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Descendants of Abraham Part IV: Sons of Keturah (No. 212D)

Christian Churches of God

No. 212D

 

 

 

Descendants of Abraham

Part IV:

Sons of Keturah

 

(Edition 2.0 20070302-20070303-20070417)

 

The identity of the sons of Keturah is not well known and is often confused with the sons of Ishmael. The truth is important to understanding the destiny of the sons of Abraham in prophecy.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

(Copyright ©  2007 Wade Cox & anor.)

 

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher’s name and address and the copyright notice must be included.  No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies.  Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

 

This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 

 


Descendants of Abraham Part V: Sons of Keturah


 

Perhaps the most enigmatic of all the descendants of Abraham are the Sons of Keturah. Their names are recorded in Genesis 25:2-4 and 1Chronicles 1:32-33.

 

Genesis 25:1-4 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Ketu'rah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Mid'ian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshu'rim, Letu'shim, and Le-um'mim. 4 The sons of Mid'ian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abi'da, and Elda'ah. All these were the children of Ketu'rah. (RSV)

The six sons were probably born in the first half of the 1800s BCE. The identities of their descendants down to the present day have largely remained a mystery; however, there are some clues in the historical records. Surah 11:95 in the Qur’an says that one of the sons, Midian, was “removed from sight” – perhaps until these Last Days. Midian was the most notable son, in that his descendants are mentioned more often in the Bible, the Qur’an and in secular records than any of his brothers’ descendants. Hence, more will be written about Midian and the tribes descended from him. The basis is that Midian was the tribe of the father-in-law of Moses and thus closest to Israel in importance and location.

 

The Surahs of the Qur’an, written about four years before the Hijrah, deal with the concept of the revelation of God through the prophets.

 

Surah 10 titled “Jonah” draws its name from the reference to the people that Jonah witnessed to and who believed (S. 10:99). The next Surah deals with the transmission of prophecy through the Arab prophets and also through the sons of Keturah in Midian. The Surah 11 “Hud” refers to the Arabian prophet Hud not mentioned in the Bible. He was of the tribe of A’ad. The Surah also mentions two other prophets, Salih of the tribe of Thamud, and Shu’eyb of Midian, who Pickthall says is identified with Jethro. Both Surahs then devolve authority on Moses and Aaron.

 

If Shu’eyb is indeed Jethro, the Qur’an is explaining further the transfer of authority of

 

the Scriptures to Israel through Moses and Aaron. The Tribe of Midian was used to effect that process through Moses’ sojourn in Midian and the preparation for the Exodus. Midian is then shown as being removed after a catastrophe that befell the unjust, saving only Shu’eyb and those who followed him. In other words, only the faithful were saved at that time. The Arabs, however, were continually paganised for millennia.

 

We will deal more with Jethro below.

 

Keturah

Keturah is one of the most evocative names in the Bible. It means perfumed or incense (SHD 6989), and brings to mind the burning aroma of the sacrifices and the incense smoke that ascended as a sweet offering to the Lord. The word qetorah (SHD 6988, from 6989), found only in Deuteronomy 33:10, also means smoke of sacrifice or incense. The Arabic name for Keturah is Saffurah, who was described as a Kushiyat (i.e. a Cushite, as with Moses’ wife in Num. 12:1, RSV).

 

Some commentaries, including rabbinic literature, claim that Keturah is simply another name for Hagar, the concubine/wife of Abraham and mother of Ishmael.

 

However, the two women and their various offspring are mentioned quite separately on several occasions – in Genesis 25:6, for example. Here Hagar and Keturah are each referred to as concubine, namely piylegesh (SHD 6370). Messrs E. Hirsch and M. Seligsohn, in their article on Keturah in the Jewish Encyclopedia, dismiss the idea of her being synonymous with Hagar.

 

    Still it seems that such was not the opinion of the Talmudic doctors; for the children of Ishmael and the children of Keturah are kept distinct in the story of their complaints against the Jews before Alexander the Macedonian (Sanh. 91a).E. G. H. M. Sel.

 

It appears also that Abraham married Keturah about 65 years after taking Hagar as concubine. Traditionally the Temple records also claim that Keturah was descended from Japheth. Thus the reference to Kushite must refer to the robber tribes that inhabited the area of Babylonia, some of whom were Medes and sons of Japheth rather than the sons of Cush (see below).

 

The Yakult Midrash makes a not unreasonable assertion concerning all three wives of Abraham.

    Abraham married three wives – Sarah, a daughter of Shem; Keturah, a daughter of Japheth; and Hagar, a daughter of Ham. (ibid., chpt. 8)

 

J.A. Selbie in A Dictionary of the Bible (James Hastings, publ. by T & T Clark, Edin., 1899) adds this comment on the sons of Keturah:

    From the meaning of the name Keturah, ‘frankincense’, Sprenger [in Geog. Arab. 295] suggests that the ‘sons of Keturah’ were so named because the author of Gn. 25 1ff. knew them as traders in that commodity.

 

According to Selbie, Arab genealogists maintain there was a tribe called Katura living in the neighbourhood of Mecca. Herodotus (ca. 490-425 BCE) stated that: “Arabia is the last of inhabited lands towards the south, and it is the only country which produces frankincense, myrrh, cassia, cinnamon, and ledanum” (Histories, III, 107), and adds: “Concerning the spices of Arabia let no more be said. The whole country is scented with them, and exhales an odour marvellously sweet” (ibid., 113).

 

Frankincense (lebonah: SHD 3828) was found almost exclusively in Arabia. The prophet Jeremiah mentions incense coming from Sheba (Jer. 6:20).

 

It was one of the four ingredients of the specially prepared holy incense (Ex. 30:34) used in both the Tabernacle and the Temple (cf. Lk. 1:9-10).

 

Frankincense was also uniquely used with the sacrifice offerings along with fine flour and oil (Lev. 2:1-2), but its use was forbidden with sin offerings (Lev. 5:11) or jealousy offerings (Num. 5:15). It was to be burned for a memorial, an offering made by fire on the two piles of 6 loaves each of unleavened bread upon the ‘pure’ table within the Tabernacle and the Temple (Lev. 24:5-7).

 

Myrrh is often referred to in conjunction with frankincense, and is associated with both the birth and death of Messiah (see Mat. 2:11; Mk. 15:23; Jn. 19:39-40).

 

Song of Solomon 3:6  What is that coming up from the wilderness, like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of the merchant? (RSV)

Psalm 45:7b-8  Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows; 8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. (RSV)

 

This refers to the normal custom in the East of perfuming a bridegroom; in this particular case, the Messiah has been anointed above his fellow elohim. We see also in Nehemiah 13:5 that frankincense was considered one of the Temple treasures.

 

Sons of Abraham by Keturah

In Chronicles 1, Keturah is referred to as Abraham’s concubine, meaning a woman taken for the purpose of bearing sons. She is later referred to as a wife showing a change in status (cf. Gen. 25:1). She obviously became Abraham’s second wife perhaps on the death of Sarah, but it may have been beforehand.

 

1Chronicles 1:32-33 The sons of Ketu'rah, Abraham's concubine: she bore Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Mid'ian, Ishbak, and Shu'ah. The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan. 33 The sons of Mid'ian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Elda'ah. All these were the descendants of Ketu'rah. (RSV)

The sons of Keturah came to be organised into a sub-group of six tribes, a major element of which was Midian that occupied the east and south of the area of Palestine. This view was adopted as fact by the Hebrews and we may thus take it as reasonably certain (see Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, art. “Keturah’, Vol. 3, p. 8).

 

Zimran

Zimran was the first son of Abraham by Keturah; his name means musical or musician (SHD 2175). The main city occupied by Zimran and his descendants was called Zabram, supposedly located west of Mecca. It is thought to be the same as the Zimri of Jeremiah 25:25. It is mentioned by Jeremiah for destruction along with Elam and the kings of the Medes. Thus we are dealing with the destruction of the Saudi Arabian coastlands. Jeremiah 25 deals with the entire destruction of the Middle East commencing with Jerusalem and the princes of Judah to make them a hissing and a curse and from there on to Egypt and all the Middle East, nation by nation. We will examine this aspect separately.

 

Hastings’ Dictionary says of the place name Zimran:

    Possibly Knobel is right in connecting it with Zabram of Ptolemy (VI.vii.5), W. of Mecca, on the Red Sea. We may perhaps compare also ZIMRI of Jer 2525. The name is derived from zemer, ‘mountain-sheep or -goat,’ this animal having doubtless been the totem of the clan. (p. 982)

 

We can see that the sons of Keturah moved into the Arabian peninsular before Israel even went into Egypt, and some remained there at least until Jeremiah.

Jokshan

He was the second-born son, whose name can mean snarer (BDB), hence by implication a birdcatcher; alternatively, insidious (Strong: SHD 3370).

 

Hastings’ Dictionary thinks it is quite plausible that Jokshan is identical with Joktan (see Tuch): “The two forms might represent respectively the Hebrew and the Aramaic pronunciation of the same word …” (ibid., p. 743). However, this is biblically impossible and Cohen finds the equation phonetically difficult. He does however identify him as the father of Sheba and Dedan (Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, art. ‘Jokshan’, Vol. 2, p. 963).

 

Joktan was the brother of Peleg and the Hebrews descended from him moved much further abroad. The error, however, may explain another link made between two areas, one in Arabia and the other in the Hindu Cush (see the paper Sons of Shem: Part I (No. 212A)).

 

On Cohen’s analysis Jokshan may also be the person called Kahtan or Qahtan by the Arabs. Jokshan produced two sons, Sheba and Dedan (Gen. 25:2-3; 1Chr. 1:32), and the tribes from these brothers settled in northern Arabia.

 

Another Sheba and Dedan are mentioned together in Ezekiel 27; however, these are of a different lineage, being the sons of Raamah (cf. v. 22) who was a son of Cush.

 

The major Arab tribes are the Qahtan Arabs who came from the Yemen. They are not Ishmaelites. They are the sons of Ya’rub bin Yashjub bin Qahtan. They regard themselves as pure Arabs, while the sons of Ishmael are called Arabized Arabs. These Arabized Arabs are the progeny of Ishmael and are regarded as being adopted into the progeny of the pure Arabs and these Ishmaelites from Northwest Arabia are called ‘Adnanian Arabs.

Sheba and Dedan

The second son of Keturah by Abraham, Jokshan, had two sons Sheba and Dedan, as mentioned previously. Dedan is recorded as being the progenitor of the Asshurim, the Letushim and the Leummim (Gen. 25:3).

 

Confusion can arise with several of these names. For instance: although the term Asshurim here is related to Asshur (SHD 804), it refers to a different people from the Assyrians (also 804), who were descendants of Asshur son of Shem. Similarly, Sheba was the name given generations earlier to one of thirteen sons of Joktan, son of Eber (from whom the Hebrews are named).

 

Asshurim (SHD 805) means steps in the sense of taking steps to go somewhere. In later Jewish literature the Asshurim are described as ‘travelling merchants’.

 

Letushim (SHD 3912) means hammered or oppressed (Strong), directly related to a word (3913) meaning to sharpen, hammer, whet (BDB), that is, the Letushim were occupied in the sharpening of cutlery and weaponry.

 

Leummim (SHD 3817) means peoples or communities, from a root word meaning to gather. In later Jewish writings the Leummim are described as the ‘chief of those who inhabit the isles’, perhaps alluding to the Greek islands.

