Genesis 25:18
And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.
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(18) Havilah was far to the south, on the Persian Gulf. (See Genesis 10:29.)

Shur.—This was their western limit towards Egypt. (See Genesis 16:7.) In 1Samuel 15:7 this same region is assigned to the Amalekites.

As thou goest toward Assyria.—This does not mean that Shur was on the route toward Assyria, but gives the eastern limit of the country inhabited by the descendants of Ishmael.

He died.—But the Hebrew is, he fell—that is, his lot fell; he settled there.

In the presence of.—This means to the east of all his brethren. Just as Assyria was regarded as lying to the north of Palestine, because on starting the traveller journeyed in that direction, so Arabia was considered to be on the east, for a similar reason. (But see Note on Genesis 16:12.)

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.Ishmael dies at the age of a hundred and thirty-seven. "From Havilah," on the borders of Arabia Petraea and Felix. "Unto Shur," on the borders of Arabia and Egypt. This was the original seat of the Ishmaelites, from which they wandered far into Arabia. "In the presence of all his brethren" - the descendants of Abraham by Sarah and Keturah, those of Lot, and the Egyptians who were his brethren or near kindred by his mother and wife. "He had fallen" into the lot of his inheritance. Thus was fulfilled the prediction uttered before his birth Genesis 16:12. 18. he died—rather, "it [their lot] fell" in the presence of his brethren (compare Ge 16:12). Before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria, i.e. on that part or side of Egypt which leads to Assyria.

He died in the presence of all his brethren; his brethren surviving him, and being his neighbours, and therefore as they had conversation with him in the time of his life, so now they did him honour at his death. But this translation and interpretation may seem improbable,

1. Because his death was related, Genesis 25:17, and would not be so presently repeated.

2. Because the foregoing words in this verse speak not of his death, but of his dwelling, to which these words do very well agree. For what we translated

and he died, is commonly rendered and he fell, or it fell, and is most commonly used concerning a lot whereby men’s portions are designed and divided, as Leviticus 16:9,10 Num 33:54 Joshua 16:1; and so the sense may be, it fell, i.e. that country fell to him or his; or he lay, or was stretched out, or posted himself, as the Hebrew word is used, Judges 7:12, i.e. he dwelt

in the presence of all his brethren; and so indeed his country lay between the children of Keturah on the east, and the children of Isaac and Israel on the west.

And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur,.... That is, the posterity of Ishmael, whose country reached from one place to the other; not from India to Chaluza, as the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem; but the extent is that vast desert of Arabia, which eastward was called the wilderness of Havilah, and westward the wilderness of Shur; so that they inhabited it from east to west:

that is before Egypt, as thou goest to Assyria; which last place was over against Egypt, and bordered on that part where lies the way to the land of Assyria:

and he died in the presence of all his brethren; they being present when he died, or in peace with them, in all prosperity along with them: but since his death is spoken of before, and here the situation of his posterity, the words may be read, "it fell (y) in the presence of his brethren"; his lot, or the habitation of his posterity fell by lot between his brethren the Egyptians on one side of him, and the Israelites on the other; or between the sons of Keturah on the east, and the posterity of Isaac on the west.

(y) "cecidit habitatio ipsi", Schmidt; "cecidit sors ejus", Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Ben Gersom, and Ben Melech.

And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died {g} in the presence of all his brethren.

(g) He means that his lot fell to dwell among his brethren as the angel promised.

Genesis 25:18Ishmael died at the age of 137, and his descendants dwelt in Havilah - i.e., according to Genesis 10:29, the country of the Chaulotaeans, on the borders of Arabia Petraea and Felix - as far as Shur (the desert of Jifar, Genesis 16:7) to the east of Egypt, "in the direction of Assyria." Havilah and Shur therefore formed the south-eastern and south-western boundaries of the territories of the Ishmaelites, from which they extended their nomadic excursions towards the N.E. as far as the districts under Assyrian rule, i.e., to the lands of the Euphrates, traversing the whole of the desert of Arabia, or (as Josephus says, Ant. i. 12, 4) dwelling from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. Thus, according to the announcement of the angel, Ishmael "encamped in the presence of all his brethren." נפל, to throw one's self, to settle down, with the subordinate idea of keeping by force the place you have taken (Judges 7:12). Luther wavers between corruit, vel cecidit, vel fixit tabernaculum.
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