Avraham’s and Ishmael’s Deaths
With Questions and Proposed Answers
Background and Printed Text: Genesis 25:1-18
Genesis 25:1 And Father-Of-A-Crowd (Avraham) gathered. And he took a woman. And her name is Incensed (Keturah). 2And she childed to him Their-Ballad (Zimran) and He-Will-Lure-Them (Jokshan) and Their-Measure (Medan) and From-Their-Sufficiency (Midian) and He-Will-Leave-Alone (Ishbak) and He-Sank (Shuah). 3And He-Will-Lure-Them (Jokshan) childed Who-Came (Sheba) and Move-Deliberately (Dedan). And sons of Move-Deliberately (Dedan) were Their-Happiness (Asshurim) and Their-Sharpener (Letushim) and Folks (Leummim). 4And the sons of From-Their-Sufficiency (Midian) are Her-Tired-One (Ephah) and Dust (Epher) and Dedicated (Hanoch) and Father-Knew (Abida) and Mighty-One-Of-Knowledge (Eldaah). All these are sons of Incensed (Keturah).
5And Avraham gave all that is to him to Isaac. 6And Avraham gave gifts to the children of the concubines who are to Avraham. And he sent them from upon Isaac his son while he yet lives, eastward unto East Land.
7And these are the days of years of the lives of Avraham that he lived, 100 year and 70 year and five years. 8And he expired. And Avraham died in good hoariness, old and full. And he was gathered unto his peoples. 9And Isaac and Mighty-One-Will-Hearken (Ishmael) his sons entombed him unto cave of the Smiter-Distinguished (Machpelah) unto a field of Their-Dust (Ephron) son of He-Dazzled (Zohar) the Hot-One-ite (Hittite) who is upon the faces of Bitter-Causer (Mamre), 10the field that Avraham purchased from with the sons of Hot (Heth). He entombed Avraham there, and Princess his woman.
11And he was after Avraham died. And Elohim blessed Isaac his son. And Isaac dwelt with Well To-The-Lives Of-My-Seer.
12And these are the birthings of Mighty-One-Will-Hearken (Ishmael) son of Avraham whom The-Sojourner (HaGar) the Egyptian, slave-woman of Princess, birthed to Avraham. 13And these are the names of the sons of Mighty-One-Will-Hearken (Ishmael) in their names to their birthings. Firstborn of Mighty-One-Will-Hearken (Ishmael) is Fruitfulnesses (Nebajoth) and Dark (Kedar) and Mighty-One-Grieved (Adbeel) and From-Spice (Mibsam) 14and Proclaimer (Mishma) and Her-Silence (Dumah) and Burden (Massa), 15He-Sharpened (Hadar) and Desert (Tema), He-Will-Tour (Jetur), Re-Beinged (Naphish) and Eastward (Kedemah). 16These are the they: sons of Mighty-One-Will-Hearken (Ishmael). And these are their names in their courtyards and in their tiers, twelve Carriers to their folk. 17And these are years of the lives of Mighty-One-Will-Hearken (Ishmael): 100 year and 30 year and 7 years. And he expired. And he died. And he gathered unto his peoples. 18And they abode from Whirling (Havilah) unto Wall (Shur) that is upon the faces of Double-Adversity (Egypt), thy coming Wallward. He fell upon faces of all his brothers.
I. Avraham’s New Wife (verses 1-4)
Avraham desired a new wife. His choice was Keturah. She bore him six sons (daughters are not mentioned).
The Bible names many names. Those names are important.
One of the sons was named Midian. He is the father of the Midianites who later are a real problem to Israel.
Another son, Jokshan, will have two sons, Sheba and Dedan. This Sheba will become an important race and a location named after the race. The citizens of Sheba will have a queen who will be famous.
Dedan will also play a role in events later in history.
1. Why aren’t daughters always mentioned in the Bible when sons are being listed? Lineages come through the male line. If a woman is important in the plan of Yehovah, she will be mentioned. Though many men are named, few of them are important beyond their names and their lineages. All women who are mentioned in the Bible are very important.
2. Why are names important in the Bible?
- They show experiences and faiths of those who named the children.
- If they are listed in order, they give information about the plan of God. Those strings of names are prophetic.
