Jacob and Rachel: A Bible Love Story

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

The greatest love letter ever written was the one from God to humans. It is called the Bible. Sadly, it is one of the greatest love letters that people do not read. The Bible contains some of the most wonderful love stories ever told. One that is an inspiring story of love between a husband and wife is that of Jacob and Rachel. In fact, it is one of the greatest love stories of all time.

Jacob is the father of the twelve tribes of Israel and is a significant figure in biblical history. God latter changes his name to Israel from which the nation finds its name. Jacob’s name means “supplanter” or “one who grabs.” In the case of Jacob, he grabbed his brothers heal when we was being born. His brother’s name was Esau and he was born first but Jacob grabbed onto his brothers heel when we was being born. Esau was the first born of Isaac but he lost his birthright to Jacob. Esau is the father of the Arabic speaking peoples today. There was a natural, bitter rivalry between Jacob and Esau and today there is a natural animosity between Israel and the Arab nations surrounding her.

Jacob and Rachel Bible Love Story

He met Rachel at the well and for him, it was love at first sight.

Love at First Sight

Jacob was sent by his father Isaac to find a wife from a relative‘s family. He met Rachel at the well and for him, it was love at first sight. He went to the well and when he single-handily moved the great stone cover off of the well, perhaps trying to impress Rachel. You can tell that Jacob didn’t take long before he knew that he loved Rachel as recorded in Genesis 29:10-11: “When Jacob saw Rachel, daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud.” Interestingly, it wasn’t Rachel that cried but Jacob. He seemed to know with certainty that Rachel would be his bride. Rachel ran to her father and told him about the young traveler. Rachel’s father, Laban, ran out to meet Jacob and invited him to stay with him.

Jacob stayed with Laban’s family and within a month, he had fallen deeply in love with Rachel and determined to marry her. In order to marry her, Rachel’s father convinced Jacob to work for him for seven years and he could marry Rachel. Jacob agreed. Jacob loved Rachel so much that he labored for her for seven years, “but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her” (Gen 29:20). Love sometimes makes things in life more bearable as it did for Jacob.

Laban’s Trickery

After the seven years of labor, Laban agreed to allow Jacob to marry Rachel. In Jewish wedding ceremonies, the bride usually have their entire face covered with only a small opening for the eyes. After Jacob married the woman and spent the night with his new bride he woke up in horror to discover that he had been tricked. Jacob thought that he had married Rachel but he had instead married Leah. Jacob was outraged and when he confronted Rachel’s father Laban, the father told Jacob that it was customary to have the eldest daughter marry first. Laban said that Jacob could also marry Rachel if he agreed to work another seven years for him. Jacob, smitten by Rachel, quickly agreed and worked another seven years for Laban. Another seven years wouldn’t stop Jacob because “his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah…and he worked for Laban another seven years” to secure Rachel for his wife (Gen 29:30). Jacob had once deceived his brother Esau and had tricked him out of his rightful birthright. Now it was Jacob turn to be tricked.

Rachel Dies

Jacob’s other wife, Leah, had several children but Rachel remained barren. Rachel once said that if she didn’t have children that she’d die (Gen. 30:1) but ironically, she died after having her second child, Benjamin. Rachel’s first son, Joseph, would end up being critically important for the people of Israel to survive after he would bring his entire family into Egypt to survive a devastating famine. This is relevant because by this time God had changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which means “prince of God“.

When Jacob and Rachel’s family moved on from Bethel, “Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty….and as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin” (Gen 35:16-18). Ben-Oni means “son of my trouble” but Jacob, now called Israel, named him Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand.” This may have been due to Rachel’s being Jacob‘s favorite wife or his “right hand“ to him and so Rachel‘s son was given the name of Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand.”

“So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb” (Gen 35:19-20). Rachel had died but Jacob’s love for her never did. Death does not end a person’s love for another, in fact love is said to survive even death. Jacob loved Rachel at first sight and at last sight. So much so that he erected a pillar to mark the place of Rachel’s tomb. A pillar that may have been a memorial for him to remember her…and a place for him to return to visit much like a gravestone today in a cemetery. Today, they are together again – in Paradise; together forever and to never die again.

