Sarah tells Abraham to be intimate with Hagar which subsequently leads to the birth of Ishmael,but later Sarah pressures Abraham to cast out Hagar and his son Ishmael and disinherit him

Genesis 21:10 NASB

10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son [d]Isaac.”

Gods promise to Abraham had been given before the sons were born which could not have changed the promise of Isaac and the subsequent blessings that unfolded.

So the birth and presence of Ishmael could not have affected or changed Gods promise of Isaac

Did Abraham show weakness by allowing Sarah to pressure him to cast out his other son?

  • It was God who pressured him to drive them out in the end, not just Sarah
    – b a
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 10:20

3 Answers 3


In short, no he did not.

Your second paragraph reminded me that God made a key promise, but only to Abram back in Gen 15:4-6. From the point of that promise, all the way through to Sarah’s pregnancy and Isaac's birth, Abraham and Sarah are in two completely different positions of belief, and Abraham had to find a way to deal with them.

In Gen 15, Abram had told God that since He’d given him no offspring, a servant would be his heir, so the Lord replied.

Gen 15:4-6 NASB

4 Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own [h]body, he shall be your heir.” 5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your [i]descendants be.” 6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Ishmael’s birth is in Gen 16. In Gen 17 God visited the 99-year-old Abram, changed his name to Abraham and set the Covenant of Circumcision. When Abraham prostrated himself, he “laughed” (to himself), but he must still have believed/knew he had a son not yet born. God told him that in Gen 15.

He also knew that A-his wife, Sarah, was in a completely different belief status (e.g. she had not yet laughed out loud after overhearing the 3 visitors say she'd give birth at the age of 90), B-she was going to be the mother of their son, Isaac. God said so.

From the point of God’s promise to Abram through to Sarah’s pregnancy and Isaac’s birth, Abraham needed to stay close to his beliefs and live as calmly as possible with Sarah.

Upon finding Hagar pregnant, the outraged Sarah looked on her with disdain and jealously; she then abused her so much that Hagar ran away (Gen 16:4-6). Hagar would be scared when asked to return. When Sarah ordered Abraham to drive them out, Abraham did so. Casting out/disinheriting servants was expected due to Gen 15:4-6, and due to

Gen 17:21 (NASB)

21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”


In Genesis 21:10 did Abraham show weakness by allowing Sarah to cast out Hagar and Ishmael?

The narrative of the account- Genesis 21:8-13 below.

When Sarah asked Abraham to send Hagar and her son away, in verse 12 we read that Abraham was distressed greatly , obviously he did not want to ,however God intervened and told Abraham to do as Sarah told him. Genesis 21:9 tells us that Ishmael ( Est.19 years) was mocking Isaac (Est.5 years), this was not just mere fun,Paul wrote that Ishmael was persecuting Isaac:

Galatians 4:29 (NABRE)

29 "But just as then the child of the flesh persecuted the child of the spirit, it is the same now."

Today such mocking would not be considered important and ignored,this was not however the case during the patriarchal times, this was noticeable by Sarah's reaction,she did not consider it just a childish prank and the fact that God approved of her persistence that Hagar and her son be sent away.Under the circumstances, personally I believe that it took great courage on the part of Sarah to ask that Hagar and her son be sent away.

Abraham did not show weakness, such jealousy could have endangered the life of Isaac, from which the promised Messiah would come.

Genesis 21 :8-13 (NRSV)

Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away

8 "The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.9 Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, [c]mocking. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son [d]Isaac.”

11 "The matter [e]distressed Abraham greatly because of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “[f]Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac [g]your descendants shall be named. 13 And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your [h]descendant.”


God’s will must always be respected as He fulfills his word. Everything works together for good for those who love Him & are called according to His word.
Ordained for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the leaders and fathers if you will of his chosen nation..The Vine of which followers would be woven into.
Ishmael was the seed of the handmaiden whose children would in evil try to take the land by violence. This was as forseen and in for-knowledge Part of the plan. With always the option they could turn to Jesus, which was difficult even for Abraham’s, Jewish, to do.

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