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[215] As for Sarah, she at first loved Ismael, who was born of her own handmaid Hagar, with an affection not inferior to that of her own son, for he was brought up in order to succeed in the government; but when she herself had borne Isaac, she was not willing that Ismael should be brought up with him, as being too old for him, and able to do him injuries when their father should be dead; she therefore persuaded Abraham to send him and his mother to some distant country. Now, at the first, he did not agree to what Sarah was so zealous for, and thought it an instance of the greatest barbarity, to send away a young child 1 and a woman unprovided of necessaries; but at length he agreed to it, because God was pleased with what Sarah had determined: so he delivered Ismael to his mother, as not yet able to go by himself; and commanded her to take a bottle of water, and a loaf of bread, and so to depart, and to take Necessity for her guide. But as soon as her necessary provisions failed, she found herself in an evil case; and when the water was almost spent, she laid the young child, who was ready to expire, under a fig-tree, and went on further, that so he might die while she was absent. But a Divine Angel came to her, and told her of a fountain hard by, and bid her take care, and bring up the child, because she should be very happy by the preservation of Ismael. She then took courage, upon the prospect of what was promised her, and, meeting with some shepherds, by their care she got clear of the distresses she had been in.

1 Josephus here calls Ismael a young child or infant, though he was about 13 years of age; as Judas calls himself and his brethren young men, when he was 47, and had two children, Antiq. B. II. ch. 6. sect. 8, and they were of much the same age; as is a damsel of 12 years old called a little child, Mark 5:39-42, five several times. Herod is also said by Josephus to be a very young man at 25. See the note on Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 9. sect 2, and of the War, B. I. ch. 10. And Aristobulus is styled a very little child at 16 years of age, Antiq. B. XV. ch. 2. sect. 6, 7. Domitian also is called by him a very young child, when he went on his German expedition at about 18 years of age, of the War, B. VII. ch. 4. sect. 2. Samson's wife, and Ruth, when they were widows, are called children, Antiq. B. V. ch. 8. sect. 6, and ch. 9. sect. 2 3.

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