Sunday, November 28, 2010

Genesis 25: 1-4 Keturah

Genesis 25 begins by telling us that Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.  The text can also mean that Abraham 'had taken' (i.e., some time in the past) another wife.  Some believe this is more plausible, because Abraham would be about 140 years old by now, but I disagree.  These are my reasons:  1) If God can give Abraham a son at the age of 100, it is no big deal for Him to give Abraham more sons later.  Perhaps more readily grasped is my second reason:   2) Can you picture Sarah tolerating another wife, after the hassle with Hagar? -- or Abraham even considering trying to have another wife around while Sarah is alive? ;)  Me neither.

At any rate, Abraham had another wife named Keturah at some point.  I Chronicles 1:32-33 calls Keturah Abraham's 'concubine'.  Secondary wives were not uncommon in the ancient Near East, and even godly men seem to have had this practice -- which is something I have never really heard a satisfactory answer for, as the original intent of God seems to be for a monogamous, one-man, one-woman relationship. (Genesis 2:22-25)  I suppose we could say that every individual, even godly ones, have their failings.  If this is so, it is curious that there is no overt chastening of these individuals.  However, while reading other examples of concubines and secondary wives in the Bible, I have noticed that each time that this occurs, it is not in a favorable context  (see arrogant  Lamech in Genesis 4:19-24) or else the resulting chaos, hostility or problems speak quite well for themselves against the practice! (See Hannah v. Peninnah  in I Samuel 1:1-8).

Keturah bore Abraham six sons:  Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian (see 'hostility' above), Ishbak and Shuah.  Jokshan had Sheba and Dedan.  Dedan had the Asshurites, the Letushites and the Leumites as his descendants.  Midian had Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah.  We will run into some of these individuals and peoples as the biblical account continues.  Some are familiar, and others may end up being the ancestors of other individuals who figure prominently in certain accounts.  From what I've seen, when the Bible tells us about specific people or nations, there is usually some further reason.   It will be interesting to see what comes of these sons of Keturah.

No comments:

Post a Comment