Chapter III
Children of Abraham

Around 2000 BC there was a man named Abram living in Ur of the Chaldees who was a descendant of Shem the son of Noah who survived the flood. He was one of the eight humans survived the flood.  The LORD appeared to Abram while he was living in Ur of the Chaldees and promised “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).

“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (verses 2-3).  Abram obeyed God. God  changed Abram's name to Abraham which means "father of many nations".

Ur was the land of Haran's nativity, (Ge 11:28) the place from which Terah and Abraham started "to go into the land of Canaan." (Ge 11:31).  It is called in Genesis "Ur of the Chaldaeans," while in the Acts St. Stephen places it, by implication, in Mesopotamia. (Ac 7:2,4) It has been identified by the most ancient traditions with the city of Orfah  in the highlands of Mesopotamia, which unite the table-land of Armenia to the valley of the Euphrates. In later ages it was called Edessa, and was celebrated as the capital of Abgarus .

There indeed was a real place called Ur in the banks of Euprates.  The great Ziggurat of ancient Ur was built by King Ur-Nammu who ruled the area of ancient Ur around 2100 BC.  

Map of Ancient Mesopotamia in 2000 BC (3rd Dynasty of Ur)

Archaeologists estimate that there were approximately 24,000 people living in the city of Ur during the time of Abraham. The people of ancient Mesopotamia worshiped many gods, and the people of Ur worshiped their chief god named Nanna, the moon-god. There were other temples dedicated to other gods.  The people of Ur lived in one of two main areas in the city: a very religious sacred place(Priests), or the common district(common man). The people of ancient Ur were highly advanced culture. The common district was filled with marketplaces, schools, libraries, and many of the people were very wealthy. People had very nice homes with lush gardens and many conveniences.
We have known the genealogy of Abraham through his half- sister wife Sarai (who became Sarah) and her slave girl Hagar. They were certainly mesopotamians. This is essentially because it was through these the Jewish people trace their lineage. Bible being a Jewish book gives emphasis on this line.  Sarai and Abraham were from the same loin and Isaac was the promised heir from the same loins.

But Long before the birth of Ishmael we have this petition from Abram to God.
O Lord God, what can You give me seeing that I shall die accursed, and the steward of my household is Dam-Mesek Eliezer?" Genesis 15:2.

Eliezer was Abraham's son by his concubine Masek (Mesek). He was one of the nine sons named in Scripture who were born to Abraham. However, his relationship to Abraham is only clear in the Septuagint. Bibles based on the Masoretic text do not include this information. The term dam means "blood" or "offspring" of Masek. Some Bibles have that Eliezar is from Damascus or that he is Damascene, but this is not implied in the older Greek version of the Old Testament.  Thus Eliezer was the oldest son of Abraham through one of his concubines Masek.  He was in charge of the household of Abraham even to the extent of finding a wife for his youger brother Isaac.  

Later soon after the death of Sarah we have a mention of another wife of Abraham with six children.

The wives and sons of Abraham depicted on the 1630 Venice Haggadah. Keturah stands at far right with her six sons.
The Yakult Midrash makes mention of the tribal connections of the three wives of Abraham.  “Abraham married three wives – Sarah, a daughter of Shem; Keturah, a daughter of Japheth; and Hagar, a daughter of Ham. (chapt. 8)

Keturah means perfumed or incense, and brings to mind the burning aroma of the sacrifices and the incense smoke that ascended as a sweet offering to the Lord. The word qetorah, found only in Deuteronomy 33:10, also means smoke of sacrifice or incense. The Arabic name for Keturah is Saffurah, who was described as a Kushiyat (i.e. a Cushite, as with Moses’ wife in Num. 12:1).

