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The Hagarites, or Hagrites (also Hagarenes), were an Arab people (see also Arabs) who the Israelite tribes of Reuben, Gad and (half of) Manasseh defeated east of the Jordan River (see Eastern Tribal Lands, and the map below) during the reign of King Saul (who was later replaced by King David). The Hagarites were a very formidable military opponent that the Israelites were able to defeat after they pleaded for God's help during the battle. Although, as their name implies, the Hagarites were apparently also descended from Hagar (see the Fact Finder question below), they were distinct from the Ishmaelites (i.e. Psalm 83:6), the descendants Hagar's son Ishmael.

Tribes of Israel

Reuben battled the Hagarites (KJV), or Hagrites (RSV), in the time of Saul:

"The sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel ... And in the days of Saul they made war on the Hagrites, who fell by their hand; and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the region east of Gilead." (1 Chronicles 5:1,10 RSV)

The eastern Israelite tribes (i.e. the 2 ½ tribes who were assigned their family territory east of the Jordan River at the time of Joshua) defeated an allied force of Hagarites and took a great amount of livestock from them with God's help. The Israelites then held the territory "until the exile" i.e. until the northern kingdom of Israel became the "Lost Ten Tribes Of Israel" when they were conquered and taken into exile by the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria):

"The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men, who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty, ready for service. They made war upon the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab; and when they received help against them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried to God in the battle, and he granted their entreaty because they trusted in Him."

"They carried off their livestock: fifty thousand of their Camels, two hundred and fifty thousand sheep, two thousand asses, and a hundred thousand men alive. For many fell slain, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their place until the exile." (1 Chronicles 5:18-22 RSV)

Fact Finder: Who was Hagar?
See Hagar

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