The interpretation of Genesis 16:12 greatly influences the way Christians view the descendants of Ishmael. Therefore it is important to carefully consider the original Hebrew text, so that we understand its meaning correctly. The context of the verse bears significance as well.
Some key elements are:
• that the wild donkey is not portrayed negatively in the Scriptures, but neutral and sometimes even positively.
• that the Hebrew phrase for ‘his hand against all’ is in itself neutral and that the context points out whether it is positive or negative.
• that the phrase “he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (KJV) is descriptive, and does not contain constitute a value, either negative or positive.
For further study of these three points, go to Study Genesis 16.12