These are the generations of Ishmael - The object of the inspired writer seems to be to show how the promises of God were fulfilled to both the branches of Abraham's family. Isaac has been already referred to; God blessed him according to the promise. He had also promised to multiply Ishmael, and an account of his generation is introduced to show how exactly the promise had also been fulfilled to him.
- Section XI. - Isaac
- 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.
Nebaioth - Isaiah 60:7 is preserved in the Nabataei inhabiting Arabia Petraea, and extending far toward the East. “Kedar” Isaiah 21:17 appears in the Cedrei of Pliny (H. N. 5,12) who dwell east of Petraea. “Adbeel Mibsam,” and “Mishma are otherwise unknown. The last is connected with the Μαισαιμενεῖς Maisaimeneis of Ptol. (v. 7,21). “Dumah” Isaiah 21:11 is probably Δούμεθα Doumetha (Ptol. vi. 19,7) and Domata (Plin. H. N. 6,32) and Dumat el-Jendel in Nejd and the Syrian desert. “Massa” may be preserved in the Μασανοὶ Masanoi of Ptolemy (v. 19,2), northeast of Duma. “Hadar” is Hadad in 1 Chronicles 1:30, the Samaritan Pentateuch, Onkelos, perhaps the Septuagint, and many codices. It is supposed to be Χαττηνία Chatteenia (Polyb.), Attene, and to lie between Oman and Bahrein. “Tema” Job 6:19; Isaiah 21:14; Jeremiah 25:23 lay on the borders of Nejd and the Syrian desert. “Jetur” remains in Ituraea, Jedur, northeast of the sea of Galilee. Some suppose the Druses descended from him. “Naphish” 1 Chronicles 6:19, 1 Chronicles 6:22 lay in the same quarter. “Kedemah” is otherwise unknown. “In their towns and in their castles.” The former are unwalled collections of houses or perhaps tents; the latter, fortified keeps or encampments. “Twelve princes,” one for each tribe, descended from his twelve sons.
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.
Abraham's early teachings had not been without effect upon Ishmael, but the influence of his wives resulted in establishing idolatry in his family. Separated from his father, and embittered by the strife and contention of a home destitute of the love and fear of God, Ishmael was driven to choose the wild, marauding life of the desert chief, “his hand” “against every man, and every man's hand against him.” Genesis 16:12. In his latter days he repented of his evil ways and returned to his father's God, but the stamp of character given to his posterity remained. The powerful nation descended from him were a turbulent, heathen people, who were ever an annoyance and affliction to the descendants of Isaac. PP 174.1
The wife of Lot was a selfish, irreligious woman, and her influence was exerted to separate her husband from Abraham. But for her, Lot would not have remained in Sodom, deprived of the counsel of the wise, God-fearing patriarch. The influence of his wife and the associations of that wicked city would have led him to apostatize from God had it not been for the faithful instruction he had early received from Abraham. The marriage of Lot and his choice of Sodom for a home were the first links in a chain of events fraught with evil to the world for many generations. PP 174.2
No one who fears God can without danger connect himself with one who fears Him not. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3. The happiness and prosperity of the marriage relation depends upon the unity of the parties; but between the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of tastes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, between whom there can be no concord. However pure and correct one's principles may be, the influence of an unbelieving companion will have a tendency to lead away from God. PP 174.3Read in context »