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And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly, yes exceedingly. He will become the father of 12 rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. Bible

“heard.” This is the full sense of the verb “heard,” where it means to hear and to pay attention and respond to what was said. God did more than “hear,” He responded. God’s answer, “I have heard you,” makes a word play with Ishmael, which means “God hears.”

“exceedingly, yes, exceedingly.” The Hebrew word means “exceedingly” or “greatly,” and the Hebrew text has the figure of speech epizeuxis, where a word is repeated twice in succession to emphasize the “exceedingly.” [For more on epizeuxis and the way it is translated, see commentary on Gen. 2:16].

“He will become the father of 12 rulers.” This prophecy was fulfilled and the 12 sons of Ishmael are listed in Genesis 25:12-16).


Commentary for: Genesis 17:20