Ishmael: God hears.
1. Abraham's eldest son, by Hagar the concubine
(Genesis 16:15; 17:23) He
was born at Mamre, when Abraham was eighty-six years of age,
eleven years after his arrival in Canaan
(Genesis 16:3; 21:5) At the
age of thirteen he was circumcised
(Genesis 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
(Genesis 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
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"
(Genesis 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"
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
(Genesis 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
(Genesis 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"
(Jeremiah 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."