Children of Abraham
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".
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 .
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
Ge 25:1-6. Sons of Abraham.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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).
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
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
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.
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).
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
The name Eliezar/Eleazar appears twice in the Horite ancestry of Jesus Christ.
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.
By Sri Gregory Alexander aka. Ananda writes:
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.
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
......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
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””
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.
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
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?
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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