• | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 27:53
  • Passages covered: Genesis 25:1-4,5-6,7,8, 1Chronicles 1:32, Genesis 21:8,9-14, Exodus 23:10,16, Leviticus 23:39, Isaiah 11:11-12, 2Thessalonians 2:1-2.

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Genesis 25 Series, Study 1, Verses 1-4

Good evening, and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Genesis.  Tonight is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 25, and we will be reading Genesis 25:1-4:

Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 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.

The name Keturah means “to burn” or “burn incense,” and from what we can read in the Bible, Keturah was a concubine of Abraham.  It says that in 1Chronicles 1:32:

Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan.

So Keturah was a concubine, and it says that here in Genesis 25:5-6:

And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 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.

It said that Abraham had concubines (plural), and we know that he had an earlier concubine named Hagar, who was an Egyptian maid of Sarah’s.  Remember, we went through this when Sarai and Abram consulted together and thought they would “help out God” in bringing in a promised heir, so Sarai gave Hagar to her husband Abram to marry, and they did have a child whose name was Ishmael.  We read in Genesis 21 where it refers first to Isaac, but then it will speak of Ishmael.  It says in Genesis 21:8:

And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

That means that the child (Isaac) was about two or three years old.  Since we know that Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born, this would mean that Abraham was about 102 or 103, and his son Ishmael was born when Abraham was 86, so he would have been 16 or 17 years old.  It goes on to say in Genesis 21:9-14:

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

We spent a good deal of time going through that account, verse by verse, and you can check the previous studies in Genesis 21 if you want to be brought into remembrance of any of that, but the reason we went here is to see that Abraham did have a previous concubine whose name was Hagar.  He sent her away with her son when Ishmael was a teenager.  We know that much for sure.

So in Genesis 25, Sarah had already died.  She died at age 127, and Abraham was ten years older, so Abraham would have been 137 at the time of Sarah’s death.  The previous chapter, Genesis 24, involved the sending of the servant to find a wife for Isaac after the passing of his mother.  The servant returned with Rebekah, and Isaac was 40 at that point.  So Isaac’s mother died in 2030 B. C. and he would have been 37, because Sarah died at age 127 and she gave birth to him at age 90, so Isaac was 37.  Then after about three and one-half years (in all probability) the servant returned with the bride Rebekah and they were married.  Then the next thing we read is in Genesis 25:1:

Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

Does this mean it was after the return of the servant when Isaac was 40 years old?  That would make Abraham 140.  Well, that could be the case.  God is not specific about how old Abraham was when he took Keturah.  Some commentaries think she had been a longstanding concubine, even while Sarah was alive.  I do not agree with that, just based on the trouble Abraham and Sarah got into when he took the first concubine, Hagar, and there was the problem of Ishmael mocking the son of the promise, Isaac, when Isaac was weaned.  So I am sure they had learned their lesson, and Abraham would not have gone and taken another concubine.  What would be the point of driving out the first concubine and her son, and then take another (concubine) while Sarah was still alive?  I do not think we have to assume that Abraham waiting three and one-half years.  It could have been a year, or so, after Sarah died in 2030 B. C. and he would have been 137 at that point.  And we know that Abraham himself would die at the age of 175 because it says in Genesis 25:7:

And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

So Abraham died 38 years after the death of Sarah.  He was 137, and we add 38 and we get 175, so he lived 38 years after Sarah’s death, so that would give sufficient time for him to marry and have children.  Let us say that he married at age 138 and he would have another thirty-seven years to live, and he begat six sons.  That is what we read in Genesis 25:2:

And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

There were six sons that Keturah bore him.  The commentator that I read thought that due to Abraham’s age, he probably had the concubine Keturah at an earlier point and they had these sons at an earlier point because he would have been about 138 years old and he would have had to father six sons from that point into his 140s or even his 150s.  But he was not the one bearing the children, but it was through his seed that God blessed the union between him and Keturah, so I think it is very possible that he did father these sons after Sarah’s death, even though he was in his old age.  Again, these six sons had to be born in the space of about 37 years, and they had to grow up sufficiently in order to be sent away, because it said Genesis 25:6:

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.

So they were not sent away after Abraham’s death, but it was while he lived.  And since we know that he had already sent away Ishmael, a teenager, he had set a precedent, and these sons could have been teenagers or even early 20s when he sent them away.  He was getting older and older and nearing his death, so he wanted to take care of this so there would be no issue upon the point of his death for there to be strife.  There are a couple of things we see (in the Bible) that indicate he was concerned about “strife.”  We can see it in the names of some of these sons.  For example Medan means “strife.”  The name Midian means “contention” or “brawling,” and Jokshan is a word that means “fouler” or “snare.”  So it is probable that it was on his mind, and he wanted no strife.  Remember, Abraham was the one who talked to his nephew Lot and they parted company from one another because their herdsmen were striving with one another.  He wanted to avoid that at all cost, so he sent away the sons of this concubine, and he had long ago sent out Ishmael.  We can also gather that since these six boys were born of a concubine and Ishmael was born of a concubine…and, again, we discussed in detail the two covenants, where Hagar’s son identified with mount Sinai in Arabia, representing the Law of God; and Sarah’s son identified with Christ and the grace of God.  So Ishmael was born of the concubine or bondservant, and that is one thing we have to understand about Keturah, because there is no reason she could not be called his “wife” here because Sarah was already dead.  But it appears that Keturah was a servant in Abraham’s household, and he took her to wife, and that would explain why she was called a “concubine,” even when Abraham’s marriage to Sarah had ended – death had broken that union and he was free to marry another and take a wife.  It would have to be a concubine, but it would appear she was called a concubine because of her standing as a bondmaid or servant in his household.  At least that was the case with Hagar.  And because she was a concubine and these sons were of the concubine, I think we can understand it spiritually in a similar way to Ishmael.  They have to do with a covenant of works, and one proof of that is the fact that there were six sons, and the number “six” in the Bible points to “work.”  In six days, God created or worked, and the seventh day He rested. 

