Posted by: mystic444 | June 30, 2010

Was Ishmael a ‘Wild Ass’ Man?

[11] And the angel of the LORD said to her, [Hagar] ‘Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael; because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. [12] He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen” (Genesis 16:11 and 12, RSV).

I have written a number of articles about the hatred of Muslims, and also of everything Arabic, which seems to be prevalent in ‘Western’ nations these days. Most people automatically think ‘Arab’ when then think of Muslims, it seems – though when pressed they’ll have to admit that Arabs probably constitute a minority of the Muslim population in the world. Jews and Christians of the conservative or ‘orthodox’ variety believe they have Biblical support for this antipathy toward Arabs and Muslims in the above quoted verse from Genesis. Doesn’t it specifically say that Ishmael will be a “wild ass” man (taken as a seemingly obvious term of derision), who will be constantly at warfare with everyone else? Supposedly it’s the ‘fate’ of Ishmaelites to forever be the enemies of the rest of the world; God has predestined it! Fundamentalist and Evangelical preachers seem to love to expound on this passage. I did a search on Yahoo under “Ishmael a wild ass man” and found that there are 100 pages of links; almost every one of them seemed to be something derogatory about Arabs and Muslims based on this text. (I of course did not look at every link on every page. I went through about the first 10 pages, and then just looked at random links on the rest of the pages). An “e-friend” recently told me that his pastor had just preached on this passage, which “proves” that the Arabic people (and therefore Muslims) will always be the enemies of Israel and all Israel’s ‘friends’ – if not all non Muslim people.

There was one site, though, which gave a very different viewpoint on this verse in Genesis, and that site was actually the first one in the Yahoo search list. It can be found here. According to the author of this article, there is really only one problem with all of the commentaries on this Bible verse: they’re all based on a mistranslation of the text! He (or she) defends the idea that the correct translation of verse 12 is:  “… he will be a fruitful man: his hand shall be with everyone, and every man’s hand shall be with him...“(!! ) I have come to believe the author is correct; and since this understanding of the verse seems to be known by so few, I have decided to do my small part to spread it. [I would only take exception to his assertion that Muslim parents teach their children that all Christians and Jews should be killed. But he did point out that Muslim parents who teach such a thing do so in complete opposition to their own ‘Holy Book’, the Qur’an]. The article, though written in English, consistently uses the Hebrew characters for the verses in question, and his argument goes into detail about the Hebrew grammar – again using the Hebrew characters to make his points. I had one semester of Hebrew at a Bible School back in 1973, but I don’t even remember the names of the Hebrew letters now; much less am I able to pronounce the words or translate them. However I am still able to distinguish one word from another, and so was able to at least ‘get the drift’ of what the article says, so hopefully I can faithfully summarize that author’s arguments here.

The first thing that needs to be pointed out – and which you perhaps already knew – is that the original written texts of the Hebrew Bible contained no vowels. The written form of the text contained only consonants. When one read the text, he had to supply the appropriate vowel sounds according to context and ‘traditional’ pronunciation of the words. If English books were written with consonants only, and you came across the letters ‘RST’, how would you know whether to read it as ‘rest’, ‘rust’, or perhaps ‘reset’? Or how about ‘reseat’? Obviously, context would be the principle determining factor; but if you had a situation where more than one possibility could fit in the context, you would probably depend on how you had heard others read the sentence – if you had heard anyone else read it. If you’ve never heard anyone else read the passage, then you must determine for yourself which ‘reading’ best fits the context; and if you have certain preexisting prejudices, it may lead you to simply read it the way that best fits your prejudices. Of course, if you’ve heard someone else, who shares your preexisting prejudices, read it you’ll no doubt read it the way he did – perhaps without ever considering that another reading is possible.

