And she bare him Zimran
That Keturah should bear children who probably, was a young woman, is not strange; but that Abraham, whose body forty years before this was dead should now have any bore to him, may seem difficult to account for, and only can be attributed to the fresh vigour his body was endued with at the generation of Isaac; and which still continued for the fulfilment of the promise to him of the multiplication of his seed. But if the notion of a late learned bishop F5 is right, there will be no need to have recourse to any thing extraordinary; which is, that Abraham took Keturah for his concubine, about twenty years after his marriage with Sarah, she being barren, and long before he took Hagar; though not mentioned till after the death of Sarah, that the thread of the history might not be broken in upon; and there are various things which make it probable, as that she is called his concubine, ( 1 Chronicles 1:32 ) , which one would think she should not be, if married to him after the death of Sarah, and when he had no other wife, and seeing before he died he had great grandchildren by her, and the children of her are reckoned down to the third generation; whereas there are only mention of two generations of Hagar, as in ( Genesis 25:1-4 Genesis 25:12-16 ) ; and therefore seems to have been taken by him before Hagar, and even when he was in Haran, and the children by her are thought to be the souls gotten there; nor does it seem very probable that he should take a wife after the death of Sarah, when he was one hundred and forty years of age, and was reckoned an old man forty years before this; and Dr. Lightfoot F6 is of opinion, that Abraham married her long before Isaac's marriage, or Sarah's death; and if this was the case, the difficulty of accounting for Abraham's fitness for generation vanishes. The first son of Keturah, born to him, was called Zimran, from whence came the Zamareni, a people in Arabia Felix mentioned by Pliny F7; and hereabout the sons of Keturah settled, being sent by Abraham into the east country, even into Arabia, which lay east of the place where he then was; and very probably Zabram; or it may be rather Zamram, a royal city in the country of the Cinaedocolpites, a part of Arabia Felix, as placed by Ptolemy F8, may have its name from this man: five more of Abraham's sons by Keturah follow,
and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah:
some think that the first of these is the same with Cahtan, whom the Arabs call the father of their nation; but that Cahtan rather seems to be Joktan the son of Eber, see ( Genesis 10:25 ) . Philostorgius F9 speaks of a nation in his time, called Homerites, who were a people that sprung from Keturah, and inhabited Arabia Felix, and who used circumcision on the eighth day: and Bishop Patrick observes from Theophanes, a chronologer of the ninth century, that the Homerites, who lived in the interior parts of Arabia, descended from Jectan, which he conjectures should be read Jocshan, though perhaps he is no other than the Joktan before mentioned. From Medan and Midian sprung the Midianites, so often mentioned in Scripture; their posterity seem to be confounded together, for the same people are called Medanites and Midianites, ( Genesis 37:28 Genesis 37:36 ) ; from these men the towns in Arabia might have their names, as the Modiana and Madiana of Ptolemy F11: as for Ishbak, there is no tracing of his name anywhere, unless, as Bishop Patrick observes, some footsteps of it are to be found in Bacascami, a town of the Zamareni, who descended from his brother Zimran, and in the people Backliltae, both mentioned by Pliny F12; though Junius think that Scabiosa Laodicea, in Laodicene of Syria, has its name from him; which seems not likely. The name of Shuah or Shuach may be traced in Socacia, Soaca, and Socheher, cities placed by Ptolemy F13 in Arabia Felix: though some think the posterity of this man are those whom the geographers call Sauchites, Sauchaeans, and Saccaeans, who settled in Arabia Deserta, and from whom Bildad the Shuhite, ( Job 2:11 ) , descended; which is not improbable. But others have been of opinion, that the town of Suez, which Pliny calls Suaza, had its name from this Shuah, situate at the extremity of the Red sea F14.
F5 Dr. Clayton's Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 83
F6 Observations on the Book of Genesis in his Works, vol. 1. p. 695.
F7 Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28.
F8 Geograph. l. 6. c. 7.
F9 Eccl. Hist. l. 3. sect. 4. p. 477.
F11 Ut supra. (F8)
F12 Ut supra. (F7)
F13 Ut supra. (F8)
F14 See Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 184.