The Sending …
“But to the sons of the concubines of Abraham, Abraham gave gifts. And he sent them away from Isaac during his life — eastward, to the land in the east.”
Before Abraham sends his sons (those not of Sarah) away, he gives to each gifts — a practice that is remarkably ahead of his time. Many today seek to give a portion of their estate to their children while they are still living — this has tax benefits and gives you control over the disbursements — but Abraham’s purpose is rather different. Isaac will inherit his estate — he will be the one to assume responsibility for this great and wonderful promise that God has given to Abraham in terms of the covenant and the wealth that has been given in the context of the covenant. Upon Abraham’s death, there will be no squabbles over nick-knacks, but all will fall to Isaac.
Yet, Abraham still provides for his other sons. They are his children and this is a fulfillment of the covenant that God made to him at the very time of his calling — I will make you a blessing (Genesis 12:1). Thus, the account of Abraham’s life ends the way it began … with a focus on the nations finding their hope and blessing in the line of Abraham. And Paul writes that we who find our hope in Jesus Christ are counted as children of Abraham and thus heirs to the promise (Galatians 3:29). Again, while we tend to react to the sparkle of gold and wealth; those who are found in Christ have discovered what wealth truly is.
Thus, with their wealth, the descendants of Abraham head to the east and form many of the Arab tribes that will end up coming back to haunt the people of Israel, but that is an account for another day. Now, once all things are settled and each son is provided for and sent off to the east to find his own fortune, Abraham will finally be ready to lay down and rest, shuffling off this mortal coil and joining Sarah in the presence of the Almighty God who called him out of his homeland and would establish his line in Canaan — a God whom he called, “Friend” (James 2:23).