And that’s where the problem comes in with this verse in Genesis 16. The vowels were not inserted into the written text until the 7th to 10th centuries A.D. (or C.E. if you prefer) in the edition of the Hebrew Bible known as the Masoretic text. By that time, there were many centuries of ‘tradition’ to dictate how the text should be read, and certain racial prejudices had strongly influenced that tradition. In this case, the word translated ‘wild ass’ consists of 3 Hebrew consonants: פּרה or פּרא (the first of the two seems to be the ‘modern’ way of writing the word, while the second is an ‘older’ form). The English transliterations of those two forms would be pr’ and prh. (Hebrew is read from right to left). When the vowels are added which make the word translated ‘wild ass’, the Hebrew word transliterates to pereh or pere’ in English letters, and that’s the traditional Jewish reading of the word in that verse. The problem is that this reading of the word sort of ‘slaps you in the face’ when you read it in the context. Abraham’s wife Sarah had become very jealous when she realized that Hagar was pregnant – though the Biblical text says that was because Hagar now looked at Sarah with contempt – and Hagar ran away to escape Sarah’s rage. But “the angel of the LORD” met Hagar and told her to return to Sarah and Abraham. In order to encourage her to do so, this angel told Hagar that God was going to bless her and her offspring greatly. Her descendants would be so many that they would be innumerable (which is always, in the Bible, a great blessing from God). Her child would be a boy, and she was to name him “God hears” (Ishmael), because God had indeed listened to Hagar’s sorrowful cries in her affliction. That’s another indication of the favor and blessing of God. Don’t you think “God hears” is a pretty ‘cool’ name for a person – and especially when it was the “angel of the LORD” himself who gave the child that name? So doesn’t it seem rather odd when the angel abruptly starts talking in a derogatory way about the child he has just named “God hears” and promised to bless greatly? Saying that “God hears” (Ishmael) would be a wild man (or ‘wild ass’ man) who would be constantly at odds with everyone else doesn’t sound too much like a blessing to me!

But the dilemma of this abrupt switch from ‘blessing’ to ‘cursing’ is solved when it is understood that those very same 3 Hebrew consonants – pr’ פּרה become an entirely different word when different vowels are inserted. The word becomes para’ when transliterated into English . The meaning of this word is ‘fruitful’. Even though the ‘consonant’ form is exactly the same as the word ‘wild ass’, it is listed in Strong’s concordance as a separate word because of the difference in vowels. This word ‘fruitful’ appears quite a bit more often in the Masoretic text than the word ‘wild ass’. In all other cases where the word is read ‘wild ass’, it clearly actually refers to a wild ass, not a “wild ass man”. The verse in Genesis 16 is the only instance (if it is correct) where ‘wild ass’ is used in an adjectival way describing a man.

The word ‘fruitful’ obviously fits very nicely in the context – it doesn’t ‘slap you in the face’. The angel had just promised Hagar an innumerable number of descendants, so it would be very appropriate to describe him as a ‘fruitful’ man. “Wild ass” simply doesn’t make any sense there.

It is also true that in a context in which Ishmael is to be blessed by God, and is himself a blessing to his mother Hagar, it’s very strange that the angel would abruptly say that this man who is blessed by God will be antagonistic to everyone, and vice versa. The word which is translated “against” (“his hand against every man, and every man’s hand against him”) is a single consonant which is added as a prefix to the word “everyone” (or “every man”). The article to which I linked says concerning this word: “For  , [the Hebrew consonant for the word] Langenscheidt’s dictionary gives the following possible meanings: “in, at, to, on, among, with, towards; according to, by, because of.” In this context, “with” or “towards” would appear to be the most appropriate translations. The normal idea behind this word would be “for” or “on their side”, “helpful towards” etc. Can it ever mean “against”? Yes, it can, if the context is suitable. The same is true of the English word “with”, though. Normally it means ‘positive’ things. If I say, “I’m with you, man”, my meaning is obviously “I agree with you”, or “I’m accompanying you”, or “I’m on your side”. When Jesus said in his ‘Great Commission’ – as rendered in English – “I’m with you always, even unto the end of the age”, his meaning was obviously not “I’m against you”, but that he would accompany his disciples even though they wouldn’t be able to see him, and he would be ‘for’ them. However, if I say “I’ll fight with you until one of us is dead”, the meaning is very obviously that I’m against you, not ‘for’ you. The word ‘fight’ altered the meaning. Even with the word ‘fight’ inserted, though, the meaning would be ‘for’ or ‘on your side’ if I said something like “I’ll fight with you against your enemies until they’re defeated or we’re dead”. Context is everything, although the normal meaning of ‘with’ would be ‘for’ rather than ‘against’.

