Genesis 21

9Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking Isaac. 10Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this slave woman and her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be an heir with my son [c]Isaac!” 11The matter [d]distressed Abraham greatly because of his son Ishmael. 12But God said to Abraham, “[e]Do not be distressed because of the boy and your slave woman; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac [f]your descendants shall be named. 13And of the son of the slave woman I will make a nation also, because he is your [g]descendant.” 14So Abraham got up early in the morning and took bread and a [h]skin of water, and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. Abraham has to get rid of Ishmael because he is the son of Abraham and Sarah's slave woman.

Genesis 30

1Now when Rachel saw that she had not borne Jacob any children, [a]she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I am going to die.” 2Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3Then she said, “Here is my female slave Bilhah: have relations with her that she may give birth [b]on my knees, so that [c]by her I too may obtain a child.” 4So she gave him her slave Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob had relations with her. 5Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6Then Rachel said, “God has [d]vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son.” Therefore she named him [e]Dan. 7And Rachel’s slave Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8So Rachel said, “With [f]mighty wrestling I have [g]wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed.” And she named him Naphtali.

Jacob does not get rid of Naphtali even though he is a son of Jacob and Rachel's slave woman.

What is this double standard?

  • 1
    Ismael was jealous of his brother Isaac (21:9), as Cain was with Abel (4:5); to avoid a similar tragedy from taking place, he was sent away. Polygamy was widespread in the ancient Orient, and still is, even today; it was/is by no means common or customary to keep the children of only one wife/concubine, and send those of all others away.
    – Lucian
    Aug 17 at 10:54
  • how to you translate mocking to Ishmael was jealous? Aug 17 at 11:49
  • 1
    @Lucian point is no evidence, these are assumptions - it could have been child play - appears more an issue with Sarah - possibly jealousy and as she says did not want "heir with my son" She was very likely familiar with the rights of the 'Firstborn' - Deuteronomy 21:15-17 and wanted everything for Issac, knowing is Ishmael stayed everything would go to him. God had his own plans and clearly states he will make both great nations. The Israelites wrote the books, clear who they are going to favour. Aug 18 at 10:47
  • 1
    @anothertheory: It is by no means impossible for sibling rivalry to go hand in hand with rivalry between the respective mothers; nevertheless, the former is a much more prevalent part in scripture than the latter. Also, my main focus was different: the OP seems to have thought that it was some sort of custom or habit, within polygamist societies, to keep just one wife/concubine, along with her offspring, while sending all others away, which is plainly false; that was my main point.
    – Lucian
    Aug 18 at 11:51
  • 1
    @Lucian - noted & agreed - thanks Aug 18 at 11:54

The conception of Issac was attended by the LORD, Genesis 21:

1 Now the LORD attended to Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what He had promised. 2So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised.

The birth of Issac was exceptional. He was the promised child.

Genesis 21:

9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking her son, 10and she said to Abraham, “Expel the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac!”

Sarah pointed out the promise of God to Abraham.

11 Now this matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son Ishmael.

Abraham didn't really want to do it, to get rid of Ishmael but he obeyed God.

12But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to everything that Sarah tells you, for through Isaac your offspring will be reckoned.

Again, God pointed out to Abraham that Isaac was unique.

After Sarah's death, Abraham took a 3rd wife, Genesis 25:

Genesis 25: 1 Now Abraham had taken another wife, named Keturah, 2and she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

5 Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.

Again and again, the Bible pointed out the uniqueness of Isaac.

6 But while he was still alive, Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.

Ishmael wasn't the only son of Abraham that he sent away.

Why does Abraham get rid of Ishmael and Jacob does not get rid of Naphtali?

Abraham got rid of Ishmael because Isaac was supposed to be special and unique and because God told him to.

Jacob did not get rid of Naphtali because God didn't want him to. In fact, Naphtali was part of the plan of God for the 12 tribes of Israel.

What is this double standard?

It was not a double standard but there were two standards or two promises/plans. Isaac was the unique promised son of Abraham and Naphtali was one of the 12 tribes from Jacob planned by God. Both were according to the will of God.

  • Great, comprehensive answer! +1.
    – Xeno
    Aug 17 at 18:14

There is no double standard. Abraham violated the standard, and he was distressed by it. Abraham wouldn't have listened to Sarah if God hadn't told him to do what she said.

146: When a seignior married a hierodule and she gave a female slave to her husband and she has then borne children, if later that female slave has claimed equality with her mistress because she bore children, her mistress may not sell her; she may mark her with the slave-mark and count her among the slaves.

147: If she did not bear children, her mistress may sell her. -- The Code of Hammurabi (Translator: Theophile J. Meek) Pritchard, J. B. (Ed.). (1969). The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (3rd ed. with Supplement, p. 172). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

See https://stephenmillerbooks.com/2015/01/surrogate-moms-body-doubles-bible/

After Hagar conceived, this started an ongoing bout between Hagar and Sarai in Genesis 16.

And he [Abram] went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress [Sarai]. (Gen. 16:4, ESV)

When Sarah had here own son, she had no use for Hagar. She essentially had Abraham divorce Hagar.

In Gal. 4:21-31, Isaac was the son of promise. Ismael was the son of human effort and not waiting on the impossible promise.

  • Hagar was a wife not mistress - Gal. 4:21-31 - what law is Paul quoting from? His own made up law it looks like! read; Deuteronomy 21:15-17 - The Right of the Firstborn (Ishmael). Genesis 17:20 20) As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. Genesis 21:13: And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. Abraham took his only son for sacrifice! Aug 17 at 11:55
  • @another theory What translation are you using that calls Hagar and mistress?
    – Perry Webb
    Aug 17 at 14:39
  • @ Perry - I said she was not a mistress or a surrogate etc... Aug 17 at 14:52

The very first verse you cite describes Ishmael acting inappropriately. Naphtali did not act inappropriately. Thus, Ishmael was banished while Naphtali was not.

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