Genesis 17:20

20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.

Genesis 17:20 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 17:20

And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee, &c,
Took notice of his prayer for him, and accepted of and would answer him, and did, as follows:

behold, I have blessed him;
determined in his mind to bless him, promised to bless him, ( Genesis 16:10 Genesis 16:12 ) ; had blessings laid up and in reserve for him:

and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly;
as he did, many of the Arabian nations, the Hagarenes, Saracens, and Turks, all springing from him:

twelve princes shall he beget;
whose names are given, ( Genesis 25:13-15 ) ; and their number there exactly agrees with this prophecy. Melo F19, the Heathen writer above mentioned, says, that Abraham, of his other wife, the Egyptian servant (that is, Hagar), begat twelve sons, which he mistakes for twelve sons of Ishmael, his son by Hagar; and, adds he, these going into Arabia, divided the country among them, and were the first that reigned over the inhabitants of it; hence down to our times the kings of the Arabians have twelve names like to those. So the Saracens were divided into twelve tribes, of which there were so many "phylarchi", or governors; and the Turks also are divided into the same number of tribes F20. And

I will make him a great nation;
as the nation of the Turks especially is; and the Turkish empire is frequently called in Jewish writings the kingdom of Ishmael, as the Arabic language is called the Ishmaelitish language.


FOOTNOTES:

F19 Apud. Euseb. ut supra. (Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 19. p. 421.)
F20 Vid. Vales. Not. in Ammian. Marcellin. l. 24. p. 283.

Genesis 17:20 In-Context

18 And Abraham said to God, "O that Ishmael might live in your sight!"
19 God said, "No, but your wife Sarah shall bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.
20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year."
22 And when he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.