Note: the question should have read "did he ever claim" but I assumed he didn't as I didn't hear of it. (I'm aware of the Midrash that says that his descendants claimed before Alexander the Great the double rights on the Holy land, but those were material claims).

If the right of firstborn was so important why didn't Yishmael ever claim it, considering that he made full Teshuvah later in his life?

  • Why would he claim it? His mom was a concubine. No one back then thought he had the right of firstborn.
    – Double AA
    Nov 24, 2019 at 2:57
  • @DoubleAA Apparently Tosefta and others disagree with you.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 24, 2019 at 13:35
  • No, Tosefta isn't from back then.
    – Double AA
    Nov 24, 2019 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


According to the Tosefta (Sotah 6:3), he did attempt to claim his inheritance, and that was what prompted Sarah to kick him out (as opposed to the other opinions there, that Yishmael did the three cardinal sins).

אלא אין צחוק האמור כאן אלא לענין ירושה שכשנולד אבינו יצחק לאברהם אבינו היו הכל שמחין ואומרין נולד בן לאברהם [נולד בן לאברהם] נוחל את העולם ונוטל שני חלקים והיה ישמעאל מצחק [בדעתו] ואומר אל תהי שוטים [אל תהי שוטים] אני בכור ואני נוטל שני חלקים שמתשובת הדבר אתה למד [שנאמר] (בראשית כ״א:י׳) כי לא יירש בן האמה וגו'

Rather, צחוק mentioned here only refers to inheritance. When our forefather Yitzchak was born to our forefather Avraham, everyone was happy, saying, “A son has been born to Avraham! A son has been born to Avraham! He will inherit the world and take two portions!” And Yishmael was jesting in his mind, saying, “Don’t be fools, don’t be fools. I’m the firstborn, and I will take two portions.” From the response to this matter you can infer, as it says, “The son of the maidservant will not inherit [with my son, with Yitzchak].”

  • Thank you, could you explain this to me. First, are we talking about material inheritance or spiritual? As the father can give his property away in his life (what actually happened), the double inheritance of the FB is meaningless. That what I mentioned in the Midrash. Second, was Ishmael a prophet to know the future?
    – Al Berko
    Nov 24, 2019 at 13:24
  • 1
    @AlBerko the father didn't give away all his property. He just gave gifts to the concubine children, as was expected at the time when sending away the children who wouldn't inherit.
    – Double AA
    Nov 24, 2019 at 13:56

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