1. Ge 16; 21, son of Abraham and Hagar, B. C. 1910. He was at first regarded as "the son of the promise;" but after the birth and weaning of Isaac he was driven from his father's house, at the age of about seventeen, and took with his mother the way to Egypt her native land. Overcome with heat and thirst, and then miraculously relieved, he remained in the wilderness of Paran, took a wife from Egypt, and was the father of twelve sons, heads of Arab tribes. He seems to have become on friendly terms with Isaac, and to have attended at the bedside of their dying father. At his own death, he was one hundred and thirty-seven years old, Ge 25:9,17.
The Ishmaelites, his posterity, were said, in the days of Moses, to dwell "from Havilah unto Shur that is before Egypt," that is, in the northwestern part of Arabia. See HAVILAH 2. Subsequently they, with the descendants of Joktan, the fourth from Shem, Ge 10:26-29, and Jokshan, the son of Abraham by Keturah, Ge 25:3, and perhaps also of some of the brethren of Joktan and Jokshan, occupied the whole peninsula of Arabia. See ARABIA. They became very numerous and powerful, according to the divine promise, Ge 17:16. The prediction also in Ge 16:12, has been fully verified in their history. Located near their "brethren" the Jews, they have always led a roving, wild, and predatory life. To a great degree unchanged, they are to this day the untamed though tributary masters of the desert. See MIDIANITES.
2. A prince of Judah, who fled to the Ammonites when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Chaldeans. Soon after, he returned and assassinated Gedaliah the governor and many others; but was obliged to flee for his life, Jer 40-41.
God hears. (1.) Abraham's eldest son, by Hagar the concubine (Ge 16:15; 17:23). He was born at Mamre, when Abraham was eighty-six years of age, eleven years after his arrival in Canaan (Ge 16:3; 21:5). At the age of thirteen he was circumcised (Ge 17:25). He grew up a true child of the desert, wild and wayward. On the occasion of the weaning of Isaac his rude and wayward spirit broke out in expressions of insult and mockery (Ge 21:9-10); and Sarah, discovering this, said to Abraham, "Expel this slave and her son." Influenced by a divine admonition, Abraham dismissed Hagar and her son with no more than a skin of water and some bread. The narrative describing this act is one of the most beautiful and touching incidents of patriarchal life (Ge 21:14-16). (See Hagar.)
Ishmael settled in the land of Paran, a region lying between Canaan and the mountains of Sinai; and "God was with him, and he became a great archer" (Ge 21:9-21). He became a great desert chief, but of his history little is recorded. He was about ninety years of age when his father Abraham died, in connection with whose burial he once more for a moment reappears. On this occasion the two brothers met after being long separated. "Isaac with his hundreds of household slaves, Ishmael with his troops of wild retainers and half-savage allies, in all the state of a Bedouin prince, gathered before the cave of Machpelah, in the midst of the men of Heth, to pay the last duties to the 'father of the faithful,' would make a notable subject for an artist" (Ge 25:9). Of the after events of his life but little is known. He died at the age of one hundred and thirty-seven years, but where and when are unknown (Ge 25:17). He had twelve sons, who became the founders of so many Arab tribes or colonies, the Ishmaelites, who spread over the wide desert spaces of Northern Arabia from the Red Sea to the Euphrates (Ge 37:25,27-28; 39:1), "their hand against every man, and every man's hand against them."
(2.) The son of Nethaniah, "of the seed royal" (Jer 40:8,15). He plotted against Gedaliah, and treacherously put him and others to death. He carried off many captives, "and departed to go over to the Ammonites."
(See HAGAR; ISAAC; ABRAHAM) ("God hears"); the name of God is El, "the God of might", in relation to the world at large; not Jehovah, His name in relation to His covenant people.
1. Born of Hagar when Abraham was 86 (Ge 16:15-16), dwelling at Mature. "Jehovah," in covenant with Abraham her husband, "heard her affliction" in the wilderness whither she had fled from Sarah. The angel of Jehovah described Ishmael in a prophecy which history is continually verifying, "he will be a wild man," Hebrew a wild donkey man, i.e. fierce and wild as the donkey of the desert, the type of restless unbridled lawlessness. Job 11:12; 24:5; "behold, as wild donkeys in the desert, go they forth to their work, rising betimes for a prey (for traveling in the East is at an early hour, to be before the heat): the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children"; i.e., these Bedouin robbers, with the unbridled wildness of the donkey of the desert, go thither. Robbery is "their work"; the wilderness which yields no food to other men "yieldeth food for them" by the plunder of caravans.
