Arabs Jews fighting?
Have Arabs and Jews been fighting for over 4000 years?
Furthermore, are Arabs actually the descendants of Ishmael?
A statement often heard, in the Western Christian Church, is that Arabs and Jews have been fighting for over 4000 years, but that statement is not true. This is also one of those erroneous statements that has virtually NO basis of truth in it.
When researching scripture we find only one place where Arabs are warring with anyone who someone might consider a Jew. In 2 Ch 21:16-17 it says "Then the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Ethiopians; and they came against Judah and invaded it"... However this occurred prior to God calling anyone a Jew and therefore the people of Judah in that scripture were not Jews.
There are two other instances in the book of Nehemiah; one in chapter 4, and the other in chapter 6, where a group of people, including one specific Arab, identified as Gesham the Arab, plan to harm the Jews who were rebuilding the second temple in Jerusalem. However, God prevented that from occurring.
Jeremiah 41:3 also records a person named Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama who was of the Royal Family (2 Kings 25:25), striking down all the Chaldeans and Jews who were with him. However, even though his name is Ishmael there is no scriptural verification that he was an Arab.
Those references are the total extent, of what can be found, in recorded Biblical history, where Arabs and Jews were in conflict. Therefore it can be said that Arabs, as a group, are not recorded in the Bible as warring with Jews.
Not even in the early years (long before the name Jew ever appears in God's word), and after Ishmael and his mother were sent out of Abraham's house, do we find the sons of Abraham, as separate groups, in any physical conflict that could be considered a war. It is true that Hagar and her son Ishmael were sent out of Abraham's house due to persecution (Gal 4:28-29), however that was not due to physical confrontations but rather an inner family conflict, moreover Isaac was still young at that time.
Moreover, in Genesis 25:9 it records Ishmael and Isaac together in burying their father Abraham. About as close of a conflict we will find between the descendants of Ishmael, and his brothers, is in Genesis 25:18. There it records Ishmael's descendants as settling "east of Egypt......... in defiance of all his relatives," however it does not record any physical conflict. Moreover, Abraham's grandson Esau intermarried with the daughters of Ishmael further confusing whatever pure blood line someone might think exists (Gen 28:9).
Furthermore Esau also merged the blood line of Abraham with the Hittites and Canaanites (which may have even extended to others including the people called Amalekites) when he married daughters from those cultures (Gen 26:34-35 & Gen 28:8).
Later, in the book of Judges, we find that the descendents of Ishmael, the Ishmaelites, had been fighting with, and alongside Gideon, an Israelite. Moreover, they even gave Gideon some of their spoil (Judges 8:22-24). Further on in Judges (Judges 20) the tribe of Benjamin is almost completely destroyed by the other tribes of the sons of Israel, not by the Ishmaelites.
Those examples hardly gives credence to the statement that Arabs and Jews have been fighting for 4000 years.
Moreover, since the Bible later records numerous battles between the various Tribes of Israel, and then finally the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (both were descendents of Jacob/Israel), it would actually be more accurate to say that the sons of Israel, which included the two tribes who later became Jews (Judah & Benjamin), had fought each other for thousands of years.
Furthermore, the name Jew doesn't even appear in the Bible until close to the end of the recorded Old testament era, and that is far less than 4000 years ago. (see Bible Test page 4 & Facts Jews and Bible page 20 ).
Although Israel's wars have not been researched in exhaustive totality, from what we do find, it appears that the people Ancient Israel warred with (except of course their own brothers of Judah) were almost entirely traceable to the descendants of Ham, not Shem. Shem was the lineage who Abram and all of his descendents, which is commonly (and probably erroneously) considered to include Arabs.
Moreover, since modern Jews are not direct descendents of Biblical Jews (see pages 7 & 8 ), that statement cannot apply to the nation called Israel today. Furthermore from A.D. 70 until 1948 there was no specific nation, with people claiming to be Jews, to war with anyone.
Even the Khazars, from the Kingdom of Khazaria of the area that is now northern Turkey, whom the majority of modern Jews trace their lineage, appear to have no recorded conflicts with Arabs.
Moreover, when researching this subject, we find that it is not shown anywhere in scripture where it actually states that Arabs are descendants of Ishmael. Additionally, for what it is worth, the name Arab, in either singular or plural, can only be found in ten verses in the entire Bible.
The misconception, that Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, may possibly come from the verses in Galatians 4:22 - 26 where it states:
"For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother." However, those verses in Galatians are clearly speaking of the two spiritual covenants not of a physical lineage through the flesh.
Therefore, unless good contrary evidence is found, the only logical conclusion is that Arabs are not traceable descendants of Ishmael, and the concept that most Arabs in general are, is just another unverifiable "non-fact" that appears to have become truth mostly through repetition, and not much more.
The statement that "Arabs and Jews have been fighting for over 4000 years," is not correct scripturally or historically and has virtually no basis of truth to it (especially since God didn't even call anyone a Jew until slightly over 2500 years ago). There are many things, currently voiced in the Western Christian Church, that are not true scripturally or historically, and this is one of them.
Are Arabs traceable descendants of Abraham's son Ishmael?
Prior to publishing this section, an internet search was done on the origins of Arabs, and no verifiable evidence was found, either through Biblical or historical evidence, that those called Arabs are traceable descendants of Ishmael.
Biblically it appears that the nomadic Bedouins have a better claim to a Ishmael lineage than do others such as Egyptian Arabs and some of the other north African Arabs (Gen 16:12).
Obviously the Egyptians of the Bible were not descendents of Ishmael (they were a nation prior to Ishmael's birth) so where is the evidence to back up the claim that most current Arabs are as well? It may be there, but with the admittedly limited research, so far no evidence has been shown to confirm it.
However, even though the Bible does not record Ishmael as the father of Arabs, the traditions and teachings of Islam does.
Therefore the idea that Ishmael is the father of Arabs comes from, and has its roots in, Islam, not ancient history or Old Testament scriptures.
According to Islamic belief and tradition, God commanded Abraham to take Hagar and their son Ishmael to a desolate valley; what is currently called Mecca in Saudi Arabia. He returned to see them from time to time. On one of those visits God commanded Abraham to build up the Kaaba (what is now the most holy site in Islam) and call the people to pilgrimage.
Therefore, there is strong evidence that the concept, that all Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, is actually an Islamic teaching that has infiltrated the Christian Church and spread through repetition rather than solid Biblical research.
The roots of Arabs being the descendents of Ishmael, therefore, are not Biblical, or even based on recorded ancient history, but rather it comes from the teachings of Islam which began in 610 A.D. ....... O.B.T.W. just an FYI, the idea that Adam & Eve ate an apple off of the "tree" also comes from Islam, not the Bible. The Bible only says "fruit" not any specific fruit such as an apple.
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