“And it came to pass that Abraham once again took a wife, and her name was Qeturah.”
As Abraham completes his sojourn in this life, he takes on another companion to be his wife. These last few verses of Abraham’s story cover the last 38 years of Abraham’s life. It is interesting that so little is recorded of this time when so much is recorded of the 25 years that passed between God’s call to travel to Canaan and the birth of Isaac. We really know very little about most of this patriarch’s life, though of the most important part of his life, we do know a great deal. This is a good reminder first that our Bibles are a record of redemptive history and thus not every chronological detail is recorded. Secondly, it is a reminder that the legacy which we leave behind that will be of lasting value will be that spiritual legacy that points people toward Christ. The other stuff, while not unimportant, will fade away.
Thus, we find that Abraham takes a wife of Qeturah — or as is commonly transliterated in English, “Keturah.” Apart from the children she bore to Abraham, we know nothing of this woman or where she is from. Her name means, “Fragrant Smoke,” and is a reference to the food offerings that would be lifted up to God (not necessarily of perfumes). The writer of Chronicles refers to her as his concubine (1 Chronicles 1:32), but this should not prove to be too great a stumbling block, for the wife of Abraham in redemptive history was Sarah — nations would rise from Hagar and Keturah, but God worked his promise through Isaac and then Isaac’s son, Jacob. It is through this line that all of the nations (including those descending through his other wives) would find their blessing.
The baton of God’s covenant promise has now passed from Abraham to Isaac, these first verses of chapter 25 serve as a transition as this friend of God comes to the end of his travels and prepares to go home. Solomon writes that we should rejoice in the wife of our youth (Proverbs 5:18), which is indeed true, but praise God for that wife who is our companion in our old age as well. While Solomon’s later words in Ecclesiastes are not typically considered overly “inspirational,” they do add meaning to our wives’ role as helpmates (Genesis 2:20) in this fallen world.
“Find meaning in life with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life, which he has given to you under the sun — all the days of vanity. For it is your portion in life and in your troubles in which you trouble under the sun.”