Did you enjoy this love story? If so you might also like this article:

5 Encouraging Bible Stories About Love


New International Bible (NIV)
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Dereck December 25, 2011 at 10:01 am

Hi Jack

If we as believers have a medical problem which makes it hard to get around, and get to church all the time, can we still be effective for God? I find myself in this predicament, I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and I do not make it to church on a regular basis. I have not been the best Christian before not being able to move around well, I do not work, I had to seek a medical disabilty so it is hard to get out to talk to and see people. On top of that, my disability makes it hard to tithe because I do not come close to the money I use to make when I was working so it is hard to give even tough I want to. What am I to do?


Jack December 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

Dereck, this is a great question. I believe that God looks at the heart and not at church attendance records. Let me say this; I cherish the prayers of those who can not attend regularly and seek their prayers for the work of the Lord and to support me and my ministry to reach the lost. Those who can not regularly attend can be the most powerful of all in their prayers. It is not about tithing or church attendance but about seeking God’s Word, hiding it in their heart, and praying for those who need the prayers of the saints. I would be most honored if you could pray for me and this church that I pastor for we need it so much. I believe praying is the most powerful thing we can do on earth to affect those who are laboring in the Word of God. God bless you Dereck. I will pray for you today my good friend and thank you sir.


Dereck December 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Hi Jack,

To be in the Christian life or lead the Christian life appears to be easy, but, as we read in the word, the path of the believer is narrow while the path of the unbeliever is wide. I try to look at my path as not having attained Heaven. I constantly think that if I were to pass away, I have not done enough to warrent heaven, in fact, I feel ashamed of some of things that I have done even as a Christian. I even find myself weighing things that I believe are good and those things that are bad and it seems that I always have more bad then good. I try not be arrogant in my thinking that I have attained Heaven. Because I feel like I have not.

So, is it a good way to think that our work here on earth is never complete enough to believe we will make it into Heaven and is the way of the Christian easy even though we read that the path is narrow?


Jack Wellman December 27, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Well said Dereck, especially that last line. I believe we should live like we are secure but be the hands and feet of Jesus whenever possible. You certainly don’t strike me as arrogant. In fact, I believe you write with refreshing honesty and humility and the very fact that you feel ashamed when you sin, is a wonderful sign that the Holy Spirit is working in you. The difference between the unsaved and saved is that the unsaved sins and feels no remorse although they may or may not feel guilt, but when the believer sins, they feel convicted and strive to not repeat it again. I fail miserably time and time again my friend. Take heart, for this scripture of I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”


Dereck December 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Hi Jack

I just wanted to let you know that I have and will continue to pray for you and your church. I think you are an outstanding leader and a great Bible teacher. I have very much enjoyed our conversations so far and look forward to many more.

In the book of 1st Corinthians where Paul says that he was the “Chief sinner”, I learned today that he was not describing himself as the worst of the worst, although, we know that prior to his change on the road to Damascus, he was pretty bad. I learned from a Bible teacher today that the word “Chief” is the same as the word protos in the greek which means prestiges or head of the line. Is that the same meaning your study of the scriptures came up with?

I must admit that in reading that, I thought chief meant that he was the worst of the worst.


Dereck December 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I am sorry, I mixed up my Bible study, it was 1st Timothy where Paul described himself as the “chief sinner”.


Jack Wellman December 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Thanks Dereck. Yes, that’s what my Study Bible says too. I believe that Paul was being humble as he elsewhere calls himself the least of the Apostles. His very nature shows his humility and humble attitude because God resists the proud but gives His grace to the humble of which Paul surely was. Great point about “Chief”. Thanks friend. Your a serious student of the Word. Love that about you.


