Abraham's Second Wife

By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Abraham and Sarah, Patriarchs


Why in Gen 25:1 is Keturah called Abraham's wife and in Gen 25:6 she is called his concubine?


I wondered that myself. The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible p. 535 gives a great answer. Keturah is "Abraham's 2d wife (Gen. 25:1; 26:3). She became the ancestress of the tribes of Zimran, Jokshan, Medan Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Gen. 25: 1-2; I Chron 1:32); in the latter reference she is called Abraham's concubine. Her sons were not regarded as on the same level with Isaac, and their father gave them gifts and sent them away during his lifetime to the e. country (Gen. 25:6). A tribe Katura is mentioned in late Arabian genealogies as dwelling near Mecca."

Matthew Henry's Commentary p. 43 further states, "He [Abraham] made Isaac his heir, as he was bound to do, in justice to Sarah his first and principal wife, and to Rebekah who married Isaac upon the assurance of it (Gen. 24)." Abraham did this while he was alive to make certain his will was carried out and no one interfered with Isaac's inheritance. He gave a portion of his estate to all his sons including Ishmael, but Isaac was the promised heir who God would bless. The reference to Keturah as a concubine, while unkind to our ears, set the tone so that no one could interfere with Isaac's birthright and inheritance.

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