555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

70. Who Were the Ishmaelites?




They were descendants of Ishmael, Abraham's son, and were divided into twelve tribes (Gen. 25:16; Gen. 16:15, J6). They were also called Hagarites, Hagarenes and Arabians (I Chron. 5:10; Psa. 83:6; Isa. 13:20). They were governed by kings, were rich in cattle and dwelt in tents (Jer. 25:24; Isa. 13-20; I Chron. 5*21). Though they were the merchants of the East and traveled around in large caravans (Gen. 37:25; Job 6:19), they were frequently lawless and would waylay and plunder travelers (Jer. 3:2). After harassing Israel, they were overcome by Gideon (Judg. 8:10-24; II Chron. 5:10; II Chron. 26-7). It would seem that later they became more peacefully inclined, as they sent presents to Kings Solomon and Jehosha-phat (I Kin. 10:15; II Chron. 17:11).