Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia


Keturah: Bible

by Naomi Steinberg

The marriage of Abraham (the first major male figure in the ancestor narratives of Genesis) to Keturah represents a secondary union, one that separates the procreation of offspring from the inheritance of immovable property (land), which in this case goes only to Abraham’s primary heir, Isaac—not to Keturah’s six children. From the story, it is impossible to tell whether Keturah’s marriage to Abraham took place while Sarah was still alive; the secondary nature of this marriage would not have required Sarah’s death.

The names Keturah and those of her children probably reflect the region of Arabia, the land from which incense derives.


Meyers, Carol, General Editor. Women in Scripture. New York: 2000.

How to cite this page

Steinberg, Naomi. "Keturah: Bible." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <>.