, he attempted to placate Sarah by reestablishing the original order of his house. He directed her to reassert total authority upon Hagar. Instead of containing the upheaval, his action escalated it into a wild outburst by Sarah and frightened Hagar to running away into the wilderness. Abraham's action of reasserting Sarah's dominance imposed a crushing surrogate-servitude status upon Hagar. Her escape into the wilderness symbolized the absence of room for her in Abraham's heart and house. His handling of the event revealed a vein of doubtful integrity. Had Sarah elected to banish Hagar, he would have had to abandon her and his unborn son. This is not mere speculation because Sarah did eventually insist on their banishment. Once conceived, his union with Hagar was eternalized and there was no way back. To abandon his son was to abandon his own spirit. He was trapped and needed help to go on without destroying everything.

During her escape into the wilderness, Hagar was greeted by an angel who informed her (Genesis 16:10 - 12) that God was aware of her affliction, but that she should return and submit to Sarah. She was also informed that she bore a son who's name was to be Ishmael. He was predicted to be a "wild man who's hand is against others and others' hands will be against his", but that he would also become the father of a great nation. The qualities of Ishmael are predicted not as random factors, but instead those stemming from the inherent qualities of Abraham, Hagar and their circumstances. Importantly in this apparition, the angel also states "...and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." Although there are variations in the interpretation of this verse, this is a prophecy that Ishmael, inseparable from his descendants, will live in the presence of all his brethren inclusive of all his half brothers and sisters - the yet-to-come Israelites. In other words, he will not vanish as might be expected from (the yet to come) abandonment. Instead, it can be understood from this prophecy that the yet-to-be abandonment will sometime have to be resolved through human endeavour or be persevered forever.


Divine intervention calmed and strengthened Hagar. She and her gestating child returned to abide with Abraham and Sarah. Some form of harmony was re-established whereby she and Sarah were able to coexist in the same household. She gave birth to Ishmael when Abraham was 86. He became a father forever to Ishmael and the nations that unfolded from him. Abraham is the gateway of the Arab nation. His home is their home.

In a subsequent audience with God (Genesis 17), when he was 99, Abraham was instructed to establish the covenant of circumcision upon all men in his care including himself, Ishmael and the generations to come. This both notational- "never forget this event" - and thwarting ritual would almost certainly not have been required had he not been predisposed to deal with Hagar and the ensuing situation in the manner he did. Circumcision has a de-sensitising effect maybe not unlike cutting eyelids off which would cause de-sensitisation to certain qualities of light. He was also told Sarah would bear him a son whose name was to be Isaac and it would be this son and his generations with whom God's special covenant would be established. Abraham forsees demotion to his expectation of Ishmael and petitions God to bless him. He is told that Ishmael has been blessed and that he will become a great and noble nation, but that God's covenant would be established with Isaac and his generations (Genesis 17:18-21). Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born, so Ishmael was 14.

Trouble arose again shortly after Isaac was weaned. Sarah grew to loathe Ishmael's presence and finally insisted that Abraham banish him and his mother not just out of the household, but out of the family altogether. She insisted that Isaac alone must be heir. Abraham was deeply troubled by this new crisis, but again it was beyond him to manage. God (Genesis 21:12) advised him not to be grieved because Ishmael would survive and flourish and therefore he should oblige Sarah's demands to banish them. The following morning Abraham gave bread and water to Ishmael and Hagar and forced them to leave. The meager provisions of bread and water symbolize Abraham's almost utter failure (under the circumstances) to fulfill his family's paternal and marital needs. Also because the matter of their immediate wellbeing was beyond his ability, but instead was dependent upon God, the clearly intentional meager provisions symbolically invoked more immediate assistance from God. He relied totally upon God to deal with them not to perish. Hagar and Ishmael wandered the wilderness until the water was spent - Abraham's token care had evaporated. At the moment of Hagar's total despair and agonizing anticipation of Ishmael's death, God's promise to her and Abraham was fulfilled and both were led away from the ordeal.

Ishmael grew and became an archer. Hagar found him an Egyptian wife and the Arab nation began to multiply. Possibly a decade or two later Isaac began the building of what was to become the Jewish nation. Both Ishmael and Isaac attended Abraham's burial when he died at 175 indicating Ishmael loved his father. He was 99 and Isaac 75 at this time.

SUMMARY

Abraham's action of banishing Ishmael and Hagar was the only maneuver with which he could cope, but it was not a permanent solution. God's encouragement for his action was not a statement suggesting Abraham's action was good. It was merely a drastic contingency measure involving a compromise (albeit multi-millennial), in which God temporarily took up the slack for Abraham's deficiencies. Importantly also, it was not a statement absolving forever Abraham's paternal and marital responsibilities. Sooner or later, Abraham's compromised actions, like anyone's, must be addressed and resolved in terms which do not depend upon perpetual Divine assistance. In short, humanity has to grow up. Without this correction, Abraham (and his descendants) would create a false reality and develop a laming dependency on compromise. In such a situation, one of the conditions of God's agreement "...walk before me, and be thou perfect." (Genesis 17:1) would become hopelessly unattainable by Abraham and his descendants.

