Ishmael and the Ishmaelites

Ishmael: Father of the Ishmaelites

Ishmaelites were recorded as the descendants of Ishmael in the Bible. Ishmael was the elder brother of Isaac. He was the son of the 86-year-old Abraham from Hagar, the personal handmaid of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. According to the Bible, Sarah and Abraham who were then called Sarai and Abram were aging and childless. So, for Abraham to have an heir, Sarah gave Hagar to him to become his second wife and be the mother of his heir. Ishmael is located on the Bible Timeline Poster at 1911 BC

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Ishmael, could mean “may God hear,” was circumcised at the age of thirteen. He was an archer and survived in the rough country of Shur before marrying an Egyptian lady. He was seen as an influential character in Islam being the eldest son of Abraham and the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad.

He was blessed by the Lord and was promised twelve sons that would create him a “great nation”. True to his words, the Lord gave Ishmael twelve sons, namely; Nabajoth, Kedar, Abdeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kademah all became the forefathers of many nations. Ishmael died at age 137.

The Ishmaelites

The Ishmaelites were a nomadic nation who dwelt in the untamed country of Shur which is presently located in Saudi Arabia. The ancient capital of Shur was Midian now situated at Al-Bad.

The Ishmaelites were merchants who traded spices touring from Gilead to Egypt while riding on their camels.

Ishmael and his mother Hagar in the desert

They were associated with the Midianites, Amalekites, and with the other nations conquered by Gideon. They were also associated to the Edomites, Moabites, and Hagrites.

Biblical Accounts of the Ishmaelites

In Genesis, it is mentioned that the Ishmaelites were able to conquer the huge area of northern Havilah starting from Shur up to Assyria. The peak of their power was seen in the Midrashic evidence like the Sefer Ha-Yashar that described the Ishmaelites campaign and success against the people of Tarshish.

There were hardly any written records about the Ismaelites after the reign of King David aside from an account in the book of Jubilees that states the Ishmaelites mixed with the other nations. They lived with the Midianites according to the book of Judges while some were believed to have assimilated with the Israelites.

The book of Jubilees further mentioned Ishmaelites living with the people of Keturah, also a descendant of Abraham occupying the lands of Paran up to Babylon and were known as the Arabs and Ishmaelites. The Arab nation mentioned in this account pointed to the Nabateans and not the present day Arab people living in the south portion of Arabia.

Ishmaelite references in the Bible

  • Genesis 37.25. The Ishmaelites as caravan traders who travelled with their camels from Gilead to Egypt bringing with them the goods like spices, balm, and myrrh.
  • Genesis 37:28. Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites for the amount of 20 shekels of silver.
  • Judges 8:24. The Ishmaelites used to wear gold earrings.
  • 2 Samuel 17:25, 1 Chronicles 2:17. The Ishmaelite Jether and Abigail who was the aunt of Joab were the parents of Amasa, who headed the armies replacing Joab by appointment of Absalom.
  • 1 Chronicles 27:30. The Ishmaelite Obil was the one responsible for looking after the camels.
  • Psalm 83:6. The Ishmaelites associated with the Edomites, Moabites, and Hagrites.
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9 thoughts on “Ishmael and the Ishmaelites

  1. Excellent entry. Clear, concise, well organized. Contains all that it should and nothing unnecessary. Thanks.

    1. Ishmaelites come closer to the truth.
      Hear the prophets.
      Trust the sacrifice.
      Therefore will He give them up, Until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth;
      Then the residue of his brethren shall return with the children of Israel. Micah 5:3

      The brothers of the first born, Ishmael, the Arabic nation are the brethren or brothers of Israel. The true Israel are scattered around the world.

      1. A lot of what is mentioned in this website regarding ismael’s descendants is based on speculation.There’s no archeological proof and nothing in forensic technology to prove that Arabs are descendants of ismael.

        1. Are you out of your mind? It is a consensus among all contemporary scholars that Arabs are descendants of Ishmael. You are making an outrageous claim. The Children of Israel and the Arabs are related through their common father Abraham. No one says what you say Hani. It seems as if you have an agenda.

