From the Hebrew name יִשְׁמָעֵאל (Yishma'el)
meaning "God will hear". In the Old Testament
this is the name of a son of Abraham
. He is the traditional ancestor of the Arab people. Also in the Old Testament, it is borne by a man who assassinates Gedaliah
the governor of Judah. The author Herman Melville later used this name for the narrator in his novel 'Moby-Dick' (1851).