If as prophecy predicted, both nations would survive everlastingly, it was inevitable they would cross paths through the unfolding ages of history no matter how conveniently they were separated in the beginning. Without resolution, each encounter would exacerbate the original affliction. The prevailing Middle Eastern crisis is an encounter opening wounds from the past ages. Abraham's action of abandonment could not be hidden or dissipated into the wilderness indefinitely. As humanity grew, the wilderness became smaller and gave up its contents. This must have been foreseen by God and therefore it can be safely assumed that the resolution of the problem is an item on humanity's agenda.

The past is rapidly catching up to everyone worldwide, not just in the Middle East. Ishmael and his descendants remain abandoned until they are re-invited home again. The casting out in 1948 and in subsequent conflicts of the Palestinians who are inherently the abandoned people is a perpetuation of Abraham's action - "take this bread and water and go!" The matter has merely escalated from a familial scale to a societal one over the ages and the Palestinians will not disappear into the wilderness. Until they are invited home, the anguish and repression of abandonment estranges the two nations. Misery and conflict, escalate. Humanity can gauge the severity of affliction ensuing modern parental abandonment by what has happened in the Middle East. Because abandonment occurred at the inception of the Arab people, the ensuing affliction became foundational within the Arab nation. In a parallel fashion, any traits of oppression Abraham endowed to Isaac became foundational in the Jewish nation. Until they are addressed and transformed, these traits act perpetually creating profound arrogance and instinctively fomenting compounding aggression.

Ishmael enshrines and personifies particular and specific aspects of his surroundings and his parents. His characteristics are not random or abstract, but instead can be seen to draw directly from identifiable factors within the surroundings of Abraham and Hagar, and especially from within their psyche and their souls. Whatever Abraham was yet about to do to Ishmael was already latently active in formulating their relationship and to a significant extent determining Ishmael's predispositions. Abraham's act of taking Hagar as wife certainly had elements of desperation and opportunism. This was especially so because she was subservient to him. She was obliged to assent to the proposition which in reality was a demand. His motive was largely an attempt to fulfil his vision, so in some aspects his action hijacked her body and her spirit by way of the conception. Her assent to the marriage would have been largely obligatory but also motivated by her own hopes and aspirations. Although he showed sincere concern for his family's wellbeing, Abraham ultimately treated Hagar and Ishmael as disposable. By his actions he reveals the wounded humanity enshrined within him which he passes down into the future generations as his unfinished business. All this was the environment from which Ishmael arose and grew. So Ishmael exudes from and personifies these circumstances of despair, contingency, rejection and abandonment which surround his conception and early life. He is predisposed to acts of careless, spontaneity and outrageousness - this indicates why he is foretold to be a wild man. From another aspect he is endowed with Abraham's particular exceptionalness and integrity but these qualities are insufficient, or otherwise misplaced, to counter-balance Hagar's servitude-surrogate status which complements the other half of Ishmael's nature. This insufficiency of Abraham is revealed by how he stumbles with the crisis leading to and ensuing Hagar's conception as well as later after the birth of Isaac. These factors lend understanding to why Ishmael is prone to perpetual struggle with those around him - his hand against others and others' against his. Abraham, as the potential carrier of this predisposition, later transfer it to Isaac and then to the unfolding Jewish nation. An element of instinctive Arab - Jewish conflict is perpetuated into the ages of humanity. All that was inherent and latent within humanity became revealed in the unfolding generations of progeny.

Ishmael's conception was not an accidental or regrettable event. It is not a situation where it would be better that he was not born. Although an unforeseen complexity for Abraham and later his descendants, it was anticipated and accommodated by God as a necessary process of human unfolding that to this day has not seen fruition. Latent aspects of Abraham were revealed and personified through his actions. Within his graciousness lay unfinished human business. It is with such unfolding that humanity can see and directly experience through personification and through ensuing socialization, the latent and subconscious aspects of its self-damaged nature. By addressing and resolving such manifestations, humanity contributes somewhat to its own healing. In this way humanity's works and its struggle have meaning and purpose. Until resolution, the problem merely passes from generation to generation, but simultaneously becomes variously more insidious and more 'pathological'.

