Genesis 25:12

(12) These are the generations of Ishmael.--Following the usual rule of this book, Ishmael is not dismissed from the Divine presence without a short record of his history, after which he falls into the background, and the historian proceeds with his main subject, which is the preparation for the forming of that race and nation of whom, according to the flesh, Christ came. These brief notices, moreover, of personages not in the direct line of Christ's ancestry have their value in God's great purpose that the Jewish Messiah should be the Redeemer of the Gentiles also (Romans 10:12); and consequently from the first their history was not alien from God's counsels. (Romans 10:13-15) The sons of Ishmael.--Of the Arabian tribes sprung from Ishmael we read of Nebajoth and Kedar in Isaiah 60:7 as pastoral tribes, rich in flocks. Dumah is deemed worthy of a special prophecy (Isaiah 21:11); while the people of Tema are described there in Genesis 25:14 as generous and hospitable, and in Job 6:19 they appear as active traders. (See also Jeremiah 25:23.) Jetur, Naphish, and other Hagarite tribes, were conquered by Reuben and his allies (1Chronicles 5:19), and Jetur became the Iturea of Luke 3:1. For the occasional references made to these and other sons of Ishmael in classical writers, the reader may consult Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, or similar works. The abode of the twelve tribes sprung from Ishmael was the northern part of Arabia, whence gradually they extended their influence, and apparently soon absorbed the Joktanites (Genesis 10:26-30), themselves a kindred Semitic race. These genealogies would be inexplicable if we did not remember that successive waves of people occupied these lands, and that while the old names remained, the dominant race was new. So the rapid growth of individuals into tribes (as of Midian, Genesis 25:2) was the result of races of higher civilisation and greater energy subduing feeble and less highly-developed tribes. Hence in Genesis 25:16 the sons of Ishmael are called "princes." We gather from this that Ishmael had gathered round him a body of men of the Semitic race, of whom large numbers were constantly on the move towards Egypt (Genesis 12:15), and by their aid had established his rule in Paran, and handed it on to his sons.

Verse 12. - Now these are the generations of Ishmael, - the opening of a new section (cf. Genesis 2:4), in which the fortunes of Abraham's eldest son are briefly traced before proceeding with the main current of the history in the line of Isaac (cf. 1 Chronicles 1:29-31) - Abraham's son, - because of his relation to Abraham it was that Ishmael attained subsequent historical development and importance (vide Genesis 21:13) - whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham (vide Genesis 16:1, 15).

25:11-18 Ishmael had twelve sons, whose families became distinct tribes. They peopled a very large country that lay between Egypt and Assyria, called Arabia. The number and strength of this family were the fruit of the promise, made to Hagar and to Abraham, concerning Ishmael.Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son,.... Or the genealogy of his posterity; and which is given to show that the Lord was not unmindful of his promise made to Abraham, concerning the multiplication of his seed, Genesis 16:10,

whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham; see Genesis 16:1.

Genesis 25:11
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