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The Archer of Paran: by Josprel (standard:other, 8021 words)
Author: JosprelAdded: Jul 30 2006Views/Reads: 2585/2032Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Jacob and Esau were twins, but a person wouldn’t suspect it by looking at them. Esau, who delighted in the hunt, was their father Isaac's favorite. Jacob, who enjoyed domestic living, was favored by Rebecca, their mother. It led to a volatile conflict.


The Archer of Paran by Josprel 

Chapter One 

The Wilderness of Paran was a wild place. Bounded on three sides by
mountains some 4000 feet high, its limestone tableland reached upward 
some 2000 to 2,500 feet.  Consisting of rolling, gravelly plains it was 
graced with only a few springs of mostly impure water.  The Wady el 
Arish – River of Egypt – also flowed through it, but it was dry most of 
the year.  It was no wonder that, molded by this environment, Ishmael, 
Abram's first-born son, whom Hagar had birthed at the whim of her long 
barren mistress, Sara, Abram's wife, developed into the “wild man” 
predicted by the angel. When finally, through an apparent miracle, Sara 
did bear Abram a son, in a fit of jealous rage against Ishmael, she 
demanded that Abram drive Hagar and her son into the desert. “Ishmael 
shall not share the inheritance with my son, Isaac.  Drive out Hagar 
and her son!” she announced.  Abram reluctantly did so, banishing them, 
with some water and food, into the Wilderness of Paran. When the water 
ran out, Ishmael almost died of thirst. His rescue came when an angelic 
being directed Hagar a source of water. 

On that harsh wilderness playground, Ishmael honed his archery skills,
developing into an archer who could launch an arrow unerringly into his 
prey from a great distance.  He was one who lived for the hunt. As a 
result, he and his mother never lacked for meat. What they did not 
consume, they traded to the frequent caravans that traversed the desert 
routes. Life for them was lonely, but endurable. However, Hagar 
eventually noticed that Ishmael no longer hunted as frequently as he 
once did.  As she mulled the problem, she arrived at a solution. 

“My son, you are a man now and a man needs a wife. You must marry. I
shall arrange for you to take a wife from among the Egyptians, because 
they are my people.” 

“But there are many tribes not far from here like those of my father,
Abram.  Their women know how to exist in the desert. The Egyptians do 
not. They would parish.” 

“Have we perished? Am I not also a woman of Egypt? Who was it that
brought you into manhood?” 

Ishmael lowered his head, giving no response. 

“I ask one more thing, Ishmael, my son. I have never told this before. 
After I conceived you, my mistress, Sarah, beat me so badly that I ran 
away into the desert. I was resting at a water spring and an angel 
found me. He asked me what I was doing there and I told him. He said 
for me to return to Sarah and obey her. 

“This angel promised that the number of my descendants would be so great
that no one will be able to count them. He also told me that I would 
bare a son. He said your name would be “Ishmael.”  Then he said 
something I never understood until now.” 

“What is that, Mother?” 

Hagar took on a pensive look. “He said that you would be a wild man and
your hand will be against every man and every man's hand will be 
against you. And you will dwell in the presence of your brothers.” 

Astonishment played on Ishmael's features.  There was a long silence
before he spoke. 

“Already, I am a wild man. And according to what you have told me, I
also shall be a man without friends – a man who has only enemies!” 

Chapter Two 

“What is her name, Mother?” 

“Have you no tongue, girl? Speak! Tell your husband how you are called!”

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