Jack Wellman December 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Also, thank you for praying for me and the church. I believe they are right out of the Corinthian church and especially chapter 6 of I Cor. I am not sure I am a great Bible teacher or pastor but the God I serve truly is and the teacher of mine is the Holy Spirit so all credit, glory, and honor go to God the Holy Spirit who teaches me all things about the Bible but I have so very much to learn and so very far to go my friend. Thanks again Dereck. You’re much like Barnabas…a man of encouragement.


Dereck December 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hi Jack,

You are right a


Dereck December 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Hi Jack,

You are right about God and the Holy Spirit being the ultimate teachers. As far as me being a serious student, I have to say that I have just learned this a couple of days ago. I really did think Paul was talking about he was the worst of the worst. I am trying to be a better student as I go forward. I try to just keep learning.


Jack Wellman December 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Good point Dereck. I must say that I would be the last person that I would have ever chosen to be pastor of a church but perhaps that is the point. This truly glorifies God the most when the least likely are chosen for we know that it MUST have been all about God and Him alone for no man has any right to glory nor will He share His glory with another (and why should He not!). Blessings brother.


Dereck December 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Hi Jack

How do you think is the best way to memorize the scriptures? When I hear a verse started, I know how to finish that verse, but, I am not sure where it comes from all the time. Thanks Brother.


Jack Wellman December 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Dereck, great question. I have memorized several Scriptures to most do with evangelizing and I put them on 3 by 5 index cards like Acts 4:12, Acts 16:30-31, Rom 10:9-13, Rom 6:23, and several others. I also read my Bible in the morning and in the evening just before I go to bed because I was told that whatever you see or read before going to bed, the brain retains it and meditates on it even after you are asleep. I also like to put Scriptures into a song as I play guitar and one song is called “For God So Loved the World” which has John 3:16-17 and I Cor. 15:22 and these are also evangelistic. As you can tell, my passion is the Great Commission and so I tend to memorize these types of verses above others. I hope this helps. Blessing brother.


Dereck December 30, 2011 at 9:06 am

Thanks Jack,

I will begin to read scriptures before I go to bed.

Another question, why do you think God had a lot of mysteries which were hidden from the Jewish faith and later revealed to people like Paul who then spoke them to believers in Jesus? I know and believe that God still has much in store for Isreal, but, it seems most of the things that were hid were done so from the people of Isreal. Even in this day and time, if we were to speak to a Jewish person about Christ, most would think and believe that we were crazy for believing in Jesus Christ.

I just find the subject interesting. Thanks Brother.



Jack Wellman December 30, 2011 at 11:30 am

Dereck, the more I study and read the Bible the more I realize just how ignorant I am about it. God said, I can’t remember where right now, that for a time the Jews have been blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles is come (that means until the last non-Jew is saved and Christ returns). I once witnessed to a group of non-orthodox Jews and I used Moses and his prophecy about a prophet coming to Israel someday in Deut. 18:17-19 “The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.”

The Jews DO believe in the first 5 books of the Old Testament (called the Torah Pentateuch). The Jews will someday come to finally believe in Jesus as the prophesied Messiah, but not until Christ returns to save them from the last great attempt to destroy Israel (during Tribulation some say).

As for the other mysteries, where God and the Bible is silent, so must I be. God has sovereignly revealed to us only those things He feels we need to know. The secret things belong to God and likely for a very good reason. That is His prerogative. The Jews may not think you are as crazy if you use Moses and the Old Testament and if they believe in the Prophets, Isaiah is an awesome one to reveal Jesus as the Suffering Servant and Messiah and Lamb of God. Isaiah was the most often quoted book by the Jews and by Jesus Himself while on earth.


Dereck December 31, 2011 at 8:15 am

Thanks Jack.

I started reading last night before bed with Psalm 37. I did not get very far because I forgot my glasses. I got my glasses this morning and read some more. So, what I think I will do is read before going to bed and then read some when I wake and hopefully I can commit what I read to memory.

I will talk to you later Brother

Dereck December 31, 2011 at 8:47 am

Hi Jack,

When Jesus returns to earth and sets up his Kingdom, what will happen to those people who were believers and past away before His return? Will they come back to life and be with Christ when He reigns on the earth? What will happen to those people who believe in Jesus Christ and are still alive when He comes?

