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Ishmael's mother, Hagar, was the Egyptian servant of Abraham's wife Sarah. Although God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, Sarah was beyond childbearing age and did not trust God. In an attempt to "help God out," she sent Hagar to her husband so that she could bear him a child. Hagar bore Ishmael, Abraham's firstborn son. Fourteen years later, Sarah became pregnant with Isaac. But after the birth of Isaac, Sarah became bitter about Abraham's love for Ishmael and begged Abraham to send them away. God intervened, assuring Abraham that it was okay to send them away as his wife wanted, and promised him that Ishmael would make a great nation of him as well as Isaac. They settled in the desert of Paran where he did indeed father many nations. He had 12 sons: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. Each became a tribal chief and they settled throughout the middle east, from Assyria to Egypt. Ishmael also had a daughter, Bashemath, who married Esau. He apparently remained in a loving relationship with Abraham and with Isaac, as he went to Abraham's burial.
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