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Wives Of Abraham In The Bible

The wives of Abraham in the Bible include Sarah, Hagar, Keturah and Milcah.

Sarah was Abraham’s first wife and she was the mother of Isaac. She is mentioned in Genesis 12:11–20 and 20:1–18. In these passages, she is described as beautiful and faithful. She was also barren for many years, but God gave her a son when she was 90 years old. The name Sarah means “princess” or “lady.”

Hagar was Abraham’s second wife and the mother of Ishmael, who was born to her when she was 16 years old (Genesis 16). She is described as being from Egypt and having been taken into Abraham’s house when she was young (Genesis 16:1–5).

Keturah was Abraham’s third wife; she bore him six sons (Genesis 25:1-6). Her name means “incense.”

Milcah was another wife of Abraham; she bore him three sons (Genesis 22:20–24). Her name means “queen” or “queen mother.”

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Abraham Second Wife Bible Verse

According to one view, Abraham remarried after the death of Sarah and had a total of three wives: Sarah, Hagar, and Keturah. Another tradition identifies Keturah with Hagar, and thus Abraham married only twice.

Abraham had a principal wife, Sarah (Genesis 11:29), and two secondary wives, Hagar and Keturah (Genesis 16:3; 25:1).

Abraham’s first wife was Sarah. She alone would possess legal rights and social standing as Abraham’s wife, and only her child Isaac would become the rightful heir to the family inheritance.

Sarah, who was unable to bear children, gave her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to Abraham as a concubine, although the Bible also calls Hagar Abraham’s wife (Genesis 16:1–4). A concubine was a woman, often a servant or slave, who lived with a man as if she were his wife, having sexual relations with him and bearing his children. When one’s wife was unable to produce an heir, taking a concubine was a common solution in ancient times. But a concubine held “secondary wife status,” lower than that of the primary wife. The concubine’s position, while subordinate to her master and mistress, was permanent. Concubines were provided for and protected as part of the family.

Hagar gave Abraham a son, whose name was Ishmael, but he was not to be the son of God’s covenant (Genesis 17:1–14). It was through Abraham and Sarah’s child Isaac that God had promised to establish His everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:15–19).

Keturah was Abraham’s second wife after the death of Sarah: “Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah” (Genesis 25:1–2). Like Hagar, Keturah was called both “wife” and “concubine” in Scripture (1 Chronicles 1:32). As a “wife,” Keturah was married to Abraham in the legal sense, living in a sexual union with him. Yet, as a “concubine” she held a rank inferior to Sarah’s. Keturah may have first become Abraham’s concubine when Sarah was still alive but was later elevated to the position of wife after Sarah passed away.

Before Abraham died, he gave all his material possessions and the blessings of the covenant to Isaac, the child God had promised to him and Sarah. To the sons of Hagar and Keturah, Abraham gave only gifts from his house and then sent them away to live in the country east of Israel (Genesis 25:5–11).

Does the fact that Abraham had three wives prove that God condones polygamy?

No. God’s ideal pattern for the marriage relationship has always been a monogamous union between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27; 2:24). From the time of Lamech (Genesis 4:19), people engaged in polygamy, but it was never God’s design. Even though the practice is not expressly forbidden in Scripture, its consequences are often harmful and problematic (Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 11:1-3; Judges 8:30–9:57; 1 Samuel 1:1–7).

The Bible does not explicitly clarify why God tolerated polygamy among His people. One reason may have been to provide a secure home for unmarried women who had no other safe way to provide for themselves in the male-dominated, patriarchal society of the ancient world. At that time in history, women were not educated or trained for employment and thus depended on male members of their families to protect and support them. With prostitution, slavery, or starvation as the only other choices, many unmarried women turned to concubinage.

Polygamy also served to develop the growth of humanity at a much faster rate, fulfilling God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it” (Genesis 9:7). Perhaps God tolerated polygamy in ancient times to solve some of these problems, but the New Testament clearly specifies God’s ideal intent for marriage to be the union of one man and one woman for life (Ephesians 5:22–33; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).