His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; an exact picture of Bedouin life." Many conquerors have marched into the Arabian wilderness, but they have never been able to catch this wild donkey and to tame him" (Baumgarten). "And he shall dwell in the presence of (in front of) his brethren," in close proximity to their kindred races, hovering round, but never mingling with them, never disappearing by withdrawal to some remote region, but remaining in that high table land S.E. of Judaea to which Judea may be said to look. Or else "to the E. (for as the orientals faced toward the E. in taking the points of the compass, the front meant the E.) of his brethren." In Job 1:3 the Arabs are called "the sons of the East." Ishmael was circumcised at 13 (Ge 17:25), at which age Arabs and Muslims therefore still circumcise.
Abraham's love for him appears in his exclaiming, upon God's giving the promise of seed by Sarah, then 90, Abraham himself being 100, "Oh that Ishamel might live before Thee!" whether the words mean that he desires that Ishmael (instead of the seed promised to Sarah) might be heir of the promises, or, as is more consonant with Abraham's faith, that Ishmael might be accepted before God so as to share in blessings. Then God promised: "I have blessed him, ... twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation" (compare Ge 25:12-17). See ISAAC on Ishmael's expulsion for "mocking," and (See HAGAR on Ishmael being called a "child," or "lad" (Ge 25:14-15,17), being at the time 15 or 16; the bread and bottle, but not the child, were "put on her shoulder.")
After God's saving them they "dwelt in the wilderness of Paran," the El Tih, the desert of Israel's wanderings; stretching from the wady Arabah on the E. to the gulf of Suez on the W., and from Sinai on the S. to Palestine on the N. According to eastern usage she, as a parent, chose a wife for her son, an Egyptian, possibly the mother of his 12 sons; rabbinical and Arab tradition give him a second wife; the daughter being termed "sister of Nebaioth" implies probably that the other brothers had a different mother. Esau married his daughter Mahalath before Ishmael's death, for it is written "Esau went unto Ishmael" (Ge 28:9). At 137 Ishmael "died in the presence of all his brethren" (Ge 25:17-18); i.e., fulfilling the prediction of the angel of Jehovah to Hagar (see above), Ishmael died, his nomad descendants stretching from Havilah S.E. and Shur S.W. toward the N.E., i.e. Assyria, in fact traversing the whole Arabian desert from the Euphrates to the Red Sea.
Ishmael himself cannot have settled far from Abraham's neighbourhood, for he joined with Isaac in the burial of his father (Ge 25:9), and burial in the East follows a few hours after death. Ishmael first went into the wilderness of Beersheba, then into that of Paran. "The East country" unto which Abraham sent away his sons by concubines, not to be in the way of Isaac, must therefore have been in those regions (Ge 25:6,18). The people of Arabia are called "children of the East," Bene Kedem (Jg 6:3; Job 1:3), in modern times Saracens, i.e. "Easterns" (See EAST.) Ishmael's 12 sons enumerated Ge 25:13-15 were fathers of tribes, as "their towns and their castles," or rather "hamlets," called after them, imply (Nu 31:10). These "hamlets" were collections of rude dwellings of stones piled on one another and covered with tent cloths, often ranged in a circle. (See HAZEROTH.)
The Bible does not, as scepticism asserts, state that all the Arabs sprang from Ishmael. Nay, Joktanites and even Cushites in the S. and S.E. form a large element in Arab blood. In all the northern tribes which are of Ishmaelite descent, the characteristics foretold appear, they are "wild ... their hand against every man, and every man's hand against them"; but in S. Arabia, where Joktanite and other blood exists, these characteristics are less seen. The Ishmaelite element is the chief one of the Arab nation, as the native traditions before Muhammed and the language concur with the Bible in proving. The pagan law of blood revenge necessitates every Arab's knowing the names of his ancestors for four generations, so that the race is well defined.
