Life goes on.

Abraham remarries after Sarah’s death, and his new wife, Keturah, bears him six more sons. (Of course, tradition dictates that the daughters are not named in this list).

We read that Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, but to the sons of his concubines he gave gifts. So, were not Keturah’s sons his wife’s sons too? Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. Maybe they did get their inheritance, but it simply looked small in comparison to Isaac’s portion. Also, if Isaac and Ishmael buried him next to Sarai, in the field that he had purchased for burial, it suggests that these two brothers had come to an understanding and that they related to each other as brothers. They dealt together with the family matter of burying their father.

Parents sometimes fuss about keeping “half-brothers/sisters” separate, but the children often ignore parents and respect their blood ties. I use quotation marks here because where I come from the term “half-brother” or “half-sister” isn’t even used. I encountered these words in studying English Literature. For us, you are whole – either a brother or sister and not half of one, even when you do not share both parents.

Isaac would later have children of his own. And Ishmael, we read, also had his twelve sons, described as “twelve princes according to their tribes.”

But so that life continued amicably, they, like Abraham and Lot, settled in different places. Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi. and Ishmael’s sons settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria.

But history shows that their settling became unsettling. and the saga of human drama- fighting for land, fighting for treasure, fighting for place of power continues.

Will we ever learn?

Help us to help each other, Lord,
Each other’s cross to bear,
May we our friendly aid afford,

And show that we do care.

Charles Wesley

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