Was Keturah the Wife or the Concubine of Abraham?

According to Genesis 25:1, Keturah is described as being Abraham’s wife:

“Abraham married another wife named Keturah.”

The word used for wife in the Hebrew is (‘ishshah) (Strong’s No. 802)[1] and The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (2001) defines the meaning of the word as “woman, wife, female”[2].

But according to I Chronicles 1:32, we are told that Keturah was Abraham’s concubine:

“Sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: Zimran, Jokshan….”

The Hebrew used here according to the BDB lexicon is either (piylegesh) or (piyegesh) (Strong’s No. 6370)[3] and the lexicon defines the meaning as “concubine”[4].

It is not possible for Keturah to be both a wife and concubine. The difference is without a doubt truly glaring, that one wonders what the missionary excuse will be for the above contradiction.


[1] James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Thomas Nelson, 1996)

[2] F Brown, S. Driver & C. Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (2001), p. 61

[3] James Strong, op. cit.

[4] F. Brown, S. Driver & C. Briggs, 0p. cit., p. 811

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