How Many Sons Did Abraham Have?

Supposed contradiction and verses:

 Did Abraham have only one son or many? The Bible conflicts.

 One only begotten:

Genesis 22:2

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

 Hebrews 11:17

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

 More than one:

Genesis 16:15

And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.

 Genesis 25:1-2

1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.


   We can note that Ishmael was born before Isaac, and the other six siblings were born after. Why then does this seem to contradict? Letís look at a few things. Sarah had been barren, and God promised them a son, even in her old age. There was doubt on her behalf so she encouraged Abraham to have a child with Hagar. This son was Ishmael. But God did not recognize Ishmael as the firstborn due to the fact, he was not the child of promise. Notice:

Genesis 15:4

And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

   When you take into account Godís promises, and the plans He has, us substituting something else is not acceptable. This child of promise was to later be a figure of the sacrifice of Jesus when Abraham took Isaac up to the mount. Why would God recognize anyone else? He is not responsible for our bad decisions or lack of faith and His plans will continue regardless. God makes very clear His plans in Genesis 17 His promises and blessings that would come through this child He promised them. In fact, Ishmael was sent away in Genesis 21, and was the father of the Arabs.  This is how Isaac fulfills the words ďonly begottenĒ in Hebrews 11:17 and not Ishmael. Ishmael was manís plan, not Godís.

   That in itself is enough to explain this; yet, this still leaves to question, what about the other siblings. Well, the fact is, none of Keturahís children were born at the time, so they also can not be accounted in this. The scripture does not say he never had any other sons. It tells us that Isaac was the only begotten, and the only son recognized by God. None other can fill that position.

There is no contradiction!

In His Grace,

            Mike Harris


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