Scala/Art Resource, NY
As Curt Leviant notes, Ishmael’s brush with death, recounted in Genesis 21, bears striking parallels to the near-sacrifice of Isaac, known in Jewish tradition as the akedah, or binding of Isaac. The Bible employs similar expressions and the same word order to record the near-death experiences of both boys: Both accounts begin with God commanding Abraham to take action with regard to his sons. Once Isaac and Ishmael’s survival is assured by an angel, God gives a blessing and a promise of greatness to both children. Thus Abraham is elevated as the father of not one, but two, peoples.