Matthew 2:1-11, the “wise men” or magus of the East (to which Keturah’s sons had been sent centuries earlier) arrived after Christ’s birth to present him with gold, frankincense and myrrh. We know that one of them came from Kerala. King Gondaphoras of Taxila may have been another.
(A detailed analysis of the various possibilites are given in http://www.ccg.org/weblibs/study-papers/p212d.html No. 212D Descendants of Abraham Part IV: Sons of Keturah)  

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary gives the following comments:
“Genesis 25:1
Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
 Ge 25:1-6. Sons of Abraham.
1. Abraham took a wife—rather, "had taken"; for Keturah is called Abraham's concubine (piylegesh), or secondary wife (1Ch 1:32); and as, from her bearing six sons to him, it is improbable that he married after Sarah's death; and also as he sent them all out to seek their own independence, during his lifetime, it is clear that this marriage is related here out of its chronological order, merely to form a proper winding up of the patriarch's history.
And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.
And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.

Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac … unto the sons of the concubines … Abraham gave gifts—While the chief part of the inheritance went to Isaac; the other sons (Ishmael included) migrated to "the East country," that is, Arabia, but received each a portion of the patrimony, perhaps in cattle and other things; and this settlement of Abraham's must have given satisfaction, since it is still the rule followed among the pastoral tribes.

But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

However Chronicles gives the name Keturah as a concubine not as a wife.
1 Chronicles 1:32-33The sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine, whom she bore, were Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan were Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All these were the sons of Keturah.”

Keturah as Hagar
“Some Rabbis identifies Keturah with Hagar, and it appears in various midrashim.    
In the midrashic depiction, after Abraham divorces Hagar and sends her into the wilderness she sits by the well and cries to God: “See my shame!” Hagar’s demand for justice was accepted by God, who revealed Himself to Abraham after Sarah’s death and commanded him to take back his divorcée, Hagar-Keturah (Gen. Rabbah loc. cit.).
A different story has Isaac initiating his father’s marriage. When Isaac married Rebekah, he said to himself: I have taken a wife, while my father is without a spouse! What did he do? He went and brought him Keturah. This tradition is based on Gen. 24:62: “Isaac had just come back from the vicinity of Be’er-la-hai-ro’i”—he brought back with him Hagar, who had been at “Be’er-la-hai-ro’i,” and had also given this place its name, as is related in Gen. 16:14 (Tanhuma, Hayyei Sarah 8).

Eagle-eyed observers will note only two differences between those two lists: Keturah is called a “wife” in Genesis and a “concubine” in Chronicles, and the chronicler omits the tribes descended from Dedan. Neither Sarah nor Hagar are named in the chronicler’s account either, even though Keturah is. I find that odd, but can’t explain it. Truth is, Keturah is much more prominent in Jewish legends than she is in the Torah itself. The fact that she is called both Abraham’s “wife” and “concubine” has given commentators through the ages some pause; some speculate that she was first a concubine and then a wife. From there, it’s a relatively easy step to make the connections that Jews since antiquity have. Let me quote Rashi here:

“This is Hagar. She was called Keturah because her deeds were as beautiful as incense, and because she tied her opening, for she was not intimate with any man from the day she separated from Abraham.”

Abraham’s treatment of Hagar was shameful and it’s very easy for us as readers (today and in the past) to wish that she had been redeemed and that they could be happy together in their old age. And yet, tradition aside, there is scant textual evidence for that claim. If they were the same person, you might expect Chronicles to list Ishmael as one of her children, but it does not. It would be beautiful if Keturah was Hagar, but I cannot bring myself to believe that she is. You may make a different choice than I and still be in great company.

Horite Tradition of Two wives: One half sister and the other a cousin/neice

To understand who Eliezar is and his importance, it is necessary to have some understanding of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's Horim (called "Horites" in Genesis 36.)

Abraham had two wives, as was the pattern for Horite rulers. His father Terah had two wives. Sarah was Terah's daughter by one wife and Abraham was Terah's son by the other wife. This pattern of two wives meant that there were usually two firstborn sons; one by the half-sister wife and the other by the cousin/niece wife. As with all royal lines, there is problem when the wives are barren. 

