Keturah


Keturah is a name that doesn't immediately spring to mind when we think of women in the Bible. Understandably when you consider her name is only mentioned 4 times: Genesis 25:1, 25:4 & 1 Chronicles 1:32, 1:33.

When I was reading 1 Chronicles recently, rather than skipping through the seemingly endless chronologies, I decided to go a little slower to see what I could learn. I came to 1 Chronicles 1:32:

32 The sons born to Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan.


Hang on - what's that? Abraham's concubine, Keturah? It is amazing that no matter how often we read the Bible, we can still find something new! If I were to ask you the question: How many children did Abraham have? I am confident the overwhelming answer would be 2: Ishmael and Isaac. Yet the Bible records that Abraham had at least 6 other sons, through his concubine Keturah.

I say "at least", because reading this in 1 Chronicles 1:32, prompted me to go back to the account in Genesis of Abraham's life and his offspring. Concordance in hand, I found Keturah mentioned in Genesis 25:1. Sure enough, it lists the same sons born to Abraham by Keturah. Reading on, I then see this in Genesis 25:5-6:

5 Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. 6 But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.


Do you see in verse 6: "concubines". Plural! Remember Ishmael was born to Abraham (through Hagar) when he was approximately 85 and Isaac was born to him (through Sarah) when he was 100 years old (Genesis 21:5). Sarah then died when she was 127 (Genesis 23:1). Given that Abraham lived until he was 175 (Genesis 25:7) which was a long time after Sarah's death, it is reasonable to suppose that Abraham took another wife. Only Keturah is mentioned, although, from Genesis 25:6, we can conclude he had other wives as well, although they are not recorded.

What relevance does all this have for me? The Bible is a treasure trove that invites us to dig deeper every time we read it. What I have described here is but a small example of the joy of reading the Bible, that throws up surprising and sometimes very challenging details and insights that we may have missed on previous readings.

I want to encourage you to make the reading of the Bible a part of your daily routine. Whatever form that takes, whether it be from a daily devotion (eg Daily Bread), or from a systematic reading cover to cover, it doesn't matter. Ask God to reveal something new to you every time you open it up. You might just be surprised by what you discover.

God bless,


Tim Connelly

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