Abraham Second Wife Hagar

Abraham had a principal wife, Sarah (Genesis 11:29), and two secondary wives, Hagar and Keturah (Genesis 16:3; 25:1).

Abraham’s first wife was Sarah. She alone would possess legal rights and social standing as Abraham’s wife, and only her child Isaac would become the rightful heir to the family inheritance.

Sarah, who was unable to bear children, gave her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to Abraham as a concubine, although the Bible also calls Hagar Abraham’s wife (Genesis 16:1–4). A concubine was a woman, often a servant or slave, who lived with a man as if she were his wife, having sexual relations with him and bearing his children. When one’s wife was unable to produce an heir, taking a concubine was a common solution in ancient times. But a concubine held “secondary wife status,” lower than that of the primary wife. The concubine’s position, while subordinate to her master and mistress, was permanent. Concubines were provided for and protected as part of the family.

Hagar gave Abraham a son, whose name was Ishmael, but he was not to be the son of God’s covenant (Genesis 17:1–14). It was through Abraham and Sarah’s child Isaac that God had promised to establish His everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:15–19).

Keturah was Abraham’s second wife after the death of Sarah. “Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah” (Genesis 25:1–2). Like Hagar, Keturah was called both “wife” and “concubine” in Scripture (1 Chronicles 1:32). As a “wife,” Keturah was married to Abraham in the legal sense, living in a sexual union with him. Yet, as a “concubine” she held a rank inferior to Sarah’s. Keturah may have first become Abraham’s concubine when Sarah was still alive but she was later elevated to the position of wife after Sarah passed away.

Before Abraham died, he gave all his material possessions and the blessings of the covenant to Isaac, the child God had promised to him and Sarah. To the sons of Hagar and Keturah, Abraham gave only gifts from his house and then sent them away to live in the country east of Israel (Genesis 25:5–11).

Does the fact that Abraham had three wives prove that God condones polygamy?

No. God’s ideal pattern for the marriage relationship has always been a monogamous union between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27; 2:24). From the time of Lamech (Genesis 4:19), people engaged in polygamy, but it was never God’s design. Even though the practice is not expressly forbidden in Scripture, its consequences are often harmful and problematic (Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 11:1-3; Judges 8:30–9:57; 1 Samuel 1:1–7).

The Bible does not explicitly clarify why God tolerated polygamy among His people. One reason may have been to provide a secure home for unmarried women who had no other safe way to provide for themselves in the male-dominated, patriarchal society of the ancient world. At that time in history, women were not educated or trained for employment and thus depended on male members of their families to protect and support them. With prostitution, slavery, or starvation as the only other choices, many unmarried women turned to concubinage.

Polygamy also served to develop the growth of humanity at a much faster rate, fulfilling God’s command to “be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it” (Genesis 9:7). Perhaps God tolerated polygamy in ancient times to solve some of these problems, but the New Testament clearly specifies God’s ideal intent for marriage to be the union of one man and one woman for life (Ephesians 5:22–33; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).

How Many Wives Did Abraham Have According To The Bible

1 Corinthians 7:1-40 ESV / 7 helpful votes
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. …

Genesis 2:24 ESV / 7 helpful votes
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

1 Timothy 3:2 ESV / 5 helpful votes
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

1 Corinthians 7:2 ESV / 5 helpful votes
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

Matthew 19:8 ESV / 5 helpful votes
He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

Matthew 19:4-6 ESV / 5 helpful votes
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Genesis 20:12 ESV / 5 helpful votes
Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.

Genesis 17:17 ESV / 5 helpful votes
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

Hebrews 13:4 ESV / 4 helpful votes
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Matthew 5:32 ESV / 4 helpful votes
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Genesis 2:18 ESV / 4 helpful votes
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Genesis 1:28 ESV / 4 helpful votes
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Hebrews 11:11 ESV / 3 helpful votes
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

Titus 1:6 ESV / 3 helpful votes
If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.

Ephesians 5:31 ESV / 3 helpful votes
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV / 3 helpful votes
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, …

1 Corinthians 5:1 ESV / 3 helpful votes
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.

Romans 7:2 ESV / 3 helpful votes
For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.