    2. The Muslim scholars falsely claim that Arabs descended from Abraham,when there’s no proof of that whatsoever.

    3. Finally,I want to mention that Arabs are not in any way related to Jews.Presently the oldest living Jewish descendants of Jacob live in Iran ( many in the southern part of that country).The Arabs who are mixed with many East African subgroups like the eriterians and even Ethiopians didn’t really have any offspring previously that were connected to the present Jews I previously described.There is no dna evidence also proving they could be related.So if the present Jews as I described in this comment could somehow trace their dna, then why haven’t they confirmed what the Arabs are saying today.It would make sense to say that the Arabs need the Jews to confirm and not the other way around.Meaning the Arabs are only certain of 2 men, named Adnan as well Qahtan.So how then do the Arabs today figure they could be related to ismael when their dna doesn’t tie them to Abraham since the Jews as I described in this article have proof that is widely proven to be true.

  2. From Gods promise to Ishmael, I am inclined to believe that the family of Abraham’s first son Ishmael transcended from the time he and his mother Hagar left Abraham; approximately (1911 BC) into a Nation called Ishmalites. And as I read in the Book of Mormon, the descendants of the Nation of Ishmael did cross over what is now known as the Atlantic Ocean into South America. This, the era of the crossing started approximately (600 BC) with both families making the crossing together. (Book of Mormon vs used for citations) 1Nephi Chapter 7..vs 22. And it came to pass that we did come down unto the tent of our father. And after I and my brethren and all the house of Ishmael had come down unto the tent of my father, they did give thanks unto the Lord their God; and they did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto him. This chapter and verse was before the building of their ships and the crossing over. Now hear we have a Jewish or Israelite family conjoining to make a new Nation. This is not the gist of what happened to start this excursion, i.e. Joseph, was said by the historical plates to be an ancestor of Lehi the father of Nephi, Samuel, Laman and Lemuel. (Book of Mormon vs used for citations)Chapter 6 Nephi writes of the things of God—Nephi’s purpose is to persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham and be saved. About 600–592 B.C.

    1 And now I, Nephi, do not give the genealogy of my fathers in this part of my record; neither at any time shall I give it after upon these plates which I am writing; for it is given in the record which has been kept by my father; wherefore, I do not write it in this work.

    2 For it sufficeth me to say that we are descendants of Joseph.

    The reason is plain, I see this as being the truth, and also it seems that the Book of Mormon correlates its history with the Holy Bible; it also correlates its story with the Holy Quran in that in the Quran it expounds on The People of the Book???
    Qur’an 3:18-20 Surah Ale-‘Imran (The Family of ‘Imran)
    There is no God but He: that is the witness of God His angels and those endued with knowledge standing firm on justice. There is no God but He the Exalted in Power the Wise.
    The Religion before God is Islam (total submission to His will): nor did the people of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of God, God is swift in calling to account.
    So if they dispute with thee say: “I have submitted my whole self to God and so have those who follow me.” And say to the people of the Book and to those who are unlearned: “Do ye (also) submit yourselves?” If they do they are in right guidance but if they turn back thy duty is to convey the Message; and in God’s sight are (all) His servants. (The name of Allah was edited out by myself and God was inserted in its place.) As per the Holy Bible and the book of Mormon’s the timeline Jesus Christ who had Ascended to Heaven in the Holy-land approximately 2400 years ago did come down again approximately 1800 yrs ago to the South America’s with the Gospel again; as these lost sheep were in the America’s when all others were in the other parts of the Globe; the Holy-land.
    John Chapter 10–16th vs..King James Bible And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
    This is just a few thoughts of my research, comments a corrections are welcomed; for this will be a part of a talk session.

    1. Bashemath bint Ishmael married Esau ben Isaac (twin with Jacob) Bashemath bint Ishmael’s father was Ishmael ben Abraham or the firstborn of Abraham’s children, and his mother was Hagar.

      You have confused which Ishmael went with the Prophet Lehi and his wife to Central America, not South America.
      The date of Ishmael who left with Levi who was going across the Ocean was just prior to Jerusalem being destroyed about 600 BC.

    2. Ishmael ben Abraham was Abraham’s firstborn. He was born in 1889 BC in Canaan and died in 1752 BC in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He married an Egyptian wife. and Bashemath bint Ishmael was their daughter.

      The Ismael who traveled with the Prophet Lehi and his wife Sarah left Jerusalem during the same time that the Prophet Jeremiah (a Levite) whose departure was about 600 BC. That Ismael died in Nahom on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula.

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