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Keturah

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According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura (Hebrew: קְטוּרָה, Modern Qətura Tiberian Qəṭûrāh ; "Incense") was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Her nationality is Ethiopian as she was the mother of Sheba and the Medians whose desendant, Jethro,or Ragu'el or Reu'el the Ethiopian priest of Median begot a daughter, Zipporah, who, in the Scriptures, was referred to as the Ethiopian wife of Moses.(see the book Ethiopia the classic case pg.47). Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.[1]

Keturah is referred to as "Abraham's concubine" in the Bible,[2] probably to indicate that she was not considered to be of the same dignity as Sarah, the mother of the "chosen son", Isaac. It is probably also for this reason that the sons of Abraham's concubines were separated from Isaac. There is no indication when that happened, other than during his lifetime. He died at the age of 175.[3] Keturah was the mother of six sons, representing Arabian tribes south and east of Canaan, so that through the offspring of Keturah Abraham became "the father of many nations" including the Ethiopians. Hence Amos, ch. 9, vs. 7 saying "Are you not like the Children of Ethiopia to me, O Children of Israel"[4]

Some, but not all, Jewish philosophers identify Keturah with Hagar, stating that Abraham sought her out after Sarah's death.[5][6][7] This interpretation is set forth in the Midrash[8] and is supported by Rashi, Gur Aryeh, Keli Yakar, and Obadiah of Bertinoro. The contrary view (that Keturah was someone other than Hagar) is advocated by Rashbam, Abraham ibn Ezra, Radak, and Ramban.

Adherents of the Bahá'í faith believe their founder, Bahá'u'lláh, to have been a descendant of both Keturah and Sarah.[9]

References

  1. Genesis 25:1-6
  2. 1Chronicles 1:32
  3. Gen 25:7
  4. Genesis 17:4
  5. "The Return of Hagar", commentary on Parshat Chayei Sarah, Chabad Lubavitch.
  6. "Who Was Ketura?", Bar-Ilan University's Parashat Hashavua Study Center, 2003.
  7. "Parshat Chayei Sarah", Torah Insights, Orthodox Union, 2002.
  8. Bereshit Rabbah 61:4.
  9. Hatcher, W.S.; Martin, J.D. (1998). The Bahá'í Faith: The Emerging Global Religion. Wilmette, IL: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0877432643. 

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