In the Horite marriage and ascendancy pattern, the firstborn son of the cousin wife ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was titled/named. Lamech the Younger (Gen. 5) ascended to the throne of Lamech the Elder (Gen. 4) Likewise, Esau the Younger ascended to the throne of Esau the Elder (Gen. 36). The first born sons of the cousin wives were not the proper heirs to the thrones of their biological fathers. Joktan, Abraham's first born son, the child of his cousin bride, Keturah, was never considered as Abraham's heir. He belonged to the household of Abraham's father-in-law.

The firstborn of the half-sister wife ascended to the throne of his biological father, so Isaac was Abraham's heir. However, he was not Abraham's firstborn. Neither was Ishmael. Ishmael was conceived late in Abraham's life, after Abraham had married Keturah. Keturah's firstborn son was Joktan (Yaqtan) of the Joktanite Tribes of Arabia. As Keturah was Abraham's cousin/neice  wife, Joktan ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather.  

Sarah was barren. This meant that Abraham was without a proper heir, and growing desperate it appears. This is when he prayed about having an heir and received the promise (Gen. 15:4) that a son would come from his own "loins" (meaning blood descent from him and his half-sister).

Eliezar, as the firstborn of Masek, one of Abraham's concubines, was Abraham's only natural heir. Clearly before Isaac arrived, Eliezar was considered Abraham's rightful heir according to the Horite marriage and ascendancy pattern.
The name Eliezar/Eleazar appears twice in the Horite ancestry of Jesus Christ.

Isaac was born after the conversation Abraham had with God about Eliezer being the heir to Abraham's throne in Genesis 15. In the passage cited above God reassures Abraham that he will have a son by Sarah.  In the marriage and ascendancy structure of Abraham's people, the firstborn son of the half-sister wife ascended to the throne of his biological father.  Sarah was Abraham's half-sister, They had the same father (Terah) but different mothers.

Abraham had a firstborn son already by his cousin wife Keturah. However the firstborn son of the cousin wife rules in the territory of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named.”
(The Old Testament History: From the Creation to the Return of the Jews from Captivity by William Smith 1878)

The descendants of Abraham and Keturah from Genesis 25

Six children of Keturah distributed all over this region.

Mystic Arabia
 By Sri Gregory Alexander aka. Ananda writes:

“..................In the Young’s Literal Translation, we read that Abraham sent the sons of Keturah “eastward, unto the east country” (Gen 25:6),  Because Abrahma was originally from Ur of the Chaldeans, further East is India.  Although Midan, the son of Keturah, is usually associated with Ishmael in Arabia (Gen 37:28), of all of Abraham’s children through Keturah the son Joksan, the father of Sheba and Dedan, would indicate a migration in the direction of India.

According to scholarly research, the descendants of Shem, through Joktan, were placed by God in India after the tower of Babel (Gen 10-11).  In Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible we read, “The Arabs say....that several of the sons of Joktan went to India”.  Using this as our reference point, we can go and look for clues that would associate any Keturah’s off-spring to Joktan.

In comparing the sons of Shem in Genesis 10 to the sons of Keturah in Gen 25 we read:
Sons of Keturah
Keturah ......bore him ....Jokshan ......(and) Jokshan begot Sheba and Dedan......Abraham sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east (Gen 25:1-6).....
To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan. Joktan begot ... Sheba (and) Ophir.... And their dwelling place
Notice an interesting correlation, for Keturah has a son named Jokshan who begot a son named Sheva, and similar to this, Shem had a descendant named Joktan who had also begotten a son named Sheba.
Remember, scholars believe that Joktan, from the line of Shem “went into India”, and in the Orthodox Jewish Bible, translated by Artists for Israel International, both the sons here named Sheba in English are translated from the Hebrew as “Sheva””