3. What information appears if the names from verse 1 through verse 4 are listed in order?
Those joined become:
Father-Of-A-Crowd Incensed Their-Ballad He-Will-Lure-Them Their-Measure From-Their-Sufficiency He-Will-Leave-Alone He-Sank He-Will-Lure-Them Who-Came Move-Deliberately Their-Happiness Their-Sharpener Folks Her-Tired-One Dust Dedicated Father-Knew Mighty-One-Of-Knowledge.
Next, add any forms of the verb to be (in other words, add is or am or are where needed to make sentences). Separate this paragraph that results into sentences using punctuation marks (like ‘.’ or ‘,’ or ‘!’ or ‘?’, etc.).
Father-Of-A-Crowd Incensed Their-Ballad. He-Will-Lure-Them. Their-Measure is From-Their-Sufficiency. He-Will-Leave-Alone. He-Sank. He-Will-Lure-Them. Who-Came, Moving-Deliberately? Their-Happiness! Their-Sharpener—Folks! Her-Tired-One is Dust, Dedicated. Father-Knew, Mighty-One-Of-Knowledge!
Now, remove the dashes that were part of the individual names, and change the capitalization:
Father of a crowd incensed [that is, to make something into incense, usually referring to prayer] their Ballad. He will lure them. Their measure is from their sufficiency. He will leave alone. He sank. He will lure them. Who came, moving deliberately? Their happiness! Their sharpener—folks! Her tired one is dust, dedicated. Father knew, Mighty One of knowledge!
This describes events that will occur in the End Times!
II. Avraham’s Favoritism (verses 5-6)
Avraham gave all that he had to Isaac (with the exception of gifts that he gave to children of the concubines).
Abraham also had concubines. (They are women to whom he is married, but who, by agreement, will not receive the highest status of a wife, and whose sons will not receive an inheritance with the wife’s or wives’ sons.) Avraham gave the concubines’ sons gifts, but that is all that they received from Avraham (besides training, love and rearing). When they were old enough, Avraham sent them away from Isaac. They journeyed eastward to East Land.
1. Was Avraham’s favoritism toward Isaac right? Was it fair? His favoritism was right! He had the right to favor his original son. He didn’t owe the children born later; they owed him! (Your parents don’t owe you; you are in a great debt to them!) Was it fair? It was not fair, and most things in life are not fair. Fairness would be terrible. If Yehovah did all things fairly, no person could be saved from damnation! He made all persons individually. That isn’t fair; it is excellent!
Do not look for fairness in life. Look for things that are far greater than fair. A person who looks for fairness is looking for the very least, and often something that is very bad. You have opportunities that the children in your neighborhood do not have! You can learn the Bible in a way they will never be able to learn it. That isn’t fair; it is far to your benefit!
2. Why would a woman desire to become a concubine? If she thought that she might not obtain a husband, or if she thought that a husband she would obtain would be cruel or would work her in a cruel manner, and she could become a concubine to a gracious man who would treat her and her children well, that would be far better. All had to work (if they could), and a woman who is a concubine can earn her own living and do very well for herself. Her husband (if he is kind) would be very willing to help her in her business, since he would also prosper from her success. If she became sick or incapacitated (unable to work), he would take care of her. His only requirement is that she and her children would not inherit from him.
3. Were those gifts that Avraham gave to the children of the concubines before he sent them away supposed to replace his love and affection? Avraham was a kind and gracious man. The gifts would give them what they needed to become independent in life. (The same is true of all gifts that Yehovah gives: they are designed to benefit those who receive them in such a way that they can then benefit others. If Yehovah gives a gift to anyone, and that person only keeps the gift for himself or herself, never benefiting others, that gift has been terribly misused, and Yehovah will remember that. If the person instead uses that gift to benefit others, that will be considered very good in the judgments.
Avraham loved his children. That is why he sent the new set away from Isaac. He knew that jealousy and hatred could easily result if they stayed, seeing what Isaac obtained. He sent them away to make good in life. They could later return to their father after they had done well, if he was still alive. Avraham knew that Isaac was the son of the promise, and Isaac didn’t need enemies within his own family.
4. What was in East Land? It was a land that was very populated. There would be many opportunities to earn livings and to do well.
5. Wasn’t Avraham concerned that they might become pagans, like so many in other locations, and forget the God of Avraham? Avraham knew the truth regarding them. They were not fearers of His Gods (Yehovah). If they would later become fearers, they would do that wherever they were. Avraham himself had come from the east, and Yehovah had commanded him to come to the land of Canaan. Yehovah easily could do the same for any of them who would respond and would believe Yehovah.