Romans 4:19 ESV / 3 helpful votes
He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.

Matthew 19:9 ESV / 3 helpful votes
And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

Matthew 19:6 ESV / 3 helpful votes
So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Matthew 19:1-30 ESV / 3 helpful votes
Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? …

Malachi 2:16 ESV / 3 helpful votes
“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

Proverbs 18:22 ESV / 3 helpful votes
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

Genesis 25:12-18 ESV / 3 helpful votes
These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham. These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. …

Genesis 16:1-16 ESV / 3 helpful votes
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” …

Genesis 1:27 ESV / 3 helpful votes
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Revelation 1:1-20 ESV / 2 helpful votes
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood …

Jude 1:7 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

1 Peter 3:7 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:6 ESV / 2 helpful votes
As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

1 Peter 3:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives,

Hebrews 11:11-12 ESV / 2 helpful votes
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

1 Timothy 3:12 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.

Colossians 3:18 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:25 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Ephesians 5:1-33 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. …

Galatians 3:7 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

1 Corinthians 11:3 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 7:39 ESV / 2 helpful votes
A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 7:27 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

1 Corinthians 7:24 ESV / 2 helpful votes
So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 ESV / 2 helpful votes
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

1 Corinthians 7:10-17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. …

1 Corinthians 7:8-9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?

Romans 9:9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Romans 7:3 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Romans 7:1-3 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Romans 4:18-21 ESV / 2 helpful votes
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

John 3:16-17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Luke 16:18 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

Mark 10:6-9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Mark 1:1 ESV / 2 helpful votes
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Matthew 22:24 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’

Matthew 19:29 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

Matthew 19:5 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

Matthew 19:4-8 ESV / 2 helpful votes
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

Matthew 19:4 ESV / 2 helpful votes
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,

Matthew 19:3-9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” …

Matthew 6:33 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 5:31-32 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 5:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Daniel 6:1-28 ESV / 2 helpful votes
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” …

Proverbs 31:10 ESV / 2 helpful votes
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

Proverbs 21:19 ESV / 2 helpful votes
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.

Proverbs 19:14 ESV / 2 helpful votes
House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

1 Kings 11:3 ESV / 2 helpful votes
He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.

Deuteronomy 27:20-23 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s nakedness.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with any kind of animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Deuteronomy 22:30 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“A man shall not take his father’s wife, so that he does not uncover his father’s nakedness.

Leviticus 20:11-21 ESV / 2 helpful votes
If a man lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them. If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you. If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. …

Leviticus 20:10 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 18:17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity.

Leviticus 18:6 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 18:6-17 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the Lord. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness. …

Leviticus 18:1-30 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord. …

Leviticus 4:1-35 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally in any of the Lord’s commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them, if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the Lord for a sin offering. He shall bring the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord and lay his hand on the head of the bull and kill the bull before the Lord. And the anointed priest shall take some of the blood of the bull and bring it into the tent of meeting, …

Exodus 21:10 ESV / 2 helpful votes
If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights.

Exodus 20:14 ESV / 2 helpful votes
“You shall not commit adultery.

Genesis 29:15-30 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” …

Genesis 28:9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.

Genesis 25:7-10 ESV / 2 helpful votes
These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with Sarah his wife.

Genesis 25:1-6 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan fathered Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. …

Genesis 23:1-20 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites, “I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” The Hittites answered Abraham, …

Genesis 22:21-22 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.”

Genesis 21:17-21 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Genesis 21:14-21 ESV / 2 helpful votes
So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” …

Genesis 21:12 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.

Genesis 21:9 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing.

Genesis 21:6-7 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Genesis 20:8-18 ESV / 2 helpful votes
So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?” Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, ‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. …

Genesis 20:2 ESV / 2 helpful votes
And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

Genesis 20:1-7 ESV / 2 helpful votes
From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” …

Genesis 18:11 ESV / 2 helpful votes
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.

Genesis 17:21 ESV / 2 helpful votes
But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

Genesis 17:20 ESV / 2 helpful votes
As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.