Alice Linsley  
“Following the custom of his Horite forefathers, Abraham had two wives. Sarah was his half-sister wife and Keturah was his patrilineal cousin wife. Isaac ascended to the throne of Abraham as the firstborn of the sister wife and Joktan ruled in the territory of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. Though Isaac ruled after Abraham, he was not the first son born to Abraham.  Jews insist that Isaac was Abraham's firstborn son while Muslims insist that Ishmael was Abraham's firstborn son. Risking the anger of both Jews and Muslims, my guess, based on the evidence of Scripture, is that Joktan was the first in the birth order of Abraham's nine sons. This means that he was likely born before Sarah conceived Isaac and before Sarah attempted to gain a son by using Hagar as a surrogate. So who was Abraham's first-born son? My guess is Joktan, the first-born of Keturah, and that Abraham acquired Keturah as a wife when he went to the Negev (Gen. 12:9) after consulting the Seer at Shechem (Gen. 12:6).
.......................Revisiting Gen. 10 and Gen. 11:10-26, we find confirmation of this connection. Terah (Abraham's father) and Sheba are descendents of Eber’s two sons Peleg and Joktan. Terah descends from Peleg and Sheba from Joktan. Keturah's father was Joktan and she named her firstborn son Joktan, after her father, as was the custom. Joktan is one of the three firstborn sons of Abraham. He is a hidden third son, and probably Abraham's firstborn.
Abraham's son Yaqtan would have lived about 1987-1912 BC.

Yaqtan is the son that ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. This means that four of Abraham's ruling sons had names beginning with the letter Y:  Yitzak (Isaac), Yishmael (Ishmael), Yaqtan, and Yishbak (another son by Keturah). In the Hebrew system, the Y was a lexeme that symbolized a solar cradle and the ruler's tent peg, as well as his clan. Each ruler had two main settlements, one ruled by this first wife, his half-sister, and the other ruled by his second wife, his cousin or niece. These were positioned on a north-south axis. The Sun passed over both at the same time.”

Abraham had Nine Sons
One from his step sister Sarai and Six from his cousin sister/niece  Keturah and one from each of his concubines Masek and Hagar
According to the Book of Jubilees most of these sons settled alongside of Ishmael. But they dwelt beyond the Arabland. Those who got mingled remained in the area and are the Arabs. This may be dated around 2000 BC.
“And he gave to Ishmael and to his sons, and to the sons of Keturah, gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, and he gave everything to Isaac his son. And Ishmael and his sons, and the sons of Keturah and their sons, went together and dwelt from Paran to the entering of Babylon in all the land which is towards the East facing the desert. And these mingled with each other, and their name was called Arabs, and Ishmaelites” (Jubilees 20:11-13).

Why did Abraham sent his children from Keturah to India?

Indus Valley civilization was of the Dravidians who were children of Joktan as we have seen earlier. . These were the Dravidian invaders of  Indus Valley in the years starting 3000 BC


All of a sudden we see the name Joktan as the eldest son of Abrahm through Keturah. We have also seen that the cousin wife’s children are heir to the Maternal Father.  It was the practice and it is still true to name the first born after the grand father.  

Thus we see three people named Sheba:
1.  Sheba, the son of Raamah in Genesis 10:7, a descendant of Cush and four generations after Noah. Had a brother named Dedan.
2.  Sheba, the son of Joktan in Genesis 10:28, a descendant of Shem and seven generations after Noah.
3.  Sheba, the son of Jokshan in Genesis 25:3, Abraham’s grandson and twelve generations after Noah. Had a brother named Dedan.

They should all belong to the same lineage.
Thus the sudden appearance of the name Joktan and Sheva as the sons of Keturah would simply mean that Keturah was one the daughters of the lineage of Joktan of Indus Valley.  It would mean also most probably that Keturah was the daughter of one Joktan or Sheva of Dravidian India of Indus Valley.  So Abraham gave gifts and send his children to their heritage in Indus.  Knowing the civilization, it was indeed a great heritage.  From 3000 - 1500 BC they held the territory.  These children of Abraham were known as Brahmins - the Children of Abraham who worshipped the God of Abraham.

