Historical Coincidences

“Ishmael-Esau” vs. “Obama-Trump” — Stunning Commonalities

This post describes surprising commonalities in personal physical traits, middle names and biographies of two pairs of figures — a biblical pair (Ishmael and Esau) and current-day political pair (President Obama and President Trump). Hard to believe!

Who was Ishmael?

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children and she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram: “Behold now, Jehovah has restrained me from bearing, I pray thee, sleep with my maidservant, perhaps I can build a family through her; and Abram obeyed to Sarai’s voice…and Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave his son’s name, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael” (Genesis 16:1-2; 16:15);

Who was Esau?

“Isaac prayed to Jehovah on behalf of his wife, because she was barren, and Jehovah answered his prayer and his wife Rebekah became pregnant… When the time came for her to give birth, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first to come out was red all over like a hairy garment, and they called his name Esau; After that came out his brother, and his hand grasping Esau’s heel, and he called his name Jacob” (Genesis 25:21,24-26).

In Jewish tradition, descendants of Ishmael are identified with followers of the Islam faith; Descendants of Esau are identified with followers of the Christian faith. Both assertions are rooted in Jewish sources, based on verses that appear in the Jewish Hebrew Bible (particularly those of the Jewish prophets).

Two descendants of Ishmael and Esau, respectively, play a major role in how Jewish scholarship has perceived the relationships being shaped-up throughout history between the Jewish people and followers of Islam and Christianity:

* Kedar, second son of Ishmael:

“These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel,..” (Genesis 25:13); “These are their generations: The firstborn of Ishmael Nebaioth, and Kedar, and Abdeel…” (1 Chronicles 1:29);

* Amalek, grandson of Esau, son of Eliphaz (the second son of Esau):

“And Esau’s son, Eliphaz, also had a concubine named Timna, who bore him Amalek..” (Genesis 36:12); “The sons of Eliphaz: Teman and Omar, Zepho and Gatam, Kenaz and Timna and Amalek” (1 Chronicles 1:36).

In Genesis 36:40-43, heads of families belonging to descendants of Esau (Alufim) are enumerated, name by name. The tenth on the list is Magdiel (literally, “Increasing God”). Rashi (1040-1105), the most revered of Jewish Bible interpreters, explains “This is Rome” (referring to the ancient Christian Roman Empire and its historic derivatives).

In this post, we outline stunning common features shared by Ishmael and Esau, on the one hand, and, respectively, the 44th and 45th presidents of the United States — Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) and Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946).

The post is divided into four parts:

  1. Common personal physical traits;
  2. Middle names (of President Obama and President Trump);
  3. Continents and countries of origin (parents or grandparents);
  4. Birthplace of ancestors

(all personal data below, on the lives of the two presidents, are extracted from Wikipedia)

1. Common personal physical traits

* Ishmael: The Bible does not specify that Ishmael was dark-skinned. Probably he was for two reasons:

  1. His biological mother, Hagar, was Egyptian (namely, of African descent);
  2. His second son, Kedar, has a name that its root in biblical Hebrew means.. dark or become darkened. This meaning appears in seventeen different words in the Jewish Hebrew Bible. Examples:
  • “For this shall the earth mourn and the sky above be darkened (Ve-Kadrou Hashamayim)..” (Jeremiah 4:28);
  • “Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and the moon are darkened (Kadarou)..”, “The sun and the moon are darkened (Kadarou)..” (Joel 2:10, 4:15, respectively);

The same meaning regarding Kedar is also imparted by the following verse from Song of Songs (1:5):”Dark I am, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon”. Tent, in biblical Hebrew, often means family, like in (Jeremiah 30:18): “Thus said Jehovah, Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob’s tents and have mercy on his dwelling places..”.

* Esau: As the quote above regarding Esau implies (Genesis 25), Esau was probably red-headed.

* President Obama: Dark-skinned;

* President Trump: Red-headed (see Wikipedia, entry: “List of redheads”; note that list is sorted by first name).

2. Middle names (President Obama and President Trump)

* Ishmael: As noted earlier, in Jewish Bible-related scholarship descendants of Ishmael are followers of Muhammad (founder of the Islamic faith). As testified by Maimonides (1135 or 1138 to 1204), in his letter to the Jews of Yemen, Muhammad himself was a descendant of Kedar, second son of Ishmael. Let us address the related name Hussein. Wikipedia assets that “This name was not used in the pre-Islamic period and is recorded to have been first used by the Islamic prophet Muhammad when he named his grandson Hussein ibn Ali, saying he had been commanded to do so by Allah through the archangel Gabriel”;

* Esau: As noted earlier, in Jewish Bible-related scholarship descendants of Esau are followers of Jesus Christ (source of the Christian faith). Let us address the related name John. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (entry “John”), addresses eight religious figures that are central to the development and maintenance of the Christian faith, among them, “John the Baptist (died c. 30 AD), regarded as a prophet and the forerunner of Jesus Christ; John the Apostle (c. 30 AD), one of the twelve apostles of Jesus; John the Evangelist, assigned author of the Fourth Gospel, once identified with the Apostle; John of Patmos, the author of the Book of Revelation, once identified with the Apostle; John the Presbyter, a figure either identified with or distinguished from the Apostle, the Evangelist and John of Patmos; Pope John, several popes”.