 

This would also help to further explain the two major Semitic Haplogroups of the Greeks being J and I with the later major haplogroup being the Hamitic E3b from North African occupation there. These sons of Keturah may be the Laconian Greeks or Spartans although they did not inhabit the islands rather the mainland. Thus two branches of the sons of Keturah may be involved in Greece.

 

We see with the Asshurim and Letushim that they are travellers, merchants and tinkers, all terms which could be applied to the modern-day Roma[ny] people or Gypsies. The Gypsies, however, cannot be tied to the sons of Keturah, although we can demonstrate their Semitic origin (see the paper Sons of Shem: Part I (No. 212A)).

 

Origin of the Name Arab

These sons of Keturah who were to become the Pure Arabs were divided into many tribes, but the ones we know as the main two lineages of the sons of Ya’rub or the Arab sons of Jokshan were:

1.      Himyar of whom the most famous septs were: Zaid Al-Jamhur, Quda’a and Sakasic.

 

2.      Kahlan whose most famous septs were: Hamdan, Anmar, Tai’, Mudhhij, Kinda, Lakhm, Judham, Azd, Aws, Khazraj, and those who became the kings of old Syria, namely the descendants of Jafna.

 

A tribe of the Himyar called the Quda’a moved from the Yemen and on to the Samawa semi-desert on the borders of Iraq.

 

Kahlan septs emigrated from the Yemen into the different parts of the Arabian peninsular prior to the breach of the Ma’rib Dam, which is referred to as the Great Flood (Sail Al’’Arim). The area of the Queen of Sheba in Southwest Arabia in that part of the Yemen was very rich while the dam there was operational. Its gates are still there today, with the nearby town buildings in varying states of decomposition. The last repairs to the dam wall were built from part of the town buildings. This shows that the city and area was in decline even then. The dam was built ca. 600 BCE and collapsed ca. 600 CE, by which time it and the culture there were no longer of importance. During its rule from before the Kingdom of Israel until the Romans suppressed its influence, it also controlled the land across the Red Sea in the Horn of Africa and that accounts for the extension of the legends of Sheba into Africa.

 

Joskshan was the father of Sheba and his lands were centred on the area and his people built that dam.

 

These Kahlan septs were forced to relocate because of Roman occupation of Egypt and Syria and the disruption of the long-standing trade routes under Roman pressure.

 

We will now divide the Kahlan septs into four groups:

1.      Azd

2.      Lakhm and Judham

3.      Banu Tai’

4.      Kinda

 

The Azd, under the leadership of ‘Imran bin ‘Amr Muzaiqb (ca. 146), wandered in the Yemen and after despatching pioneer scouts moved north. This immigration broke into four main sections.

 

The first section under Tha’labah bin ‘Amr moved to Hijaz and lived between Tha’labiyah and Dhi Qar. On gaining strength he headed for Madinah (Medina) where he remained and his descendant Haritha bin Tha’labah had two sons, Aws and Khazraj, who were famous at Madinah.

 

The second section or group was headed by the son of ‘Amr named Halitha bin’Amr, but known as Khuza’a. He wandered with his people in Hijaz and settled in Mar Az-Zahran subsequently conquering the Harram and, after driving the original occupants of Makkah, the tribe of Jurhum, then settled in Makkah (Mecca).

 

Of the other two groups the one under Jafna bin’Amr went to Syria where he established the Kingdom of Ghassan, which was named for a spring of water in Hijaz where they had stopped for a time.

 

The fourth group under ‘Imran bin ‘Amr went to ‘Oman where the tribe of the Azd became entrenched, and the descendants inhabited Tihama and became known as Azd of Shanu’a. Thus the major section of the inhabitants of Mecca and Medina and Oman and the rulers of Syria are all of the sept of the Azd of the sons of Jokshan, son of Abraham by Keturah.

 

Of the second major group Lakhm and Judham, we see the kings of Heerah established by Nasr bin Rabi’a, father of Manadhira.

 

The Banu Tai’ also moved north to the Aja and Salma mountains, which were subsequently renamed the Tai’ mountains.

 

The fourth group, the Kinda, dwelt in Bahrain until they were expelled to Hadramout and Najd, from where the tribe faded into oblivion.

 

These are the sons of Jokshan from whom the Arabs are named.

Early Arabs

The earliest Arabs are called the Perishing Arabs of whose history little is known. These were ‘Ad, Thamasam, Jadis, Emlaq, and others.

 

The sons of Keturah fit into this amalgam and are perhaps often misclassed as sons of Ishmael or as sons of Ya’rub bin Yashub, bin Qahtan. Some are certainly from the other sons of Keturah but draw their names from this founder of the Arabs who are named for him (see also the table to the paper Descendants of Abraham Part III: Ishmael (No. 212C)).

 

Thus the Perishing Arabs are older and from less successful tribes and even from the Canaanites that are also mislabelled Kushites. The Palestinians, for example, are not all the same people and are comprised of at least three groups of genetic diversity. The same holds true for the Lebanese who are also K2 descendants of Japhethite Tarshish seamen, the allies of the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon. The Pure Arabs we now know as Qahtanian Arabs are from the grandson of Jokshan, son of Keturah, son of Abraham. The prophecy of Ishmael breaking free of his brethren has a new meaning. Ishmael is subject to the sons of Keturah who form the ruling class of the Arabs and will be liberated when Messiah comes.

 

Famous Arab families of the Qahtanite groups can be recognised by the surnames such as: Alqahtani, Alharbi, Alzahrani, Alghamedey, Aws and Khazraj (Alansari or Ansar), Aldosari, Alkhoza’a, Morra, Alojman and so on.

 

These sons of Keturah did not speak the early forms of Arabic such as East Aramaic. Instead they spoke the South Semitic languages such as Sabaic (from Sheba), Minaic, Qatabanic and Hadramatic (cf. article ‘Arab’ on Wikipedia).

 

Other groups that reject the label Arab are the Berbers of North Africa and many branches of the Lebanese and the Egyptians, both Muslims and Copts. Likewise, Kurds do not define themselves as Arabs. However, some Berbers might also call themselves “Arabs.”

 

In medieval times ibn Kaldun defined as Arab only the nomadic Bedouin that can trace themselves to one of the original tribes, such as the Saudi Arabians and those in the modern Gulf States. He contrasted this with the urban lifestyles where people were likely to be of Arabized descent. Such distinction is still widely used.

 

On its formation in 1946 the Arab League defined an “Arab” as follows:

“An Arab is a person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic speaking country, who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic speaking peoples”.

 

Our job is to unravel this broad-brush picture and trace the origins of the people.

Religions

Before the coming of Islam the Arabs were crossed between paganised Arabs and Christianised Arabs. Islam is itself a version of Unitarian Christianity and the founders of Islam were Christians (see the Introduction to the Commentary on the Koran (No. Q1)).

 

The most prominent Christian kingdoms were found among the sons of Keturah in the Ghassanid and Lakhmid Kingdoms.

 

Some individuals such as the hanifs had adopted a monotheism and rejected the polytheism of the paganised Arabs. These pagans worshipped a number of deities such as Hubal, Wadd, Al-lat, Manat and Uzza. Many were Nestorians. And the prophet ‘Muhammed’ was a baptised Christian of one sect where he was referred to as Abu Qasim before he was baptised into the Unitarian faith of the Churches of God.

 

Modern Muslims are broken into Sunni, Shiite, Ibadhite, Alawite and Ismaili. Some consider the Druze as a Muslim sect; others do not.

 

Modern Christian Arabs are Coptic, Maronite, Greek Orthodox, or Greek Catholic. The Unitarian faith became absorbed into Islam. Nestorianism disappeared.

 

Some Arabs are also Jews.

 

In the late 4th century the Himyarite kings were converted to Judaism and their vassals, the Kindites, also converted to Judaism. There is a large section of J1 YDNA Haplotypes among both Arabs and Jews.

 

Sunni Islam dominates completely in North Africa while Shi’a Islam is prevalent in Bahrain, southern Iraq and southern Iran and adjacent parts of Saudi Arabia, southern Lebanon, parts of Syria, northern Yemen and the Al-Batinah region of Oman.

 

Christians make up some 9.2% of the population of the Near East and 39% of Lebanon and 10 to 15% of Syria. Christians comprise roughly 10% of the Arab Israeli population and 6% of the Egyptian population.

 

Two thirds of Arabs who migrate to the Americas and Australia are Christians.

 

Until the pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish actions of the 1930s and 1940s, Jews in Iraq and elsewhere considered themselves as Arabs of the Jewish faith. Today Jews such as Mizrahi and Yemenite Jews are not considered as Arabs.

 

Before Mizrahi was coined as a term, Arab Jews were called Yehudin ‘Aravim or “Arab Jews.” The term is rarely used today.

Language

The Hebrew Bible refers to the Arvi (or Arabs) in connection with the inhabitants of the Syrian Desert and in Arabia long before the Qahtanian Arabs of South Arabia emerged.

 

Proto-Arabic, which was ancient North Arabian, was not written in Arabic script but in the epigraphic South Arabian Musnad. That began in the 8th century BCE with the Hasaean inscriptions of eastern Saudi Arabia and the Thamudic texts of Arabia and the Sinai which were not connected with the Thamud.

 

Safaitic inscriptions did not emerge until the first century BCE. The Nabatean inscriptions are written in Aramaic but contain many Arab names.

 

Pre-classical Arabic emerged in the second century BCE from Qaryat-al-Faw near Sulayyil.

 

From the fourth century CE we see the emergence of the Christian kingdoms of the Lakhmids of southern Iraq and the Ghassanids in southern Syria. The Lakhmids allied with the Sassanid Empire and the Ghassanids allied with the Byzantine Empire.

 

The Kindite kingdom of Central Arabia allied with the Himyarite Empire of South Arabia. These Arabs converted to Judaism and had extensive influence across the Red Sea in Africa. It was this rise in power there in the fourth century that saw the reaction of Arab Jews to the Unitarian Christian faith in the seventh century and the rise of Islam. The immense success of Islam saw the Khazars decide to convert to Judaism in the Russian Steppes ca. 740 CE.

 

It is important to note that the Qur’an does not use the word ‘Arab, only the adjective ‘arabiyyun where is refers to itself as clear mubinun (Clear) Book in ‘arabiyyun (Arabic) (e.g. Ayyat 43:2-3).

 

The prophet says the Clear Book was rendered in Arabic so that they might understand. Thus Arabic became the language of the Arabs from its use in the Qur’an.

 

The terminology used referred to sedentary Arabs living in cities such as Mecca and Media as ‘arab. The nomadic Arabs or Bedouin were referred to as ‘a’rab. This term carried a negative connotation from the text in the Qur’an. The Qur’an refers to the Lost Arabs al-‘Arab al-ba’ida and says that they were lost as a punishment for their idolatry or disbelief. They were thus regarded as the true Arabs as sons of Keturah, while the later Northern Arabs, including the tribes of Mecca, were the sons of Ishmael, being Arabized Arabs.

 

This distinction was to lead to real enmity between the northern Qays and the southern Kalb especially in Spain. The Himyarite language, which was described by Al-Hamdani (d. 946), seems to be the north Arabic dialect probably of the Qays, which became spoken in the south, and influenced by Old South Arabic, which was a Sabaean dialect of the sons of Keturah.

 

Arabic thus was spread through Arabization under conquest from France to China. Identifying these groups and tribes is a difficult task.

 

Now back to the sons of Keturah.

Medan

The third of Keturah’s six sons, Medan carries a name meaning contention, discord or strife (SHD 4091). He apparently founded a number of northern Arabian tribes, and his name is preserved in the town of Madan, which lay slightly west of south of modern Taima. Madan or Medan is also mentioned in the inscriptions from the reign of the Babylonian Tiglath-pileser III (ca. 732 BCE), where it was referred to as Badan. The consonants b and m are often interchanged in Arabic and its predecessors, Chaldean and Eastern Aramaic. The Medans did not speak Chaldean but the Assyro-Babylonians did.

 

Madan was perhaps turned into an Arabian god under the ancient system of ancestor worship, and Abd-al-Madan is commonly seen in the Arab systems as a family name. (cf. also S. Cohen, Interp. Dict., art. ‘Medan’, Vol. 3, p. 318).

 

There seems also to be a link with Midian as seen below.

Midian

Although he was the fourth son of Abraham and Keturah, Midian was the progenitor of perhaps the most important of all six-brother tribes. As such his descendants will be dealt with in greater detail than any of the others. Midian’s name means strife, brawling or contention (SHD 4080), as with his brother Medan. Some commentators say that Midian’s name may in fact be derived from the Semitic word for judgment.

 

The Midianite tribes were referred to in Egyptian and other literature; Ptolemy, for example, calls them Modiana.

 

The story of Moses’ flight to Midian is provided in Exodus 2. It is also recounted in the Qur’an at Surah 28:22-28. (See also Acts 7:29 cf. Ex. 2:15.)

 

Exodus 2:15-21 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh, and stayed in the land of Mid'ian; and he sat down by a well. 16 Now the priest of Mid'ian had seven daughters; and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came to their father Reu'el, he said, "How is it that you have come so soon today?" 19 They said, "An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and even drew water for us and watered the flock." 20 He said to his daughters, "And where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread." 21 And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zippo'rah. (RSV)

 

Zipporah means a bird (SHD 6855). She bore two sons to Moses: Gershom, meaning exile (SHD 1648), and Eliezer, meaning God is help (SHD 461) (see 1Chr. 23:15). The incident with Moses and the circumcision of his son (Ex. 4:25) shows a reinforcement of the act as performed on Isaac at the eighth day, as it was not done by Moses initially; and Moses was going to be punished for that negligence. The term circumciser and circumcised for father-in-law and son-in-law seems to have entered the Hebrew language without retaining the connotation of which it originally had (see Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (ERE) Vol. 3, pp. 661, 662). 

 

The term circumciser is first used in the Bible in the sense of the future father-in-law, and circumcised in the sense of “daughter’s husband” in relations to both the Midianites (Ex. 3:1; 4:18,25ff; Num. 10:29 and Jdg. 1:18; 4:11) and also the Sodomites (Gen. 19:13,14). Thus we can infer that circumcision was performed by the father-in-law in both these people being the sons of Canaan and the sons of Shem. Yet that was not the precedent set by Abraham and seemingly Jethro did not perform that rite and certainly not on his grandsons.

 

It should also be noted that the south-western Arabs circumcise in multiples of seven days from birth, and Muslims circumcise from two years of age onwards, generally up to eight years in Kashgar and up to ten years in Turkistan. The Turks circumcise between six and thirteen years. It is only the sons of Ishmael among the Arabs that circumcise at the later age of twelve to thirteen years. No Semites circumcise later than this age. The Sarakolese of West Africa do likewise and the Mandingo of the Sudan wait for between twelve and fourteen years. The Wydah and Coast region of West Africa wait until 12 to 16 years and sometimes as late as 20.

 

Thus the circumcision practice among Semites also provides clues as to their origins. Most people assume Arabs are sons of Ishmael and circumcise at thirteen years of age; as shown above, however, that is very far from the truth. 

 

Only the ancient Egyptians circumcised at 14 years and the Angaardi of the Murchison River in Western Australia do likewise from 14-16 years. Some South Australian tribes have adopted to wait until hairs appear on the face.

Ishbak

Ishbak was the fifth son of Abraham by Keturah. His name means he releases (BDB) or he will leave (Strong: SHD 3435). Apparently he and his descendants settled in the lands to the east of Canaan, however, very little else is known about this tribe from either the Bible or secular sources.

 

Hastings’ Dictionary has this to say about Ishbak on page 501:

    Frd. Delitzsch (Z SKF ii.92) identifies it with Iasbuk of the cuneiform inscriptions, where it is mentioned as a land (mat) whose king was allied with Sangara (Shamgar?) of Gargamis (Carchemish) and others against Assur-nazir-pal and Shalmaneser II (c. 859 B.C.).

 

This may be correct as the two Septuagint sources use Iesbok (LXXA) or eosbak (LXXB) (cf. Interp. Dict., art. ‘Ishbak’, Vol. 2, p. 747).

Shuah

Also called Shuach, this sixth and last of Keturah’s sons has a name meaning variously wealth (BDB) or dell, sink, incline (Strong: SHD 7744).

 

He was the progenitor of the Shuhites, the most notable of whom was Bildad, son of Shuach, and one of Job’s ‘comforters’ (Job 2:11). Matthew Poole makes some interesting comments on this verse in Job.

    They were persons then eminent for birth and quality, for wisdom and knowledge, and for the profession of the true religion, being probably of the posterity of Abraham, and akin to Job, and living in the same country with him. (A Commentary on the Holy Bible, 1685, reprint by Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1962; emphasis added).

 

Shuah’s descendants were also well known to the Assyrians, who referred to them as Suhu, and described their land as being on the right bank of the Euphrates River, south of Carchemish and between the Balikh and Khabur rivers (cf. Dillmann, Holzinger, et al). Ptolemy calls the latter Chaboras, which is probably one of the two Chebar rivers referred to by Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:1ff.). The name Shuhite is Sauchaioon in Greek.

 

Thus their lands are well known.

 

The lineage of all six brothers is further extended in Chapter 25 of the apocryphal and perhaps spurious Book of Jasher and includes several names not found in the Bible. According to Jasher, Keturah is said to have come from the land of Canaan and is therefore most likely descended from the Patriarch Ham rather than Japheth, a view in line with Arabic opinion that she was a Cushite (also from Ham) but which is contradicted by most other authorities.

 

In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus claims that the descendants of Abraham by Keturah went into Arabia and into a land called Troglodytes (from which we get the term Troglodyte, meaning a cave-dweller). This is repeated in Book II, chapter 10 where the main areas of habitation of the various children of Abraham are given, according to Josephus.

           

    That he left to Ismael and to his posterity the country of Arabia; as also to his sons by Ketura, Troglodytis; and to Isaac, Canaan. (Ant. Jews, ibid.)

 

The Victorian explorer Richard Burton says that a race called the Beni Thamud were also described as Troglodytes (The God-Mines of Midian, Kegan Paul & Co., London, 1878); these may have displaced the descendants of these sons of Keturah, or they may in fact have been descended from them.

 

Josephus claims that by the time of Isaac’s wedding, Keturah’s sons had moved away.

    Accordingly Isaac married her, the inheritance being now come to him; for the children by Keturah were gone to their own remote habitations. (Ant. Jews, Bk. I, 16, iii)

 

This is confirmed somewhat by the Scripture saying that only Ishmael and Isaac buried their father Abraham (Gen. 25:9); presumably the sons of Keturah had already relocated elsewhere.

The Kadmonites

There is another tribe of interest when discussing possible descendants of Keturah: the Kadmonites. Hastings’ Dictionary has this to say about them:

 

Kadmonites … Ewald [in History of Israel] and many following him regard the Kadmonites as equivalent to the Bene Kedem, children of the East … descendants (?Gn 256) of Abraham by Keturah (Gn 291, Jg 712, 1 K 430, Job 13, Is 1114, Jer 4928, Ezk 254-10). In that case, Kadmonite would be the designation of no particular tribe, but of the Keturaean Arabs, as distinguished from the Ishmaelites. The children of the East are represented in the passages referred to as occupying Paddan-aram, associated with the Midianites and Amalekites, inhabiting Kedar, neighbours and conquerors of the children of Ammon, coupled with the Egyptians in their fame for wisdom, … Job is regarded as one of them. It seems better to regard the Kadmonites as a particular tribe like the other nations named in this list. Whether they are to be viewed as a branch of the Ishmaelitish or of the Keturaean Arabs is not clear (p. 831).

Speculation that Job was a Kadmonite may be misplaced as he is listed in Genesis as being either the grandson or great-grandson of the Patriarch Issachar, son of Jacob. If he was also a Kadmonite it could only be by association with the Midianites and other sons of Keturah among whom he lived.

 

Bullinger lists them as part of the Nephilim in Appendix 25 to The Companion Bible from Genesis 15:18-21. This view is quite incorrect as the tribes mentioned are other tribes of the sons of Noah and only one or two are Nephilim (see also the paper The Nephilim (No. 154)).

 

We can, however, be sure that Kadmonite became an area term rather than a specific tribal group, and the people there were absorbed into the sons of Abraham from the text in question. Any Nephilim were exterminated.

The Land of Midian

In his second book The Land of Midian (Revisited) (C. Kegan Paul & Co., London, 1879), Burton estimated that Midianite territory at one time covered quite an extensive area.

    In the days of the ancient Midianites the frontiers were so elastic that, at times, but never for a continuity, they embraced Sinai, and were pushed forward even into Central Palestine. (p.295)

 

In Genesis 25 we see that Abraham sent the sons of Hagar and Keturah away from Isaac presumably in order not to confuse their inheritances.

 

Genesis 25:5-6 Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6 But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country. (RSV)

 

The same Hebrew word qedem (SHD 6924) is used for both eastward and east which seems an unnecessary repetition, unless the latter when combined with country is intended to signify an unspecified ancient land. As Abraham was later buried at Mamre it could be speculated that he and his offspring were living near Hebron at the time, so that by sending them “east” they would have to move in either a north-easterly or south-easterly direction to avoid the Salt (Dead) Sea, which would have effectively sent them towards Ammon and Edom respectively.

 

The Historians’ History of the World (Vol. 2, p. 7), holds that Cushan-Rishathain of Judges 3:8-11 was named for a tribe and was in fact a Jerahmeelite king who they identify with the Amalekites and Edomites, who were dominant in northern Arabia at the time. The domination was finished by aid of a friendly clan of Kenizzites.

 

In 1Chronicles 1:46 we also see Midian being defeated in the land of Moab, hence there was great fluidity of movement and perhaps some overlapping in the tribal areas. It is said of Hadad the Edomite that he “arose out of Midian” (1Kgs. 11:18). It may therefore have been much later and perhaps as a result of tribal over-crowding to the east of Jordan that at least one of the Keturan tribes, Midian, relocated directly south toward the Red Sea.

 

The land loosely referred to as “Midian” in Bible atlases extends for up to 200 miles in a coastal strip alongside the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, and varies between 24 and 70 miles (40-110 km) in depth.

 

Burton and his party took many geological samples from the land of Midian, which was found to be very rich in minerals and in turquoise stones. When analysed the samples were found to contain gold, silver, copper, iron, lead (cf. Num. 31:22), as well as zinc, wolfram (tungsten), antimony and titanium ores. Burton also maintained there were vast iron ore deposits to be found in the area. Extensive remains of industrial activity such as gold extraction were noted by him. In fact, it appears that the Egyptians had operated gold mines and smelters in the area for centuries.

 

Ptolemy locates Modiana on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, i.e. the Gulf of Aqaba. He also refers to another city Modiama but this is situated inland in northern Midian. Apparently Modiama was second only in importance to Petra, which was described as being Pharaoh’s Treasury at one time. The ancient pre-Islamic city of Madyan is now Magha’ir Shu’aib, from the Arabic name for Jethro, although local tradition during E.H. Palmer’s exploration of the area identified the city of Midian (Madyan) with the extensive ruins of El Midayen, about ‘three days distant’ from Mecca.

Sons of Midian

Midian was the father of five sons: Ephah, Epher, Henoch (Chanoch), Abida(h) and Eldaah. No further lineages are mentioned in the Bible, however, the Book of Jasher adds numerous sons produced by these five grandsons of Abraham.

 

Ephah, meaning darkness or gloomy (SHD 5891), was the father of the tribes which settled in the northwest of the Arabian peninsula, roughly in modern Ghuwafa, south-west of Tebuk. The Babylonian king Tiglath-pileser III calls this tribe the ’Ayappa, or the Khayappa Arabs, as noted above. The last known reference to them is found in an inscription dated to ca. 715 BCE, the time of Sargon II.

 

Another Ephah is also mentioned twice in the genealogical records of the tribe of Judah (1Chr. 2:46,47).

 

Epher, meaning a calf (SHD 6081), was the second son of Midian, and was known to the Arabs as ’Ofr. His descendants in turn were called the Apparu as inscriptions from the time of King Assurbani-pal of Assyria show. The Epherite city of Ghifar, close to Medina, still carries the name of its founder. As with Ephah above, the name Epher appears in the genealogy of Judah (1Chr. 4:17), as well as among the half-tribe of Manasseh across the Jordan (1Chr. 5:24).

 

Hanoch, has the notable meaning of dedicated or [God’s] follower (SHD 2585). He was purported to be the father of the Kenites, who were famed metalworkers or smiths. These tribes originally settled in the south-west region beside the Gulf of Aqaba.

 

Abida(h), meaning my father knows or father of knowledge (SHD 28), was the fourth son of Midian. In Yemen, at the south-west foot of the Arabian peninsula, there are Minean inscriptions of ca. 9th century BCE which refer to these people as the Abiyadi’.

 

Eldaah, meaning God has known or called of God (SHD 420), was the progenitor of tribes referred to as the Yada’il in ancient Sabean inscriptions. As with their brother tribe, they apparently settled in the area of south-western Arabia, now modern Yemen.

The Early Midianites

Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews (Bk. II, chp. 11) describes Moses’ introduction to Midian, and expands a little upon the text in Exodus 2. According to Josephus, the Midianites were cattle herders in accordance with the biblical account in Judges 6. They are mentioned in the Bible as being allied with the Moabites against Israel (Gen. 36:35; Num. 22:1ff.; 25:1ff.), and perhaps with the Amorites as well (Jos. 13:21).

 

The first recorded contact between the Israelites and the Midianites is noted in Genesis 37.

 

Genesis 37:23-28,36  So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; 24 and they took him and cast him into a pit. The pit was empty, there was no water in it. 25 Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites [SHD 3459] coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ish'maelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers heeded him. 28 Then Mid'ianite [SHD 4084] traders passed by; and they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ish'maelites for twenty shekels of silver; and they took Joseph to Egypt. … 36 Menwhile the Mid'ianites [SHD 4092] had sold him in Egypt to Pot'i-phar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard. (RSV)

We see here an apparent contradiction in that the Midianites are referred to as Ishmaelites. There are two different Hebrew words used for Midianite in the text. The term used for these merchants in Genesis 37:28 is Midyaniy (SHD 4084) which is a native of the land of Midian. In Genesis 37:36 we see that the Midianites (SHD 4092, Medaniy) sold him in Egypt. This is a version of Midianite according to Strong but may well be another of the sons of Keturah of the Medani or sons of Medan. Numbers 25:17 and 31:2-3 both use SHD 4084 in referring to Midianites. However, in every other instance in the OT texts the use of the word translated as Midianite is SHD 4080, which refers to Midyan himself, the son of Abraham. We can thus assume that the caravan that took Joseph to Egypt was made up of people dwelling in the land of Midian, which included Ishmaelites and also perhaps Medanites.

 

By the time of Joseph and the other tribal Patriarchs, we see the intermixing of the two main branches of the Arabs referred to above; the sons of Keturah regarded as the Pure Arabs and the sons of Ishmael regarded as the Arabized Arabs. These, with the ancient Arab tribes now disappearing and the Amorites, may be the ancient Hyksos we see later in Egyptian history in the Nile Delta.

 

The people of Midian are mentioned many times in the Qur’an, and several Surahs highlight the disasters that befell them after their rejection of the messengers, both angelic and human, sent by God. The person Shu’eyb here is Jethro, priest of Midian and Moses’ father-in-law. Midian is mentioned in the following Surahs: 9:70,71; 11:84 cf. 26:175; 15:78; 28:45; 50:14; et al.

Surah 22.42-44,54  If they deny thee (Muhammad), even so the folk of Noah, and (the tribes of) A'ad and Thamud, before thee, denied (Our messengers); 43 And the folk of Abraham and the folk of Lot; 44 (And) the dwellers in Midian. And Moses was denied; but I indulged the disbelievers a long while, then I seized them, and how (terrible) was My abhorrence! … 54 And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it is the truth from thy Lord, so that they may believe therein and their hearts may submit humbly unto Him. Lo! Allah verily is guiding those who believe unto a right path. (Pickthal)

 

We see here that those inhabiting Midian had been given the true teachings of God at one time. Surah 11 makes an interesting comment concerning the Midianites.

86 Now hath an evident demonstration come unto you from your LORD. Therefore give full measure and just weight, and diminish not unto men aught of their matters: neither act corruptly in the earth after its reformation. This will be better for you, if ye believe. 87 And beset not every way, threatening the passenger, and turning aside from the path of GOD him who believeth in him, and seeking to make it crooked. And remember, when ye were few and God multiplied you: and behold what hath been the end of those who acted corruptly.

 

Although it is difficult to know whether the Prophet is speaking to the original Midianites or to the Ishmaelites, or a combination of the two tribes, it appears that a distinctive feature of some known as ‘Midianites’ is that they are merchants or traders. One of their crimes was in deceitful business practices, in that they used two different kinds of weights and measures – buying by one and selling by the other (cf. Baidhawi, Tafsir-i-Raufi). The above injunction in the Qur’an to deal only in lawful and just weights and measures echoes that in the Bible (Lev. 19:36; Prov. 20:10).

 

In Genesis the Midianites are similarly portrayed as traders (Gen. 37), whereas in Exodus they are noted as being pastoralists (Ex. 2). In addition, the Kenites, as a sub-tribe of Midianites, are seen as metal-smiths from their very name.

 

The Midianites were to prove a troublesome people to Israel, and God often used them purposely to punish the Israelites, who were forced at times to become cave-dwellers (Troglodytes) like the Kenites.

Judges 6:1-2,6a  The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hand of Mid'ian seven years. 2 And the hand of Mid'ian prevailed over Israel; and because of Mid'ian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves and the strongholds….6 And Israel was brought very low because of Mid'ian; (RSV)

Princes and Kings of Midian

As recorded in Numbers 31:1ff., however, shortly before his death Moses was told to “take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel”. All the male Midianites and most of their females were killed, including their five kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. The Midianites were very rich in livestock as the booty taken from them showed: six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, seventy-two thousand cattle, sixty-one thousand donkeys (vv. 32-34). They also possessed much gold, as the portion of plunder that the Israelites offered to the Lord amounted to sixteen-thousand seven-hundred and fifty shekels in the form of fashioned ornaments, such as armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces (v. 52).

 

The text in Joshua 13:21 also mentions the princes (nasiy: SHD 5387) of Midian, namely Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba, who are called kings (melek: SHD 4428) in Numbers 31.

 

Joshua 13:21 that is, all the cities of the tableland, and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses defeated with the leaders of Mid'ian, Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the princes of Sihon, who dwelt in the land. (RSV)

Josephus claims that the second of these kings or sheiks, Rekem, gave his name to the “most conspicuous city among the Arabs, called to our day under every King, Arecema [El-Rekem], and by the Greeks, Petra” (Ant. Jews, iv.7,1). Petra was the ‘chief city and capital of all Arabia’ called in Hebrew Ha-Sela, the cliff (2Kgs. 14:7).

 

The telling comment of the Bible text was who dwelt in the land and thus we are dealing with the Midianites that dwelt in the land there. The Midianites stretched along the coast for 200 miles and the army that was defeated was not all of the Arabian forces and families of Midian but those mustered there and the families from Petra living there.

 

Zur of Midian was the father of princess Cozbi, the one who consorted provocatively with a prince of Israel. Both were killed by Phinehas in righteous indignation, and in so doing he turned away God’s wrath. God subsequently blessed Phinehas for his decisive action on behalf of Israel (Num. 25:11-15). Verse 15 says that Zur was “head over a people and of a chief house of Midian”.

 

Two other princes of the Midianites, Oreb (meaning raven) and Zeeb (wolf), are mentioned in Judges 7:25. They were killed by the Ephraimites after being pursued by Gideon and the other Israelite warriors.

Judges 7:25 And they took the two princes of Mid'ian, Oreb and Zeeb; they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the wine press of Zeeb, as they pursued Mid'ian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan. (RSV)

There are also two kings of Midian mentioned in Judges 8:5, namely Zebah and Zalmunnah (meaning sacrifice and deprived of protection, respectively), who had tried to invade Palestine but were defeated by Gideon.

 

Thus Midian occupied territory from the lands of Edom along the coast of Arabia south and east from Aqaba for 200 miles. Other sub-tribes were linked to them.

Early Midianite Religion

Werner Keller in The Bible as History (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, Bantam rev. ed., New York, 1982) briefly touched on some aspects of the Midianite religious system.

    The Israelites are supposed to owe the strange cult of the brazen serpent to Reuel [aka Jethro]. It is not without a touch of dramatic effect that we note that it was at an archaeological site showing signs of Midianite occupation that Benno Rothenberg found an idol in the form of a brazen serpent five inches in length and partly decorated with gold. … this small bronze serpent was found in the Holy of Holies of a tabernacle! … It was found on the site of an older, Egyptian place of worship dedicated to the goddess Hathor. The Midianites who, following the Egyptians, were mining copper on their own account at Timna, converted this place of worship into a shrine of their own religion. (p. 147-8)

 

The fact that Abraham instructed all his sons in the worship of the One True God makes it hardly surprising that monotheism and the worship of Yahovah of Hosts was found amongst them. That they all slipped from the Faith is a matter of record.

 

Jethro: priest of Midian

Moses’ father-in-law was called Hobab, who was the son of Reuel or Raguel (Num. 10:29). Although there is much confusion over these names, it seems that Hobab was also known as Jethro (meaning his excellence).

 

Numbers 10:29-32  And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reu'el the Mid'ianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are setting out for the place of which the LORD said, `I will give it to you'; come with us, and we will do you good; for the LORD has promised good to Israel." 30 But he said to him, "I will not go; I will depart to my own land and to my kindred." 31 And he said, "Do not leave us, I pray you, for you know how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us. 32 And if you go with us, whatever good the LORD will do to us, the same will we do to you." (RSV)

 

Exodus 3:1a  Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Mid'ian; (RSV)

The name Hobab (SHD 2246) means cherished or loved fervently, perhaps by God, just as much as his own people, which would explain the inspired advice he later gave to Moses regarding judgments given to the Israelites. According to Josephus, Hobab had “Iothor [i.e. Jethro] for a surname”. Jethro’s descent is given as: son of Nawil, son of Rawail, son of Mour, son of Anka, son of Midian, son of Abraham.