The term" Ishmaelites" was applied in course of time to the Midianites, sprung from Abraham and Keturah, and not from Ishmael, because the Ishmaelites being the more powerful tribe gave their name as a general one to neighbouring associated tribes (Ge 37:25,28,36; Ps 83:6), the nomad tribes of Arabia (Jg 8:24). Before Muhammed, religion in the middle and S. of Arabia was fetish and cosmic worship, but in the N. relics of the primitive faith of Ishmael survived, and numbers became Karaite Jews or held the corrupt form of Christianity which was all they knew of it. The dissatisfaction felt with both of these creeds pioneered the way for Muhammed's success. The Arab conquerors have won a hundred thrones and established their Mohamedanism from the Senegal to the Indus, from the Euphrates to the Indian Ocean.
3. 2Ch 19:11.
4. 2Ch 23:1.
5. 2Ch 10:19.
6. Son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama of the seed royal of Judah (Jer 40:7-16;Jer 40:15; 2Ki 25:23-25). Possibly descended from Elishama, David's son (2Sa 5:16). During the siege of Jerusalem Ishmael had fled to Baalis, king of Ammon, E. of Jordan. Probably Ishmael was of Ammonite blood on the mother's side, as some Jewish kings had Ammonite women in their harem (1Ki 11:1). Baalis (called from the idol Baal) his host, urged him to slay Gedaliah who under the Babylonian king governed Judaea and the population which had not been carried away. Ishmael's royal descent fired his envy and ambition; hence, he lent a ready ear to the plot proposed by the ancient foe of Judah. Ishmael as well as the brothers Johanan and Jonathan, sons of Kareah, had commanded separate bands which watched the issue of the siege from the S.E. side of Jordan; "the forces in the fields," i.e. the pasture grounds of Moab (Jer 40:7,13), the modern Belka.
These captains crossed the Jordan to pay their respects to Gedaliah at Mizpah, N. of Jerusalem, upon his appointment. In spite of Johanan's open warning of Ishmael's intention, and even private offer to slay Ishmael in order to avert the death of Gedaliah and its evil consequences to the Jewish remnant, the latter in generous unsuspiciousness refused to believe the statement. Thirty days after, in the seventh month Ishmael and "ten men, princes of the king," at an hospitable entertainment given them by Gedaliah slew him with such secrecy that no alarm was given (compare Ps 41:9), and then slew the Jews and Chaldeans, the men of war immediately about his person (not the rest, Jer 40:16), with him. Jeremiah, who usually was residing there, was providentially elsewhere. No man knew it outside Mizpah for a time.
So on the second day fourscore devotees with shaven beards, rent clothes, having cut themselves with pagan mutilations (see Le 19:27-28; De 14:1), were seen by Ishmael from the higher ground on which he was, advancing from the N. with offerings and incense in
1. The son of Abraham by Hagar. His name, which means 'May God hear,' was decided upon before his birth (Ge 16:11). As in the case of the history of his mother, three documentary sources are used by the narrator. Jahwist supplied Ge 16:4-14, Elohist Ge 21:8-21, whilst Padds such links as Ge 16:15 f., Ge 17:18-27; 25:7-10,12-17. For the story of his life up to his settlement in the wilderness of Paran, the northern part of the Sinaitic peninsula, see Hagar. At the age of thirteen he was circumcised on the same day as his father (Ge 17:25 f.). In Paran he married an Egyptian wife, and became famous as an archer (Ge 21:20 f.). No other incident is recorded, except that he was associated with his step-brother in the burial of their father (Ge 25:9), and himself died at the age of 137 (Ge 25:17).
Ishmael had been resolved into a conjectural personification of the founder of a group of tribes; but the narrative is too vivid in its portrayal of incident and character, and too true in its psychological treatment, to support that view. That there is some idealization in the particulars is possible. Tribal rivalry may have undesignedly coloured the presentment of Sarah's jealousy. The little discrepancies between the documents point to a variety of human standpoints, and are as explicable upon the implication of historicity as upon the theory of personification. The note of all the recorded passions and promptings is naturalness; and the obvious intention of the narrative, with the impression produced upon an uncommitted reader, is that of an attempt at actual biography rather than at the construction of an artificial explanation of certain relationships of race.
