Who is Keturah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
When we talk about the wife of Abraham, naturally, we all think of Sarah. That makes sense. Many of us do not think of Keturah. She’s barely mentioned in the text. The only thing we know about her really is that Abraham married her after Sarah died and she bore him six children.
Obviously, Abraham must have really wanted a younger woman or else she was a golddigger.
If we’re studying marriage and divorce in the Bible though, we need to look at this for one point. That is that after a spouse dies, there is no condemnation whatsoever for remarriage. We are not told the reason Abraham wanted to remarry, but since he had six kids, it’s pretty easy to guess what one of those reasons might have been.
In the nature of a covenant, we are told in the New Testament in Romans that if one spouse dies, the other is delivered from the covenant and is free to remarry. Paul tells us if a woman has sex with a man besides her husband while her husband is still alive, she is an adulteress, but if her husband dies and she remarries, then she is free to have sex with another man.
Naturally, this can lead to some of us asking the question about what happens after death. Jesus tells us that there is no marrying or giving in marriage in the afterdeath, but does this mean that there is no longer any covenant whatsoever between two people? This is something I am still thinking about and hopefully, by the time we get to the gospel of Matthew in this study, I will have some firmer positions on the matter.
We also know from Genesis 25 that Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his concubines, so apparently, there was more than just Hagar, while he was still living. In the end though, he gave everything to Isaac. He also sent his other sons away so they would not be around Isaac. As we go through Genesis, we will find that there are often troubling family dynamics that take place. These are actually events that Eastern readers who are actually much more family-oriented than we have no problem noticing.
When Abraham dies, it’s not just Isaac that is there. Ishmael is also there and helps to bury Abraham. We will find later on that while at this point Ishmael does not play a major role in the text, his descendants do. I have said in a previous blog that I know of no hard evidence that the Arabs today are descendants of Ishmael, but we do know of people who are descendants of Ishmael in the text.
For now, it’s just important to notice that not all remarriage is disallowed in the Bible. In the case of the death of a spouse, it is apparently allowable to remarry. Of course, we could say that concubines and polygamy were allowed as well so maybe things change in the New Testament. That will have to be discovered when we get there.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)