There is absolutely nothing in the context of the verse in Genesis 16 that would indicate it should have the negative meaning of ‘against’, rather than the more normal positive meaning of ‘with’. The only reason it would be read that way is because of preconceived prejudice against this ‘blessed’ man. After many centuries the Jewish people had come to think of themselves as God’s favorites, and the rest of the world was only ‘second class’ at best. There was a particular antipathy toward other branches of the Abrahamic family. The Jews (for the most part – there was always a faithful remnant who were not this way) came to believe they were not so much ‘set apart’ by God to be a blessing, but to be blessed. So they just ‘naturally’ took delight in reading this verse in a way which would indicate how much they despised Ishmael and his descendants. They should have known better, since the passage is obviously about God blessing Hagar and Ishmael; and the passage in Genesis 21 about Abraham sending Hagar and Ishmael away at the instigation of Sarah also shows only favor toward them on God’s part – as I’ve pointed out in my article “Why was Sarah so Angry with Hagar and Ishmael?”

Christians certainly ought to know better than to believe the Arabs, or Muslims in general, are ‘fated’ or ‘predestined’ to be always the enemies of God and His people (whether you call those people of God ‘Israel’ or ‘the Church’ or ‘Christians’). Christians claim to believe in Jesus as God’s anointed ‘Prophet, Priest, and King’, who is the ‘true seed of Abraham’ in whom the promises made to Abraham (that all nations would be blessed in him and his seed) were brought to fruition. The emphasis in Christianity is on “all men” and “the world”. “For God so loved the world” “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me”. “The middle wall of partition” has been demolished in Christ. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor freeman, male nor female; God (and his people) treat all equally. There is neither blessing nor cursing for anyone based on his genetic heritage. As Peter put it: “…Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to Him” (Acts 10:34 and 35) It would follow from this that in every nation any one who does not fear God and do what is right is not acceptable to God. There is no special favor for Jews (or Americans), and there is no special curse for Arabs, Turks, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, etc. There is simply no partiality with God, and there should not be any for those who claim to be God’s people and followers of his anointed one.

So when you read Genesis 16:12, read it this way: “He shall be a fruitful man, his hand with every man and every man’s hand with him; and he shall dwell over against [in the face of, in the presence of] all his kinsmen.”



  1. A paragraph from a work under construction, on The letter to the Ephesians: “Still, that divisive spirit is located in and at work “in the sons of disobedience” (ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας). “Disobedience” (ἀπειθεία), to be sure, lies in the breaking of the commandments, for the actualization of Torah (Hebrew scriptures do not talk of “observing” the commandments, but about “doing” them) supports the peace that might draw us away from fear and anger. The term “disobedience,” however, means more than simply committing sins and transgressions against Torah. The sense of “disobedience” here is broad. “It (i.e., ἀπειθεία) is an alpha privative from πειθός/πειθώ which has the idea of that which is persuasive or convincing.” The verb, peithō (πειθω) means to convince, to be certain or to be sure, and so apeitheia means the absence of any ability to be persuaded or convinced. Thus the slur, “the sons of disobedience,” depicts intractable people, unable to take refuge in anything that would negate their life orientations, for they “walk” away from the path of ethical living. But the image is also a household one, suggesting male children who do not obey their father, sons who cannot be pacified. To be the offspring of disobedience means to refuse to be convinced that there is any gospel path of peace, to sneer at the many peace teachings in the world. In Buddhist parlance, we are to be “tamed” by the Dharma teaching and “unconvincible” people refuse to be tamed. In Genesis 16:12 the angel of the Lord told Sara that her son, Ismael, “will be a wild ass of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” That depicts an unruly person, and for centuries Christians have used this passage to insult Muslims, who trace their beginnings to Ismael. But the translation of Genesis above has exegetical problems, for the Hebrew text can be rendered as: “And he will be a fruitful man; his hand shall be with every man, and every man’s hand with him; and he shall dwell in the face of his brothers.” Indeed, the Septuagint renders the central phrase as “a rustic man” (ἔσται ἄγροικος ἄνθρωπος), i.e., a countryman living in the wilderness, and not as a “wild ass of a man.” There are many iterations of religious prejudice and hatred, some of which are inscribed in our scriptures and translations of scripture. All are to be abandoned. No matter their provenance. In our secular age few want to be tamed. We criticize everything, except the prized status of us as the critics. No narrative goes unchallenged, no viewpoint uncriticized. No one is allowed to trespass upon any self-ascribed identity. We built fortresses, each one apart and large enough only for each one. But there is no refuge for selfhood and cynicism decouples people from the cosmos and from one another. When John Paul Sartre and Albert Camus wrote their existentialist works, they depicted the anguish of self-enclosed persons, but in our western culture we have grown accustomed to being private and isolated as the norm of everyday life. Sartre and Camus saw a need for decision between a life of meaning and a life of meaninglessness, but we have forgotten the anxiety that accompanied their philosophy. At least, that is the modern pretense.” Bin Khan and now you are cited in the footnotes. Thanks again

