Genesis 35:22

ויהי בשכן ישראל בארץ ההוא וילך ראובן וישכב את בלהה פילגש אביו וישמע ישראל ויהיו בני יעקב שנים עשר

And it came to pass, while Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine; and Israel heard of it. {P} Now the sons of Jacob were twelve

Numbers 1:44

אלה הפקדים אשר פקד משה ואהרן ונשיאי ישראל שנים עשר איש איש אחד לבית אבתיו היו

These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men; they were each one for his fathers' house.

Genesis 17:20

ולישמעאל שמעתיך הנה ברכתי אתו והפריתי אתו והרביתי אתו במאד מאד שנים עשר נשיאם יוליד ונתתיו לגוי גדול

And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee; behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

Genesis 25:16

אלה הם בני ישמעאל ואלה שמתם בחצריהם ובטירתם שנים עשר נשיאם לאמתם

these are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their encampments; twelve princes according to their nations.

Are there any traditional Rabbinic sources that discuss and draw a parallel between the twelve sons/princes of Ishmael and the twelve sons/princes/tribes of Israel? Preference given to sources in Hazal.

  • I think I've seen a connection between the 12 tribes and the 12 sons of Nachor
    – Heshy
    Nov 28, 2023 at 18:23
  • 1
    דְּתַנְיָא, אָמַר רִבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן, אִלְמָלֵא לָא אַקְרִיבוּ אִלֵּין תְּרֵיסָר נְשִׂיאִין, לָא יָכִיל עָלְמָא לְמֵיקָם קַמֵּי תְּרֵיסָר נְשִׂיאֵי יִשְׁמָעֵאל, דִּכְתִּיב, (בראשית כ״ה:ט״ז) שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר נְשִׂיאִים לְאוּמוֹתָם. מִדְּאַקְרִיבוּ אִלֵּין דְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, נָסִיבוּ שׁוּלְטָנוּתָא דְּכֻלְּהוּ, בְּגִין כָּךְ נָשִׂיא אֶחָד לַיּוֹם - זוהר, פרשת נשא
    – User123
    Nov 28, 2023 at 18:33
  • @user123 here's a translation, you can use it to formulate an answer: "We have learned that R. Shim'on said: If these twelve princes would not have brought their offerings, the world could not have prevailed before the twelve princes of Ishmael, as it is written: "Twelve princes according to their nations" (Gen. 25:16). When those twelve princes of Israel had brought their offerings, the dominion was taken away from all of them. Therefore, it is written: "Each prince on his day."" Nov 28, 2023 at 22:05


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