Feature Article: The Princess of Egypt, Gematria and the number 12 significance

 

hagarPhoto credit:   Stephanie Thornton’s Daughter of the Gods

It is unfortunate that many christians have developed a racist view and hatred towards the Hagar and her descendant: the Arabs seeing them and muslims as the Hagarenes which signify a derogatory term and negative connotation.  This attitude are based on their twisted understanding of some passages in the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh[1] , however not many of us knew that the cassical rabbis such as Rashi presents Hagar, the wife of Patriarch Abraham as the daughter of Pharaoh  [2 .

Hagar הָגָר, an Egyptian Princess

Interestingly the name Hagar is mentioned in Torah 12 times (t1), as the name of Prophet Ishmael (ص) (Ar. إسماعيل‎ ʾIsmāʿīl) is too mentioned in the holy Qur’an 12 times (t2). It is obvious that God preserves the name Hagar in the Torah as He also preserves the name Ishmael in the holy Qur’an.

The midrashim[3] too present Hagar as someone who was worthy to live with Abraham because she was herself a princess, and was a fitting match for the Patriarch of all Prophets/Kings , the mother of prophet Ishmael, from whom 12 twelve kings were born, one of whom  Kedar קֵדָר  Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is the direct descendant of. It is no coincidence that God also preserves the name Kedar in the TaNaKH 12 times (t3).

Hagar through whom Abrahamic Everlasting Covenant was passed.

God has established a unique relationship with Prophet Abraham and his offsprings and subsequently His relationship with all the nations of the world.

The Abrahamic Covenant in the Tanakh is in Genesis 12:1-3:

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ׃

Now the LORD said unto Abram: ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee.

וְאֶֽעֶשְׂךָ֙ לְג֣וֹי גָּד֔וֹל וַאֲבָ֣רֶכְךָ֔ וַאֲגַדְּלָ֖ה שְׁמֶ֑ךָ וֶהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה׃

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing.

’וַאֲבָֽרֲכָה֙ מְבָ֣רְכֶ֔יךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ֖ אָאֹ֑ר וְנִבְרְכ֣וּ בְךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הָאֲדָמָֽה׃

And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

It was through the Circumcision (Heb: בְּרִית מִילָה‎ brit milah) this covenant was sealed  (Gen. 17:9-14).

זֹ֣את בְּרִיתִ֞י אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּשְׁמְר֗וּ בֵּינִי֙ וּבֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם וּבֵ֥יןזַרְעֲךָ֖ אַחֲרֶ֑יךָ הִמּ֥וֹל לָכֶ֖ם כָּל־זָכָֽר

This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed זֶרַע (Heb:zera’)after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised. (Gen 17:10)

On the very same day, Abraham,  and his son from Hagar: Ishmael, were the first two men to be circumcised sealing this God covenant. (Ref: Genesis 17:24-27)

It is also very important to note that out of all Abraham sons only through Hagar and Sarah (ie. Ishmael and Isaac) they were called “Seeds of Abraham”  (Heb: זַרְעֲךָ֖ zera’kha-hu), No other Abraham sons were referred to by this very special title in the TaNaKH.

What the Gematria give us?

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  exactly the same as that of אברם והגר (Abram ve Hagar) ie. 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 hebrew phrase literally means “a father of a multitude” see Sefer Bereshit 17:4-5.

In the Sefer Bereshit (Genesis) 17:20, LORD said to Abraham:

וּֽלְיִשְׁמָעֵאל֮ שְׁמַעְתִּיךָ֒ הִנֵּ֣ה ׀ בֵּרַ֣כְתִּי אֹתֹ֗ו וְהִפְרֵיתִ֥י אֹתֹ֛ו וְהִרְבֵּיתִ֥י אֹתֹ֖ו בִּמְאֹ֣ד מְאֹ֑ד שְׁנֵים־עָשָׂ֤ר נְשִׂיאִם֙ יֹולִ֔יד וּנְתַתִּ֖יו לְגֹ֥וי גָּדֹֽול׃

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

Amazingly, the Arabic name اسمعيل (Isma’il) also appears 12 times in the Holy Quran,  and if we calculate the gematria of the keywords in the verse ישמעאל (Yishmael=451), במאד מאד (be-meod meod= 92), in total it is 543 which is the same as (5 + 4 + 3 = 12) or in hebrew שנים עשר (sheneim ‘ashar= literally means “twelve). Also, the gematria of ישמעאל (Yishmael) is 451, and the gematria of מחמד (Muhammad), lit. “most precious” is 92, thus both names have a value 543 (5 + 4 + 3 = 12), again the same with the hebrew term “twelve” שנים עשר (sheneim ‘ashar).

Another interesting fact is the gematria of the phrase לגוי גדול (le goy gadol lit. means “to be a great nation”) is also 92 which the same as במאד מאד (be-meod meod), and both phrases  if each is combined together with the gematria of ישמעאל /Yishmael (ישמעאל – במאד מאד / Yishmael – be meod meod and ישמעאל – לגוי גדול / Yishmael – le goy gadol) will give the gematria of 543  thus (5 + 4 + 3 = 12) and thus  correlate to the phrase שנים עשר נשיאם (sheneim ‘ashar nesi’im), lit. “the twelve princes”

***

Some people may believe that the “number 12” is a special number, a number that carries a divine message. I, too, think  that this is not a mere coincidence, and this pattern and number must have a particular symbolic importance in the scriptures, that God had wanted through Abraham and Hagar and his only son Ishmael, at that time, to bless the world through their descendants and make them a great nation through their seed  eventually fulfilled in the last and universal prophet of God, prophet Muhammad ﷺ whose role is to spread God’s words and establish God’s law in the world till the end of time.

Table:

t1. Hagar in the Torah t2. Ishmael in the holy Qur’an t3. Kedar in the TaNaKH
1 Genesis 16:1 Al Baqarah 125 Genesis 25:13
2 Genesis 16:3 Al Baqarah 127 1 Chronicles 1:29
3 Genesis 16:4 Al Baqarah 133 Psalm 120:5
4 Genesis 16:8 Al Baqarah 136 Songs 1:5
5 Genesis 16:15 Al Baqarah 140 Isaiah 21:16
6 Genesis 16:15  (rep) Ali ’Imran 84 Isaiah 21:17
7 Genesis 16:16 An Nisa 163 Isaiah 42:11
8 Genesis 21:9 Al An’am 86 Isaiah 60:7
9 Genesis 21:14 Abraham 39 Jeremiah 2:10
10 Genesis 21:17 Mary 54 Jeremiah 49:28
11 Genesis 21:17 Al Anbiya 85 Jeremiah 49:28
12 Genesis 25:12 Sad 48 Ezekiel 27:21

Footnotes:

  1. For example the term “wild ass of a man” (Heb: פֶּ֣רֶא אָדָ֔ם pere’āḏām) in Genesis 16:12 which I have dealt briefly in this post: Ishmael, peace be upon him, part I: “Wild Ass” Man?  and concluded that the translation should be a “fruitful man” which makes much more sense of  another way of stating what appears unambiguously in Genesis 17:20, Ishmael (p)  will be blessed by God him and  be made fruitful (to humankind).
  2. Rashi on Gen 16:1; she was the daughter of Pharaoh  Bath Par’o hayetah בַּת פַּרְעֹה הָיְתָה,
  3. Midrash Bereishit Rabbah 45:1


Categories: Bible, Islam

Tags: , , , ,

3 replies

  1. You forgot to cover the face of Hagar the princess of dreams.

    Like

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