Gematria of Ishmael in the Torah & Quran (PART I)

The phrase הרבה ארבה את זרעך (harbah arbeh et zar’ech/zar’echa), “I will greatly increase your offspring” appears twice in the Masoretic text: (i) Sefer Bereshit 16:10, it refers to the seed of Hagar, the wife of Abraham (ii) Sefer Bereshit 22:17, it refers to the seed of Abraham, the husband of Hagar. Similarly, the gematria of this phrase is equal, 1,118. This phrase consists of four Hebrew words: הרבה (harbah) 212; ארבה (arbeh) 208; את (et) 401 and זרעך (zar’ech/zar’echa) 297. Amazingly, the gematria of the promise ארבה (arbeh), “I will increase” in both verses is equal to that of הגר (Hagar), 208. Similarly, the phrase אב המון (av hamon), lit. “father of a multitude” which the phrase refers to Abraham, in fact, this appears twice in the Tanach (Sefer Bereshit 17:4-5), and the gematria of this phrase אב המון (av hamon) is also 208 (2 + 0 + 8 = 10), the same as that of הגר (Hagar), 208 (2 + 0 + 8 = 10), the same as that of ישמעאל (Yishmael), 451 (4 + 5 + 1 = 10).

Meanwhile, the promise of the LORD about Ishmael, it also appears twice in the Tanach: (i) the promise of God to Hagar, and there are two words to express the promise: הרבה (harbah) and פרא (pere) in the Sefer Bereshit 16:10-12, (ii) the promise of God to Abraham, and there are also two words to express the promise: הפריתי (hifreiti) and הרביתי (hirbeiti) in the Sefer Bereshit 17:20.

The Hebrew words הרבה (harbah) and הרביתי (hirbeiti) or רבו (rebu) have the same root, and the root of the verbs is רבה (rabah). Similarly, the Hebrew words פרא (pere) and הפריתי (hifreiti) or פרו (peru) have the same root, and the root of the words is פרה (parah). Based on the Sefer Bereshit 1:22 Rashi explains the word פרו (peru), lit. “be fruitful” as being of the same root as פרי (peri), “a fruit.” Thus, פרו (peru) means “bring forth fruit”, and the root of the verb פרו (peru) is פרה (parah) [1].

Interestingly, the Hebrew word רבה (rabah) is used to state “shall multiply” for man and all animals, but the Hebrew word פרה (parah) is only used to state “shall be fruitful” for man and the fish per se, not all animals, or even to the wilderness animals. Regarding the fish and man, the verse uses a double expression of increase, פרו ורבו (peru u-rebu), “be fruitful and multiply, whereas regarding the fowl only one expression, ירב, “it shall multiply”, is used. Regarding the birds, the Torah does not state “shall be fruitful and multiply, for that expression is only applicable to man and to fish whose sustenance is easily accessible and they are therefore free to be fruitful and multiply. But as for birds and also animals and beasts, by contrast, sustenance is not that easily accessible to them, and hence they are not as free to reproduce [2].  Ishmael is a man, not an animal, so that why the text uses the root of the word פרא (pere), derived from the verb פרה (parah). Obviously, the Hebrew linguists know that the verb פרה (parah) is only applied to a man, not to the desert animals. Rabbi Yaakov Tzevi Mecklenburg also confirms that both terms פרא (pere) and יפריא (yafriya) are derived from the same root. Therefore Hagar really knew this as a good prediction of God in the future. It indicates that the phrase פרא אדם (pere adam) in the Sefer Bereshit 16:12 is really to mean as a positive atribute, not as a negative one. It is a good news, not as a bad news for Hagar; because Ishmael will be a fruitful man (fertile of man), not as the wild-ass of man.

Amazingly, the phrase ויקראת שמו (ve yeqarat shemo), lit. “and you shall call his name” appears twice in the Tanach: (i) ויקראת שמו ישמעאל (ve yeqarat shemo Yishma’el), “and you shall call his name Ishmael” (Genesis 16:11); (ii) ויקראת שמו עמנואל (ve yeqarat shemo ‘Immanu’el), “and you shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). This similarity of expression indicates that God elected both to reveal Himself through the heavenly names; and this teaches us that both are the heavenly names from God Himself, and both are God’s salvation in the light of heaven. Obviously, Ishmael and Immanuel are great men, and only for Ishmael and Immanuel, the phrase appears twice in the Tanach.

Rabbi Yaakov Tzevi Meclenburg said [3]:

“the Hebrew phrase פרא אדם (pere adam), most commentators view this as an unpleasant prediction for Hagar, understanding it as a prediction that Ishmael would be violent and corrupt. I believe they are wrong! How could the angel foretell this part of the future to Hagar? We do not find these kinds of predictions anywhere! Moreover, how would this inspire her to return to the home of Abram? The angel meant to tell her something to make her change her mind about returning ….. We have a similar meaning of that word in Hosea 13:15, בין אחים יפריא, “he will flourish between reeds” etc. The word describes “bearing fruit.” I have found a similar explanation in the Zohar page 192 on Parshat Balak. In other words, the angel informed Hagar that her son would be fruitful and would multiply just as the LORD foretold Abraham in Sefer Bereshit 17:20, “I have blessed him and I have made him fruitful, and I will increase him very much and make him into a great nation. All of this include in the term פרא אדם (pere adam).

Rebecca Abrahamson already wrote an article on “More on Ishmael-Isaac.” She says that the Jewish male is circumcised on the eighth day of life, and that the Muslim boy at thirteen years old. This is in parallel to the different roles of Isaac and Ishmael – Isaac is a tent dweller, sheltered, “tamim” in Hebrew, meaning “innocent”, “unaware of worldly affairs.” Isaac never knew what it meant to be out in the world, then to undergo a change. The Muslim is expected to proselytize, to bring the word of God to the whole world, to be global, “his hand on everything” – in Hebrew phrase יד בכל (yado be chol), see Sefer Bereshit (Genesis) 16:12. So it makes sense that the Muslim has a sense of being uncircumcised, then making a change to a higher ground, for that is what he needs to bring to the world, a knowledge of how to uplift it. The role of the children of Israel is to dwell in tents, sheltered, jealously preserving the integrity of Torah. A bit snobby, perhaps. If Isaac and Ishmael work in harmony, Isaac would not have to try to be mighty, he would be able to concentrate on Torah learning. Ishmael would draw from that learning and bring it into the world, in a global fashion. There will be more authentic Torah learning, and the authentic spreading of the word of God. When Isaac and Ishmael work in true harmony.

Amazingly, the Samaritan text of the Torah, Sefer Bereshit 16:12 also confirms the phrase פרה אדם (pore adam), lit. “fruitful man”, and the term פרה at the verse is really derived from the verb פרה (parah). Sefer Bereshit 16:12

והוא יהיה פרה אדם ידו בכל ויד כל בו ועל פני כל אחיו ישכן

“Ve hu yihyeh pore adam yado be kol ve yad kol bo ve ‘al phenai kol achaiv yishkon” [4] .

“He will be fertile of man. His hand will be with everyone. And everyone’s hand will be with him. And he will live among all his brothers” [5]

Ishmael will be פרה אדם (pere adam), lit. “a fruitful man” and יד בכל (yado be chol), lit. “his hand on everything.” And the gematria of his name is 451. Gematria is numerical value in Hebrew Torah. Every Hebrew letter has a numerical equivalent called it גימטריא (gematria). Interestingly, the gematria of the Hebrew name ישמעאל (Yishmael) is in fact 451; it is equal to that of both Hebrew names אברם (Abram), 243 dan הגר (Hagar) 208. Obviously, the gematria of ישמעאל (Yishmael) is 451, the same as that of אברם והגר (Abram ve Hagar), 451. Abraham is the father of Ishmael, Hagar is the mother of Ishmael. Hagar bore Ishmael for Abraham.

Moreover, the gematria of ישמעאל (Yishmael) has a numerical equivalent with the gematria of הגר (Hagar). The gematria of ישמעאל (Yishmael) is 451, and the gematria of הגר (Hagar) is 208. What does it mean in the light of numerical value? The numerical value of Yishmael is 451 (4 + 5 + 1 = 10); it is the same as that of the numerical value of Hagar, 208 ( 2 + 0 + 8 = 10). Interestingly, the numerical value of אברם (Abram) is 243 (2 + 4 + 3 = 9). What does it mean as the promise of God in the future? The numerical value of Abram (9), Hagar (10) and Yishmael (10) is totally 29, and this teaches us about the gematria of their offspring, במאד מאד (be-meod meod), 92, it is the same as that of the gematria of מחמד (Muhammad), 92. So, the numerical value of Abram, Hagar and Yishmael is totally 29, and this can be rearranged to the gematria of their offspring, 92. Also, the word בהבראם (behibar’am), lit. “when they were created” in the Sefer Bereshit 2:4 has the same episteme. The letters of this word בהבראם can be rearranged to spell באברהם (be Abraham), “with Abraham”, for it was in Abraham’s merit that the heavens and the earth were created (Bereshit Rabbah 12:9) [6]

However, the phrase הרבה ארבה את זרעך (harbah arbeh et zar’ech/zar’echa), “I will greatly increase your offspring” appears twice in the Tanach: (i) Sefer Bereshit 16:10, it refers to the seed of Hagar, the wife of Abraham (ii) Sefer Bereshit 22:17, it refers to the seed of Abraham, the husband of Hagar. The gematria of twice this phrase is equal, 1,118 (1 + 1 + 1 + 8 = 11). This phrase can be considered equivalent to the gematria of the phrase במאד מאד (be-meod meod), lit. “most exceedingly”, 92 (9 + 2 = 11), the same as that of the gematria of מחמד (Muhammad), “most preciously”, 92 (9 + 2 = 11). The phrase במאד מאד (be-meod meod), lit. “most exceedingly” also appears twice in the Sefer Bereshit (Bereshit 17:6; Bereshit 17:20). Interestingly, the numerical value of the gematria of Abram is 243 (2 + 4 + 3 = 9), the numerical value of the gematria of Hagar is 802 (8 + 0 + 2 = 10) and the numerical value of the gematria of Ishmael is 451 (4 + 5 + 1 = 10). Thus, the numerical value of the three names totally is 29 (2 + 9 = 11).

Meanwhile, the Hebrew name הגר (Hagar), the wife of Abraham appears 12 times in the Torah; and Ishmael bore 12 sons, see Sefer Bereshit 25:13-16. Amazingly, the Arabic name Isma’il also appears 12 times in the Quran. It means that the Quran also confirms the gematria of Ishmael. Indeed, the Torah has a link with the Quran. It is really amazing

 

  Hagar in the Torah Ishmael in the Quran
1  Sefer Bereshit 16: 1  Al-Baqarah 2: 125
2  Sefer Bereshit 16: 3  Al-Baqarah 2: 127
3  Sefer Bereshit 16: 4  Al-Baqarah 2: 133
4  Sefer Bereshit 16: 8  Al-Baqarah 2: 136
5  Sefer Bereshit 16: 15a  Al-Baqarah 2: 140
6  Sefer Bereshit 16: 15b  Ali Imran 3: 84
7  Sefer Bereshit 16: 16  An-Nisa’ 4: 163
8  Sefer Bereshit 21: 9  Al-An’am 6: 86
9  Sefer Bereshit 21: 14  Ibrahim 14: 39
10  Sefer Bereshit 21: 17a  Maryam 19: 54
11  Sefer Bereshit 21: 17b  Al-Anbiya’ 21: 85
12  Sefer Bereshit 25: 12  Shaad 38: 48

CONCLUSION

The gematria of the Hebrew name ישמעאל (Yishmael) is 451; it is equal to that of both Hebrew names אברם (Abram), 243 dan הגר (Hagar) 208. Thus, the gematria of ישמעאל (Yishmael) is 451, the same as that of אברם והגר (Abram ve Hagar), 451. Abraham is the father of Ishmael, Hagar is the mother of Ishmael. Hagar bore Ishmael for Abraham. Meanwhile, the gematria of the Hebrew name הגר (Hagar) is 208, the same as that of the title of Abram as אב המון (av hamon), 208; the phrase literally means “a father of a multitude” see Sefer Bereshit 17:4-5. Amazingly, the Arabic name اسمعيل (Isma’il) appears 12 times in the Holy Quran. It means that the Quran also confirms the gematria of Ishmael in the Torah. In the Sefer Bereshit (Genesis) 17:20, LORD said to Abraham:

ולישמעאל שמעתיך הנה אתו במאד מאד שנים עשר נשיאם יולד ונתתיו לגוי גדול:

u-le Yishma’el shema’ticha hinneh berachti oto ve hifreiti oto ve hirbeiti oto be-meod meod sheneim ‘ashar nesi’im yolid le goy gadol.

“But regarding Ishmael I have heard you, I have blessed him, made him fruitful and will increase him most exceedingly; he will beget twelve princes and I will make him into a great nation.”

Interestingly, based on the verse, three keywords textually appear in one sentence: ישמעאל (Yishmael), במאד מאד (be-meod meod), and שנים עשר (sheneim ‘ashar), and the readers have to understand it most attentively. The gematria of ישמעאל (Yishmael) is 451, and the gematria of במאד מאד (be-meod meod) is 92. Thus, the gematria of ישמעאל (451), lit. “Yishmael” and the gematria of במאד מאד (92), lit. “most exceedingly” totally is 543 (5 + 4 + 3 = 12), the same as that of the term שנים עשר (sheneim ‘ashar), lit. “twelve.” Also, the gematria of ישמעאל (Yishmael) is 451, and the gematria of מחמד (Muhammad), lit. “most preciously” is 92, thus both names have a value 543 (5 + 4 + 3 = 12), the same of that of the term שנים עשר (sheneim ‘ashar), lit. “twelve.” The first, the name of ישמעאל (Yishmael) directly refers to the phrase במאד מאד (be-meod meod), lit. “most exceedingly” which has a relation to the phrase שנים עשר (sheneim ‘ashar), lit. “the twelve.” The second, the name of ישמעאל (Yishmael) indirectly refers to the name מחמד (Muhammad), lit. “most preciously” which has a relation to the phrase שנים עשר (sheneim ‘ashar), lit. “the twelve.” Furthermore, based on the Sefer Bereshit 17:20, the gematria of the phrase במאד מאד (be-meod meod), lit. “most exceedingly” is 92, the same as that of the next phrase לגוי גדול (le goy gadol), 92; and this phrase literally means “to be a great nation.” Amazingly, both phrases directly refer to the same, the offspring of ישמעאל (Yishmael). The gematria of ישמעאל – במאד מאד (Yishmael – be meod meod), is 543, it is equal to that of ישמעאל – לגוי גדול (Yishmael – le goy gadol); and both phrases have a relation to the phrase שנים עשר נשיאם (sheneim ‘ashar nesi’im), lit. “the twelve princes.” Indeed, the Torah has a link with the Quran in the light of gematria about Ishmael, because he is the righteous man. Sefer Bereshit 25:17

ואלה שני היי ישמעאל מאת שנה ושלשים שנה ושבע שנים ויגוע וימת ויאסף אל עמיו :

Ve elleh shenei chayye Yishma’el meat shanah u-sheloshim shanah ve sheva’ shanim vay-yigva’ vay-yamat vay-yeasef el ‘ammaiv (Sefer Bereshit 25:17).

“These were the years of Ishmael’s life: a hundred years and thirty years and seven years, and he expired and he died, and was brought in to his people.”

Based on the text, Rashi in “Parashas Chayei Sarah, Sefer Bereshit 24:17 he explains that the Hebrew phrase: vay-yigva’ (ויגוע), is to refer to Ishmael as the righteous, ישמעאל הצדיק (Yishma’el ha-Tzadiq), lit. “Ishmael the Righteous”, because Ishmael himself is one of the righteous men, Tzadiqim (צדיקים). Rashi said: ויגוע (vay-yigva’) lit. “and he expired” – lo ne’emrah gevi’ah elle be-tzadiqim (לא נאמרה גויעה אלא בצדיקים), lit. “expiring is not stated in Scripture except regarding the righteous [7]

The Talmud Bavli also explains: “Three things were created on the basis of the name of the Holy One, צדיקים (tzadiqim), lit. “the Righteous”, המשיח (ha-Moshiach), lit. “the Messiah”, וירושלים (ve Yerushalayim), lit. “and Jerusalem (Talmud Bavli, masechet Baba Bathra 75b). ישמעאל (Yishmael) is the righteous, as well as the Messiah, both were created on the basis of the name of the LORD. And the name of Ishmael was called by his name before he was created.

ששה נקראו בשמותן עד שלא נולדו. ואלו הן יצחק, וישמעאל, ומשה רבנו, ושלמה, ויאשיהו, ושמו של משיח

Shishshah niqreu bi-shemotan ‘ad shello noladu, ve ellu hen, Yitzhaq, ve Yishma’el, u-Moshe Rabbenu, u-Shlomoh, ve Yoshiyyahu, u-shemo shel ha-Moshiach

Six peoples were called by their names before they were begotten, and they are Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Solomon, Josiah, and the name of King Messiah [8].

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. See Sampson A. Isseroff. An Introduction to Rashi’s Grammatical explanations in the Book of Genesis (USA: the Torah Education Dep’t of the World Zionist Organization, 1985), p.6
  2. See Rabbi Nosson Scherman. Ba’al ha-Turim Chumash. Bereshit. (New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 2013), pp. 21-22.
  3. See Rabbi Yaakov Tzevi Meclenburg. ha-Ketav ve ha-Kabbalah. Torah Commentary (USA – Jerusalem: Lamba Publisher, 2001), pp. 217-218.
  4. See Mark Shoulson. Torah Girsah Yehudit ve Girsah Shomronit behashuvah. The Torah: Jewish and Samaritan Versions Compared (New Jersey, USA: Evercype, 2008), p. 37
  5. See Benyamin Tsedaka. The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah. First English Translation Compared with the Samaretic Version (Grand Rapids, Michigan-Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2013), p.34
  6. See Rabbi Nosson Scherman. Baal ha-Turim Chumash (Brooklyn, New York: Masorah Publications, Ltd., 2013), p. 29
  7. See Rabbi Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg. Phirush Rashi. Bereishis/Genesis. The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary, Translated, Annotated and Ellucidated (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 1999), p.269.
  8. See Rav Eliezer. Pirke de Rav Eliezer ‘im be-Ur hab-Bayit hag-Gadol (Yerushalayim: Eshkol, 1965), p. 108

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