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Did the lines of Shem and Ham mix? Did God bless this mixture? Who was Keturah? We’re going to get into some great information in this study, so make sure you pull out a pen and take some notes.
Before we get started, just know that I’m going to use the name Abraham when referring to Abraham and his previous name Abram. Just wanted to get that out of the way before the emails started.
How Many Wives Did Abraham Have?
When we think of “Father Abraham”, we usually think of Sarai/Sarah and sometimes Hagar gets a mention. Let’s look at the list of his wives.
- Sarah (Hebrew + ?)
- Hagar (Egyptian/African)
- Keturah (unknown ethnic origin)
While we don’t know the complete ethnic origin Sarah and Keturah, we do know that Keturah’s name means, “thick smoke.” Most times thick smoke is black or dark gray, but to be fair, the meaning may describe something other than her skin tone.
Something else you may not know about Keturah is that she started off as a concubine. In case you don’t know what a concubine is, here is a definition for you:
Concubine – Dictionary.com
- A woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married, especially one regarded as socially or sexually subservient; mistress.
- A secondary wife, usually of inferior rank.
- A woman residing in a harem and kept, as by a sultan, for sexual purposes.
I bet you’ve never heard the story of Abraham and his sex slave in Bible study have you? Let’s go ahead and jump into the children.
How Many Sons Did Father Abraham Really Have?
If you’ve heard the song lyrics, “father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had father Abraham”, then you’ve probably wondered what that meant, since Isaac and Ishmael are the two that are talked about the most. Father Abraham did indeed have many sons. Six to be exact.
The Children of Sarah
Isn’t it odd that we actually know more about Nahor’s wife’s origin than we know about Sarah’s origin? Irregardless (yes I know that’s wrong), it was Sarah through whom the chosen son would come.
- Isaac (Hebrew + Hebrew + ?)- Jews trace their lineage through him.
According to the Bible, Isaac was the son that God promised to Abraham, even though he was not the oldest (or the youngest) son that Abraham had. God refers to Isaac as Abraham’s only son because Abraham and Sarah sent the rest away from Isaac.
The Children of Hagar
Remember when we learned that all but one of Ham’s sons settled in Africa? Well, if you recall, Mizraim was one of those sons, and the are he settled became Egypt. Hagar being from Egypt meant that she was African.
That means Ham’s line was mixing with Shem’s line all willy nilly (and will continue to do so throughout the Bible). For those that believe Ham was cursed (it was really Canaan)… well clearly God didn’t have a problem with it. Hagar bore Abraham a son:
- Ishmael (Hebrew + Egyptian/African) – Arabs trace their lineage through him.
Many times when we learn about Hagar and Ishmael, the part where God blesses Ishmael to become a great nation that would be at war with everyone (Genesis 16:12), is usually skimmed over.
“And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” – Genesis 16:10
It’s also worthy to note that the very first appearance of The Angels of The Lord was to a pregnant Egyptian (African) handmaid, who had just been kicked out of the house.
Read More About Ethnicity & The Bible In My BookGod Couldn't Have Done It Without Africa: Earth's Final Great Awakening
The Children of Keturah
Keturah may have started out as a sex slave (concubine), but she ended up as a wife, and she bore Abraham six sons:
- Zimran (Hebrew + Unknown)
- Jokshan (Hebrew + Unknown)
- Medan (Hebrew + Unknown)
- Midian (Hebrew + Unknown)
- Ishbak (Hebrew + Unknown)
- Shuah (Hebrew + Unknown)
Even though these were Abraham’s children, he didn’t want them anywhere near Isaac, and so he becomes the world’s first “absentee” father that we know about.
“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.” – Genesis 25:6
As you may have guessed, these sons of Abraham are going to spread out and we’re going to bump into some of their descendants later.
Bible Fact: Nahor was married to his niece (Genesis 11:29). Strangest family reunion ever.
If you have any evidence or arguments that you’d like to contribute, please hesitate to use the form below to drop your comments. Also, remember to share this and see what your family and friends think.
Frequently Asked Questions (Part 3)
Q: How many sons did Abraham have in total?
A: Abraham had a total of 8 sons by 3 different women.
Q: Were Ham and Shem’s lines allowed to mix?
A: The Bible does not address interracial marriage in a negative or positive light. In fact, with the exception of a few specific tribes that the Hebrews were not allowed to marry, the Bible is completely silent on the issue one way or the other.
Unfortunately, there are many hate groups and false teachers out there that take small portions of scripture out of context, and attempt to extended it into a broad teaching on interracial marriage. Beware of these wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Q. Why didn’t God say anything about having multiple wives?
This is a complicated answer, but in short, multiple wives were the norm in ancient times, and surprisingly, God doesn’t say much about it int he Bible. My personal opinion is that it had to do with lineage and bloodline (Deuteronomy 20:20-22).
For example: A man that sleeps with 100 women, who weren’t sleeping with anyone else, would know that all 100 kids were his. However, a woman sleeping with 100 men would create a situation of unsure lineage. That is POSSIBLY why men were allowed to have multiple women, but women were not allowed to have multiple men.
As we journey through the Bible, we’ll see that one man with multiple women becomes the normal order of business, and yet, except for a few occasions, God stays silent on the issue.