Most folks are pagans (even if they are very religious). A pagan is a person who believes in idols, trusts in idols, and lives rituals that are connected with idols. Most who claim to believe in Jesus believe in a ‘Jesus’ that the Bible doesn’t describe. Thus, they believe in an idol that they have called ‘Jesus’. They will live their lives thinking that they believed in the right ‘Jesus’ when they never took the time or trouble to see what the Bible describes as ‘Jesus’.
III. Avraham’s Age and Death (verses 7-10)
Avraham lived to be 175 years old. (That was not very old, considering how long Noah lived.) Yet it was a good old age for those times.
He expired (he breathed out his last breath). He had much gray hair, he was old, and full (of years).
After his death, he was gathered unto his peoples (those awaiting him in Sheol).
Both Isaac and Ishmael worked together to bury him in the same cave (Machpelah) where Princess (Sarah) was already placed. (Yehovah made sure that the text again explained that Avraham was the legitimate holder of that land by purchase.)
1. What does hoariness mean? It means that he had much grayness or whiteness of hair. (Do you know anyone whose hair is all gray or white?)
2. The text says that Avraham died “old and full.” Does that mean that he died after eating a good meal? No; full refers to his years. He was full of years.
3. What does “gathered unto his peoples” mean? This means that he joined relatives who had already died and were in Sheol.
4. Where is Sheol? It is in the very heart (core) of planet earth! That means that it is about 3,500 miles down!
5. What is Sheol? Sheol is a very large chamber where folks who died went to await judgment. (That judgment is many centuries away from now.) Sheol is also an angel who is responsible for taking care of all humans who are in Sheol.
6. Is being in Sheol boring? There were two chambers in Sheol, and those chambers were separated by a huge gulf—an open area where there is no bottom, in this case, so that no person could go from one chamber to the other.
One chamber was Paradise where Saints came after death. Paradise is a beautiful garden with the waters of life flowing in a beautiful river. The Garden of Eden was Paradise, and that garden was transferred to Sheol after humans were blocked from entering it. All in Paradise are free from pain, suffering, boredom, and all other bad things like this. Yet, they will be judged for what they did (their works); many will rightly have fear regarding this judgment.
The other chamber is described as torments. It is a place where there is no water, and there is a flame that causes great torment of thirst for everyone in this chamber. The great majority of humans who die go to this chamber. They will await their judgments, and they will then be cast into outer darkness, the Lake of Fire and Sulfur. (Yes, it is very scary. No horror movie could correctly describe it.)
Folks in both of these chambers could speak with each other. No one has rank or power over anyone else. Murderers and those they murdered went to Sheol—most to the Torments side. (Just because a person is murdered doesn’t mean that the person has everlasting life.)
No one was bored in Sheol; they were all waiting for others to come join them.
When Yeshua died and rose from the dead, He took Paradise out of Sheol and transferred it to the heavens where it is now located. Thus, all Saints are now in the heavens waiting their judgments. Those who are not born of God and who died are still in the Torments of Sheol, waiting their judgments while they thirst continuously in the heat of the flame. They are not bored. They are suffering.
7. When Avraham was gathered unto his peoples, was he gathered on the Paradise side of Sheol or on the Torments side? He was gathered on the Paradise side. He could see and hear his relatives on the Torments side, and they could speak to each other. He also could interact with his relatives on the Paradise side. Now that Paradise has been moved into the heavens, Avraham can no longer communicate with his relatives on the Torments side. All of Sheol is now Torments.
8. Why does the text use the word peoples instead of people? This is because Avraham was related to a number of peoples just as you are. A people is a group of individuals with a common culture. You are related to others with a common culture, and you are related to others who have cultures that are not like yours, but they are still your relatives.
9. Do all Black people have the same culture, and are they from one race? Skin tones have little or nothing to do with a race. There are many different races that have folks with very dark skin tones and folks with light skin tones. No race can be distinguished by skin color. The same is true of cultures. There are very great differences between cultures among folks who happen to have very dark skin.
Adam was red in color, like the red found in soils in some places. He had offspring who had various skin colors. The same is true of Noah, since all humans on earth today came from Noah, Noah’s wife, and Noah’s three daughters-in-law. His three sons and their wives had various skin tones and colors, and all races came from them. Yehovah built all the skin colors into the genetic material of humans (the part of humans that grows into eye colors, hair colors and types of hair, skin tones, height, male or female, etc.) All folks of every skin tone came from both Adam and Eve and from Noah and Noah’s wife and one of Noah’s three daughters in law.
