Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. (Genesis 25:1-2 KJV)
After Sarah’s death, and apparently after Isaac’s marriage, Abraham took another, but not in the same manner as his wife. Keturah is referred to in Genesis 25 both as wife and concubine. I find that I get tied up in Abram and Sarai’s life-changing story, and the conflict between Hagar and Sarah so that Keturah gets very short notice – and her sons, forgotten.
Abraham did not forget them, but he did have an obvious favorite:
And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country. (Genesis 25:5-6 KJV)
Some Jewish writings contend that Hagar and Keturah are the same, others that they are entirely different woman, with different status within the family structure. We read that Hagar was from Egypt, but no mention is made of Keturah’s homeland, her family, her age or what happened to her after Abraham’s death.
Why think about her now? I’m reading through the Bible chronologically. There are a couple of good apps for my iPhone – The Olive Tree and YouVersion – both offer a multitude of translations (my KJV is free, as are many others), include the ability to take notes, bookmark and have reading plans. The YouVersion recently added several versions with audio. I find that listening as I follow the chapters is quite enjoyable.
There are additional study aids – some have a cost, but many are free, as are both applications. Search capabilities are not quite as good as my PC version of E-Sword, but that’s not available for the iPhone or Droids and doesn’t work on all Windows Smartphones.
During this week’s readings, I ran across Keturah again, like a small gem among a full jewelry box, and began looking for commentaries and additional information on her. She’s only mentioned in Genesis’ 25th chapter, and in 1 Chronicles’ first, so there is very little to learn this woman taken as wife .
The next time you think of Abraham and Isaac, think also of the other sons that time has all but forgotten. Instead of simply the patriarch of the Bible, see him as a wealthy man, loved by his family, get to know him. Get to know your Bible better.