However awesome these problems may appear to modern observers, Divinity has provided essential bridging assistance to humanity, but in reciprocation an essential and complementary onus exists upon humanity to complete certain tasks within its capacity before God's agreement is fulfilled. The delay in fruition is not God withholding Divine assistance thus sadistically prolonging human misery. It is the unfinished business of humanity that is preventing the end of the suffering and agony. It is now left for humanity to complete its task or put fire to the world. Temporary stalemates through regional wars like those that have been waged for millennia are no longer an option for the Middle East. The two nations have grown and technology has innovated increasingly more devastating weapons. Without a change of heart, the aggression and suffering built up over the millennia can only but end in mass destruction, not just for the Middle East, but for all humanity.

While there is no challenge that God made a special covenant with Abraham's second son Isaac and his Jewish lineage, the Promised Land was not given exclusively to the Jewish people as common perception appears to have it. It was promised to "Abraham's seed" and therefore, includes Abraham's lineage through Ishmael to what is now the Arab nation. Genesis 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
Genesis 17:8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession ; and I will be their God. (The land of Canaan more closely resembles the location of modern Israel than does the description of a much larger area in Genesis 15:18 above. Some Biblical interpreters may consider this verse to selectively confine Canaan for Isaac and his descendants the Jews. Even if this is the case, the Palestinian people cannot be obliterated or pushed back into the wilderness)
Genesis 21: 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed (the son of the bondwoman in this verse is Ishmael)
"Abraham's seed" is not confined only to the children arising through Sarah and Hagar. After Sarah's death Abraham conceived children to Keturah (Genesis 25) and also later to other concubines. Some of these tribes settled in the region of the Promised land. As political boundaries stand today, various Arab states occupy the vast majority of the Promised Land and a comparatively minute amount of this land is presently claimed as Israel.

A number of important questions arise here. The land given to 'Abraham's seed' was given conditionally. One of those conditions was that the Provider of this land would remain the recipients' God - Genesis 17.8 "...and I will be their God". One question then for example, is whether Allah of Islam is the same God Who promised the land to Abraham? If not, then to what extent is Abraham's lineage through Isaac responsible for the majority of the Arab nation having become Islamic. A child abandoned in the wilderness of the street may adopt all kinds of incompatible ways of life as a result of its affliction. The one who inflicted the abandonment is also complicit in the waywardness and must therefore ultimately contribute towards the healing of the child. If as is likely, Allah is the One and same God of Abraham, Moslem Arabs have a right to fairly share the Promised Land inclusive of Jerusalem.

In the unlikely situation that Allah is not the God of Abraham, then since not all the Arabs have become Moslem, those who do retain Abraham's God are clearly entitled to share the Promised Land including Jerusalem. The majority of the Palestinians are Moslem, so in event of Allah not being the God of Abraham and if the predicament of the Arabs becoming Moslem belongs in part to Isaac's lineage, they should at least be given a homeland acquired in some proportion to Israel's complicity. If, again in the unlikely event, they are spiritually misguided, in the event of being called home, their eyes will be opened and they will know their God again.

Because the Promised land was given to the seed of Abraham, another even more primary question is whether Israel has been proclaimed by Jews who are the seed of Abraham. The Ashkenazim Jews are reputedly eighth century converts to Judaism from a mixed eastern European empire of people known as the Khazars. They supposedly have little if any racial connection to the Sephardim who on the other hand are claimed by some to be Jewish people directly descended from Abraham. The Ashkenazim Jews played a major role in the formation of the Israeli state in 1948. If the true heirs of Abraham, who ever they may be, did not, do not, or were coerced into assent to the proclamation of Israel, then Israel is at least partly an imposter state. Also, if the Jewish nation has itself become estranged to Abraham's God as it has done so many times in history, God's contract with them is proportionally discounted or deferred.

One common denominator of the faith within Islam, Judaism and Christianity is that human blood sweat and tears given in love ultimately contributes to the reunification of humanity and its world with God. Some call this yet to come fruition "Heaven on Earth" although in actuality it is not confined to the planet (earth) and instead extends to and encompasses the ends of the universe and beyond. Anything any of us think say or do with each other or the world, is either love or tyranny. Love is always therapeutic, always healing and always liberating. All human investments whether fiscal, faith or otherwise, are accompanied with some trepidation because for now we cannot absolutely trust our motives.

If Israel is the real Israel its trepidation could be the act of totally trusting the God of Abraham by finally accepting onus for Abraham's paternal and matrimonial responsibilities in calling Ishmael's descendants home - to those to whom much is given, much is also expected. An imposter Israel could never make such a proposal.

Sarah was a key factor in the unfolding of this saga and must not be forgotten. Her spirit has weaved down through the generations and lives in a woman, maybe Jewish maybe not, somewhere in the world. If she awakens to her spirit, she will know that to soften her heart and withdraw her insistence for the expulsion will begin the process to bring the Arab people home.

Providing a homeland for the Palestinian people would be an act of love and a gesture of reconciliation to all the Arab people in the caliber and likeness of the God of Abraham. The world community would be up-lifted, re-ignited in hope and would lavish comradeship for such an action.

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