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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

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Ishmaelites, Ishmeelites
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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. Genesis 16:11-16; Genesis 17:18-26; Genesis 25:9-17; Genesis 28:9; Genesis 36:3; 1 Chronicles 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. Genesis 10:25 .

2. Son of Azel, a descendant of Saul. 1 Chronicles 8:38; 1 Chronicles 9:44 .

3. Father of Zebadiah a ruler under Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 19:11 .

4. Son of Jehohanan, and one of the 'captains of hundreds' who assisted in setting Joash on the throne. 2 Chronicles 23:1 .

5. Priest who had married a strange wife. Ezra 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. 2 Kings 25:23-25; Jeremiah 40:8-16; Jeremiah 41:1-18 .

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Ishmael'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​mbd/​i/ishmael.html. 1897.
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