©2000 American Bible Society/Photo by Sandor ACS

A stern Abraham points the way to the wilderness, in Israeli artist Lika Tov’s “Hagar,” a 1992 collograph (a print made from an inked collage). In Genesis 21:10, Sarah commands Abraham: “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” In Tov’s print, Ishmael casts a sad eye on the home he has known all his life, while Hagar presses forward. Ishmael will return home only once, to help Isaac bury their father. In the Bible, Isaac becomes the ancestor of Israel; God’s covenant with Abraham is carried through him. Ishmael’s heirs are the Arabs.

The Qur’an relates no such fractured family history. There is no mention of the boys having different mothers, no expulsion of Hagar, no question of an inheritance and no covenant.

(BR readers may recognize artist Tov’s family name: Her husband, Emanuel Tov, is editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scroll publication project.)