“Called After the Sons of Ishmael”

Brant Gardner

Geography: The land of Ishmael is a hereditary holding of the Ishmaelite clan. Sorenson suggests the area around Chimaltenango, Guatemala, as a plausible location for the land of Ishmael (Sorenson 1985, p. 225). While we do not learn extensive amounts of information about it, it is clear that this is a region controlled by a king with dependent lands, and that it falls under the larger collective name of Lamanites.

Cultural: This verse offers further confirmation that Lamanite is a collective term rather than a lineal one. If the land of Ishmael is "called after the sons of Ishmael, who also became Lamanites," then Lamanite cannot be a name specifically dealing with the descendants of Laman. Clearly it had a minimum division of Lamanite (as a clan), Lemuelite, and Ishmaelite. As a collective name for the polity, there is nothing that hinders that collective from also describing "others" who might have joined with those original clans, just as we have suggested that there were "others" joining with the Nephites very early.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon