Ishmael was at least 13 years old. Phrases like “the child” and “the lad” in the Bible do not refer just to young children, but to “younger” people as well.
For instance, Benjamin’s brothers called him a “lad,” “child,” and “a little one” in Genesis 40:20-22, though Benjamin was certainly grown (he had children; see Genesis 46:21). The terms “child” and “lad” are relative to the one using them. Even in our culture today, an older brother can refer to his younger as his “baby brother.”
The fact that Hagar “cast the child under one of the shrubs” and later “[held] him in [her] hand” does not imply that the child was an infant. A teenager who is dying of dehydration may not be able to move for himself, and so his mother may have placed him in the shade under the shrub, and later held Ishmael’s head in her hands as she gave him water to drink. 1 Thus, there is no contradiction.
Site Under Construction
This site is still under construction. It needs more references, citations, and debate arguments. If you would like to help, please view the community page.
- http://www.lookinguntojesus.net/ata20031221.htm, accessed 23 July 2014 ↩