1 Chronicles 1:29–31 (ESV)

29 These are their genealogies: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,

These are their genealogies. The term genealogies translates the Hebrew word תֹּלְדוֹת. This is a key word in the book of Genesis, used as an important marker in the division of the book. This is the first place in Chronicles where it is used.1

Ishmael was Abraham’s son by the handmaiden Hagar (Genesis 16:1–15). His twelve sons are named but not much more is said about him by the Chronicler. Although Abram eventually had to expel Ishmael from his home at the insistence of Sarah, God promised to bless Ishmael, make him fruitful, and multiply him greatly (Genesis 17:20). Ishmael is regarded as the father of the Arabian tribes. The persistent conflict between present-day Israel and the surrounding Arab tribes can legitimately be traced back to the start of it all—the conflict between Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 21:9–13). The account of Ishmael’s descendants, in fact, closes with these words: And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them (Genesis 25:18, NIV). There are two names that appear in the genealogy of Ishmael—Kedar and Tema—that immediately identify the Ishmaelites as nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes, which Genesis clearly confirms (Genesis 16:7–14; Genesis 20:8–18; Genesis 25:12–18; see also Psalm 120:5; Song of Solomon 1:5; Job 6:19).2