The Son of Hagar the Egyptian

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463) “And Sarah saw the son of Hagar.” Since the day Isaac was born and Ishmael was in Abraham’s house, Ishmael is not mentioned in his name, since where there is gold, waste is not mentioned before it. This is why it writes, “The son of Hagar the Egyptian,” and does not write, “Ishmael, the son of Hagar,” a man whose name should not be mentioned before Isaac.

464) “And Sarah saw,” with an eye for disgrace, meaning she wished to see only disgrace. Sarah saw him means that she did not see him with the eye as being Abraham’s son, but as being the son of Hagar the Egyptian. This is why it is written, “And Sarah saw,” for only Sarah saw him with such an eye, but not Abraham, since it does not say of Abraham, “The son of Hagar,” but “His son.”

465) What does it write afterwards? “And the thing was very bad in Abraham’s eyes because of his son.” It does not say, “Because of the son of Hagar the Egyptian.” And correspondingly, it is written, “And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian,” and she did not see that he was Abraham’s son.

466) This text is in Sarah’s praise because she saw that he was laughing toward idolatry and said, “This one is certainly not Abraham’s son, doing Abraham’s deeds, but the son of Hagar the Egyptian, for he returned to his mother’s share.” This is why she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir.”

467) Is it conceivable that Sarah was envious of her or of her son, and this is why she said, “Cast out”? If this were so, the Creator would not be thankful for her words, as it is written, “In all that Sarah says unto you, listen unto her voice.” But Sarah saw him in idol worship, and his mother taught him the laws of idol worship, and this is why she said, “For the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir,” meaning “I know that he will never inherit the part of faith and will never have a share with my son, not in this world and not in the next world.” This is why the Creator thanked her.

468) The Creator wished to distinguish the holy seed as it should be, separately. This is why He created the world, since Israel was the Creator’s will even before He created the world. This is why Abraham appeared in the world and the world existed for him. And Abraham and Isaac stood and did not sit in their places until Jacob came to the world.

469) When Jacob came to the world, Abraham and Isaac existed with him and the whole world existed. And a holy nation came out to the world out of Jacob, and everything existed on the side of holiness as it should. This is why the Creator told him, “In all that Sarah says unto you, listen unto her voice, for in Isaac shall seed be called unto you,” and not in Ishmael.

470) Afterwards, it is written, “And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba,” meaning she was planting [same word as wandering in Hebrew] idolatry. But due to Abraham’s merit, the Creator did not leave her and her son and saved them from thirst, even though she was idol worshipping.

471) At first, when she fled from Sarah, it is written, “Because the Lord has heard your affliction.” But now, after she has deviated to idolatry, although it is written, “And [she] lifted up her voice, and wept,” it is written, “And God heard the voice of the lad.” It does not write, “Because the Lord has heard your voice.”

472) “Where he is.” Ishmael was not punishable in the upper courthouse. This is because the lower court punishes from thirteen years on, and the upper court punishes from twenty years on. Hence, although he was wicked, he was not punishable, as it is written, “Where he is,” since he was less than twenty years old. This is why the Creator saved him.

473) Thus, one who passes from the world before he reaches the age of twenty, from which place is he punished with death? Below thirteen years of age, although he is not punishable, he is punished and dies for his father’s sins, since he is still under his authority. But from thirteen years of age onwards, he departs his father’s authority. So why is he punished with death while he is not punishable? The Creator has mercy on him so he will die righteous, and gives him a good reward in the eternal world instead of dying as a wicked who is punished in that world.

474) If he is wicked and has not reached twenty years of age, if he has departed the world, where does his punishment come from? You cannot say that it is so that he will die righteous, for he is wicked and not righteous. Thus, he was punished without a trial, since when the punishment came down to the world, he, who was less than twenty, encountered that punishing saboteur without this being intended by either the upper court or the lower court. It follows that he was punished only because he was not being watched over from above, to keep him so the saboteur would not harm him. But since he has encountered, he no longer tells good from evil.

475) It is written about him, “His own iniquities shall capture the wicked.” “The” is to include those whose time to be punished has not come. “His own iniquities,” and not the upper court. “And he will be held with the cords of his sin,” and not by the lower court. This is why it is written, “For God has heard the voice of the lad where he is,” for he was not yet punishable for his sins. This is why God heard his voice even though he was wicked.

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