Believers are to be called up into the air and this starts the tribulation period. Am I right about this?

Thanks Brother

Jack December 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

Dereck, I wrote an article that goes into more depth than I can here. The Rapture is not a belief that all Christians hold too. I believe that when Christ returns for those who are now in their graves they will rise to meet Him in the air and be with Him forever. That is a certainty for those who die in the faith have eternal life and are presently with the Lord after they die.

For those who are still alive when Christ returns, they too will be with the Lord, meeting Him in the air and being with Him forever. The link below explains more but we do know that whoever places their trust and faith in Christ already has eternal life. As it says in 1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”



Dereck January 1, 2012 at 11:40 am

Hi Jack,

I went to that link you provided. Great lesson!!!! What is the millennium? I have heard this century reffered to as the new millennium. Can you explain that for me.

Thanks Brother

Jack Wellman January 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Dereck, the millineum is actually a thousand year period mentioned in Revelation 20:1-7 the millennium, the period of a thousand years during which Christ will reign on earth…a period of general righteousness and happiness, especially in the indefinite future.

Some maintain that Christ will personally appear on earth for the purpose of establishing his kingdom at the beginning of this millennium. Those holding this view are usually called “millenarians.” On the other hand, it is maintained, more in accordance with the teaching of Scripture, we think, that Christ’s second advent will not be premillennial, and that the right conception of the prospects and destiny of his kingdom is that which is taught, e.g., in the parables of the leaven and the mustard-seed.

The triumph of the gospel, it is held, must be looked for by the wider and more efficient operation of the very forces that are now at work in extending the gospel; and that Christ will only come again at the close of this dispensation to judge the world at the “last day.” The millennium will thus precede his coming because in Revelation 20:10-12 is when all the world, past, present, and future who are not Christians are finally judged and so the Millennium comes before the final judgment called the Great White Throne Judgment. I hope this helps Dereck.

Pam December 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Jack this is really a lovely article. Thank you for reminding me how romantic God’s Word can be. It shows how much God loves His people that he would allow the first born of Jacob and Rachel to be a savior to the people. A true “type” of our own Saviour. Well done!


Jack March 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Amen…loved it and I do see Jesus in this story. I am extremely blessed to have my own love story, my godly wife, a teacher, friend, mom, and beautiful wife. Thanks Pam.


alex March 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

hey jack thanks for all the work you do it is greatly appreciated. this question is off topic from this blog post and i couldnt find a better place to post it, but i have really pondered it. im curious if christians have guardian angels, like do we have our own for protection from demons and satan. do people with greater faith have higher ranking angles like cheribum or if they are in greater danger?


Jack March 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hi Alex, never a problem. That’s what we are here for…besides, I am learning so much from finding answers and sometimes its, “I just don’t know.” The more I learn, the more I feel just so ignorant for the Word of God is deep indeed.

I do not believe people with greater faith have higher ranking angels but I find no answer to this in the Bible. My own (human) opinion is I don’t believe so since God is no respecter of persons, he would not see the need to put more powerful angels over us to protect us. Besides, even one angel is so powerfully and significantly enough that one is all we would need. I believe the greatest ranking angels are over or near the throne of God for they display the glory of God so much. I do believe that our angels may be with us in a protective sense but they can not be overwhelmed because the devil and his demons can do no more than God allows (Job 1) and He restricts their freedom to fit His sovereign will.

I wrote an article about Guardian Angels at the link below. Perhaps it might give you more in-depth info on angels. God bless you Alex.



Matheus July 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Hi Jack me and a girl at my church are going to get in to a relationship and we are very excited but she wants me to wait until God gives us the ok to date and I just wanted to ask you is it ok to date and does the bible say anything about dating before marriage and how do I know when God has given me the ok to have a relationship with this girl?


Jack Wellman July 5, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Thank you Matheus. I see by your very question that you want to please God and that you must also be a strong Christian so my compliments to you my friend. Yes, I believe God would want you to date before marriage but can I ask what age you both are so that I can give you a better answer and perhaps godly advice (I hope). I believe that time will tell. I am happy for you to be sure because you already are dating a girl that is a Christian and that’s a great foundation. I dated my wife for 8 months before we married and in that time we became best friends. I believe that when you date you become great friends and, later, if God wills, you will marry your best friend. We have an article also that might help you that is called, “True Love: How Do You Know When You Find It?” at:


Please let me know your ages because if you are very young, you should date in public places like a restaurant or at a movie and not be alone so that you can resist temptation. Thank you Matheus.


Matheus July 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I’m sorry Jack we are both 18 years old.


Jack Wellman July 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

Thank you Matheus. I believe God will bless your relationship because your heart appears to be seeking a close, obedient relationship with God. You show by your comments that you are putting obedience to God first so truly you have my blessing, (if you even needed it) and may God richly bless your dating experience that you develop a close friendship and that the story ends in such a way that you bring glory to God. My desire is to some day, if it leads to such, to be honored to marry you both because there is just something so special about someone as young as you and your friend to seek to put God first and please Him. Wow, that is so refreshing my friend. Young man, you remind me much of the teenager Daniel who was special to God and mightily used by Him. I sense that in you Matheus. Let me know if I can serve you in any other way and may He truly bless you both.


Pepper October 2, 2012 at 11:14 pm

What a beautiful, touching story.


Jack Wellman January 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Thank you Rachel. I am guilty. I can be rather stupid at times and so I apologize and we will correct this. I have no excuse and you may be right. Maybe I don’t know the Bible and should resign as a writer. Shame on me. No excuse. Just an idiot. Thanks for showing me my ignorance. You are right…I’m, as I said, stupid.


Pamela Rose Williams January 28, 2013 at 9:16 am

Hello Jack, you are neither stupid nor an idiot and we all know you have an outstanding knowledge of the Bible. You are simply human and to err is human … to forgive is Divine. I have corrected Rachel’s name throughout the article and promise to be more careful when editing in the future. AND by the way, this is a lovely article brother.


Rachel Friend January 28, 2013 at 12:17 am

Oh my goodness Jack, don’t that at all! I get things addressed to me Rachael, Racheal, Rachelle, in the mail all times…PLEASE don’t take this to heart….Actually, My boyfriends mother sent me a check today and she spelled my name, “Rachael” I told my boyfriend, We’ve been together almost six years, I thought your Mom knew how to spell my name right RACHEL, just like it is in bible. I went on to ask him if he knew the story about Rachel & Jacob, he said, “No.” I searched the story and found your wonderful website….when I started reading & I saw Rachel was spelled like it is in the bible….as I scrolled down…I saw it spelled differently, that suprised me. I’m so sorry if my words sound harsh and disrepectful….please forgive me. God Bless you. I’m so ashamed of myself right now. Take care~


Jack Wellman January 28, 2013 at 11:06 am

Thank you Rachel. I am most hard on myself at times. As a bi-vocational pastor of a small, poor church, I sometimes get to the point of exhaustion and I put myself under the most demand and during my sermons often throw myself under the bus as a supreme example of being a sinner but that is why God’s grace is so amazing. He gives us what we do not deserve.


Rachel Friend January 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Well, I’m the guilty one here. I’m sorry for ever posting this. Please forgive me, Jack and Pam. See what my remark caused…Jack, you are an awesome man! Pam, I don’t know you, but you’re awesome, too. I will be hanging my head in shame for days to come. God bless both of you!


rachel May 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm

My name is Rachel and this is the Rachel I was named after and it truly is very inspiring to me to have a name with such meaning.


Allan W. August 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I am in a bar right now. I have been fighting alcoholism for some time. For whatever reason, I ended up at this blog site. God is good. Pastor Jack – your words are encouraging on many levels. And you all have reached someone fighting a battle. I thank you. I praise God.


Jack Wellman August 15, 2013 at 8:34 am

Your words are an encouragement Allan. Please know that God never gives up on us even when we are unfaithful to Him like I have been. Thank you so much.


