Abraham held a great feast in celebration of Isaac’s birth.
However, all wasn’t well in the neighborhood.
Undoubtedly, the birth of Isaac resulted in an instant diminishing of Ishmael’s status and his mother Hagar.
We are told that Ishmael was taunting the toddler Isaac.
Sarah responded instantly.
She went to her husband and insisted that the two be banished from the clan.
This request no doubt caused Abraham much grief because as was mentioned before, Abraham loved his first-born son Ishmael greatly.
Nevertheless, God commands Abraham to listen to Sarah and consoles him by assuring Abraham that Ishmael would not be without blessing.
There is a very important legal reason why God assured Abraham that Ishmael would be blessed.
According to the law codes of that era known as the Law of Lipit-Ishtar, it was Abraham’s prerogative to deny or accept Ishmael as the sole inheritor of his estate.
Even though Ishmael’s mother Hagar was owned by Sarah, Sarah only had the right to banish Hagar out of the clan.
She couldn’t order Ishmael out with first getting Abraham’s permission.
Here is excerpt 25 from this ancient legal code.
If a man married his wife and she bore him children and those children are living, and a slave also bore children for her master but the father granted freedom to the slave and her children, the children of the slave shall not divide the estate with the children of their former master.
It seems like Ishmael was already on track to become the heir-apparent of the clan.
As such, he would have received the firstborn portion of Abraham’s wealth and if this happened regardless of whether Ishmael’s mother Hagar was banished or not, she would have benefited tremendously from the financial windfall her son Ishmael would have received from his father’s inheritance.
Nevertheless, due to God’s decision, it was not to be.
God told Abraham to comply with Sarah’s request that the two be kicked out of the clan and at the blink of an eye, Ishmael’s inheritance went from great wealth to zero.
However, God in His grace promised to supply the earthly inheritance that had just been taken from Ishmael.
And that is exactly what happened.
Ishmael became a great nation and in the final analysis received just as much wealth if not more than Isaac.
However, the inheritor of the covenant promises would stay with Isaac.
That is the one thing Ishmael could not have.