  2. Was the root article the one by Eric Bin Khan, “Ismael; ‘Wild Ass’ in Genesis”? Good presentation and very clear. Thank you. Peace, John Keenan

    • The root article for me was this article ( ) from “Ark of Salvation”. At the bottom of that article is a link to the “table of contents” for “Ark of Salvation” ( ); and at the bottom of that page is a contact link for a Dr. Biegeleisen – who is apparently the author of the “Ark of Salvation” site.

      I have subsequently come across this interpretation of “wild ass man” as being instead “fruitful man” elsewhere, but unfortunately I didn’t make note of those places. It seems at least one of those places was from a 19th century resource, but I don’t remember for sure.

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. The mistranslation seems more prophetic. Unfortunately Arab Muslims are against their brothers- tens of thousands of Imams preach hate against non Muslims. They preach terror- and even discuss the best terror and bomb making strategies to strike terror in the hearts of the infidel. They samction child marriage, rape, barbaric sharia law punishments, honor killings, slavery (they started the African slave trade and continue it to this day), inbreeding (God – the real God- did not design us to marry and breed with relatives, which explains why rates of mental illness and birth defects are so high amongst Arabs). Non Muslims would love for this prophecy to be wrong. Our Muslim brothers have been fighting, stealing from us (and taxing us heavily), enslaving us and brutalizing our women for over a thousand years. We are tired of it. We will never convert, but we do want to be left in peace. So what will it take for Muslims to stop? Who will lead them to peace?

  4. Thanks for YOUR translation of verse 12. King James said a “wild man against everyone, and everyone against him”. However, he was promised that they would become “fruitful” in that they would multiply. Genesis 16:10. Like Adam and Eve multiplied. Fruitful doesn’t mean they did good things, because obviously they don’t. Their Allah is a moon god. What does God say about idol worship? So, your quote from Acts doesn’t apply here. Don’t twist scripture and thought processes. That makes you part of the problem.

    • Susan Reiswig – Thanks for taking the time to make a comment. I’m glad that you can accept the alternative translation which I suggested (based on the article I read and referenced).

      However I’m afraid that you have been deceived by “fake news” when you assert that “Allah” is a “moon god”, and that consequently Muslims are idolaters. The Qur’an is absolutely clear that there is only one God – Allah – who is the creator of everything and who has no peers. “Now among His signs are the night and the day, as well as the sun and the moon: [hence,] adore not the sun or the moon, but prostrate yourselves in adoration before God who has created them – if it is Him whom you [really] worship” (Qur’an 41:37). I doubt there has ever been a more strictly monotheistic people than Muslims.

      For the Muslims, Allah is the same One and Only God worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus Christ. They recognize and revere all of the Prophets of the Bible – including Jesus Christ whom they consider to be among the greatest of God’s Prophets.

      Arabic speaking Christians use the name “Allah” to refer to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”, and Arabic translations of the Bible consistently use “Allah” to translate the Hebrew words “El”, Eloh”, and “Elohim” when they refer to ‘the one true God’. “Allah” is also the translation of the Greek “theos” in the New Testament.

      For a more complete refutation of the “fake news” notion that Muslims worship a moon god, I refer you to my article “Do Muslims Worship A Pagan Deity”

  5. Hello mister Stephen Parker.

    I am really pleased to come across your blog. I was looking for a link as to why the Bible degrades Ishmael-Ismail a Prophet of God Almighty (Allah Almighty in arabic).
    I found your explanation about the Hebrew verse in Genesis 16:12 Realy excelent. We as Muslims know for certainty that the Old Scriptures (that includes the current Bible) have been; lost/twisted/changed/forged/corrupted. That is why i knew something id Not right when the Bible said about Prophet Ismail, that he would be a “wild donkey” God Forbid.
    I read in your “about” that you are confused about What you really see yourself as (religion or belief wise).
    Before i carry on about you Mister Stephen, let me share a little bit about myself with you.
    I live in The Netherlands and i am a Muslim gentleman. I was born in Pakistan,i came to the Netherlands or Holland as it is also called, when i was around 7 years young. I now have been living in Holland for 39 years of my life.
    To keep the story very short, i like to debate in a good & respectful manner with the non-muslims. I have gained knowledge about Christianity as wel as about some other religions.
    The question which i have is:
    I would like to know what is your current situation,have you accepted Islam Completly or not and if not, then why not ? If i may ask you sir.
    I hope for your reply.

