Who are the descendants of Ishmael?

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By BibleAsk Team


The Descendants of Ismael

The descendants of Ishmael, according to the Bible, are mentioned in the Book of Genesis. Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant. The following passages from the Bible that provide information:

  1. Genesis 16:11-12:“And the Angel of the Lord said to her: ‘Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.'”
  2. Genesis 17:20:“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”
  3. Genesis 25:12-18:“Now this is the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham. And these were the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: The firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael and these were their names, by their towns and their settlements, twelve princes according to their nations. These were the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.'”

According to these passages, Ishmael became the father of twelve princes who founded twelve nations. The names of these nations, as mentioned in Genesis 25:12-18, are Nebajoth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These descendants played a significant role in biblical history and are considered ancestors of various Arab tribes.

Bible References

Nebajoth and Kedar – These names are mentioned together in Isaiah 60:7. Kedar alone appears in several Bible passages, Isaiah 21:16 and Ezekeil 27:21 designating his posterity as an Arabic tribe.

Adbeel – It is recorded elsewhere only 1 Chronicles 1:29. This may be Idibi–il, recorded in cuneiform inscriptions of the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III as a tribe near the border of Egypt.

Mishma – It is linked with the Arabic tribe Isamme’, of the inscriptions of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.

Dumah – It is perhaps a north Arabian oasis often recorded in ancient texts. Its modern name is El Djouf.

Massa – It has been linked to a tribe of northern Arabia, called Mas’u in the cuneiform inscriptions of Mesopotamia.

Hadar – The best Hebrew manuscripts read Hadad, found in cuneiform inscriptions of Chudadu. In Hebrew, the letters equal to “r” and “d” are very similar, and one may easily be mistaken for the other.

Tema – It is recorded in Job 6:19; Isaiah 21:14; and Jeremiah 25:23. This is the modern Teima in northwestern Arabia. In ancient times it was a significant commercial center, and became for some years the place of the Accadian King Nabonidus, father of Belshazzar.

Jetur and Naphish – These names are Found in 1 Chronicles 5:19 fighting the trans-Jordanian tribes of Gad, Manasseh, and Reuben. It is probable that the name Ituraea mentioned in Luke 3:1 as a territory south of Mt. Hermon was taken from Jetur.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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