In other words: The names Hussein and John are deeply embedded in the founding figures of the Islamic faith and of the Christian faith, respectively.

* President Obama: His middle name is Hussein;

* President Trump: His middle name is John.

 3. Continents and countries of origin (parents or grandparents)

* Ishmael‘s biological parents, Avram and Hagar, were born in two different continents: Avram was born in Asia (Terach, Avram’s father, lived in Ur Kasdim, modern day Iraq); Hagar, the Egyptian, was born in Africa;

* Esau‘s parents, Isaac and Rebecca, were born in two different countries (regions), in the same continent, Asia: Isaac was born in Canaan; Rebecca was born in Aram Naharaim, modern day Iraq (Genesis 24:10). Both regions are on the same continent, Asia;

* Obama‘s parents were born in two different continents: His father, Barack Obama Sr. (1936-1982), was born in Kenya, Africa; His mother, Ann Dunham (1942-1885), was born in Wichita, Kansas, USA, North America.

* Trump‘s grandparents were born in two different countries, in the same continent, Europe: “Trump’s ancestors originated from the German village of Kallstadt in the Palatinate on his father’s side, and from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland on his mother’s side. All of his grandparents and his mother were born in Europe” (Wikipedia, entry “Donald Trump”).

4. Birth place of ancestors

* Esau: A descendant of Esau is Amalek (see references in the Bible, as earlier quoted). Amalek represents the ultimate anti-thesis to the Jewish faith. While all monotheistic faiths believe that every occurrence on Earth is in the hands of the Divine (“All is in the hands of God except for the fear of God”), Amalek philosophy is that all is coincidental, random (read reference to this point in my book “Coincidences in the Bible and in biblical Hebrew”, subsection 16.2 and also Example 2 in subsection 3.3). A descendant of Amalek is Haman Ha-Agagi (Haman the Agagite), namely Haman of Agag descent (Esther 8:3, 9:24). Agag was the king of Amalek, obviously a descendant of Amalek (1 Samuel 15:8). Haman, a descendant of Amalek, had plotted “to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, namely, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to take the spoil of them for plunder” (Esther 3:13)…and the king and Haman sat down to drink…” (Esther 3:15).

However, this time the plot to exterminate the Jewish people in “One day” was thwarted.

The term Germamia appears in the Talmud (Gemara, Megilla 6b), where Rabbi Yitzak explains a verse from Psalms (140:9), stating, based on oral Jewish tradition, “this is Germamia of Edom”. Rashi (1040 –1105), a most revered Jewish interpreter of the Hebrew Jewish Bible, has made this statement by Rabbi Yitzak, over half a millenium later, more explicit: “Germamia is name of a kingdom and it is from Edom”.

The Gra (Vilna Gaon, 1720-1797) and Rav Yaakov Emden (1697-1776) suggested that Germamia was a spelling mistake, caused while manually copying the Talmud from generation to generation, and that the correct word is Germania. This implies that the Gemara is speaking not of some unidentifiable nation, as Rashi suggested at the time, but of the very well-known nation of Germany (Germania in modern-day Hebrew). It is a long held Jewish tradition, starting with the Gra, that descendants of Amalek intermingled into the German nation, which is perhaps the reason Rav Chaim Zonnenfeld refused to meet with Kaiser Wilhelm II in Jerusalem, during the latter’s visit to Eretz Yisrael in 1898.

It is indeed hard to digest that this nation, some of whom are (according to long held Jewish tradition) descendants of Amalek, grandson of Esau, has succeeded in a plot against the Jewish nation, where Haman (a biblical figure, a descendant of Amalek) had failed. It is perhaps no less astounding that a name, similar to modern day Germany, is mentioned in that part of Gemara dealing with Esther, the book of the Bible where the story of Haman and his plot against the Jewish nation is unfolding.

In conclusion, we note here that in this post we have included only “Commonalities” that have passed the test of political correctness, and also such that do not constitute, in any shape or form, a possible offense to either presidents.

President Obama and President Trump, during their tenure, respectively, as presidents of the United States, have been continuously monitored by the international media, with a magnifying glass, with regard to their relationship to current-day ultimate representative of the Jewish people — the State of Israel.

This post may teach us that perhaps there may be some good hidden reason for that.

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