10. Which two sons put Avraham in a tomb? Isaac and Ishmael worked together to take care of their father’s body. Thus, they were not strangers to each other.
IV. Isaac (verse 11)
The next event was after Avraham died. Yehovah specially wrote that Elohim blessed Isaac. The well that Hagar named was his place of residence.
1. 1. What happens when Elohim blesses someone? That person is benefited even more than what would occur naturally. The blessing can be in the form of becoming quite wealthy, but wealth is not a blessing to some. There are some folks who do much better in life when they have very little, and who would become very cruel and mean if they were to become wealthy. Others become owned by their wealth, and thus become slaves of their money. They are not blessed by wealth; it is a curse to them. There are some, however, who can become wealthy and who do very well in life, being kind and gracious. Others who are very poor can also be blessed in other ways besides wealth.
In this case, Elohim’s blessing included wealth in his herds and flocks.
2. Why did Isaac choose to live by the well that HaGar named? Cattlemen and shepherds chose where they would live by the availability of grass for their herds and flocks. If Isaac chose a location, it would be for the benefit of the herds and flocks. Where there is water, the herds and flocks can be watered.
V. Ishmael’s Greatness (verses 12-18)
Yehovah now switches over to a description of Ishmael and his greatness. His firstborn is Nebajoth (the “j” is always pronounced like a “y” in the King James Bible). He then has eleven other sons, forming twelve tribes (like Jacob will later do).
At that time, a man moving into a new area would build a house. He might have slaves and cattle. Then, if he prospered, others would come to live around him, working for him, and a town would be born. If he greatly prospered, large buildings would be built. The town would be named after this man. This happened to Ishmael’s sons. Thus, Ishmael had no monetary disadvantage by living away from his father. Yehovah blessed him.
Ishmael lived to be 137 years old. He also breathed his last and died. He was gathered unto his peoples in Sheol.
Ishmael’s sons lived in locations from Havilah (the place of the gold in the Garden of Eden) to a city (called Shur, or Wall) facing Egypt.
When Ishmael died, he fell upon faces of all his brothers (meaning that his entire family was present). He apparently dropped dead.
1. Why does the Bible give all this information about Ishmael, since he is not in the main line that the Bible will continue to describe? I know of two reasons. This shows that Yehovah really did bless this man who was close to death in the desert. He did become a race. It also lists the names of his offspring so that Bible readers can identify them later if they are mentioned in texts. A third reason is so that readers of Hebrew can put the names together to see what they mean.
2. Was Ishmael a Believer at his death? The Bible never indicates that he was. It also doesn’t say that he wasn’t. The Bible will usually tell readers if a person feared Yehovah.
3. Why did Yehovah bless Ishmael if he wasn’t a believer in Yehovah? Yehovah did it for Avraham’s sake; He promised that He would. Also, Yehovah does bless some folks who are not believers in Him and who will never become believers in Him. Yehovah has His reasons. I can think of one reason. Perhaps a distant offspring of that unbelieving and blessed person will be a believer in Yehovah, and Yehovah determined that good would come into that person’s line (lineage). Also, Yehovah will bless some folks so that their judgment will be much worse because they refused to confess Him. (A cattleman will fatten a cow with the best feed before he takes the cow to be slaughtered. The cow will feel very blessed!)
4. Why would a city be named Wall? That was a very reasonable name for a city in those days. The great difficulty with having cities at that time was in gathering and storing food for the cities. Raiders loved to attack and take stored foods that others worked so hard to grow and reap. The raiders could live lives of leisure while others worked hard, then they could attack and take the produce. Humans began to build walled and fortified cities in order to bring their produce into them and protect them from the raiders. This worked very well in many cases. Jericho was a famous walled city. It had homes built into the wall and a wide area on top where even horses and carriages could go.
5. What is so important about this city facing Egypt? The Egyptians were good at trade, and they also produced raiders! This city had to be fortified.
6. What does “he fell upon faces of all his brothers” mean? To fall means to drop as in to drop dead. This expression is used in wars that the Bible describes. The expression, “upon faces of” means that it occurred directly in the sight of and in front of the ones describes (his brothers). All his brothers were present when this occurred.