Ishmael’s Sons, Mother, and Arabia

     As reported, Ishmael had twelve sons which became twelve tribes of Arabia.  Of the twelve sons, Kedar, Ishmael’s second born was the most prominent. 
     Kedar and his family settled in the central Arabian Peninsula.  He was/is an enemy to Isaac’s offspring.  In the following Psalm he is described as a bitter foe of Israel.
    “In my distress I cried to the LORD, and He heard me.  ‘Deliver my soul, O LORD from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue… Woe is me, that I… dwell among the tents of Kedar!  My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace.  I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.’”  Psalm 120:1-2, 5-7
     The Psalmist states he could not trust the words of Kedar, and while he sought peace, the sons of Kedar wanted war.
     Later Jeremiah pronounced God’s judgment on Kedar.
     “Thus says the LORD: ‘Arise, go up to Kedar and devastate them of the East!  Their tents and their flocks they shall take away.  They shall take for themselves…all their vessels and their camels…’”  Jeremiah 49:28-29a
     Jeremiah had also condemned God’s chosen people by comparing them to Arabians.
     Isaiah likewise pronounced God’s judgment on Arabia and Kedar, to be executed by Assyria, for their previous plundering of Jerusalem.
     “The burden (prophecy) against Arabia.  In the forest (thicket) in Arabia you will lodge, O you traveling companies of Dedanites.  O inhabitant of the land of Tema…For thus the LORD has said to me: ‘Within a year…all the glory of Kedar will fail; and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the people of Kedar, will be diminished; for the LORD God of Israel has spoken it.’”  Isaiah 21:13, 16-17
     Dedan was a grandson of Abraham and Keturah while Tema was a son of Ishmael.  Recall Ishmael’s sons were early Arabian tribes while Abraham’s sons by Keturah were also sent to the ‘east.’
     When Arabia is mentioned in Scripture, it predominately relates to Ishmael, his offspring, or his mother. 
     Arabia in Hebrew has several synonyms including mixture, multitude, and mingle.
     When Solomon reigned over Israel between 970 – 931 BC, he was recognized for his wisdom and wealth throughout the land of Arabia.
     Even after the kingdom was divided Arabians feared and brought gifts to Judah’s kings.
    “And the fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah… Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents…and the Arabians brought him flocks…”   2 Chronicles 17:10-11
     The goal to destroy Israel as a nation pervades contemporary Middle Eastern thinking, but such thoughts are definitely not new.
     “They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’  For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You:  The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot.”  Psalm 83:4-8
     Note the enemies of Israel; not much is different today.  The Hagrites are so named after Ishmael’s mother Hagar.  The stated goal today is still to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth.
     Hagrites are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible as warring against the sons of Israel.
     “Now in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagrites, who fell by their hand; and they dwelt in their tents throughout the entire area east of Gilead.”  1 Chronicles 5:10
     “The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manesseh…made war with the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish…and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand…Then they took away their livestock – fifty thousand of their camels – also one hundred thousand of their men; for many fell dead, because the war was God’s.”  1 Chronicles 5:18-22
     Jetur and Naphish were of the twelve original sons of Ishmael.
     Thus we see that those of Arabia were enemies of Israel throughout history, and will be until the final war between Abraham’s two sons, i.e. Isaac and Ishmael, ends with the return of Christ.
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