The spread of Ishmael’s sons are mentioned on the Biblical Timeline Chart between 1500 and 1400 BC
Ishmael is the product of Abraham (then named Abram) and Sarah’s (then named Sarai) carnal plan to have children. Although God promised Abraham that he would not die childless, his wife felt that God had restrained her from having children and asked Abraham to have a child with her handmaid Hagar (Genesis 16:2). Years after Isaac was born, God-promised heir, Sarah asked Abraham to send Ishmael away so that he would not be heir with her son. Upon sending Ishmael away, God promised Abraham that He would make Ishmael a nation because he was Abraham’s seed (Genesis 21:13).
Ishmael was 137 when he died and had 12 sons. In descending order, they are Nebajoth, and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadad and Tema, and Jetur, and Naphish and Kedmah. After their father’s death, the sons lived between Havilah and Shur. The Bible states that Ismael gave up the ghost and was buried with his people. This indicates that Ishmael died a believer in God.
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As for Ismael’s sons, little information is given on them. Although they dwelled in the Arabian Desert, Biblical and history scholars don’t believe they were alone. Of all the sons, the most is known about Nebajoth. Mentioned specifically by the Jewish historian Josephus, the Nabataeans lived in Nabatene. That’s the area between the Euphrates and the Red Sea. Because Josephus lived along side the Nabataeans, it’s believed his information was first hand. The Roman and Greek historians call this particular tribe Arabs because they spoke and wrote the early Arabic language.
The prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah and Ezekiel, make frequent mention of the Kadarites. They were known as the military power or nomads and was always in a conflict with the Assyrians. Isaiah speaks of her gifted arches and glory (Isaiah 21: 16-17). Little is known about the tribe of Adbeel because they lived the furthest west in Sinai.
Although historians wonder if the people of Mishma were the founders of the villages near Jebel Misma little is known about them. Since historians believe the Mibsam and Mishma intermarried with the Simeonites (I Chronicles 4:24-27) and became a separate entity in history, knowledge of this group is very limited. Identified with the Addyrian Adummatu people, Dumah is also known as a biblical city in Canaan (Joshua 15:52).
Uncovered by archeologists Winnett and Reed, graffiti texts mention the tribe Massa in connection with other nearby tribes. The text refers to war against Massa, Dedan and Nebayot. Although another evidence has not been found, the archeologist believes the tribes dwelled closed to each other at one time. Despite the fact that modern day Hadads are Christians, there were two groups known as the Hadads in biblical times. One group lived near the mountains northwest of Palmyra, and the other lied in Arabia. Even though the city of Temya is mentioned several times, the actual tribe is named in Job. As Job laments about his downfall’s, he mentions how the troops of Tema and Sheba hopes to plunder fortune (Job 6:19-20). Although all Ishmael’s sons, played a major role in Arabic history, little is known about his last three sons.
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