Son of Hagar and Abraham, Ishmael's
name means "God will hear"
descendants are the Arabic peoples according to both Jewish and Arab
tradition. His half-brother Isaac was the father of the Jewish nation. Since Abraham's wife was concerned
about the firstborn status of Ishmael, she mistreated Hagar so that
she and her son would leave Abraham's house in Genesis
16:6. In a later account, she commands Abraham to expel Ishmael
(Genesis 21:10). The two
arrive in Beersheva, and are faint with thirst when God promises that
Ishmael will be made a great nation and shows them a nearby water source
(Genesis 21:12-20) Ishmael
had 12 sons with an Egyptian wife.
Sources: Bridger, David. Ed. The
New Jewish Encyclopedia, NY: Behrman House, 1976; Navigating
the Bible II