 

Josephus (Ant. Jews, III, iii) claimed that Raguel (also Reuel, as in v. 29) was Moses’ father-in-law, however, Judges 4:11 (see below) clearly states that he was known as Hobab. Matthew Poole gives a reasonable explanation for this discrepancy in his comment on Exodus 2:18 below. Other commentators claim that Jethro was an honorary title, while Reuel was his personal name. Hence, as with the Keturah/Hagar question, there is some contradictory opinion over identity and this perhaps sums up the rather mysterious nature of the sons of Keturah and their descendants.

 

Reuel (SHD 7467, Re’uw’el) means Friend of God and is a title given to Abraham and was carried by Jethro as Priest of Midian. Raguel is simply another version of this title (see Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary). It was obviously carried by the Priest of Midian as it was carried by the father of Hobab and by Hobab/Jethro himself.

 

Chobab (SHD 2246) means cherished and is derived from 2245: hide as in the bosom; to cherish.

 

Yithrow (SHD 3503) means His excellence coming from Yithrah (SHD 3502, excellence). Thus we are looking at Hobab the name and Jethro the title. His Excellence, Hobab, the Friend of God is the rendering of the names of Jethro, Hobab, Reuel or Reguel.

 

It is thus beyond doubt that he was sheik and High Priest of Midian and hereditary religious leader of the tribe.

 

Another Reuel mentioned in the Bible is a son of Esau by Bashemath, daughter of Ishmael (Gen. 36:4ff.). See the paper Law and the Seventh Commandment (No. 260).

 

Burton in The Gold-Mines of Midian has this to say in his footnote on page 332:

    Jethro’s Moslem title is “Khatib el-Anbiya,” or Preacher to the Prophets, on account of the words of wisdom which he bestowed upon his son-in-law (Exod. ii. 18) … Some writers have made him the son of Mikhail, ibn Yashjar, ibn Madyan; but they are charged with ignorance by Ahmed ibn Abd el-Halim. El-Kesai states that his original name was Boyun; that he was comely of person, but spare and lean; very thoughtful, and of few words (Sale’s Koran, p. 117). Other commentators add that he was old and blind. In the “Berakhoth,” Jetro [sic.] and Rahab are Gentiles, or strangers, affiliated to Israel on account of their good deeds (p. 48, M. Schwab’s version. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1871).

 

E.H. Palmer in The Desert of the Exodus (Deighton, Bell & Co., Cambridge, UK, 1871) repeats the assertion that Jethro/Hobab was blind, and had been given a commission to preach the true Faith.

           

    Sho‘eib, as the Arabs call Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, is said to have been blind, notwithstanding which infirmity he was divinely commissioned to preach the true religion lately revealed unto Abraham, and to convert the people of his native city Midian. They rejected his doctrine and mocked the blind prophet, for which sin they were destroyed by fire from heaven, while Midian was laid waste by an earthquake, Jethro alone escaping alive. He fled to Palestine, and is said to be buried near Safed. (ftnt. p. 539; emphasis added)

 

It appears that Jethro/Hobab, The Friend of God (Raguel: Josephus) took the fact of the supremacy over the Egyptians in the Red Sea as proof positive of the power of the Angel of Yahovah acting for the One True God, with Israel as the people of God (Ex. 18:11). He was already a priest of Midian and it is obvious that he is observing the activities of the Being sent to Israel as proof of the birthright promises given to Isaac. That view was to continue down to the writing of the Qur’an and is reflected in the Qur’an. The Kuturah or Pure Arabs, as well as the sons of Ishmael, resent that birthright to this very day.

 

Exodus 18:1-12 Jethro, the priest of Mid'ian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt. 2 Now Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, had taken Zippo'rah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her away, 3 and her two sons, of whom the name of the one was Gershom (for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land"), 4 and the name of the other, Elie'zer (for he said, "The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh"). 5 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was encamped at the mountain of God. 6 And when one told Moses, "Lo, your father-in-law Jethro is coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her," 7 Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and did obeisance and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare, and went into the tent. 8 Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the LORD had delivered them. 9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the good which the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. 10 And Jethro said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because he delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians, when they dealt arrogantly with them." 12 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, offered a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God. (RSV)

 

There are also some noteworthy parallels in the encounter between Moses and Jethro (Ex. 18:1ff.) and the one between Abraham and Melchisedek recorded in Genesis 14.

 

Genesis 14:17-20  After his return from the defeat of Ched-or-lao'mer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). 18 And Mel-chiz'edek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand! (RSV)

 

·         Abraham had just defeated Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, while Moses had earlier witnessed the defeat of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

·         Melchizedek was the priest of the Most High God; Jethro was the priest of Midian.

·         Both Melchizedek and Jethro ‘blessed’/gave praises to God for their deliverance using very similar language (cf. verse 20 above and Ex. 18:10).

·         Melchizedek brought bread and wine for a ceremonial meal with Abraham; Jethro also arranged a sacrificial meal and bread to be eaten with Moses, Aaron and all the elders of Israel.

·         There is a general theme of “peace” and friendship in the two encounters: the king of Salem (SHD 8004, from 7999) blessed Abraham, while Jethro and Moses are said to have exchanged Shaloms (SHD 7965, from 7999) or Salaams in the typical Middle-eastern manner (Ex. 18:7; cf. also 4:18).

 

Exodus 4:18 Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, "Let me go back, I pray, to my kinsmen in Egypt and see whether they are still alive." And Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace." (RSV)

 

We see that on the day after these pleasantries, Moses sat down among the Israelites to make judgment upon a number of matters (Ex. 18:13ff.). Jethro advised Moses on a more practical way of doing this, both for Moses’ sake and so that “all this people shall also go to their place in peace” (v. 23). Jethro is depicted as specially favoured and directed by God, as is also shown when his wise counsel is heeded by Moses.

 

Exodus 18:13-27  On the morrow Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand about you from morning till evening?" 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God and his decisions." 17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, "What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you; you are not able to perform it alone. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God, and bring their cases to God; 20 and you shall teach them the statutes and the decisions, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover choose able men from all the people, such as fear God, men who are trustworthy and who hate a bribe; and place such men over the people as rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times; every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves; so it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace." 24 So Moses gave heed to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times; hard cases they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way to his own country. (RSV)

Jethro in the Qur’an

The Qur’an has much to say about Jethro (Shuaib) and the Midianites.

 

Surah 11:86 And unto Madian we sent their brother Shuaib. He said unto them, O my people, worship GOD; ye have no GOD but Him …

 

Sale says Midian was a city on Hijaz on the Red Sea, south east of Sinai and the same as the Modiana of Ptolemy. What was remaining of it at the time of the prophet was demolished in the following wars.

 

Shuaib. Muslim writers generally identify Shuaib with Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. Baidhawi says he was the son of Mikail, the son of Yashjar, the son of Midian, and the Tafsir-i-Raufi relates that he was descended from Lot, Midian having married the daughter of Lot. "In the commentary of the Syrian Ephream, Jethro is called Shuaib" (Notes on the Roman Urdu Quran).

Origin of the Arabic name of Hobab

No miracles wrought by Shuaib are described either in the Quran or the Traditions, … However they say (after the Jews) that he gave his son-in-law that wonder-working rod with which he performed all those miracles in Egypt and the desert, and also excellent advice and instructions (Exod. xviii. 13), whence he had the surname of Khatib al anbiyah, or the preacher to the prophets." (222, Notes on the Roman Urdu Quran)

 

89 The chiefs of his people, who were elated with pride, answered, We will surely cast thee, O Shuaib, and those who believe with thee, out of our city: or else thou shalt certainly return unto our religion. He said, What! though we be averse thereto?

 

We will surely cast thee . . out of our city. Rodwell relates a Jewish tradition of similar import regarding Jethro. (ibid., 223)

 

It can be inferred from this that Shuaib (Jethro) had the true Faith, and this was the reason he was cast out of the city along with other believers. This is indicative of a schism in the religious beliefs of Midian and the beginning of the paganisation of the Arabs from the surrounding tribes. We see from verse 88 that at the very least he worshipped God. He was a priest of the Most High in Midian.

 

S. 11:88  He [Shuaib] said, O my people, tell me: if I have received an evident declaration from my LORD, and he hath bestowed on me an excellent provision, and I will not consent unto you in that which I forbid you; do I seek any other than your reformation, to the utmost of my power? My support is from GOD alone: on him do I trust, and unto him do I turn me. (89) O my people, let not your opposing of me draw on you a vengeance like unto that which fell on the people of Noah, or the people of Hud, or the people of Salih: neither was the people of Lot far distant from you. (90) Ask pardon, therefore, of your LORD; and be turned unto him: for my LORD is merciful and loving. (91) They answered, O Shuaib, we understand not much of what thou sayest, and we see thee to be a man of no power among us: if it had not been for the sake of thy family, we had surely stoned thee, neither couldst thou have prevailed against us.(92) Shuaib said, O my people, is my family more worthy in your opinion than GOD? and do ye cast him behind you with neglect? Verily my LORD comprehendeth that which ye do.

 

(91) A man of no power. "The Arabic word dhaif, weak, signifying also, in the Himyaritic dialect, blind, some suppose that Shuaib was so, and that the Midianites objected that to him, as a defect which disqualified him for the prophetic office."- Sale. (363)

 

The elohim speak of the destruction of the city of Madian/Midian in Surah 11:96, an event referred to earlier in verse 71 of Surah 9 concerning repentance.

 

The Kenites

The Kenites or Kainites (SHD 7017) were a tribe of smiths descended from Midian, son of Keturah. Their main area of habitation was probably in the south-east of Aqaba but they were to be found much further afield, as we shall see. The Kenites are variously referred to by classical historians as the Kenaioi, Kinaiaoi, Cinaeus or simply Kain (cf. Num. 24:22). Notably, they tend to receive favourable mention in the Bible.

 

The Book of Judges tells us that the descendants of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, travelled with the children of Judah from Jericho (? cf. Deut. 34:3) to the south of the former Canaanite city of Arad, which lay beyond the northern wilderness of Judah.

 

Judges 1:16 And the descendants of the Ken'ite, Moses' father-in-law, went up with the people of Judah from the city of palms into the wilderness of Judah, which lies in the Negeb near Arad; and they went and settled with the people. (RSV)

 

Arad was also the location for the Jewish town of Kinah (Jos. 15:22).

Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Ken'ite had separated from the Ken'ites, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Za-anan'nim, which is near Kedesh. (RSV)

 

The Kedesh mentioned here is within the tribal lands of Naphtali in the northern part of Israel; hence Heber removed himself quite some distance from his fellow-Kenites. The ‘south country’ (KJV; or Negeb: RSV) of Genesis 20:1 is recognised as the land south of Palestine and adjoining Midian. The name Za-anan’nim in verse 11 appropriately means removings or wanderings.

 

Hence it appears that part of the Kenite tribe at some time became closely associated with or even incorporated into the tribe of Judah. Jerahmeel was the great-grandson of the Patriarch Judah. It is noted that the Rechabites (e.g. Jer. 35:6-10) were also a clan of the Kenites and whose progenitor was Hammath. The following text is from the end of one genealogical record of the House of Judah.

