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Nebaioth (Hebrew נְבָיוֹת) is mentioned at least five times in the Hebrew Bible according to which he was the firstborn son of Ishmael, and the name appears as the name of one of the wilderness tribes mentioned in the Book of Genesis 25:13, and in the Book of Isaiah 60:7.

Biblical occurrences[edit]

In the Book of Genesis, Nebaioth is listed as the firstborn son of Ishmael:

...Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore unto Abraham. And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the first-born of Ishmael, Nebaioth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa; Hadad, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedem; these are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their encampments; twelve princes according to their nations... (Book of Genesis 25:12-16)

Nebaioth is also mentioned as the brother of Mahalath, one of Esau's wives:

(1): ...and Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; so Esau went unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives that he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife... (Book of Genesis 28:8-9)
(2): ...Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite, and Basemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebaioth... (Book of Genesis 36:2-3)

Nebaioth is again mentioned as Ishmael's firstborn in the genealogies of the First Book of Chronicles:

...These are their generations: the first-born of Ishmael, Nebaioth; then Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, Mishma, and Dumah, Massa, Hadad, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedem. These are the sons of Ishmael... (1 Chronicles 1:29-31)

In the Book of Isaiah, Nebaioth (along with his brother Kedar) is used as a metaphor for gentile nations:

... All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will glorify my glorious house... (Book of Isaiah 60:7)

Extra-biblical occurrences[edit]

Based on similarity of sounds, Josephus, the Jewish historian of the Roman era, suggested that there was a connection with the historical Nabataeans of Hellenistic and Roman times (Jewish Antiquities 1.12.4). Though Jerome followed him and Bible historians have followed Jerome, modern historians reject any connection of the Nabataeans to the "tribe of Nebaioth".[1] Classical Arab historians sometimes name Nebaioth as an ancestor of Muhammad although another tradition names Kedar, another son of Ishmael, as his ancestor.

Offspring of Ishmael (Book of Jasher)
Sons of Nebaioth, the first born of Ishmael Mend Send Mayon
Sons of Kedar Alyon Kezem Chamad Eli
Sons of Adbeel Chamad Jabin
Sons of Mibsam Obadiah Ebedmelech Yeush
Sons of Mishma Shamua Zecaryon Obed
Sons of Dumah Kezed Eli Machmad Amed
Sons of Masa Melon Mula Ebidadon
Sons of Chadad Azur Minzar Ebedmelech
Sons of Tema Seir Sadon Yakol
Sons of Yetur Merith Yaish Alyo Pachoth
Sons of Naphish Ebed-Tamed Abiyasaph Mir
Sons of Kedma Kedma Calip Tachti Omir


  1. ^ Jane, Taylor (2001). Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans. London, United Kingdom: I.B. Tauris. p. 14. ISBN 9781860645082. Retrieved 8 July 2016.