In regard to the so-called Ishmaelites, the case is not so clear. Ishmael is represented as the father of twelve sons (Ge 25:12-16; 1Ch 1:29-31), and the phrase 'twelve princes according to their nations' (cf. Ge 17:20) almost suggests an attempt on the part of the writer at an exhibition of his view of racial origins. A further complication arises from the confusion of Ishmaelites and Midianites (Ge 37:28 ff., Jg 8:24,26), though the two are distinguished in the genealogies of Ge 25:1,4,13. Branches of the descendants of the two step-brothers may have combined through similarity of habit and location, and been known sometimes by the one name, and sometimes by the other; but there was clearly no permanent fusion of the two families. Nor is it possible to say whether at any time a religious confederation of twelve tribes was formed under the name of Ishmael, or if the name was adopted, because of its prominence, for the protection of some weaker tribes. The scheme may have even less basis in history, and be but part of an ethnic theory by which the Hebrew genealogists sought to explain the relationships of their neighbours to one another, and to the Hebrews themselves. A dozen tribes, scattered over the Sinaitic peninsula and the districts east of the Jordan, because of some similarity in civilization or language, or in some cases possibly under the influence of correct tradition, are grouped as kinsmen, being sons of Abraham, but of inferior status, as being descended from the son of a handmaid. That the differences from the pure Hebrew were thought to be strongly Egyptian in their character or source, is indicated by the statement that Ishmael's mother and his wife were both Egyptians. The Ishmaelites soon disappear from Scripture. There are a few individuals described as of that nationality (1Ch 2:17; 27:30); but in later times the word could be used metaphorically of any hostile people (Ps 83:6).
2. A son of Azel, a descendant of Saul through Jonathan (1Ch 8:38; 9:44). 3. Ancestor of the Zebadiah who was one of Jehoshaphat's judicial officers (2Ch 19:11). 4. A military officer associated with Jehoiada in the revolution in favour of Joash (2Ch 23:1). 5. A member of the royal house of David who took the principal part in the murder of Gedaliah (Jer 41:1-2). The story is told in Jer 40:7 to Jer 41:15, with a summary in 2Ki 25:23-26. It is probable that Ishmael resented Nebuchadnezzar's appointment of Gedaliah as governor of Jud
1. Son of Abraham and Hagar the bondmaid of Sarah. Before he was born, when Hagar ran away because of the severity of her mistress, the angel of the Lord appeared to her, and told her to return to her mistress: her seed should be numberless, and she was to call her son's name Ishmael, which signifies 'El shall hear.' He would be a wild man, his hand would be against every man, and every man's hand against him. Abraham prayed that Ishmael might live before God, but typically he represents the seed of Abraham according to the flesh, hence though God answered that He would bless Ishmael, and multiply him exceedingly, he should also beget twelve princes, and God would make him a great nation; yet the covenant should be established with Isaac. When Ishmael was thirteen years old Abraham circumcised him, and all the men of his house. In this act Abraham acknowledged in faith that the blessing asked for his natural seed could not be had through the strength of the flesh: all the mercies of God are secured in resurrection.
At the 'great feast' when Isaac, the child born after the Spirit, was weaned, Ishmael mocked, and Sarah besought Abraham to cast out both mother and son. This was grievous to Abraham, but God, having approved the suggestion, he rose early in the morning, and providing them with some bread and a bottle of water he sent them away. The water was soon consumed, and Hagar in despair placed Ishmael under a shrub, and departed so as not to see him die. The angel of God called to her, showed her a well, and the child was saved. God was with the lad, for he was the seed of Abraham; he dwelt in the wilderness and became an archer. At first he was located in the wilderness of Beer-sheba and afterwards at Paran, a region between Canaan and mount Sinai. His mother chose a woman of Egypt for his wife. His twelve sons are recorded, and their 'towns ' and 'castles,' or encampments, according to their nations, are spoken of. Ishmael was present at the burial of his father and lived 137 years. Ge 16:11-16; 17:18-26; 25:9-17; 28:9; 36:3; 1Ch 1:28-31.
The Bedouin Arabs are doubtless the descendants of Ishmael. They are wild men in the sense of their love of freedom, dwelling in tents, and riding over the desert, spear in hand. They truly are 'against every man,' robbing every one when they can do so with safety to themselves. The Bedouins will not admit their descent from Ishmael; they refer his descendants to the Most (or mixed) Arabians, because Ishmael's mother was an Egyptian. The Bedouins claim to have descended from Joktan, son of Eber. Ge 10:25.
