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The Torah tells us (Bereshit 25:1) that "Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah."

The Yalkut Shimoni (Iyov 904) says that Ketura was from Yafet (english from here):

"Abraham married three women: Sarah, the daughter of Shem; Ketura, the daughter of Japheth; Hagar, the daughter of Ham"

In this context, daughter means descendant, and not an actual daughter (e.g. Hagar was an Egyptian, and Mitzrayim was the son of Cham, so she was at best his granddaughter).

Many commentaries on this section in Torah (e.g Rashi, see here for a list of some others) say that Ketura is Hagar. However, the quoted Yalkut Shimoni can't agree with this opinion, since clearly the Yalkut Shimoni holds that they weren't the same person.

There are opinions who maintain that Keturah and Hagar are two separate people, but of the ones I read (Rashbam, Ibn Ezra, and Ramban), only the Ramban (Bereshit 25:6) says what her nationality was, and he says she was a Canaanite (also a descendant of Cham). So the Ramban isn't saying the same thing the Yalkut Shimoni is either.

According to the Yalkut Shimoni, who was Ketura? Was she someone important (like Hagar, who was an Egyptian princess)?

The same question could be asked about all the commentaries who say Keturah was not Hagar.

  • Do we know Yalkut Shimoni agrees that Hagar was a princess and not just some maidservant? – Double AA Oct 31 '12 at 20:09
  • @DoubleAA: I don't know – Menachem Oct 31 '12 at 23:35
  • The question assumes a closed canon approach regarding open canon commentators. – mevaqesh Aug 25 '16 at 18:05
  • @Menachem Where can one read in English or German or in vowelled-Hebrew the "Yalkut Shimoni (Iyov 904)"? – ninamag Oct 4 '17 at 6:06
  • @ninamag: I'm not sure – Menachem Oct 4 '17 at 6:27
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This is just wild guess, but since two of Keturah's children are Midian and Medan, and one of Yaphet's children was Madai who is associated with the nation of Medes.. I'm going to guess that Yalkut Shimoni is looking at that line of people.

Alternatively, Magog also makes eschatological sense.

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Keturah may be a descendant of Japheth. I remember what I've read about this from Yalkut Shimoni, it tells: "Abraham married three women: Sarah, the daughter of Shem; Keturah, the daughter of Japheth; Hagar, the daughter of Ham".

And in fact he married them in the order in which the "fathers" appear in Torah. First the daughter of Shem, then the daughter of Ham, and finally the daughter of Japheth.

By marrying these three women, the blessing that God bestowed upon Abraham, that "all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you", was fulfilled, and similarly when he produced offspring from these three women, the blessing that he would be "the father of a multitude of nations" was also fulfilled."

  • Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. However, I'm not sure if you did answer my question. I mentioned the Yalkut Shimoni, my question was, according to the opinions (such as the yalkut shimoni) who say Keturah was not Hagar, was she someone special. – Menachem Aug 25 '16 at 17:07
  • Alos, I like the explanation that he married someone from all the children of Noach, so that "all the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you", but this is not part of the Yalkut Shimoni's commentary (at least not here, it is definitely possible he brought it somewhere else). – Menachem Aug 25 '16 at 17:12
  • Yeah, it's not Yalkut Shimoni's. It was Movses Khorenatsi's commentary, he said that Japheth was the forefather of the Arsacids, who were "of the race of Abraham and Keturah." The association of Japheth and Keturah was made by the 3rd century A.D. I found it out from "A History of the Jews in Babylonia - From Shapur I to Shapur II", published by Brill. – Defilla Aug 27 '16 at 12:44
  • I have to mention that book by Brill was written by Rabbi Jacob Neusner. – Defilla Aug 27 '16 at 12:57

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