Keturah

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The descendants of Abraham depicted on a Haggadah. Keturah stands at far right with her six sons.

According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura (Hebrew: קְטוּרָה, Modern Ktura Tiberian Qəṭûrā ; "Incense") was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Arabs and Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.[1] The spelling of the sons' names varies as can be seen in 1st century CE Historian Flavius Josephus, who mentions Keturah and her sons in Antiquities of the Jews 1.238.

Keturah is referred to at different times as either Abraham's wife in Genesis 25:1[2] or Abraham's concubine in 1 Chronicles 1:32.[3] While Abraham left everything to Isaac, he made grants to his sons by his concubine during his lifetime, and sent them east away from Isaac.[4] He died at the age of 175.[5] Keturah's six sons represent Arabian tribes south and east of Canaan.[citation needed]

Some, but not all, Jewish philosophers identify Keturah with Hagar, stating that Abraham sought her out after Sarah's death,[6][7][8] and that Hagar's change of name to Keturah (a reference to incense used in worship) was symbolic of the pleasantness of her teshuvah (repentance) from her sinfulness during her exile.[9] This interpretation is set forth in the Midrash[10] and is supported by Rashi,[11] Gur Aryeh, Keli Yakar, and Obadiah of Bertinoro.[citation needed] The contrary view (that Keturah was someone other than Hagar) is advocated by Abraham ibn Ezra,[11] Radak, Rashbam, and Ramban.[citation needed] The Second Temple Book of Jubilees (19:11) makes it clear that Keturah is not Hagar and explains that Hagar died a few years previously.

Adherents of the Bahá'í Faith believe their founder, Bahá'u'lláh, to have been a descendant of both Keturah and Sarah.[12]

In the eighteenth century, some writers believed that Keturah was the ancestor of African peoples, thereby explaining the similarities between some African and Jewish customs. Olaudah Equiano cites John Gill's claim to this effect in his Interesting Narrative.[13]

Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain states (as part of Donmeh West teaching) that the children of Keturah moved Eastwards and were ancestors to the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Shinto, which then should be counted as Abrahamic religions.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Genesis 25:1-6
  2. ^ "Genesis 25:1 KJV - Then again Abraham took a wife, and her". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2013-12-24. 
  3. ^ "1 Chronicles 1:32 KJV - Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham's". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2013-12-24. 
  4. ^ Gen.25:5-6,NAB
  5. ^ Gen 25:7
  6. ^ "The Return of Hagar", commentary on Parshat Chayei Sarah, Chabad Lubavitch.
  7. ^ "Who Was Ketura?", Bar-Ilan University's Parashat Hashavua Study Center, 2003.
  8. ^ "Parshat Chayei Sarah", Torah Insights, Orthodox Union, 2002.
  9. ^ Efrati, Binyamin (2005). "Sh'ma B'ni...": A Treasury of Stories and Lessons from the Weekly Parashah. Feldheim Publishers. pp. 25–26. ISBN 1-58330-807-5. 
  10. ^ Bereshit Rabbah 61:4.
  11. ^ a b Harris, Maurice (1901). The Talmud Midrashim and Kabbala. M. Walter Dunne. p. 241. "Rashi supposes that Keturah was one and the same with Hagar—so the Midrash, the Targum Yerushalmi, and that of Jonathan.... but Aben Ezra and most of the commentators contend that Keturah and Hagar are two distinct persons...." 
  12. ^ Hatcher, W.S.; Martin, J.D. (1998). The Bahá'í Faith: The Emerging Global Religion. Wilmette, IL: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 131. ISBN 0-87743-264-3. 
  13. ^ The interesting narrative and other writings, Olaudah Equiano (selected by Vincent Carretta), p. 44
  14. ^ ""Commentary on Rabbi Azriel of Gerona's 12th Century". Donmeh West. Retrieved 2013-12-24. 

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