After the great flood the family of Noah and those who came after him grew in number,
until, as the years went on, the earth began to be full of people once more. But there was
one great difference between the people who had lived before the flood and those who lived
after it. Before the flood, all the people stayed close together, so that very many lived
in one land, and no one lived in other lands. After the flood families began to move from
one place to another, seeking for themselves new homes. Some went one way, and some
another, so that as the number of people grew, they covered much more of the earth than
those who had lived before the flood.
Part of the people went up to the north and built a city called Nineveh, which became
the ruling city of a great land called Assyria, whose people were called Assyrians.
Another company went away to the west and settled by the great river Nile, and founded
the land of Egypt, with its strange temples and pyramids, its sphinx and its monuments.
Another company wandered northwest until they came to the shore of the great sea which
they called the Mediterranean Sea. There they founded the cities of Sidon and Tyre, where
the people were sailors, sailing to countries far away, and bringing home many things from
other lands to sell to the people of Babylon, and Assyria, and Egypt, and other countries.
Among the many cities which the people built were two called Sodom and Gomorrah. The
people in these cities were very wicked and were nearly all destroyed. One good man named
Lot and his family escaped. There was another good man named Abraham who did not live in
these cities. He tried to do God's will and was promised a son to bring joy into his
After Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Abraham moved his tent and his camp away from
that part of the land, and went to live near a place called Gerar, in the southwest, not
far from the Great Sea. And there at last, the child whom God had promised to Abraham and
Sarah, his wife, was born, when Abraham, his father, was a very old man.
They named this child Isaac, as the angel had told them he should be named. And Abraham
and Sarah were so happy to have a little boy, that after a time they gave a great feast
and invited all the people to come and rejoice with them, and all in honor of the little
Now Sarah had a maid named Hagar, an Egyptian woman, who ran away from her mistress,
and saw an angel by a well, and afterward came back to Sarah. She, too, had a child and
his name was Ishmael. So now there were two boys in Abraham's tent, the older boy,
Ishmael, the son of Hagar, and the younger boy, Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah.
Ishmael did not like the little Isaac, and did not treat him kindly. This made his
mother Sarah very angry, and she said to her husband:
"I do not wish to have this boy Ishmael growing up with my son Isaac. Send away
Hagar and her boy, for they are a trouble to me."
And Abraham felt very sorry to have trouble come between Sarah and Hagar, and between
Isaac and Ishmael; for Abraham was a kind and good man, and he was friendly to them all.
But the Lord said to Abraham, "Do not be troubled about Ishmael and his mother. Do
as Sarah has asked you to do, and send them away. It is best that Isaac should be left
alone in your tent, for he is to receive everything that is yours. I the Lord will take
care of Ishmael, and will make a great people of his descendants, those who shall come
So the next morning Abraham sent Hagar and her boy away, expecting them to go back to
the land of Egypt, from which Hagar had come. He gave them some food for the journey, and
a bottle of water to drink by the way. The bottles in that country are not like ours, made
of glass. They are made from the skin of a goat. One of these skin-bottles Abraham filled
with water and gave to Hagar.
And Hagar went away from Abraham's tent, leading her little boy. But in some way she
lost the road, and wandered over the desert, not knowing where she was, until all the
water in the bottle was used up; and her poor boy in the hot sun and the burning sand had
nothing to drink. She thought that he would die of his terrible thirst; and she laid him
down under a little bush; and then she went away, for she said to herself: