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The 12 Tribes of Ishmael


As we have already mentioned, the sons of Kedar became known as the Kedarites. The Kedarites were the main military power of the sons of Ishmael. Isaiah speaks of Kedar's 'glory and her gifted archers.' (Isaiah 21:16-17) Ezekiel 27:21 associates Arabia with all of the princes of Kedar, suggesting a confederation under their leadership.

During history, the Kedarites were in constant conflict with the Assyrians. The Assyrians, Neo-Babylonians, Persians and even the Roman realized the importance of taking control of the commercial routes in northern Arabia that were under the dominion of the Kedarites (and later the Nabataeans).

Nehemiah's opponent, 'Geshem the Arab' has been identified as one of the kings of Kedar from the mid fifth century BC. (based on a number of North Arabian inscriptions)

Regarding their religion, Assyrian inscriptions tell us that Sennacherib captured of several Arabian deities in the Kedarite city of Dumah. The chief deity was Atarsamain, or the morning star of heaven. (the counterpart of Mesopotamian Ishtar). The tribal league led by the Kedarites was known as "the confederation of Atarsamain, and their cult was led by a series of queen-priestesses in Dumah. The rest of their pantheon of gods consisted of Dai, Nuhai (Nuhay), Ruldai (Ruda), Abirillu, and Atarquruma. Rock graffiti in the Thamudic language reveals that Ruda was known as the evening star, and Nuhay was the sun-god, and they were worshiped in addition to Atarsamain 'the morning star.' Herodotus, in the fifth century BC identified two deities worshiped among the Arabs, as a fertility god called Orotalt (perhaps Ruda, as identified by Macdonald in North Arabian in the First Millennium BC, 1360), and a sky goddess know as Allat. (Herodotus III,3.) Later Allat became referred to in the masculine form as Allah)

The Kedarites are mentioned in a number of places in the Bible, and always referred to as nomads.

Psalm 120:5 This Psalm is a cry of distress, as the writer has fled and lives in a place called Meshech in the tents of the Kedarites.

Isaiah 42:11 Kedar is mentioned in a song of praise.

Jeremiah 2:10 The children of Israel are advised to check with Kedar and see if it is an ordinary thing for a people to forsake their gods and turn to others.

Jeremiah 49:28 This passage presents us with a prophecy against Arabia (Hazor and Kedar) foretelling that Nebuchadnezzar a king of Babylon will destroy them.

Ezekiel 27:21 In this lament over the city of Tyre, it is mentioned that Arabia, and the princes of Kedar traded lambs, rams, and goats with Tyre.

In the middle of the fourth century BC, the Kedarites seem to fade from history and the Nabataeans then come to the forefront.













 Who were the Nabataeans?  The Muslim Invasion
 Arabia in Ancient History  The Crusades
 Early History  Rediscovery
 Middle History  The Hagarites/Gerrhaeans
 Late History  The Twelve Tribes of Ishmael
 The Fall of Petra
Nabajoth, Mibsam, Kedar, Adbeel, Mishma, Dumah,
Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, Kedemah