Now this is the history of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bore to Abraham. These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to the order of their birth: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their encampments: twelve princes, according to their nations. These are the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred thirty-seven years. He gave up the spirit and died, and was gathered to his people. They lived from Havilah to Shur that is before Egypt, as you go toward Assyria. He lived opposite all his relatives.
This is the history of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham became the father of Isaac. Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian, to be his wife.
Here we have more recordkeeping as God records some genealogical information for us. You might ask yourself why God would record this information. After all there were more people in the world, and God had already said that he wouldn’t be blessing Abraham through Ishmael’s line. So, why did God include the list of Ishmael’s sons?
I was reminded of Genesis 17:20 where God promised Abraham that He would
bless Ishmael and make him the father of twelve princes. God has the names of those twelve princes recorded here proving that His word is accurate. God did this to bless Abraham. Notice that God had also promised Hagar, so at the same time God was fulfilling his promise to her as well. God doesn’t make promises and then hide. The results of what God promises are put on display because there is no one like God who can accurately predict the future without fail.
It is interesting that Isaac didn’t get married until he was 40. There have been thousands of years of genetic degradation since then. It’s usually considered too late to start a family at that age today because it isn’t common any more to live to be over 120. In the past 80 years or so, people have been living longer again in the United States. There were many in the west who believed God’s word and let it influence their lives. God has also given us gifts of knowledge based on the knowledge of His word that have allowed us to make scientific discoveries that have helped improve health. I believe that any person from any culture who believes in God’s word and allows God’s Spirit to influence their thinking, will have an effect on the quality of living in their country.
It is interesting that Rebakah was a Syrian. In a sense, Israel and Syria are relatives-in-law. The fact is all of us are relatives through Noah’s family. It’s good to remember that fact and continue to love all of our family members.