Abraham's concubines

LittleFaith

Puritan Board Sophomore
In Gen. 25, it is states that Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his concubines. Calvin and Henry take 'concubines' to mean Hagar and Keturah.

Has anyone ever asserted a different opinion - namely, that Abraham had at least one additional partner or fathered children though at least one additional person besides Hagar, Sarah, and Keturah?
 
I'm pretty sure someone somewhere has probably suggested this. However, 1 Chronicles 1:28-33 doesn't seem to leave much room for any additional spouses beyond Sarah, Hagar and Keturah.
 
That involves a presumption that the lists on Chronicles are intended to be somewhat comprehensive, doesn't it? But for the record, I agree with you. It seems an unlikely stretch.
 
That involves a presumption that the lists on Chronicles are intended to be somewhat comprehensive,
Wouldn't that be the conservative or reverent presumption? What would be the basis of alternate speculation? Gen.25 is immediate to the literary context of the complete historical record concerning Abraham and his family. Other passages in Scripture (such as 1Chr.1) that validate the earlier record give every appearance of actually depending on the Genesis record in terms of the human author. Moses in Gen.25:6 expects the reader/hearer to have the previous story of genealogy (begun Gen.11:27, concluding at 25:11) in mind as he brings that narrative to a close.

The text of Gen.25 does not contain isolated predicates; from which all verbal possibilities must be allowed deduction. Put simply, that would be exegetically irresponsible.
 
Wouldn't that be the conservative or reverent presumption? What would be the basis of alternate speculation? Gen.25 is immediate to the literary context of the complete historical record concerning Abraham and his family. Other passages in Scripture (such as 1Chr.1) that validate the earlier record give every appearance of actually depending on the Genesis record in terms of the human author. Moses in Gen.25:6 expects the reader/hearer to have the previous story of genealogy (begun Gen.11:27, concluding at 25:11) in mind as he brings that narrative to a close.

The text of Gen.25 does not contain isolated predicates; from which all verbal possibilities must be allowed deduction. Put simply, that would be exegetically irresponsible.
I am not well versed in what to do with Biblic genealogies - for instance, the numerous places in Scripture that place Moses just 2 generations removed from Levi. I would agree with you that it seems reasonable to presume this to be a complete genealogy, and to presume that Abraham fathered children of three women and no more. But I would have little with which to defend that view and little basis for daring to hold the view with reasoned confidence. In general, I am "wired" to adopt plain, less contorted readings, as our discussion of the chronology of 1 Sa. 16-17 revealed sometime back. Being wired a certain way, however, proves nothing other than that I am free to follow my own inclinations.
 
I'm not sure why you find this text difficult; perhaps you can help me understand.
1) We know that Abraham had a wife, Sarah, and a concubine, Hagar.
2) Genesis 25:1 informs us that Abraham had an additional wife/concubine, Keturah, who bore him six sons.
3) 25:5 tells us that Isaac inherited the vast bulk of Abraham's wealth
4) 25:6 tells us that during his lifetime Abraham gave gifts to sons of his concubines (i.e. Keturah and Hagar) and sent them away, leaving Isaac as his sole heir.
5) 1 Chronicles 1:28-23 aligns perfectly with that reading.
I am unaware of any other passage in the Bible that suggests that Abraham had other wives/concubines, so I guess I'm not seeing the problem.
 
Thank you for your explanation. It's not that I find the text difficult or find myself inclined to think otherwise than what you and Bruce have said. It's that as I read and reflected on the passage, I wondered how I would articulate why it couldn't or shouldn't be read that way and didn't have a clear answer other than that it just doesn't seem the most logical reading of the passage.

It's really a trivial matter and perhaps I am fixating on it overmuch, in which case I thank you all the more for taking time to patiently emphasize that the most logical reading is in fact the most logical one.
 
I am not well versed in what to do with Biblic genealogies - for instance, the numerous places in Scripture that place Moses just 2 generations removed from Levi. I would agree with you that it seems reasonable to presume this to be a complete genealogy, and to presume that Abraham fathered children of three women and no more. But I would have little with which to defend that view and little basis for daring to hold the view with reasoned confidence. In general, I am "wired" to adopt plain, less contorted readings, as our discussion of the chronology of 1 Sa. 16-17 revealed sometime back. Being wired a certain way, however, proves nothing other than that I am free to follow my own inclinations.
I was using the term "genealogy" here not in reference to a list of names (parent/child); but to the literary structure of Genesis. There are no "isolated predicates," by which I mean that an interpreter is literarily (not the word "literally") bound to the context and cohesion of the text presented. Logically it could be accurate to point out: by a strict law of deduction, the statement about Abraham's concubines and offspring does not in isolation preclude there being more than two such. However, that conclusion is practically indefensible from a literary standpoint.

In other words, proper interpretation does not rest on pure logic treating a given indicative sentence as if it was written so as to be a floating premise with positive truth value--combine two such, and out comes a valid conclusion; or parse one, in order to deduce all possible implications, any which must be positively refuted by some other true premise in order to be invalidated. Treating the text of Scripture thusly is irresponsible, because it dethrones context and genre as indispensable literary guardrails. We are not free to follow our own interpretive inclinations, if we desire to cleave to the mind of Moses (and above him the mind of the Spirit) who presents us with data embedded in a narrative, or a sermon, or a poem, etc.; and more broadly in a book or a set of them. Those genres and contexts establish parameters and help us decide what in fact are reasonable investigations and conclusions, or what is likely to be a fruitless speculation.

There is an art as well as a science of the interpretive craft. I wish you many happy explorations using the best tools and rules for biblical interpretation, and pray you might be free from unprofitable sidetracks resulting from either no discipline, or an excessive dedication to a single (mythical) "golden key" for unlocking the mysteries and accompanying deprecation of the tool kit (monomania is also lack of discipline).
 
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