Genesis 25:12 - 16
ESV - 12 These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's servant, bore to Abraham. 13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Although it is mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 21:21) that Ishmael was married to an Egyptian woman, and had twelve sons (who are listed in Genesis 25:12-15); that the traders to whom Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers were Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:25); and there are scattered references by name to Ishmael's sons elsewhere in the Old Testament, there is not (to my knowledge) any type of detailed account in the Bible of their history or of their dealings with Abraham's descendants through Isaac. The Bible does say (in Genesis 25:18) that Ishmael's sons dwelt from Havilah to Shur, opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. This would place them (by my reading) in the modern-day Arabian peninsula. According to my understanding of Islamic teaching, Islam's claim to being one of the "Abrahamic religions" (along with Judaism and Christianity) is based on their belief in the descent of Muhammad from Abraham through Ishmael. Islam also claims that Abraham and Ishmael together built the Kaaba (Islam's holiest shrine in its holiest city, Mecca in Saudi Arabia); that, after Ishmael's death at the age of 137 (as recorded in Genesis 25:17), he was buried at Mecca (although there is no mention of his burial place in the Bible); and also that it was Ishmael (rather than Isaac, as indicated in Genesis 22) whom God (Allah to Muslims) commanded Abraham to offer as a sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith and obedience. Islam also holds that Ishmael was the first person to speak the Arabic language.
When Ishmael and his 12 sons were alive, they were located south of Israel in the Arabian peninsula (Gen 25:18). Unlike the tribes of Israel, the tribes of Ishmael did not strictly maintain their tribal distinctions in the succeeding centuries or preserve genealogies. Also, they intermarried extensively with the surrounding peoples to produce a new ethnic variety called the "Arab." Today the 12 tribes of Ishmael are implicitly found wherever the Arab culture and language exist. Of course, the religion of Islam greatly expanded the extent of Arabian influence. Wikipedia lists 22 countries classified as Arabian with about 389 million people as of 2015. Most of these are Arabian in spirit only, not true genealogy. However, just as Christians are included in spiritual Israel regardless of genealogy, any Muslim is included in the house of Ishmael (and his 12 sons) regardless of actual genealogy after he performs the journey to Mecca as a requirement of the Islamic religion.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.