Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 27:41-42

41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.

The idea of feuding brothers seems to be a recurring theme in the Old Testament. First Cain and Abel, then Ishmael and Isaac, now Jacob and Esau. And in each of these cases either one of the brothers had to leave to preserve the peace, or else a death occurred.

Soon we will also have Joseph’s brothers contemplating murdering him and selling him into Egypt. It seems that Jesus was also rejected by his own brothers. In the Book of Mormon Nephi is conspired against by his brothers Laman and Lemuel. And multiple times we will hear of princes that slay their brethren to take the throne for themselves.

The feuding of brothers is representative of the struggle between all mankind. There is a natural competition within us. Perhaps every child is born equal, but quickly we become aware of all the things that we do not have, and we strive for the advantage over each other.

Even Jesus’s disciples had a competitive spirit, wondering which of them would be greatest in their master’s kingdom, and Jesus had to curtail that rivalry. He reproved them and also assured them with the words “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Which to me is a message of how Heaven is not like earth. Its resources and inheritances are infinite, so competition has no purpose. In Heaven there is room enough for us all.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 16:4, 6, 7, 11-12, 15

4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

7 And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

11 And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.

12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

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

Hagar’s success in conceiving a son became a point of competition between her and Sarai, not an unusual thing in these Biblical records. When Sarai dealt harshly with her, Hagar ran away, but while out in the wilderness she was met by an angel who told her to return and pronounced the future of her posterity.

Ultimately Hagar was not to bear the covenant line. This was the Lord’s domain, and He had chosen to reserve the promised blessings for Isaac. But Hagar and Ishmael were not forgotten by the Lord, He had reserved a destiny for them as well.

Hagar and her son were to become vagabonds, their path would be fraught with hardship and competition, just as Hagar had competed with Sarai, but in the end they would become one of the most prolific cultures in the entire world. Today the Islamic way of life, which perpetuates from Ishmael’s line, is second only to Christianity, comprising about a quarter of the entire world population! Hagar may have met the angel in a very humbling circumstance, but a storied and epic destiny awaited her posterity.