& Meaning •
Meaning and etymology of the name Ishmael
There are a surprising six men named Ishmael in the Bible: A descendant of Jonathan (1 Chronicles 8:38); The father of Zebadiah (2 Chronicles 19:11); An officer under Joash (2 Cr 23:3); The murderer of Gedaliah, the Babylonian governor over the remnant in Judah (2 Kings 25:25); and a priest who divorced his foreign wife (Ezra 10:22).
But the most famous Ishmael is the son of Abraham with Hagar. Because of rivalry between Hagar and Abraham's wife Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael are sent away and they end up in the Sinai desert where Ishmael becomes the father of a nation that exists of twelve tribes, just like Israel (Genesis 25:16).
The name Ishmael is a compilation of two elements:
The first part comes from the verb (shama) meaning to hear, listen, obey. (shema) means sound. (shema) means report. (shoma) means news, fame.
The second part is (El), the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God.
The name Ishmael means He Will Hear God (Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) or God Hears (NOBS Study Bible Name List). BDB Theological Dictionary lists a stylish El Heareth.
Related names are Simeon and possibly Samuel.
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