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Who was Ishmael married to and where did she come from? What ethnicity was Rebekah? What ethnicity were Rachel and Leah? Why didn’t Isaac approve of Esau’s wife? We have lots of stuff to cover, so let’s get this party started.
The Lineage of Ishmael
After Hagar fled with teenage Ishmael, the Angel of the Lord found them and blessed Ishmael. This blessing is going to become very important down the line. Just as Abraham was given the promise to become a great nation, so was Ishmael. In fact, God promised that Ishmael would have 12 sons, similar to Jacob.
According to scripture, Ishmael was raised in the wilderness of Paran (Genesis 21:20), and became an archer. Depending on the source, the wilderness of Paran was located on the Western most part of the Arabian Peninsula or Eastern Sinai Peninsula. Here is a map for reference:
We know from our last study that Ishmael was half Hebrew and Half Egyptian, and it makes perfect sense that his mother would go back to what she knew when seeking a wife for him. According to scripture, Ishmael’s wife was Egyptian (African).
It is from this union that we see 12 princes (Genesis 25:16) emerge from the line of Ishmael. Let’s take a look at each son with a breakdown of ethnicity based on what we know: Ishmael (Hebrew + Egyptian/African) and his Wife (Egyptian/African):
- Nebajoth (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Kedar (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Adbeel (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Mibsam (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Mishma (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Dumah (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Massa (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Hadar (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Tema ((Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Jetur (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Naphish (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
- Kedemah (Hebrew + Egyptian/African)
As we progress through this study, the line of Ishmael is going to become important several more times. For now, let’s move on to Isaac.
The Lineage of Isaac
When it was time for Isaac to take a wife, he chose the sister of Laban, the Syrian, which means that Rebekah was Syrian. It is through this union that we get two more very important Biblical people:
- Jacob (Hebrew + Syrian)
- Esau (Hebrew + Syrian)
As we can see on the map above, Syria is located north of Israel and west of Iraq. We can also see that Israel is sandwiched between Syria (Middle East) and Egypt (Africa), which explains why there was so much mixing between the Hebrews, Syrians, and Africans.
To put it frankly, these people were not Europeans as we have been taught in church our entire lives. History has been altered in order to push a false paradigm to the masses.
Read More About Ethnicity & The Bible In My BookGod Couldn't Have Done It Without Africa: Earth's Final Great Awakening
The Lineage of Esau
Esau (Hebrew + Syrian) was the oldest, but he was born second. Make sure you read your Bible to see how that happened. When he decided to take his first wife, he chose Mahalath (Hebrew + Egyptian/African), the daughter of Ishmael, which upset Isaac.
The Dukes of Edom
The section of the Bible that deals with the Dukes of Edom can be a little hard to follow and a bit confusing, so I tried to break it down as much as possible to make it easier to follow.
Adah – Mother
- Eliphaz (sons: Taman, Omar, Zepho, Gatanm, and Kenaz)
Bashemath – Mother
- Reuel (sons: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah)
Aholibamah – Mother
The Lineage of Jacob
When Jacob (Hebrew + Syrian) was ready to take a wife, he returned to his uncle Laban’s house, and fell in love with his cousin Rachel (Syrian). Through a pretty messed up deception, Laban tricks Jacob into marrying Rachel’s older sister Leah (Syrian).
This trickery of Laban ultimately leads to a sibling rivalry that resulted in Jacob having thirteen children by four different women.
- Reuben (Hebrew + Syrian)
- Simeon (Hebrew + Syrian)
- Levi (Hebrew + Syrian)
- Judah (Hebrew + Syrian)
- Issachar (Hebrew + Syrian)
- Zebulun (Hebrew + Syrian)
- Dinah (Hebrew + Syrian)
Bilhah (Unknown – Likely Syrian)
- Dan (Hebrew + ?)
- Naphtali (Hebrew + ?)
Zilpah (Unknown – Likely Syrian)
- Gad (Hebrew + ?)
- Asher (Hebrew + ?)
- Joseph (Hebrew + Syrian)
- Benjamin (Hebrew + Syrian)
The Origin of Bilhah and Zilpah
The Bible doesn’t have much to say about these two other than the fact that they were handmaids, and the mothers of four of Jacob’s children. However, there are a couple of extrabiblical sources that give two different possible origins of the two women.
- Midrash Raba: Tells us that Bilhah and Zilpah were Laban’s daughters with a different mother. Perhaps a concubine or another wife.
- Midrash Aggadah: Tells us that Bilhah and Zilpah were slaves that were redeemed by Laban.
Midrash Raba points to their ethnicity being Syrian, while Midrash Aggadah doesn’t give us any clues at all as to what their ethnicity might be.
Frequently Asked Questions (Part 4)
Why did God allow interracial marriages?
You’d think with so many people teaching that the Bible forbids it, there would be at least one verse where God gets irate about it, but it doesn’t happen. Throughout scripture, God is concerned about inter-religious marriage. He wanted to keep the religions separate, not the races. Feel free to have a look for yourself. God tells us exactly why in scripture:
Isn’t marriage defined as one man and one woman?
Nope. Most Christians like to point to Adam and Eve as their evidence, but they always skip over Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc. If you do some digging you’ll also find an interesting story about a woman named Lilith that many believe was Adam’s first wife. I don’t personally believe it, but the story exists.
Do all Arabs come from Ishmael?
No. Arabs are technically people that live on the Arabian peninsula. After the flood, Canaan (Ham’s son) settled in modern day Israel, away from his brothers that settled in Africa. They too are considered Arabs.
However, many Arabs trace their lineage through Ishmael because he settled the Arabian Peninsula. The Edomites (Esau’s descendants) also settled on the Arabian Peninsula as well.
So in reality, most Arabs are likely related to Canaan, Esau, or Ishmael. They might even be related to all three of them. Ancestry.com probably does a much better job of mapping that out than I can.