“Ant. 14.255 make the statement that (Yalqut Reubeni, Gen. 26.2-36c) that Keturah was the daughter of Japheth, the traditional ancestor of the Greeks (perhaps identified with Iapetos, the father of Prometheus?) See Freudenthal 1874-75, 1:130-36, 215 We may conjecture that this notion connecting Abraham with the Greeks may just possibly have contributed to the bracketing the Jews  and the Brahmans (Abraham would equal Brahman with a prothetic vowel) found in Megasthenes, Indica (ap. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1.5-72.5; cf Aristotle, ap Clearchus of Soli, De Sono, ap. Josephus, Ag. Ap. 1.179, who declares that the jews are descended from the Indian Philosophers)
Abraham’s sons by Keturah are stated in Genesis 25 to have named Suah and Iesan (Jokshan in English Bible) .... And we have the whole of the Hindu Trinity, namely Brahma (Abraham) Siva (Sua or Sue) and Vishnu (Iezan)”  
Vishnu: Incarnations of a Savior By Sri G. Ananda 2014

“Postellus takes these  Brahmans to have been descended from Abraham by his wife Ketrurah, and believes that the true religion prevailed long among them; and, indeed, from the account given us of  them -by the ancients, it seerns to appear, that they acknowleged one Supreme Being, and a future state of rewards and punishrnents. Nay, it farther appears from those accounts, that some of them worshiped this Supreme Being with great fervency and devotion, prayed constantly to'hirn, and despised every thing in this world for his fake, Be that as it will, they were celebrated all over the ancient world for their wisdom and austerity of  life, and proposed as a pattern for imitation to nations of greater politeness than the Indians. Pythagorus studied their doctrines and manners, and received his notion of the transmigration of souls, or metempsychoss, from them. If what is here advanced be "admitted, it will be an additional argument in favour of the migration of some of Shem's descendents into India and likewise prove, that the Abrahamic religion prevailed, at least for many ages, in that remote country. A famous Brahman, named Bebergir, communicated to the Mohamedans,, whole religion he embraced, the .Amberthkend, which contains the doctrines of the Indians.' The modern Brahmans say, that Brahma left to the Indians  the four books which they call Beth, or Bed, in which all the scienees, and all the ceremonies of religion, are comprised ; and for this reason they represent that fupposed deity with four heads”
An Universal History, from the Earliest Account of Time, Volume 20
 By George Sale, George Psalmanazar, Archibald Bower, George Shelvocke, John Campbell, John Swinton 1748

 “Postellus, however, had long before asserted the same thing, with this additional circumitanee, that the tribe of Brahmans were the descendants of that patriarch by his wife Keturah, and were so called, quasi  Abramanes. He might, by parity of reasoning, have derived the name of the second great Indian, or Kattri, tribe from Keturah, from which it is not very disiimilar; but, in this case, unfortunately the same argument would hold good as that before urged against the probability that Zoroaster was of ]udaic extraction : the total silenee of the Vedas in regard to circurncision.”
Indian Antiquities: or, dissertations, relative to the ancient ..., Volume 2  By Thomas Maurice 1801  

“Concerning these six other sons of Abraham. and their leaving for the east with his "gits". the Stone and Kaplan comments make no mention of some interesting extrapolations from other Jewish sources. These are summarized and expanded upon in a book called “Gifts of Abraham" by Audi Gozlan, a Canadian orthodox Jew, who, while not a Chasid himself. is an approved list of Chabad lecturers. I had the good fortune to hear Mr. Gozlan lecture on this subject. The subtitles of his book are “The Untold Story of Brahman" and ‘Unity and Peace Through Meditation". The basic premise is that these six additional sons of Abraham went off to the east to India with these ‘gifts’. which were the secrets of meditation and mystical practices, where they became the ancient "Rishis" of the Indian Yoga Vedanta tradition, and imparted their knowledge of these ‘gifts of Abraham" through the Vedas. This theory points to the word ‘Brahman’, the Yoga/vedanta designation for the underlying impersonal divine unity underlying the totality of all that is manifest and unrrranifest, and its similarity le the word/name ‘Abra|ham". It also points out that the tirring of when this would have occurred according to Jewish estimates coincides with estimates of the origin of the Vedas. around 5,000 years ago.”
TORAH PORTION SUMMARIES With Insights from the Perspective of a Jewish Yogi By Steven J. Gol 2010