So the six sons of Keturah the concubine were sent away in a similar way as Ishmael.  They could not inherit the promise.  They were not the promised seed.  Isaac was the promised seed and, again, he would identify with the seed (singular), who is Christ, and all the elect are counted for the seed (plural) and receive the promise through the Lord Jesus Christ.  I think that is how we can understand it.

Now let us look at Genesis 25:7:

And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

That is 175 years, and the number “175” breaks would break down to significant numbers of “5 x 5 x 7.”  So the entire life span of Abraham identifies with “atonement,” and it is doubled (the number “5”) and the number  “7” identifies with “perfection.”  Also, we know that he left the land of Haran at the call of God to go to the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, when he was 75, so he died exactly 100 years later, having lived all that time in the land of Canaan.  The number “100” points to completeness, so the things in view would be atonement, perfection and completeness.  Additionally, we know that Abraham was born in 2167 B. C.  and since he lived 175 years, we can know the year of his death.  It was 1992 B. C.  At that point, Isaac would have been 75 and Jacob and Esau who were born in 2007 B. C. would have been 15 years old.  They were teenagers, and many of the things we read about them in the Bible had not occurred.  So the year that Abraham died was 1992 B. C. and if we go from 1992 B. C. to 33 A. D. (the cross), it is 2025 calendar years, and that number breaks down to the significant numbers of “5 x 5,” pointing to the atonement (and it is doubled); and “3 x 3 x 3 x 3,” indicating the purpose of God and the number “12” would point to the furthest extent of the atonement.  And we know that Christ went to the cross in 33 A. D. to demonstrate the work of atonement that was finished at the foundation of the world. 

Also, if we start at 1992 B. C. (his death year) and we go to 2033 A. D. (the year that Biblical evidence is pointing to as the end of the world and the completion of Judgment Day), it equals 4,025 calendar years which breaks down to “5 x 5 x 7 x 23.”  Again, we have the doubling of “5” in all these dates, pointing to the atonement.  Then we have the number “7,” pointing to perfection.  If we stopped there, it would be 175 years, but there is another number in the breakdown of “4025,” and that is the number “23.”  So Abraham’s death age ties to this date of 2033 A. D. where there is mounting Biblical evidence for the end of the world.  We find the number “5” that points to the atonement, doubled; then there is the number “7” which points to perfection; and there is the number “23,” which points to tribulation.  And the date 2033 A. D. would be the point of the completion of a 23-year inclusive tribulation period from the year 2011 to 2033.  We can also understand the number of “tribulation” to also stand for judgment.  Tribulation is a synonym for judgment, so the judgment would be complete if the Biblical evidence for 2033 A. D. is complete.  So we see the atonement of all unsaved mankind because atonement has to do with making payment for sin, and the atonement for all unsaved mankind (as they pay for their own sins in eternal death) will have been brought to completion or perfection at the time of the completion of the tribulation and the judgment upon the world.  So there are some interesting tie-ins, and this is just one of many time paths, and some of them are much more significant than that, but this would just be a supporting time path to some others that point to the year 2033 A. D.

Then it says in Genesis 25:8:

Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

Of course, when an elect child of God “gives up the ghost” that means our spirit goes to be with the Lord in heaven.  The Hebrew word translated as “gathered” is #622 in Strong’s Concordance.  It is an interesting word that is often used in connection with bringing in the fruit of harvest.  For example, it says in Exodus 23:10:

And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:

Then it says in Exodus 23:16:

And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

Both of these feasts together make up the feast of harvest; it is two-part, the firstfruits and ingathering.  The firstfruits identify with all those saved during the church age; ingathering identifies with all those saved during that “little season” of the Latter Rain that occurred in the second part of the Great Tribulation, and concluded on May 21, 2011.  God describes it as the gathering in of the fruit, so we cannot help but see that when God saved His people and brought them to Himself in salvation, we were said to be “gathered.” 

We see the same thing in Leviticus 23:39:

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto JEHOVAH seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

This identifies with the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Ingathering.  They gathered in the fruit of the land. 

Or, it is related to the Latter Rain, again, in Isaiah 11:11-12:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

The word “assemble” is the word “gather.”  Again, that is pointing to all those that are saved.  They are brought into the kingdom of heaven. 

In the New Testament, we are reminded of a statement made in 2Thessalonians 2:1-2:

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Again, it said, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,” and that is the main focus when saints like Abraham and others were said to be “gathered” unto God.  That is the point.  They are going to the Lord and “gathering together unto him.”  That is what was being done with Abraham.  He had died and “given up the ghost” and his spirit had gone to be with the Lord in heaven, and he was gathered to his people.