Is Ishmael the Father of the Arabs?

October 15, 2021

After Abraham banishes Hagar, God reassures the Patriarch.  As the firstborn son of Abraham, God blesses Ishmael to be a “great nation.” While it is widely assumed that the present-day conflict in the Middle East between Jews and Muslims is the modern-day family feud between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael, this might not be the case.

The first in history to connect the Arabs to Ishmael was the ancient historian Josephus in the first century. However, the Bible equates the Ishmaelites with the Midianites, using these names as synonyms. 

When Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Yosef up out of the pit. They sold Yosef for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Yosef to Egypt. 

(Genesis 37:28)

Dr. Mark Durie, an Australian pastor and expert in linguistics argues that Arabic and Hebrew are not similar enough to suggest a common origin. In his article on Israel365 NewsIshmael is not the Father of the Arabs”, Dr. Durie concludes, “The evidence indicates that Ishmael was not the father of the Arabs, and neither was Abraham. The Ishmaelites were probably Canaanites, speaking, not an early form of Arabic, but a dialect similar to Hebrew. In time they disappeared or were absorbed into other groups, like so many other ancient peoples. Much later Josephus invoked Ishmael’s name to conjure up a genealogy for the Arabs. He has a lot to answer for. The rest, as they say, is history.”

The ramifications of Dr. Durie’s suggestions are profound in today’s political climate. 

  • Do you believe that the Muslims are Abraham’s descendants?
  • What do you think are the implications if they are not?

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Rabbi Tuly Weisz

Rabbi Tuly Weisz is the founder of Israel365 and the editor of “The Israel Bible,” the first Bible dedicated to highlighting the relationship between the Land and the People of Israel. Rabbi Tuly is a columnist for Israel365news, the Jerusalem Post, Fox News and Newsmax who writes passionately about Israel, the Bible and Jewish-Christian relations. In addition to his writings, Rabbi Tuly has appeared alongside Alan Dershowitz on ILTV, on CBN’s “700 Club”, Daystar, Israel National News, TBN and numerous other television appearances. Rabbi Weisz attended Yeshiva University (BA), Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (Rabbinic Ordination) and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law (JD) and served as the Rabbi of the Beth Jacob Congregation in Columbus, Ohio before making Aliyah to Israel. Rabbi Tuly lives with his wife and is blessed with 6 children and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.

Rabbi Tuly Weisz

Rabbi Tuly Weisz

Rabbi Tuly Weisz is the founder of Israel365 and the editor of “The Israel Bible,” the first Bible dedicated to highlighting the relationship between the Land and the People of Israel. Rabbi Tuly is a columnist for Israel365news, the Jerusalem Post, Fox News and Newsmax who writes passionately about Israel, the Bible and Jewish-Christian relations. In addition to his writings, Rabbi Tuly has appeared alongside Alan Dershowitz on ILTV, on CBN’s “700 Club”, Daystar, Israel National News, TBN and numerous other television appearances. Rabbi Weisz attended Yeshiva University (BA), Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (Rabbinic Ordination) and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law (JD) and served as the Rabbi of the Beth Jacob Congregation in Columbus, Ohio before making Aliyah to Israel. Rabbi Tuly lives with his wife and is blessed with 6 children and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.

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