    I wish you Salaam (Peace)
    and all the Best.

    • Thanks for your comment, Naeem. I’m glad my thoughts were helpful. Of course, as I said in the article, I owe my ‘insight’ on the meaning of the “wild ass man” verse to someone else, whose article I was just summarizing.

      In answer to your question: no, I have not fully committed to Islam. In some of my articles and comments I have stated that I am actually closer to “Eastern Religions” such as Buddhism and Hinduism (in its monistic variety, and without feeling any necessity to ‘personalize’ or ‘anthropomorphize’ the One). This has not changed.

      If anything, I have become more anti-theist than ever. (That is, I oppose the idea of a ‘personal’ Creator Deity [or deities], ‘who’ demands submission, grovelling worship, and obedience to authoritarian commands.) I tend to be against ‘religion’ in general, but the “Abrahamic” religions more specifically. I have expanded my reading and study to include the ‘Biblical minimalists’, and find their arguments to be very convincing, (That is, that the Biblical stories about characters like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon are legends and myths, with no basis in historical reality. They are at best Judaic adaptations of the mythologies of other cultures and religions, such as Egyptian and Babylonian.)

      Nevertheless, of the three “Abrahamic” religions, I still find Islam to be the best. I will still seek to defend Islam against false accusations, and insist that people do some reading in the Qur’an (not just cherry-picked phrases and verses), read books and articles written by Muslims, and perhaps talk with actual Muslims, before even attempting to discredit Islam and Muslims with ridiculous accusations such as “Islam requires faithful Muslims to kill all infidels”. If one wishes to attack a religion, he/she should attack what it actually teaches, not twisted, perverted, and imaginary versions of the religion.

      I’m not much inclined to ‘argue’ or ‘debate’ the subject, but if you wish to converse further about it, let me know and I will e-mail you my e-mail address. I would prefer that venue rather than the comments section of the article.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting. Peace to you also.

  6. How likely is it that the translation of the Bible, provided by your e-friend, is true to the actual words on the page.
    Turning two thousand years of history up-side-down requires more than a couple of e-friend’s private translations of Aramaic and Ancient Greek to Modern English.

    • The correctness of the translation “fruitful” does not depend on an estimation of its ‘likelihood’. It simply requires a little bit of examination using a tool such as a concordance. It’s fairly simple to check what word was used (by the way, it’s Hebrew here – not Aramaic or Greek). and how that same word is used and translated in other occurrences in the Hebrew ‘Scriptures’.

      Checking in this way will show that when the 3 Hebrew letters (transliterated prh or pr’) are rendered as “pereh” or “pere'” (“wild ass”), they always elsewhere refer to an actual “wild ass”. The Hebrew word “pereh/pere'” is not elsewhere used in an adjectival sense to refer to a person or thing (such as “wild ass man“).

      When prh/pr’ is used as an adjective to describe a person or thing (such as land) it is rendered “parah/para’ meaning “fruitful”. The question then becomes why anyone would imagine that the adjectival use in the Genesis passage referring to Ishmael should not also be consistently rendered “fruitful”?

      It is my contention that one should be consistent here and refer to Ishmael as a “fruitful man” rather than “wild ass man” – especially as “fruitful” fits the context beautifully, whereas “wild ass” does not. It is merely “Judeo-Christian” prejudice and arrogance that insists on referring to Ishmael as a “wild ass” man.

  7. While I like that interpretation, I don’t buy it because the author seems to have an agenda… and has a pretty dubious book he’s pushing on the main page of the website. I’m not good enough at Hebrew to parse it for myself, but the fact that none of the translations on BibleHub translated the line like that probably isn’t a good sign:

    • Exactly!!
      Im not one to cast judmemt easily, but looking at his commnets on this thread- i have to say he is a PREDATORY CHARLATAN. Shame on him. Shame on him. I hope the Imam repents.

