After the disclose that Abraham's heir was still in the future not his current son,somehow his reaction seemed peevish and one of disappointment

Genesis 17 NASB

” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!”

Was Abraham initial disappointed?

  • 1
    I would suggest that the reaction is one of unbelief (initially), rather than 'peevishness' or 'disappointment'. There was no previous precedent for this.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 12:12

2 Answers 2


If you take only Abraham's words at face value, it certainly sounds like he's disappointed and upset that Ishmael has been disregarded. But the previous verse describes Abraham laughing at two questions in his heart that present as physically impossible, clearly suggesting that what he feels is incredulity - doubt.

He then expresses this doubt (in God's ability to produce a legitimate heir) by wishing aloud that God would consider accepting Ishmael as his heir, instead of promising what Abraham doubts is even possible.

Abraham is not feeling disappointed - but he is anticipating disappointment, and is therefore reluctant to take God's promise seriously.


No it is not a reaction of disappointment , but a petition of Abraaham to God on behalf of his first born, other bible versions read:

Genesis 17:18 ( NIV)

18 " And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

Genesis 17:18 (ISV)

18 "So Abraham responded to God, “If only Ishmael would live in constant awareness that you’re always with him!”

Isaac is covenanant heir:

Genesis 17:19 (NIV)

19 "Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.[a] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."

God's blessing for Ishmael:

Genesis 17:20 (NIV)

20 " And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation."

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