Here is more on Abraham, by Bruce Feiler. St. Peter's Helpers asked about the Islamic view of Abraham and it got me thinking about the dichotomy of Ishmael and Isaac.
Apparently, the Koran doesn't specifically name either Isaac or Ishmael as the "favored son" God asks Abraham to sacrifice, but many Muslims believe that it was not Isaac, but Ishmael who was bound and brought on the mountain.
The book does put forth the idea that Scripture has a balance between Isaac and Ishmael, and indeed, between many eldest/younger son pairs. Often, the eldest don't inherit as the custom or law assumes they will. The eldest are often banished or tricked out of their inheritance and the younger often inherits in the eldest's place.
Again, we seem to have the theme of upheaval and alien-ness with God's constant presence as an over riding theme. God does not seem to promise an easy life, but life is made meaningful through God, even in its apparent lack of logic.