  8. One more thing. God blessed the Jews as well, but he also said because of their denial of Jesus they would be cursed throughout all time, running and being persecuted. Just because God blesses, does not mean troubles will not befall those who are blessed.

    • Carla – I’ll respond to all 3 of your comments with this 1 comment. It continually amazes me that some people will pretend to respond to articles which they obviously have not even read. You began your first comment with this sentence: “You need to also take into consideration that God did bless Hagar and Ishmael and his lineage.” Had you taken the time to actually read this article, you would have seen that my whole point was that according to the Hebrew scriptures themselves God never did anything but bless Ishmael. (See also this article). Never, to the best of my memory, do even the Hebrew scriptures say that God cursed Ishmael or his descendents, or that those descendents would always be “wild ass” men “killing with the sword”. That is pure Jewish (and Christian) fable. The Christian apostle Paul instructed Titus (1:14) not to pay attention to Jewish fables; but many Christians have instead preferred to not pay attention to Paul, and swallow wholesale those Jewish fables.

      Your attempt to smear all Arabs on the basis of the actions of one relatively small group of pretend Muslims (the so-called “Islamic State”, formerly ISIL or ISIS) is absurd. These ISIS pretend Muslims come from many different countries as I understand it, and are not just Arabs. Most Muslims (including Arab Muslims) all over the world repudiate ISIS, saying they blaspheme the teachings of Islam rather than truly being an “Islamic State”.

      Your second comment is just as absurd as the first – if not more so. You have turned things upside down, again following Jewish fables. Where did you come up with the idea that Palestine was ever “a piece of uninhabitable land” which the Jews somehow miraculously “built up”? It was certainly not in the Bible; it is simply pure Jewish fabrication, which they didn’t have the audacity to put into their “scriptures”. (That is rather amazing, since they corrupted their “scriptures” with many other lies – to the point that the true “Law of the LORD” no longer even existed among them according to Jeremiah [8:8].) Rather the Bible says that the land the Jews were to steal through vicious murder and pillage was “a land flowing with milk and honey”, and that the Jews would lay claim to houses they had not built and crops they had not planted! If anything, it was the “Ishmaelites” (Arabs) who inherited an “uninhabitable land” (Arabia). The “wealth” of the oil fields of Arabia was not even known prior to the 20th century (that is, about the same time as European Jews were stealing the “land flowing with milk and honey” from the Arab inhabitants – just as their supposed ancestors had stolen the land). And note that it was European Jews who stole the land from the Arab Palestinians, not vice versa. It was Jewish greed, not Arab greed. All those so-called “greedy Arabs” want is to return to the lands and houses they owned prior to the theft and pillage by the Jews.

      The Palestinians do not want to push every Jew “into the sea”. If the facts are observed, it is apparently just the opposite: the Jews want to push every true Palestinian “into the sea” or into other countries. What the true Palestinians want is to eliminate the “Jewish State”, bring the disinherited Palestinians back to their own land, and create a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. Those “people” may well be predominately Arabs and Muslims, but they would also include Christians and Jews just as was the case before the European Jews invaded and stole the land, turning it into a “Jewish State”.

      I would exhort you to pay attention to the apostle Paul’s admonition – since you are apparently a Christian – and do not pay attention to Jewish fables, myths, and lies.

  9. Furthermore, the Arabs are doing today exactly what Ishmael did. He was jealous of God giving Israel to Isaac. Same story, centuries later. Still jealous. Still greedy. Still wanting more. God gives countless blessings to Ishmael, lands abundant, oil-rich and wealthy. God gives a piece of uninhabitable land to Isaac, which the Jews built up, and Ishmael is still jealous and wants more, i.e., push every Jew into the sea until they no longer exist and Israel is no more. Sorry. You can try to pick and choose what you wish for the Bible to say to be all nice and fluffy, but in reality, the actions of the lineage of Ishmael stays very consistent with the translation of wild asses of men.

  10. You need to also take into consideration that God did bless Hagar and Ishmael and his lineage. It was Ishmael that squandered those blessings by his jealous nature, therefore, God curses his actions and the consequences are from those actions. God wants to bless everyone, but what we do with that blessing is our own choosing and/or demise depending on if we squander those blessings. Which Ishmael did. So, therefore, it would make sense that Ishmael’s descendants would act like wild asses of men, when that is exactly how Ishmael acted. The bible also says they will live like wild asses of men in the desert killing with the sword. Well, look around. The reporter they kidnapped just got his head cut off with a sword. Not a pretty picture.