Genesis 17:15 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

How Old Was Keturah When Abraham Married Her

In Genesis 21:1, we learn that Abraham remarried three years after the death of Sarah. Once his son Isaac was married off, Abraham, at age 140, married Keturah, who bore him six children.

But who exactly was Keturah and why did Abraham marry her? What pushed him to have six more children so late in life?

Rashi tells us that Keturah was one and the same as Hagar, whom Abraham had married more than 50 years prior (when he was 85 years of age) and who bore his firstborn, Ishmael.

So why the name change? To taught us that she was pure and good, like ketoret, the incense that was offered to God on the altar in the Holy Temple.

You might recall that Hagar had been chased out of Abraham’s home when her son was misbehaving. For many years, she was away from Abraham and his influence.2 Yet during all their years apart, she never cohabited with another man and remained faithful and true to the ethics that Abraham taught.3 Hence, this was another reason for the name change: in Aramaic, keturah means “bound,” and Hagar remained connected to Abraham throughout all those years.

But if Abraham had intended to remarry Hagar after Sarah died, why did he wait until Isaac married three years later?

Interestingly, Isaac was the matchmaker. Soon after his mother’s passing, he traveled to Hagar and brought her back to Abraham’s home. He obviously had positive feelings towards his stepmother and considered her worthy of remarrying his father after his own mother passed away.

Yet, Abraham chose to wait until Isaac was married before he himself remarried. From here the sages learn that one whose wife passes away and who has older children should ideally first see to it that his children are settled before he gets remarried.6

This still doesn’t explain why Abraham chose to get married and have children at age 140. Even in those days, 140 was old (Abraham passed away at 175 and is considered to have lived until a ripe, old age)!

Yet to Abraham, it was important to have many children. Why?

According to the Talmud, one very simple reason for having many children is that you don’t know which one will give you nachat. Obviously, Abraham had nachat and spiritual continuity through Isaac, so this most probably wasn’t his worry. So what other reason might he have had for remarrying and siring more children?

Simple. The first mitzvah that G‑d ever gave to mankind was to Adam and Eve immediately after their creation: “Be fruitful and multiply!” He repeated those same words to Noah and his family after the decimation of the Flood: Go have babies!

Overpopulation is not a worry for G‑d; it’s His desire that the world be full of human beings who are decent and good. The world is big enough for us all.

There is no greater act of service we can do than bestowing life onto another human being. The gift of life is truly the greatest gift of all. So while Abraham had already created a nation through Isaac, he still felt obligated to gift life to others.

An idea that the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke passionately about many times, especially during the ’80s, was bringing many children into the world. He saw this as a Divine endeavor and a source of tremendous blessing for the parents, the community and the world.

After World War II, the Ponevezher Rav, Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahneman, used to visit Miami annually to raise funds for his yeshivah. Rabbi Berel Wein, who was a congregational rabbi in Miami during that period, related this story:

One day, the Ponevezher Rav called me and asked me to arrange a meeting in my home with the younger couples affiliated with my congregation. I told him that I would do so, but I cautioned him that I did not think that he would raise much money from them. He gently told me that he was not going to speak to them about donations at all.

At that meeting, which was very well-attended, the Ponevezher Rav rose and said to them: “My beloved children, the souls of a million and a half Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust are floating in the air above us. Your task is to give those souls bodies to live in.”

On a personal note, I’m the oldest of 12 children, and both my parents come from large families, so I have over 200 first cousins! I can confidently say that big families are pure blessing. I pray that my wife and I should continue to be blessed with the incredible gift of bringing children into this world.

The Talmud says: “The son of David (Moshiach) will not arrive until all the souls in the treasury in heaven [which is referred to as guf] are brought into this world.”

I’ll leave you with this final thought: You will never regret the kids you have, but too many people regret the ones they didn’t bring into this beautiful world.

As we conclude, please not;

Abraham was one of the most influential people in history. He was a prophet and the first patriarch of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He also had at least two wives and several concubines, who gave him children.

Abraham’s first wife was Sara, who gave him a son named Isaac. His first concubine was Hagar, who gave him a son named Ishmael. His second wife was Keturah, who gave him six children.

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