Ishmael was Abraham’s eldest son. His mother was Hagar, the maidservant of Abraham’s wife Sarah. Ishmael was around 16 years old when his half-brother, Isaac, was born. Sarah overheard Ishmael mocking his younger brother, so she angrily expelled Hagar and Ishmael from her household and sent them to wander in the desert. God protected them, however, and promised that Ishmael would become a great nation. Ishmael grew to be strongly independent and, as the Lord had prophesied, he lived a life of hostility toward others. Ishmael settled in the wilderness of Paran, where he became an expert archer. Because Ishmael was Abraham’s son, God blessed him. He had 12 sons, who became princes of 12 tribes. (Genesis 16:11–12)