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 Ishmael ( Prophet )

Ishmael (Hebrew: ???????????, Standard Yišma?el Tiberian Yišma?êl; Arabic: ???????, Isma`il; "God hears or obeys") was Abraham`s eldest son, born by his wife`s handmaiden Hagar.

He is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible`s Book of Genesis as the eldest son of Abraham by Hagar, Sarah`s female Egyptian maid-servant or slave. In the Qur`an, Ishmael is considered one of the prophets of Islam

Ishmael in the Hebrew Bible

Summary

In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Ishmael`s life is described in the Book of Genesis chapters 16 and further. In Genesis 16 Sarah (Abraham`s wife) gives him her maid-servant Hagar so that she can have a son of her own by using her maid-servant as a birth mother, since she believed that God had kept her from having children (16:2).

Hagar became pregnant and despised Sarah, who then out of anger expelled Hagar from Abraham`s home in retaliation. Hagar fled from Sarah and ran into the wilderness, where an angel appeared to her.

The angel of the Lord told her to return, adding

  • "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count."

The angel also said to her:

  • You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.
  • He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone`s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers. (NIV, Genesis 16)

So Hagar returned to Abraham`s house, and had a son whom she named Ishmael. Fourteen years after this, Abraham`s wife Sarah, herself became pregnant with his son, Isaac.

When Ishmael was about 16 years old, he angered Sarah, and she asked Abraham to expel him and his mother.

  • Isaac grew, and on the day he was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that Ishmael was mocking Isaac, and she said to Abraham; "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman`s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac." (NIV, Genesis 21:8-10)

While Abraham was very uneasy over the whole thing, he finally gave in to his wife`s request when God told him that He would take care of Ishmael, due the fact that the child is Abraham`s descendant.

  • The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, "Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring [b] will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring."

(NIV, Genesis 21:11-13)

The Book of Genesis does not mention that the expelled son of Hagar was Ishmael. It is not mentioned in the Book of Genesis how m