“And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa.”
I am certain that when you read the above scripture, you were encouraged. I would even go as far as assuming that you have it highlighted in your Bible. Of course I am being sarcastic. It is not expected that anyone would highlight these types of genealogy passages. Most of us would pay little if any attention to them, especially since some names are difficult to pronounce.
Genesis 25:14 provides the names of three of the sons of Ishmael; Mishma, Dumah, and Massa. In addition to the genealogy that these types of passages provide, there are truths and principles that we can lean by studying the meaning of their names. Mishma means “to hear”. Dumah means “to keep silent”. Massa means “to utter or speak.” If you read and learn nothing from the names themselves, learn the lesson that the meaning provides. Learn to hear, when to be silent, and when to speak.
James may have had knowledge of these names and their meaning when he wrote James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak”. It’s unfortunate that many have it backwards and are swift to speak and slow to hear. We should all practice the art of opening our ears before we open our mouths. Have something to say before you say something and the only way to do that is by perfecting the art of listening.
From Mishma we learn to hear. From Dumah we learn to be silent. From Massa, we learn to speak. Mishma comes first.