Bhavesh September 5, 2015 at 3:16 pm

This story of Jacob and Rachel is somehow connected to something I am going through. I also fell in love within a month with someone last December. After reading this, I can imagine that Jacob had amazing patience to wait for his love. He waited 7 years and then again 7 years. I have met the love of my life but for some reason God is testing my patience by keeping her away from me. Now I don’t know whether God will send her back or not but I will keep on waiting. I have been waiting since more than a month and will keep on waiting just like Jacob waited for 14 years. My love for her is never going to die just like Jacob’s love for Rachel never died even after Rachel’s death. Thank you Mr. Wellman for this article. It encouraged me to wait for my true love and strengthen my heart and soul.


marilyn steiner August 29, 2016 at 11:06 pm

This is so amazing, I really needed this, thank you!


Jonathan February 4, 2017 at 11:36 am

Derek….I agree with Jack that you can pray and prayer is powerful… and spending with God increases faith in Him and His word…I too am on disability…and its sometimes difficult to realize who I am in Jesus…for Jesus blood…paid for healing….healings happen today….part of Jesus ministry was healing the sick…next to preaching the gospel..and making disciples…it is part of our mandate…..listen to the many scriptures on healing…speak to the mountain….Im growing too …there is a group on facebook called INSIDE OUT TRAINING AND EQUIPPING SCHOOL..that may help…you grow..watching sidroth its supernatural may encourage you too…Jesus paid for every disease on earth…He Healed ALL…Isiah 53:5….Help us believe your word…I pray the Lord will put someone in your path to stand with you..


Joshua December 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

Could it be possible that Rachel’s own words killed her as she said “If I dont have children I will die” as the bible says “Life and death lies on the power of the tongue”?


Christian May 22, 2021 at 4:16 pm

Hi Jack,
Am confused, I noticed you said that Arabs are descendant of Esau but some bible scholars believe that the Ishmael is the progenitor of all Arabs. Am a novice when it comes to bible, would you like to elaborate on that please?
Thank you!


Pastor Jack Wellman May 22, 2021 at 5:35 pm

Hello Christian & thank you for your question. A popular old reference Bible calls Ishmael “the progenitor of the Arabs” and goes on to say that Muhammad “came from the line of Ishmael.” That is very definitely untrue as well. The truth is that the term “Arab” designates peoples of diverse ethnic origins who are united only by the Arabic language and culture. The seed of Ishmael represents only a very small component of the genetic pool of the Arabic people.

In Arabic and Hebrew the term arab means “nomad” (synonymous with bedouin), and originally referred only to the nomadic people who roamed the Arabian Peninsula. Later, it was used to designate all the inhabitants of the peninsula–both nomads and town-dwellers. According to the Old Testament, the earliest inhabitants of the peninsula descended from Joktan (Gen. 10:26-29), a descendent of Shem (whence the term Semite). Later, the area was also settled by Abraham’s sons through Keturah (Gen. 25:1-4), the 12 sons of Ishmael (Gen. 25:13-16), and finally the sons of Esau (Gen. 36:1-19), all descendents of Abraham (also Semitic). Clearly, Ishmael’s offspring represent just a small fraction of the Arab peoples.

But there is another reason it is incorrect to say that the Arab nation descended from Ishmael. Following the Arab conquest of the Middle East and North Africa (7th C.), many of the conquered countries eventually adopted Arabic as their mother tongue, as well as Islam. There was also a certain amount of intermarriage between conquerors and conquered. So that today, the term “Arab” has a strictly cultural and linguistic connotation. To conclude, while some Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula may be descendants of Ishmael, most Arabs of the rest of the “Arab World” have no blood relationship to Ishmael at all.

But what about the claim that Muhammad is a descendent of Ishmael. The Arabs, of course, make this claim, but I note that some trace his ancestry through Nebaioth, and others through Kedar, showing that they really do not know for sure. When one considers the well-documented fact that Muslims often invent genealogies, I am skeptical.


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