Yitskaq Ben-Abram (893 - 1073) was the second son of Abram and Hagar. Having been born to Hagar after fouteen years of infertility, he became Abram's favorite son. This would cause strife with Ishmael, but the brothers would reconcile after their mother's death. For the most part, Yitskaq lived in the shadow of his brother's success, taking as a wife his second cousin Ribqah who proved to have fertility problems aleviated by Egyptian medicine.
Yitskaq and Ribqah had twins - Eshu and Yaqob, both of which would produce numerous offspring that would unite against the Egypt some 400 years later in freeing Abrami slaves. Yitskaq, along with his father and son, are revered to this day as the founding fathers of the Yahudi.
The life and times of Yitskaq Ben-Abram
Yitskaq, the second and favorite son of Abram, had been matched to a second cousin. Ribqah, was lovely, and young. Abram and Hagar hoped that she would bring more children to the tribe after Ishmael had moved away to start his own family. However, Ribqah had been unable to have any children. Hagar, having received an herbal treatment from her homeland in order to conceive and bear Yitzkaq, suggested that such a treatment would be good for her new daughter-in-law as well. The family was thrilled when the treatments worked -- doubly so, for Ribqah bore twins!
However, on her trip to Mitsraim, Hagar had become infected with a parasite that slowly weakened her to the point of death. She would not live to see the birth of the twins, but had counseled Ribqah that she had a feeling that the youngest of the two might be the mightier twin. Her suspicions would only be partially right.
As the twins were being born, the second son came literally "on the heals" of the first, his hand grasping the heal of his brother. The two could not have been more different, for the first one was born covered by a fine red hair while his brother was a slick and pale. Ribqah immediately favored the younger, perhaps feeling sorry for him. The firstborn was named `Eshu, meaning "hairy," while the younger had the descriptive name of Yaqob, meaning "suplanter," for he had grabbed that which was not his.
As the youngsters grew, `Eshu was especially close to his father Yitskaq. He became a mighty hunter and herder of cattle. Yaqob, on the other hand, eschewed the wilderness and stayed near the camp, working the garden and the flocks of goats and sheep. He continued to be his mother's favorite. Favoritism, naturally, would lead to decisions based on selfishness.
Before the boys had grown, though, Yitzkaq would lose his father Abram to old age. In the four centuries since the flood, the lifespans of mankind had begun to decline. The earlier generations had even misunderstood the trend and considered the original survivors from the ark to be Gods, even to the point of the independent "creators" of the world. Abram had seen Ur, Noakh's grandson, and knew him to be just a man. And then he had met Sem, Noakh's son and knew that he too was just a man. It had been his belief that mankind "must" have been created by the mere fact of his being a very complicated creature. Abram - and Hagar - had instilled this belief into their children as well. When they buried their father, Yitsqak and `Eshu had reconciled their differences and had drawn closer together.
The sibling rivalry that had characterized the life of Yitsaq, however, passed on to his sons. The main reason of this had been his favoritism. A favorite son had a favorite son, and while not unexpected, the lesson from history had not been learned. Through a series of tricks, in fact, Ribqah and Yaqob had plotted to reverse the favoritism into Yaqob's favor. It turned out that `Eshu was not all that concerned about an "inheritance" since it seemed that he could on his own make a fortune greater than that of his father and grandfather. However, when he was tricked out of both the kind words ("blessing") of his father AND the right of the firstborn to the double portion, it was only out of respect for his father that he did not kill his brother.
Yitskaq would send Yaqob to his homeland to once more choose a bride from among his own people. Yitskaq wished to continue the line of Terah at least one more generation to preserve what he thought were "superior" qualities. Though he could not reverse the Mitsrai blood in his vains, he wished to keep the Khami traits from redefining the family heritage. Yaqob would find where his craftiness came from when he met Laban, his uncle. He would be fooled into marrying an older sister, Leah, when he had expected the lovely Rakhel. It would be over twenty years later, after the birth of thirteen children by two wives and two concubines, that he would return to his father's tribe. On the way back he would meet and reconcile with his brother `Eshu, and the two would re-unite with their father. However, their mother Ribqah had died several years earlier.
Yitskaq would outlive his brother Ishmael by 67 years. After Ishmael's death, he would work to unite the factions of the family. His efforts would form a federation known loosely as the "nation of Yitskaq." When he died at the age of 180, he was the oldest man on earth. His ancestor Eber, had died at the age of 473 years in the land of the Ashuri some 49 years earlier. Some historians in fact use the term "Ebri" to refer to Abrami, but most Abrami reject the term.
The Nation of Yitskaq
See main article: Yitskaq (Nation)
Though the histories of the Abrami people do not exalt Yitsaq as high as his father, it is he that was responsible for uniting the people into a confederation that would one day rival Mitsra and Asshur in power and notoriety. The final third of his long life, it a period of failing health, he would broker a peace among the tribes that would prove a deterent to the rise of Khami peoples in the land around the Jordan River.
The Paleseti tribes mostly stayed on the coast, but occasionally there would be skirmishes over pastureland in the lean years. Yitskaq's son Yaqob had disappointed him, having seen no advantage to selecting from family (Abrami) for his children's spouses, took brides from among the Khami of Pelesti. In doing so, he found that it was not the physical traits that were the most dangerous. The lifestyles of the Palesetim, as well as the "religious" aspects of their belief systems, were far more dangerous. If it had not been for the counsel of Yitskaq, he may not have been able to instill in most of his family a rudimentary understanding that any god but the Creator was not a god but a man. It was this belief, most historians agree, that kept the people together for more than two millennia.