 

1Chronicles 2:55 The families also of the scribes that dwelt at Jabez: the Ti'rathites, the Shim'e-athites, and the Su'cathites. These are the Ken'ites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab. (RSV)

The scribes here are the sopherim (SHD 5608). In a note to this verse, Bullinger (The Companion Bible) says of the Kenites:

    They became an ascetic people, and, by being mentioned here in connection with “scribes,” may have been teachers. This accounts for Jehu’s action in 2Kings 10. 15,16.

 

It is possible, therefore, that at least some of the so-called ‘Jewish’ scribes may have been originally Kenites who had become fully integrated with Judah.

 

2Kings 10:15-16, 23-28  And when he departed from there, he met Jehon'adab the son of Rechab coming to meet him; and he greeted him, and said to him, "Is your heart true to my heart as mine is to yours?" And Jehon'adab answered, "It is." Jehu said, "If it is, give me your hand." So he gave him his hand. And Jehu took him up with him into the chariot. 16 And he said, "Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD." So he had him ride in his chariot. … 23 Then Jehu went into the house of Ba'al with Jehon'adab the son of Rechab; and he said to the worshipers of Ba'al, "Search, and see that there is no servant of the LORD here among you, but only the worshipers of Ba'al." 24 Then he went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside, and said, "The man who allows any of those whom I give into your hands to escape shall forfeit his life." 25 So as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the officers, "Go in and slay them; let not a man escape." So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Ba'al 26 and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Ba'al, and burned it. 27 And they demolished the pillar of Ba'al, and demolished the house of Ba'al, and made it a latrine to this day. 28 Thus Jehu wiped out Ba'al from Israel. (RSV)

Josephus, who elsewhere calls the Kenites kentides, speaks of them as ‘the race of the Shechemites’ (Sikimitoon) in his account of Saul’s expedition (Ant., VI.vii.3). The Targums transform the name into Salmaite, from Salma, ‘the father of Beth-lehem’, who seems to be termed a Kenite in 1Ch 254.55. The Sam.VS of Gn 1519 inserts the same name before ‘Kenite’. (Vol. II, p. 834; emphasis added)

 

However, the Shechemites were at one time a sub-tribe of Manasseh (Num. 26:29-31), so Josephus’ comment may refer to the period before Manasseh’s occupation of that city. Alternatively, the Kenites may have intermarried with the Manassites.

 

A. H. Sayce notes that the Kenites were nomads like the Bedawin (Bedouin), although he claims that the latter are descendants of the Amalekites spoken of in Scripture. The Kenites inhabited the Negev desert south of Judah (1Sam. 27:10). In 1Samuel 30:29 some elders of Judah are to be found in Kenite cities.

 

Jael was the wife of Heber a Kenite (Jdg. 4:17). Deborah the prophetess and ‘mother’ of Israel blessed Jael in her victory song because of Jael’s courage and resolve in killing Sisera, the enemy of Israel.

 

Judges 5:24-27,31 "Most blessed of women be Ja'el, the wife of Heber the Ken'ite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed. 25 He asked water and she gave him milk, she brought him curds in a lordly bowl. 26 She put her hand to the tent peg and her right hand to the workmen's mallet; she struck Sis'era a blow, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple. 27 He sank, he fell, he lay still at her feet; at her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell dead. … 31 "So perish all thine enemies, O LORD! But thy friends be like the sun as he rises in his might." And the land had rest for forty years. (RSV)

This blessing is reminiscent of the one upon Mariam, mother of Joshua the Messiah (cf. Lk. 1:28,42). It is of note that Jael’s decisive action helped usher in a period of forty years of peace for Israel. Heber and his family apparently went to Kedesh in northern Israel following Sisera’s defeat.

 

In another incident we see that, after he was commanded to destroy the Amalekites, Saul honourably advised the Kenites to move away from their former associates in order not to be killed along with them (1Sam. 15:6). Saul gave the people the chance to save themselves in view of their help to Israel on previous occasions. However, the fate of the Amalekites and the Kenites was prophesied together in Numbers 24.

 

Numbers 24:20-22  Then he looked on Am'alek, and took up his discourse, and said, "Am'alek was the first of the nations, but in the end he shall come to destruction." 21 And he looked on the Ken'ite, and took up his discourse, and said, "Enduring is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in the rock; 22 nevertheless Kain shall be wasted. How long shall Asshur take you away captive?" (RSV)

 

The northern Kenites (Kain) were thus to be taken captive by the Assyrians, probably at the same time that the Kingdom of Israel was conquered, that is, in about 733 BCE. The mention of nest in the rock here is a play on the word ken or qen (SHD 7064) and the tribal name Kenite. The rock is thought by some to be Sela, also known as Petra. Tristram in The Land of Israel (op. cit.) claims that the caves of the Kenites were located around Engedi. This is identified with Hazazon-tamar (dividing the palm tree; 2Chr. 20:2) which was originally occupied by the Amorites and is claimed by some to be the oldest city in the world, even older than Hebron with its very long record of continuous occupation.

The Spartans

Although there is some debate as to the true origin of the Spartans, both Herodotus, the ‘father of history’, and Josephus claim that they were also descended from Keturah. They are often referred to as the Lacedaemonians, from Lacedaemon (or Laconia), strictly-speaking the city-state of Sparta the capital.

 

The beginnings of this important city and state are given in the Wikipedia article on Sparta.

    Around the middle of the 6th century BC, the southern Peloponnese was Spartan territory. The territory was divided into two parts, Laconia and Messenia, which were separated by the Taygetos mountain range. Unlike other Greek cities, Sparta controlled much arable land. Earliest archeological evidence testifying settlement in Sparta dates from around 950 BC. …

 

    Classical sources [also] tell us that Sparta was founded in the 10th century BC. It consisted of the four villages of Pitane, Mesoa, Limnai and Konooura, which were later united under one government.

 

We will recall that David conquered Jerusalem and occupied it from Hebron ca. 1005 BCE and ruled there for 33 years. He had occupied the lands of Kedar and of Mesech in Cappadocia and the control of those lands was extended to his son Solomon ca. 978 BCE. Solomon ruled with those lands under subjugation for a further 40 years to 938. A section of the sons of Kedar and Nabai’oth in northern Arabia near the Euphrates probably moved into the Hellenes on the expansion of David and established Sparta under the rule of Solomon before 950 BCE. They occupied the better agricultural land of the Hellenes (see also the papers Rule of the Kings Part II: David (No. 282B) and Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C)).

 

Josephus gave credence to the claimed descent of the Spartans from Abraham when he wrote the following in his Antiquities of the Jews:

 

10. At this time Seleucus, who was called Soter, reigned over Asia, being the son of Antiochus the Great. And [now] Hyrcanus's father, Joseph, died. … His uncle also, Onias, died, and left the high priesthood to his son Simeon. And when he was dead, Onias his son succeeded him in that dignity. To him it was that Areus, king of the Lacedemonians, sent an embassage, with an epistle; the copy whereof here follows:

"AREUS, KING OF THE LACEDEMONIANS, TO ONIAS, SENDETH GREETING.

"We have met with a certain writing, whereby we have discovered that both the Jews and the Lacedemonians are of one stock, and are derived from the kindred of Abraham (14) It is but just therefore that you, who are our brethren, should send to us about any of your concerns as you please. We will also do the same thing, and esteem your concerns as our own, and will look upon our concerns as in common with yours. Demoteles, who brings you this letter, will bring your answer back to us. This letter is four-square; and the seal is an eagle, with a dragon in his claws." (Bk. 12. chp. 4)

 

Other references to the Spartans or Lacedaemonians being of the same stock as the Jews are found in Antiquities Book 13: 5, 8 and in the apocryphal 1Maccabees 12:6.

 

Society

The following are further selective extracts from the Wikipedia article.

 

Because most Spartan laws were passed down orally and committed to memory, little is known about Spartan society. Spartan society was considered primitive even by Greek standards.

 

Aristotle describes the kingship at Sparta as "a kind of unlimited and perpetual generalship" (Pol. iii. I285a) … Dating from the period of the Persian wars, the king lost the right to declare war, and was accompanied on the field by two ephors. He was supplanted also by the ephors in the control of foreign policy….

 

After the ephors were introduced, they, together with the two kings, were the executive branch of the state. Ephors themselves had more power than anyone in Sparta, although the fact that they only stayed in power for a single year reduced their ability to conflict with already established powers in the state. … The difference with today's states is that Sparta had a special policy maker, the gerousia, a council consisting of 28 elders over the age of 65, elected for life and usually part of the royal households, and the two kings. High state policy decisions were discussed by this council who could then propose action alternatives to the Damos, the collective body of Spartan citizenry, who would select one of the alternatives by voting.

 

Not all inhabitants of the Spartan state were considered to be citizens (part of Damos). Only the ones that had followed the military training, called the agoge, were eligible. However, the only people eligible to receive the agoge were Spartiates, or people who could trace their ancestry to the original inhabitants of the city. … The Spartan exercised the full rights and duties of a citizen at the age of thirty.

 

A strong emphasis was placed on honor and carrying out acts because it was the 'right thing to do.' Xenophon wrote about the Spartans as he observed them during an Olympic game:

"An elderly man was trying to find a place to sit and observe the Olympic Games, as he went to each section. All the other Greeks laughed as he tried to make his way through. Some ignored him. Upon entering the Spartan section all the Spartans stood and offered the elderly man their seats. Suddenly the entire stadium applauded. All the Greeks knew what was the right thing to do, but the Spartans were the only ones who did it." (emphasis added)

 

Training in music and literature occupied a subordinate position. The tireless emphasis on physical training gave Spartans the reputation for being “laconic”, economical with words, a word derived from the name of their homeland of Laconia. Education was also extended to girls, in the belief that strong and intelligent mothers would produce strong and intelligent children. Thus modern day historians, with the corroboration of ancient writers, tend to conclude that Spartan women were among the most educated in the ancient Greek world.

 

The term "Spartan" still remains synonymous for anyone rigorously self-disciplined or courageous in the face of pain, danger, or adversity. … Sparta did not suffer under the rule of any tyrant or dictator, and its phalanxes were considered undefeatable.

 

Interestingly, we see above that the Spartans were governed by a council consisting of 28 elders plus the 2 kings, thereby unconsciously(?) mirroring the Inner Council of the 30 Beings in Heaven.

 

Military

The military prowess of the Spartans was unrivalled. The Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BCE is also famous. 300 Spartan warriors under King Leonidas held the pass of Thermopylae for a number of days against the might of King Xerxes’ Persian army (estimated by Herodotus to total 5.28 million – although modern historians naturally dispute that figure and claim perhaps 400,000) as it was attempting to invade Greece. 700 Thespian warriors were the only others who fought to the death alongside the Spartans from a total of 6000 Greeks, the bulk of whom had been ordered to retreat. Xerxes (the Ahasuerus of Esther) even sent his crack troops the Immortals against the Spartans – they were also unable to break through. The Spartans were finally defeated by Greek treachery, although the outcome was inevitable, and the Persians subsequently gained control over central Greece. Herodotus gives a full account of this battle in his Histories (Bk. VII, 172-234).

 

The Spartans appear to have had a particular interest in the number 300. G. Rawlinson, in his notes to the Histories, says that the Spartan bodyguard usually consisted of 300 men (VI, 56). In Book I, 82 we also find 300 Spartans engaged in mortal combat with an equal number of Argive warriors in order to determine the outcome of a battle without the main armies having to engage – thereby limiting the bloodshed.

