Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore to Abraham:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.
- LII. History of Ishmael
13. נבית nebāyot, Nebajoth, "heights." קדר qēdār, Qedar, "black." אדבאל 'adbe'ēl, Adbeel, "miracle of God?" מבשׂם mı̂bśām Mibsam, "sweet odor."
14. משׁמע mı̂shma‛, Mishma', "hearing." דוּמה dûmâh, Dumah, "silence." משׂא maśā', Massa, "burden."
15. חדר chădar, Chadar, "chamber;" or חדד chădad, Chadad, "sharpness;" תימא tēymā', Tema. יטוּר yeṭûr, Jetur, "enclosure," akin to טוּר ṭûr, "a wall," and טירה ṭı̂yrâh, "a wall." נפישׁ nāpı̂ysh, Naphish, "breathing." קדמה qēdemâh, Qedemah, "before, eastward."
16. חצר chātsēr, "court, village, town."
According to custom, before the history of the principal line is taken up, that of the collateral branch is briefly given. Thus, Cain's history is closed before Sheth's is commenced; Japheth and Ham are before Shem; Haran and Nahor before Abram. And so the sons of Keturah are first dismissed from the pages of history, and then Ishmael.
The present passage begins with the formula, "and these are the generations," and forms the eighth document so commencing. The appearance of a document consisting of seven verses is clearly against the supposition that each of these documents is due to a different author. The phrase points to a change of subject, not of author.Genesis 16:10 17:20. cir. 1800 Genesis 16:10,
whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham; see Genesis 16:1.Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. Now these are the generations] Cf. Genesis 5:1, Genesis 6:9, Genesis 10:1, Genesis 11:10; Genesis 11:27 (P).
12–18 (P). The Descendants of Ishmael
The genealogy of Ishmael is thus disposed of, before the narrative resumes the history of the Chosen Family in the generations of Isaac (Genesis 25:19). It is to be noticed that the sons of Ishmael are twelve in number, like the sons of Nahor (Genesis 22:21-24) and of Jacob.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).
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