From the Hebrew name יִשְׁמָעֵאל (Yishma'el)
meaning "God will hear", from the roots שָׁמַע (shama')
meaning "to hear" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". 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).