The wars of the Transjordan people (1 Chr 5:18-5:22)

“The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men, who carried shield and sword and drew the bow. As experts in war, forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty men were ready for service. They made war upon the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. When they received help against them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands. They cried to God in the battle. He granted their entreaty because they trusted in him. They captured their livestock, fifty thousand of their camels, two hundred and fifty thousand sheep, two thousand donkeys, and a hundred thousand captives alive. Many fell slain, because the war was of God. They lived in their territory until the exile.”

These Transjordan people were great warriors with a standing army of about 44,760 armed men with shields, swords, bows and arrows. The exact number is a little strange. The 3 groups were the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. They prayed to God and God heard their cry. They defeated the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. The Reubenites had also defeated the Hagrites, an Arab tribe, supposedly the descendants, of Ishmael, based on his mother’s name Hagar, Sarah’s slave. Jetur and Naphish were the sons of Ishmael also. Nodab is only mentioned here but he may have been connected to the Ishmael clan in some way. They really seem to be against the descendents of Ishmael. They captured their land, their livestock with 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, and 2,000 donkeys. They also captured about 100,000 men. Once again, we have some amazing numbers. It is not clear what they did with these 100,000 captives. Of course, all this lasted until the 8th century BCE exile.

The descendents of Ishmael (1 Chr 1:29-1:31)

“These are their genealogies. The first-born of Ishmael was Nebaioth, with Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael.”

This section is based on Genesis, chapter 25, with has exactly the same names. Ishmael had 12 sons who then became 12 princes, much like Jacob who will have 12 sons. Ishmael was the hard luck outcast, but important because he was technically the first born of Abraham. Among his 12 sons, (1) Nebaioth will be the father of the people who settle in Edom. The descendents of (2) Kedar settled in the Arabian Desert. (3) Adbeel settled somewhere southwest of the Dead Sea. There are two other people named (4) Mibsam and (5) Mishma in the bible. There are a number of places named after (6) Dumah, the most famous on the Syrian border. The (7) Massa descendents settled somewhere near the Babylonian border. (8) Hadad frequently turns up as a name of some princes in Edom. A town in Syria is named after (9) Tema. (10) Jetur, (11) Naphish, and (12) Kedemah seem to be associated with the Hagrites.   They mostly settled in the Arabian Desert. Thus you have the 12 tribes or sons of Ishmael just like there will be 12 tribes or sons of Jacob.