 

This common type of early combat was seen when Goliath of Gath challenged any single Israelite warrior to come out against him (1Sam. 17:4-10); also, when 12 Israelites competed with David’s 12 warriors of Judah in single combat and with far deadlier import than merely rising up “to play” as in the KJV (2Sam. 2:14-16); again, it was to avoid major bloodshed, although a full-scale battle did ensue.

 

In Histories we are told that Aeimnestus the Spartan fought and died “with but 300 men against the whole force of the Messenians” at a battle near Stenyclerus (Bk. IX, 64). This regular reference to 300 fighting men may well be that Spartan folklore recalled the act some centuries earlier of God through Gideon routing their Midianite cousins with the well-chosen band of Gideon’s 300 men (see Jdg. chapter 7).

 

The Spartans themselves were a military society and accomplished warriors, so it could be speculated that, out of admiration for the exploits of Gideon’s 300, they modelled themselves on such men (see the paper Gideon’s Force and the Last Days (No. 22)). Their military society was finally to be their undoing. However, until their defeat by the Romans they were unsurpassed.

 

Immediately before Thermopylae, Xerxes was advised by Demaratus a Greek with the Persian army: “Thou hast now to deal with the first kingdom and town in Greece, and with the bravest men” (ibid., VII, 209). Demaratus had earlier said:

So likewise the Lacedaemonians, when they fight singly, are as good men as any in the world, and when they fight in a body, are the bravest of all. For though they be free-men, they are not in all respects free; Law is the master whom they own; and this master they fear more than thy subjects fear thee. Whatever he commands they do; and his commandment is always the same: it forbids them to flee in battle, whatever the number of their foes, and requires them to stand firm, and either to conquer or die (ibid., VII, 104; emphasis added).

 

The Spartan kings were supposedly descended from the hero Heracles (Hercules) who conquered Sparta two generations after the Trojan War. The Trojan War was in 1054 at the last years of Eli judge in Israel and two generations later placed them squarely in the rule of David King of Israel.

 

Along with the Thracians, Scyths, Persians, Lydians and most Greeks, the Spartans in particular were known for their love of war and their aversion to trade and ‘handicrafts’ (Histories, II, 167).

 

It is said that Laconia was eventually overrun by the Goths and Huns arriving from the east, and in 396 CE Alaric destroyed the city of Sparta. Sparta was finally defeated by Rome in about 195 BCE.

 

The paper titled The Genetic Origin of the Nations (No. 265) gives further information on various tribes under the heading ‘Sons of Abraham’. To quote:

    We know from the authority of Josephus that the Spartans were sons of Keturah. Thus the large amount of YDNA Hg. I in Greece may be from the Sons of Keturah with the J coming in later from the conquests in Asia Minor and from the Arabs in later centuries. There are significant Semitic Hg. J populations around the Mediterranean but I is greater in incidence all over Europe. Greece also has the largest percentage E3b population outside of Africa.

However, we now know that the IJ combined group based on S2 and S22 split into the two groups and may have split in Greece also from the one IJ basic group that went in there.

 

The Druze

Several modern commentators claim that descendants of the Kenites are to be found today among the Druze people of Lebanon, Syria and Israel.

           

The Wikipedia article states

The Druze call themselves The People of Monotheism or Muwahhidūn ("Monotheists"). The origin of the name Druze is traced to Nashtakin ad-Darazi, one of the first preachers of the religion.

 

The Druze reside primarily in Lebanon, with smaller communities in Israel, Syria, and Jordan. While most Druze consider themselves Arabs, some living in Israel do not.[2] There are thought to be as many as 1 million Druze worldwide, the vast majority in the Levant or East Mediterranean.[3] However, some estimates of the total Druze population have been as low as 450,000.[4] … About 50,000 Druze live in the United States.

 

In 1167, noted traveller Benjamin of Tudela wrote about the Druze in his diary. He describes the Druze as "Mountain dwellers, monotheists, believe in soul transfigurations and are good friends with the Jews".

 

The Druze have played major roles in the history of the Levant. They were mostly scattered in the Chouf Mountains, which are part of Mount Lebanon (known for some time as the Mount of the Druzes), and later the eponymous Jabal al-Durūz (Mount of the Druzes) in Syria. … However, many Druze living in the Golan Heights consider themselves Syrian and refuse Israeli citizenship, while the remainder consider themselves Israeli. In general elections, the majority of Druze villages have similar voting patterns as the general public. Israeli Druze also serve in the Israeli army, voluntarily since 1948 …

 

The Druze community reveres the non-Jewish father-in-law of Moses, Jethro, whom Muslims call Shu’ayb. According to the biblical narrative, Jethro joined and assisted the Jewish people in the desert during the Exodus, accepted monotheism, but ultimately rejoined his own people. In fact, the tomb of Jethro near Tiberias is the most important religious site for the Druze community.[7]

 

Beliefs of the Druze

The Druze believe in the unity of God, hence their preference for the name "People of Monotheism" or "Monotheists". Their theology has a Neo-Platonic view about how God interacts with the world through emanations and is similar to some gnostic and other esoteric sects. They are not, however, influenced by the Sufi philosophy, as many believe. The Druze believe in reincarnation and are pantheistic.

 

The principles of the Druze faith are: guarding one's tongue (honesty), protecting one's brother, respecting the elderly, helping others, protecting one's homeland, and belief in one God. Another well-known feature of the Druze religion is a fervent belief in human-only reincarnation for all the members of the community. They reject polygamy, tobacco smoking, alcohol, or consumption of pork, although pork and alcohol may be consumed in many non-religious and/or al-Juhl households. Druze religion does not allow them to intermarry with Muslims, Jews, or members of any other religions.

 

The Druze believe in prophets like Adam, Noah (), Abraham (Ibrāhīm), Sarah, Jacob (Ya’qub), Moses (Mūsā), Solomon (Sulaymān), John the Baptist (Yahya), and Jesus (Isā) (as mentioned above, in contrast to members of the other monotheistic faiths, they also elevate Jethro, or Shu’ayb, father-in-law of Mūsā, to the status of major prophet). They also believe in the wisdom of classical Greek philosophers such as Plato and Pythagoras, who have the same stature as other prophets. In addition, they have an array of "wise men" that founded the religion in the 11th century.

 

...Druze are not required to follow the Muslim duties of prayer, fasting, or pilgrimage to Mecca. However, they may should they be inclined to. One of the faith's holy books is called the Kitābu l-Hikma or "Book of Wisdom", largely compiled by a mysterious figure called al-Muqtana. It has six volumes and is compiled in chapters, each covering a specific issue. The teachings denounce materialism, especially materialism relative to religion. The sacred books of the Druzes, successfully hidden from the world for eight centuries, have since the middle of the 19th century found their way into European libraries. [8]

 

Druze places of worship are usually very modest and the Ajawīd lead very modest lifestyles. Prayer is usually conducted discreetly, among family and friends. There is little official hierarchy in the religious community except for the Shaykh al-‘Aql, whose role is more political and social than religious. A religious figure is admired for his wisdom and lifestyle. (emphasis added)

(Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druze)

 

As with Judah and Ishmael, the strict monotheism of the Druze could point to these people being direct descendants of Abraham by Keturah. And the fact that they venerate Jethro would strongly indicate descent from this particular priest and prophet of Midian who also appeared well-acquainted with the One True God. However, much like Christianity, the Druze’s faith has apparently been infiltrated by Gnosticism and a belief in such ideas as reincarnation.

 

Their YDNA structure identifies them as the second largest ethnic group with Haplogroup G, which is 19% and indicated they may have Assyrian bloodlines or they may have developed Haplogroup G in isolation from the original F. The highest group of G are Georgians, and the Assyrians are similar. The Georgians might be assumed to be a core of the ancient Assyrians. However, that will be examined in the paper on the Sons of Shem. The Druze also have 33% L which is indicative of Japhethite origin.  The K2 structure in Lebanon is also Japhethite.

 

Some samples of Lebanese YDNA are as follows (from Capelli 2005):

Muslim Lebanese (39 people) 18% E3b, 30% JxJ2, 25% J2, 12% (F*xIJK, that is, G), 5 K*(xP)
Christian Lebanese (43 p) 16% E3b, 4 I, 9 JxJ2, 34 J2, 18 F*, 4 K*, 7 P*(xR1)

Compare these with the samples of Malta and Sicily.

Malta (90p) 9 E3b, 8 JxJ2, 21 J2, 12 I, 6 F*, 4 K*, 32 R1b
Sicily (200p) roughly averaging: E3b 23%, 6 JxJ2, 21 J2, 6 I, 10 F*, 4K*, 22 R1b

 

Reconstruction of patrilineages and matrilineages of the Samaritans by Shen et al. shows 35% L haplogroup among a sample of Druze, but no L among Jews or Palestinians.

 

The Y chromosome of Jews The Y Chromosome of Jews by Nebel et al. shows some L in Kurds but not in Jews or Arabs.

 

The Kurds are Medes with some composite mixture, and incidence among Kurds and Druze indicate that the Druze are probably a composite people that relate to the replacements sent in by the Assyrians on the removal of Israel rather than being descended from Jews or Arabs. The Samaritan results, on the other hand, were similar to the Jewish results but just as varied. K2 also in Lebanon is derived from Tarshish traders in Phoenician systems. The Druze are thus not homogenous sons of Abraham. They appear to be related to the Aryans that went into India and formed the L Haplogroup there from as early as the Assyrian contact at Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, before the main Aryan conquests ca. 1000 BCE at the time of David.

 

Thus the Druze are probably descended from the Assyrians, Cutheans and Medes placed in Israel by the Assyrians after the capture and deportation of the ten tribes of Israel in 722 BCE.

 

Prophecies concerning the sons of Keturah

 

Midianites

As the most ubiquitous descendant of Abraham by Keturah, Midian is mentioned three times by the prophet Isaiah. The references to Midian in Isaiah 9:4 and 10:26 are in a negative light and concern the punishment meted out to his descendants as an example to Israel. (See also Psalm 83:1-18.) The Qur’an also has many injunctions directed at the Midianites, one in particular speaking of the end times.

 

Surah 29:36 And unto Midian We sent Shu'eyb [Jethro], their brother. He said: O my people! Serve Allah, and look forward to the Last Day, and do not evil, making mischief, in the earth. (Pickthal)

The Book by the so-called minor prophet Habakkuk contains a prophecy concerning the coming of Messiah in great glory. There is also a connection with the Land of Midian.

 

Habakkuk 3:1-7  A prayer of Habak'kuk the prophet, according to Shigion'oth. 2 O LORD, I have heard the report of thee, and thy work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years renew it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. 3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. Selah 4 His brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. 5 Before him went pestilence, and plague followed close behind. 6 He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered, the everlasting hills sank low. His ways were as of old. 7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Mid'ian did tremble. (RSV)

As noted earlier, Burton suggests that Cushan is possibly a more general term equivalent to Midian, which ties in with the Arab conception of Keturah being a Cushite woman. Cohen (Interp. Dict., art. ‘Cushan’, Vol. 1, p. 751) also holds this view and says it may be an older and poetical name for Midian based on the presence of tribes descended form Cush. He thinks it is probable that the word Cushite applied to the wife of Moses does not mean Ethiopian but rather refers to the Midianitess (Num. 12:1).

