Genesis 21:8

Genesis 21:8

And the child grew, and was weaned
He throve under the nursing of its mother, and through the blessing of God upon him; and being healthy and robust, and capable of digesting stronger food, and living upon it, he was weaned from the breast: at what age Isaac was when weaned is not certain, there being no fixed time for such an affair, but it was at the discretion of parents, and as they liked it, and the case of their children required; and in those times, when men lived to a greater age than now, they might not be weaned so early, as we find their marrying and begetting children were when they were more advanced in years. The Jewish writers are not agreed about this matter. Jarchi and Ben Melech say that Isaac was weaned twenty four months after his birth; a chronologer of theirs says F17 it was in the hundred and third year of Abraham, that is, when Isaac was three years old, which agrees with the Apocrypha: ``But she bowing herself toward him, laughing the cruel tyrant to scorn, spake in her country language on this manner; O my son, have pity upon me that bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee such three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age, and endured the troubles of education.'' (2 Maccabees 7:27) According to Jerom F18, it was the opinion of some of the Hebrews that he was five years old; and at this age Bishop Usher F19 places the weaning of him; for to make him ten or twelve years of age, as some of the Rabbins do F20, when this was done, is very unlikely. Philo the Jew


FOOTNOTES:

F21 makes him to be seven years of age at this time: and Abraham made a great feast the [same] day that Isaac was weaned;
because he had now escaped the dangers of infancy, and had gone through or got over those disorders infants are exposed unto, and had his health confirmed, and there was great likelihood of his living and becoming a man, since now he could eat and digest more solid and substantial food; and this was great joy to Abraham, which he expressed by making a grand and sumptuous entertainment for his family, and for his neighbours, whom he might invite upon this occasion. Jarchi says, the great men of that age were at it, even Heber and Abimelech. The Jews very impertinently produce this passage, to show the obligation they lie under to make a feast at the circumcision of their infants {w}; for this was not at Isaac's circumcision, but at his weaning.
F17 R. Gedaliah, Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 2. 2.
F18 Quaestion. in Genesin, fol. 68. K. tom. 3.
F19 Annal. Vet Test. p. 9.
F20 Pirke Eliezer, c. 30. Vid. Hieron. Quaest. ut supra. (in Genesin, fol. 68. K. tom. 3.)
F21 De his Verb. Resipuit. Noe, p. 275.
F23 Pirke Eliezer, c. 29. fol. 30. 1.
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