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12 He will be a wild donkey[a] of a man.
He will be hostile to everyone,[b]
and everyone will be hostile to him.[c]
He will live away from[d] his brothers.”

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  1. Genesis 16:12 sn A wild donkey of a man. The prophecy is not an insult. The wild donkey lived a solitary existence in the desert away from society. Ishmael would be free-roaming, strong, and like a bedouin; he would enjoy the freedom his mother sought.
  2. Genesis 16:12 tn Heb “His hand will be against everyone.” The “hand” by metonymy represents strength. His free-roaming life style would put him in conflict with those who follow social conventions. There would not be open warfare, only friction because of his antagonism to their way of life.
  3. Genesis 16:12 tn Heb “And the hand of everyone will be against him.”
  4. Genesis 16:12 tn Heb “opposite, across from.” Ishmael would live on the edge of society (cf. NASB “to the east of”). Some take this as an idiom meaning “be at odds with” (cf. NRSV, NLT) or “live in hostility toward” (cf. NIV).