3. Father of Zebadiah a ruler under Jehoshaphat. 2Ch 19:11.
4. Son of Jehohanan, and one of the 'captains of hundreds' who assisted in setting Joash on the throne. 2Ch 23:1.
5. Priest who had married a strange wife. Ezr 10:22.
6. Son of Nethaniah, of the 'seed royal,' but of what family is not known. His craft and ferocity show that he was unworthy of a throne. He treacherously slew Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the cities of Judah, and all the Jews that were with him in Mizpah. He followed up this crime by the cruel and treacherous murder of eighty men from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria, who were bringing gifts to the temple, only ten being spared. He then carried away captive all that were left in Mizpah, and departed to go over to the Ammonites; but Johanan the son of Kareah, and those with him, rescued the captives. Ishmael escaped and is heard of no more. 2Ki 25:23-25; Jer 40:8-16; 41.
(whom God hears).
1. The son of Abraham by Hagar the Egyptian his concubine; born when Abraham was fourscore and six years old.
(B.C. 1910.) Ishmael was the first-born of his father. He was born in Abraham's house when he dwelt in the plain of Mamre; and on the institution of the covenant of circumcision, was circumcised, he being then thirteen years old
With the institution of the covenant, God renewed his promise respecting Ishmael. He does not again appear in the narrative until the weaning of Isaac. At the great feast made in celebration of the weaning, "Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had borne unto Abraham, mocking," and urged Abraham to cast him and his mother out. Comforted by the renewal of God's promise to make of Ishmael a great nation, Abraham sent them away, and they departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. His mother took Ishmael a wife out of the land of Egypt."
This wife of Ishmael was the mother of the twelve sons and one daughter. Of the later life of Ishmael we know little. He was present with Isaac at the burial of Abraham. He died at the age of 137 years.
The sons of Ishmael peopled the north and west of the Arabian peninsula, and eventually formed the chief element of the Arab nation, the wandering Bedouin tribes. They are now mostly Mohammedans who look to him as their spiritual father, as the Jews look to Abraham. Their language, which is generally acknowledged to have been the Arabic community so called, has been adopted with insignificant exceptions throughout Arabia. The term "Ishmaelite" occur on three occasions:
2. One of the sons of Azel, a descendant of Saul through Meribbaal or Mephibosheth.
3. A man of Judah, father of Zebadiah.
4. Another man of Judah, son of Jehohanan; one of the captains of hundreds who assisted Jehoiada in restoring Joash to the throne.
5. A priest of the Bene-Pashur, who was forced by Ezra to relinquish his foreign wife.
6. The son of Nethaniah; a perfect marvel of craft and villainy, whose treachery forms one of the chief episodes of the history of the period immediately succeeding the first fall of Jerusalem. His exploits are related in
with a short summary. During the siege of the city he had fled across the Jordan where he found a refuge at the court of Baalis. After the departure of the Chaldeans, Ishmael made no secret of his intention to kill the superintendent left by the king of Babylon and usurp his position. Of this Zedaliah was warned in express terms by Johanan and his companions, but notwithstanding entertained Ishmael and his followers at a feast,
during which Ishmael murdered Gedaliah and all his attendants. The same night he killed all Zedaliah's establishment, including some Chaldean soldiers who were there. For two days the massacre remained entirely unknown to the people of the town. On the second day eighty devotees were bringing incense and offerings to the ruins of the temple. At his invitation they turned aside to the residence of the superintendent, and there Ishmael and his band butchered nearly the whole number: ten only escaped by offering a heavy ransom for their lives. This done he descended to the town, surprised and carried off the daughters of King Zedekiah, who had been sent there by Nebuchadnezzar for safety, with their eunuchs and their Chaldean guard,
and all the people of the town, and made off with his prisoners to the country of the Ammonites. The news of the massacre had by this time got abroad, and Ishmael was quickly pursued by Johanan and his companions. He was attacked, two of his bravos slain, the whole of the prey recovered; and Ishmael himself with the remaining eight of his people, escaped to the Ammonites.