  11. Wow what an amazing point! Well said.

  12. […] Read More: Was Ishmael a ‘Wild Ass’ Man? – […]

  13. Salamu alaykum,

    You could add the additional details on the samaritan torah mentioned by a brother here:

    • Thanks, Ibn Ismail, for that link. The comment there by Dawood Ibn Ibrahim was very interesting. The difference from the site I had linked to in my article seems to be that what I had presented (based on that site) as simply being a difference between “old” and “modern” spellings of the same word, Dawood says are two different words. As I said, I don’t read or speak Hebrew; so I can’t say which is correct. I definitely agree, though, that “fruitful” makes a whole lot more sense in the context than “wild ass”; and his hand “with” every man is more sensible than his hand being “against” every man.

      Peace and blessing from God be with you.

      • Very well written indeed. Thank you very much sir

        You sir, made one fundamental mistake;by thinking the LORD was cursing Ishmael. Him being a “wild donkey” is actually a blessing from Him.

        Hagar was compared to a donkey.
        Slaves were compared to donkeys

        How are the Arabs fruitful?
        They are wild and always have been. Im not stereotyping – it’s the truth!!

        Their HAND is against everyone. Please don’t deny it (;)

    • Ishmael shall not inherit .” (Genesis 17:18) And Abraham said to G-d, “O that Ishmael might live before You! Abraham feared that when Isaac the true heir might signal the death of Ishmael so he prayed that Ishmael might live. Also in verse 21 God reaffirmed the promise that the Abrahamitic covenant would be perpetuated only through Isaac, and none other. 21:12 So God said to Abraham, “Be not distressed over the youth or the slavewoman: Whatever Sarah tells you, heed her voice, since through Isaac will offspring be considered yours.
      That seems pretty clear.

      • Sharon Kerr – Thanks for taking the time to write a comment. Unfortunately, your comment is not really relevant to the article. This particular article doesn’t deal with Ishmael’s relationship to “the covenant”, but rather it concerns whether Ishmael was “cursed” by God. I pointed out that the translation “wild” (or “wild ass”) describing Ishmael was inaccurate; it is rather to be rendered “fruitful”. There is nothing in this passage (or anywhere else even in the ‘Old Testament’) to indicate that “God” ever was displeased with and “cursed” Ishmael. Rather, there is nothing but “blessing” for Ishmael in the “Old Testament”.

        I comment on Ishmael’s supposed exclusion from “the covenant” – based on short phrases ripped from their contexts in Genesis 17 and 21 – in another article: (“To Whom was the Land of Canaan Given?”) Without going into all the details of that article in this comment – please read the article yourself – I’ll just say that the whole context of Genesis 17 surrounding the phrase “but I will establish my covenant with Isaac” shows that Ishmael was indeed Abraham’s “seed” and an inheritor of the covenant blessings of fruitfulness and land. The phrase “but I will establish my covenant with Isaac” is both incorrectly translated (as was the case with “wild ass”) and wrongly interpreted. It should read “I will ALSO establish my covenant with Isaac”. It is not an exclusionary statement (ONLY Isaac is the inheritor – which contradicts everything which preceded it in the context); rather it EXTENDS the establishment of the covenant to include another son who had not yet even been conceived. ALL of Abraham’s circumcised “seed” (including Ishmael and purchased slaves also) had already been included in the covenant, and “God” most certainly did not suddenly reverse everything “He” had just said by now disinheriting all of that “seed” to whom “He” had previously given covenant blessings.

        The same is true regarding the phrase in Genesis 21 which is generally interpreted to be exclusionary: “for through Isaac shall your seed be named”. It constitutes an EXTENSION of the blessing to another son (IN ADDITION TO Ishmael and all of the other “offspring” of Abraham). The meaning is that Isaac ALSO would be a “seed” to Abraham and would be included in the “covenant” blessings. That Ishmael was not excluded from the “covenant blessing” which belongs to the “seed” (“offspring”) of Abraham is as clear as can be from 21:13 – “And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because HE IS ALSO YOUR OFFSPRING [SEED]”.

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