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Genesis 25:12-18 -

The generations of Ishmael, or the biography of a prince.

I. THE PRINCE 'S NAME . Ishmael.

1. The significance of his name. "God hears.' It was thus a perpetual reminder to its bearer of a grand religious truth, that God is essentially a hearer of prayer, and that he is never far from any of his intelligent and needy creatures.

2. The occasion of his getting it.

3. The verification of his name. When he lay beneath the shrub God heard the voice of his distressful cry ( Genesis 21:17 ).

II. THE PRINCE 'S LINEAGE . Abraham's son. That—

III. THE PRINCE 'S FAMILY .

1. Princely in rank . This quality they received by birth, being Ishmael's sons.

2. Many in number . They were twelve princes, and as such they developed into large and flourishing tribes and nations. This characteristic was due to grace, God having promised that kings and nations should spring from Hagar's son.

3. Influential in power . The twelve princes mentioned were powerful chieftains of as many clans.

IV. THE PRINCE 'S DEATH .

1. The time . At 137 years. The days of all, even of princes, in this life are numbered.

2. The manner . "He expired." "There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit" in the day of his death.

3. The result . "He was gathered unto his people," passing to the company of those who were like-minded with himself in the unseen world, as Abraham went to enjoy the society of those who were of kindred spirit with him.

V. THE PRINCE 'S DOMINIONS . "His lot was cast in the presence of all his brethren," i . e . his empire was—

1. Outside of Canaan . He had no part or lot in the inheritance of Isaac. Neither have the world's princes as such any share in the heritage of heaven's peers.

2. Among the tribes of earth . And so the worldly man's portion is of the earth, earthy.

See—

1. How comparatively unimportant the world's biographies are in the judgment of the Spirit.

2. How the children of the wicked often outnumber the offspring of the pious.

3. How it is appointed unto all men once to die, though not to all to die alike.

4. How certain it is that the wicked and the good shall be separated after death, since at death both are gathered unto their respective peoples. 5. How clearly and minutely God fulfils the promises he makes to wicked men no less than to good.

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