Who was Keturah in the Bible?Question: "Who was Keturah in the Bible?"
Answer: Keturah was Abraham’s second wife, following the death of Sarah, his first wife (Genesis 23:2; 25:1). We know little about Keturah, other than her name and the names of the sons she bore to Abraham (Genesis 25:2; 1 Chronicles 1:33).
There has been some debate as to whether Keturah was Abraham’s wife or his concubine, since she is described as each in different places in Scripture. Genesis 25:1 says that Keturah was his wife; 1 Chronicles 1:32 calls her his concubine. Genesis 25:6 also implies that Keturah was a concubine. A concubine was a woman who willingly entered into an exclusive relationship with a man for the purposes of meeting his sexual needs or providing children for him (Hagar was considered a concubine of Abraham’s). The woman was often a slave or a single female without male protectors. A concubine did not have equal status as a wife, but, unlike a prostitute, she was provided for and considered the sole property of the man. Because Keturah was in a monogamous relationship with Abraham, she could properly be considered his “wife,” although she had a lesser rank than Sarah had enjoyed.
It could also be that Keturah had begun her relationship with Abraham as a concubine and was then promoted to official “wife status” after the death of Sarah. This would explain the differing biblical descriptions of her role. However, Keturah, the concubine-become-wife, is never referred to in Scripture with the same respect and honor that is given to Sarah as Abraham’s wife (1 Peter 3:6).
Keturah’s sons were Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Genesis 25:1). The descendants of Midian (the Midianites) later become a big part of Israel’s history; in fact, Moses married a Midianite (Exodus 2:15–21). All Keturah’s sons received “gifts” from Abraham (Genesis 25:6), but none shared in the inheritance of Isaac (verse 5). Keturah’s sons became the fathers of Arabian tribes living east of Israel.
Recommended Resource: Genesis - NIV Application Commentary by John Walton
More insights from your Bible study - Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!
Why does God test us?
What is the significance of Mount Moriah in the Bible?
Why did God punish Pharaoh for Abram’s lie (Genesis 12:17)?
Who are the biblical patriarchs?
Why did God command Abraham to sacrifice Isaac?
Questions about People in the Bible
Who was Keturah in the Bible?