Appendix-I

 

 

‘Beersheba’ has been referred to in the body of the book a number of times. It required a detailed study, which could not have been undertaken there. It is discussed in detail in this appendix. The names of persons or places and their spellings have mostly been recorded in accordance with the Bible or the source books. The scheme of the symbols of transliteration of the present work has not been applied in the quotations. Generally, the scheme of the symbols of the source of the quotations has been followed. The salient features of this Appendix are:

1)  Abraham had settled his elder son, Ishma‘el, together with his mother Hagar, at the ‘Wilderness of Beersheba’, ‘Wilderness of Paran’, or ‘Moriah’ (Zamzam, al-Hija$z, and al-Marwah) under the command of God: and not as a result of some so called jealousy or dispute between Hagar and Sarah.

2) The event of settling Ishma‘el and Hagar at Beersheba took place in the childhood of Ishma‘el—when Isaac had not even been born yet—and the story of the weaning feast and the
alleged jealousy of Sarah[1]and her heinous cruelties towards Hagar are mere fables.

3)  Hagar and Ishma‘el were not cast away out of the door to wander helplessly in some wild wilderness without any guidance. Such a ruthless and inconsiderate treatment is unbecoming and inconceivable of a common gentleman rather than of a benign and benevolent Apostle of Abraham’s calibre. Abraham must himself have taken them to the destination appointed by God for their settlement, which he actually did.

4)  ‘Beersheba’ is a meaningful word and means (i) ‘the Well of Seven’ and (ii) ‘the Well of an Oath’

5)  According to the record of the Bible ‘Beersheba’ can be located at more than one places. It has occurred in the Bible 34 times, but it is only once that it has been preceded by the qualifying word ‘wilderness’.

6)  This singular use of the qualifying word ‘wilderness’ before ‘Beersheba’ singles out the ‘Beersheba of the Well of Seven’ from the rest of the ‘Beersheba’s’ and signifies exactly the region of Makkah.

7)  In this context it denotes the well given to Hagar as a result of her seven rounds of running between the mounts of ‘al-Safa’and ‘al-Marwah’ in search of water.

8)  As such, this ‘Beersheba’ is the well of ‘Zamzam’ in Makkah.

9)  It is quite different from the ‘Beersheba of the Well of Oath’, which is at the SW of Canaan[2].

10) The story of the Bible is a blend of various traditions and has a lot of objectionable and self-contradictory material in it. Therefore any of its statement is to be taken only after due scrutiny, and on its own merit.

The ‘wilderness of Beersheba’, where Hagar ‘wandered’ with her child, Ishma‘el, after Abraham had left her there, is mentioned in the Bible as below (Most of the points regarding this forthcoming passage have been discussed in a pretty detail, at the spot, in the footnotes. Therefore, no detailed discussion has been undertaken regarding them in the body of the article. These footnotes should be perused side by side with the following text of the Bible.):

And the child [Isaac] grew, and was weaned[3]: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar[4] the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking[5]. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, cast out[6]this bondwoman[7]and her son[8]: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son[9][stress added], even with Isaac.[10] And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight[11] because of his son[12]. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad[13], and because of thy bondwoman;[14] in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a [great] nation[15], because he is thy seed[16]. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle[17] of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child to Hagar[18] and sent her away[19]: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba[20] [stress added]. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs[21] [stress added]. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad[22]; and the angel of God[23] called to Hagar out of heaven[24], and said unto her,
What aileth thee, Hagar?[25] Fear not[26]; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is[27]. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand[28]; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink [stress added][29]. And God was with the lad[30]; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran[31]: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.[32]

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