Isaac was not Abraham's only begotten son


I’ve heard the story of Abraham and Isaac countless times over the years but today was the first time it occurred to me. Abraham also had a son named Ishmael, born of Sarah’s handmade Hagar. Sarah forced Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert even though Abraham disapproved. God consoled him, telling him that he would make a nation of Ishmael also. So why, in the story of Abraham’s testing, is Isaac referred to as his “only begotten son” 3 separate times (once by God and twice by an angel)?


I’m a little curious about where Isaac was ever referred to as Abraham’s only begotten son. He was the son of promise, and was the only child born to him by Sarah. Also, Abraham had other children after Sarah died and he remarried, but he gave them gifts and sent them away.


Ishmael is his misbegotten son.


Hebrews 11:17…By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;


I was doing research on Ishmael and Isaac for a song that the Lord was leading me to write.
I went to the Jewish Temple to use their library. Ishmael (I call the son of doubt) was 11 yo before Isaac(the son of Promise) was born. My premise in the song was as children, they played together and did not hate each other. Well, Ishmael, in the writings was an aggravated individual. Hagar was probably poisoning his mind about Isaac stealing his birthright, etc. I put into the equation of ~ 4 years of breast feeding in those days and maybe Abraham would say to Ishmael,“Take Isaac for awhile and play w him. Go throw stones or let him watch you shoot your arrows.” I’m sure Ishmael would feel bothered but a toddleing 2yo is cute and he felt some love or kindness towards him in those few years. Both boys got 12 tribes. They are named in the Bible. Ishmael stayed a little wild. He never hurt Isaac. They came together to bury Abraham. Also, when Sarah died, Abraham went and got Ishmael and I think Hagar, also. The Muslims believe that Abraham was sacrificing Ishmael, not Isaac.
My point in the song was they are half brothers and need to come together to make father Abraham happy, again.Abraham did remarry and did have other children. Busy man.
In Christs’ love


This is right.

Abraham was promised that his children would be more numerous than the sand in the sea but he didn’t believe God and so he and Sarah devised their own plan to have a child by Hagar. This was not the child of God’s promise but the child of their own scheme.

Isaac was the son of God’s promise. God came years later,and told them that now Sarah would conceive. God waited until Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 99 so that there would be no doubt in their mind that it was God’s doing.



[quote=guiltyofdoubt] Hebrews 11:17

Thanks. I thought seagal was referring to the account in Genesis.


I’ve got a few bibles. I don’t find “only begotten” in any of them.


Cheers - you’re picking up what I’m laying down.

Misbegotten: adjective

  1. unlawfully or irregularly begotten; illegitimate: his misbegotten son.


That’s what it says in the RSV, that’s what was read in church today. In The Word Among Us it says “only son” (I don’t know which version they use).


I was.


Perhaps, but the way in which he was conceived was not unheard of for the time. And he is undoubtedly Abraham’s son, whatever the circumstances of his birth.


Not that it’s the point but the RSV says “only son”, not “only begotten…”, as does every other version.


I have the second Catholic edition of the RSV and it clearly says “only begotten son”. Also, that is what was read in church this morning because that’s where I first started wondering about it. Besides, even if it said “only son”, that obviously isn’t the case because of Ishmael.


Well the only places I find “begotten” is in the explanations of the verse, not the actual verse. Be that as it may, context is always important. If you back up a little, Ishmael was sent away, presumably forever. So at that point Isaac was Abraham’s “only son.”


Well I know I’m not seeing things. :shrug:

Be that as it may, context is always important. If you back up a little, Ishmael was sent away, presumably forever. So at that point Isaac was Abraham’s “only son.”

That makes sense I guess. Although in Genesis 21:13 God says “And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” [emphasis added] So God hasn’t forgotten that there was another son before Isaac.


Looking at the Hebrews reference (Heb 11:17), the Greek word “μονογενῆ” (monogenace) is used, and can mean “only begotten”, as well as “one of a kind” or “unique”. It does show up as “only begotten” in several versions I have access to, both Catholic and Protestant. I can see how any of these meanings could apply to Isaac.

I still don’t find “only begotten” in the OT, but the Hebrews reference is still good.


True, but misbegotten.

Therefore not chosen.


That wasn’t the question. :smiley:


The Bibles based on the Latin Vulgate say “only begotten son”. This includes the Douay-Rheims Bible. Reference

The KJV based Bibles including the RSV and NRSV do not include the word begotten but say “only son.” Reference

The RSV-CE is based on the RSV which comes from the KJV. The RSV-2CE is a proprietary Bible produced by Ignatius. They changed the RSV-CE when they produced the 2CE. It is a pet peeve of mine. They changed some verses and not others in a very arbitrary manner, will not tell anyone what their guidelines or philosophy was for determining what was to be changed and will not tell anyone who determined what was to be changed. They included none of the recent scholarship (such as the dead sea scrolls) as did the NRSV and NABRE. I consider the RSV-2CE to be an overall downgrade of the from the RSV-CE. I am not alone in this opinion.


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