 

The term is also used to refer to the Kassites of Babylonia, and the lands near there were traditionally called the Kingdom of Khus or Cush. Kraft (ibid., art. Cusham-Rishathaim) thinks the term is most likely related to a Midianite tribe near Edom, as linked by Habakkuk 3:7. The early YDNA of the Cushites is from HG C and develops from there but the YDNA groups of the Arab sons of Keturah and Midianites are not C or E3b but Semitic haplogroups (see the paper Genetic Origin of the Nations (No. 265) 2nd ed.).

 

The Historians’ History of the World points to the complex problem of the Cushites being both in Ethiopia and the Sudan and in Babylonia by pointing out that the confusion stems from the fact that the tribe in Babylonia was the robber tribe of the Kasshu or the Kossaeans and they dominated Babylonia for centuries. The Bible identifies them with the African branch also (cf. Gen. 2:13; 10:8). They disappeared and consequently the Historians at that time thought they were a myth. We now know from DNA that a branch of the same C YDNA groups have spread all over the world from Asia to Australia and to New Zealand and Polynesia and to the Mongols and into the Americas with the Nadene or Chippewa and down to the Apache and even to some sections of the Mayans who are Q3, Q and C3 in that order of incidence.

 

The confusion with the early Midianites probably comes from the association of the Hyksos, nomadic marauders, of which the Edomites and the sons of Keturah were no doubt part.

 

The third mention of Midian by Isaiah is in chapter 60, and is also prophetic.

 

Isaiah 60:1-7 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Mid'ian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD. 7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you, the rams of Nebai'oth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will glorify my glorious house. (RSV)

 

They are mentioned as coming from Sheba which we now know is in Southern Arabia and was once the great oasis fed by the immense dams that deteriorated just as the Romans reduced Sheba in power by their occupation of Arabia and the dominance of trade. The sluice gates are still there but the wall has never been rebuilt. The power and wealth of this area lies in the hands of the Arabs, which we have identified now as the sons of Keturah and not the sons of Ishmael.

 

The tents of Kedar and Nabaioth were in the northwest and extend to the Euphrates.

 

Here we see that Ephah and Midian are listed as two separate tribes. Matthew Poole states that Ephah, son of Midian, “dwelt beyond Arabia” (A Commentary on the Holy Bible, op. cit.). He also makes an interesting comment on Isaiah 60:6.

 

    The multitude of camels, i.e. the abundance of wealth and treasure that is brought upon camels; this being the creature the Eastern people used for carriage of their gold and spice, and other rich treasure, which are said to cover them; the like phrase with that Judg.vi.5: or whereby is understood those people that did use to ride on camels, as the Arabians and the bordering countries; for by these and such-like figuratively and borrowed expressions in several verses of this chapter is particularized several nations, and by them is implied the coming in of all nations unto Christ; and therefore they are brought in as presenting the chiefest commodities of their respective countries …

    The dromedaries; or, also or even the dromedaries, which are lesser sort of camel, so called from their swiftness in running, to which are the better enabled, because, as Pliny observes, they can endure thirst four days together: (op. cit., emphasis in bold added).

 

Job 1:3 also mentions camels when describing Job’s great wealth (see also 1Chr. 5:21); hence these animals appear indicative of riches generally in a Middle-Eastern context.

 

Kenites and Rechabites

Some of the descendants of Midian, namely the Kenites and Rechabites, are mentioned in certain end-time prophecies. Those concerning the Kenites are found in Jeremiah 35. This prophet was told to go to the house of the Rechabites, who were a branch of the Kenite tribe of which Jethro was the most eminent member.

 

Jeremiah 35:1-11  The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoi'akim the son of Josi'ah, king of Judah: 2 "Go to the house of the Re'chabites, and speak with them, and bring them to the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers; then offer them wine to drink." 3 So I took Ja-azani'ah the son of Jeremiah, son of Habazzini'ah, and his brothers, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Re'chabites. 4 I brought them to the house of the LORD into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdali'ah, the man of God, which was near the chamber of the princes, above the chamber of Ma-asei'ah the son of Shallum, keeper of the threshold. 5 Then I set before the Re'chabites pitchers full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, "Drink wine." 6 But they answered, "We will drink no wine, for Jon'adab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, `You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons for ever; 7 you shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.' 8 We have obeyed the voice of Jon'adab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, 9 and not to build houses to dwell in. We have no vineyard or field or seed; 10 but we have lived in tents, and have obeyed and done all that Jon'adab our father commanded us. 11 But when Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, `Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chalde'ans and the army of the Syrians.' So we are living in Jerusalem." (RSV)

 

Jonadab or Jehonadab (meaning Jehovah is willing, (SHD 3082 and 3122), as “a later descendant of Rechab, was noted as a reformer who kept himself pure” (Key Word Study Bible). Bullinger also says that Jonadab became the sheik and lawgiver of the Rechabites. He states, incidentally, that verses 1-11 represent Jeremiah’s 30th prophecy in a series (The Companion Bible).

 

In 1839, Dr. Wolff found a tribe near Mecca in Arabia which claimed to be descended from J[eh]onadab. However, a Bedouin tribe located near the Dead Sea also professed to be descendants of the same Kenite sheik. It is possible that both are correct in their assumptions due to the habitual wandering of these people.

 

On verse 2, Bullinger says of the Rechabites:

    They were descended from Hobab, the brother-in-law [sic.] of Moses. A Kenite tribe, who migrated with Israel to Canaan … They were proselytes, not idolators; inhabiting the wilderness south of Judah.

 

It must be remembered that Jehonadab of the Rechabites assisted Jehu king of Judah in the destruction of the Baal system in Judah, as we saw earlier in 2Kings 10.

 

Several distinctive features of the Rechabites are that they would build no homes and plant no crops, but rather would live a nomadic lifestyle. Their Patriarch Abraham was described as a Hebrew (Gen. 14:13). He was a man of Ur of the Chaldees in Akkadia. Jacob was described as a Syrian or Aramaean (Deut. 26:5). ‘Aram (SHD means the highland or elevated plain and also was the name given to the son of Shem. In the sense it is used of Jacob it means Highlander or someone coming from the Syrian plains and the hills of Canaan. Abraham was not descended from Aram but from Arphaxad, and the Arabs are not sons of Aram. Aram does not mean semi-nomad. The assumption that the term Arab derives from Aram is incorrect. The real progenitor and the source of the name as a pure identity are with the son of Jokshan, as we see above.

 

Bruce Feiler, in his book Abraham: In Search of the Father of Civilisation (Judy Piatkus (Publ.) Ltd, London, 2002), summed up the semi-nomadic life of the Patriarch and, by inference, his descendants (some of whom would be settled, others not) thus:

    Abraham is not a settled man, or a wandering man. He’s a combination, who embodies in his upbringing a message he will come to represent: the perpetual stranger in a strange land, the outsider who longs to be the insider, the landless who longs for land, the pious who finds a palliative in God for his endlessly painful life. (p. 21)

 

We see from verse 2 in Jeremiah 35 that God calls for the Rechabites to be brought into His House, in which there are many chambers (cf. Jn. 14:2).

 

In The Desert of the Exodus, E.H. Palmer, who explored much of the Sinai Peninsula, gives his opinion as to the identity of the Rechabites and their descendants.

 

    The immediate neighbourhood of Wady Musa is in the hands of Fellahin called the Liyatheneh … They are the sons of Leith [lion: Arabic], a lineal descendant of Ka’ab, and a branch of the Kheibari Jews, who resided near Mecca and played so important a part in the early history of Islam. The Kheibari are still found in large numbers about Mecca and Medina … by Dr Wolff and other learned travellers they have been identified with the Rechabites mentioned in Jeremiah xxxv.6,7 … This precept, which is in effect that they should assimilate their mode of life to that of the Arabs amongst whom they dwelt, they have obeyed to the present day, for they drink no wine and dwell in tents. Although professing themselves to be Mohammedans, they are laxer in their religious discipline than even the Bedawin themselves, whose observances are really more Sabaean than Muslim. The Liyatheneh retain not only the distinctive physiognomy, but many of the customs of the Jews, such as wearing the Pharisaic love-locks. (op. cit., pp. 432-433)

 

Continuing with the text in Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 35:12-17  Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 13 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to my words? says the LORD. 14 The command which Jon'adab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept; and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father's command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me. 15 I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, `Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land which I gave to you and your fathers.' But you did not incline your ear or listen to me. 16 The sons of Jon'adab the son of Rechab have kept the command which their father gave tem, but this people has not obeyed me. 17 Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing on Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, I have called to them and they have not answered." (RSV)

 

The purpose of referring to Jonadab’s prohibition on drinking wine by his people throughout their generations was not to condone this stricture, which is generally unbiblical and unnecessary (cf. the paper Wine in the Bible (No. 188)) – apart from applying to those in former times who were under a God-ordained Nazirite vow. The modern Rechabites will most certainly be required to break their vow concerning abstinence by partaking of a small amount of wine at the annual Lord’s Supper, otherwise they have no place in the Churches of God or in the First Resurrection, as Christ himself said in John 6 (cf. also 1Cor. 11:25).

 

John 6:53-54 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (RSV)

 

Rather, the obedience of the Rechabites was mentioned in order to shame Judah and Benjamin who, for all their apparent piety and devotion in performing the requisite animal sacrifices on Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days, were not obedient to God in many other respects (see Isa. 1:13-14). And God says He requires obedience (from the heart) rather than the sacrifice of rams (from the hand only).

 

1Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (RSV)

 

Having already demonstrated their compliance with a relatively minor injunction from their earthly father Jonadab, the Rechabites would perhaps have fewer problems than most, with unquestioning obedience to God the Father once they are awakened to or become reacquainted with His Laws. It is noteworthy that they have already been given a high-value reward.

 

Jeremiah 35:18-19  But to the house of the Re'chabites Jeremiah said, "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jon'adab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done all that he commanded you, 19 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jon'adab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me." (RSV)

 

This is a signal honour for the Rechabites in having at least one of their descendants standing before the Lord forever. The tribe of Levi was similarly required to “stand before the Lord” (Deut. 10:8) to perform service as a type of first-born of all the children of Israel. To stand before someone is obviously to enjoy special favour from them, as David did with Saul (1Sam. 16:22) and Moses and Samuel did with God (Jer. 15:1; cf. also Jer. 15:19), along with the prophet Elijah (1Kgs. 18:15).

 

Jeremiah speaks of a future time which resonates with that spoken of by another great prophet in Isaiah 2:1-5.

 

Jeremiah 17:26  And people shall come from the cities of Judah and the places round about Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Shephe'lah, from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, cereal offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the LORD. (RSV)

This verse seems to speak primarily to Judah (also encompassing Benjamin and Simeon), as the various areas mentioned equate roughly to the four quadrants of the extended land of Judah, including the Negeb desert. However, the Kenites were known to be occupants of the Negeb, along with the Jews and the Cherethites (Philistines). As descendants of Keturah and a sub-tribe of Midian, they will be part of this calling.

Huns

The Huns have sometimes claimed to be descended from the sons of Keturah although their YDNA structure is predominantly N, as is the Finns’. On current science, N is a derivative of F though K and related to the known sons of Japheth probably through Togarmah from its distribution. It would have to be demonstrated that K was a composite of Shem and Japheth for this to be even plausible.

 

A Call to Keturah’s Sons

The tribes mentioned above are but a select few of those extant today that are descended from Abraham and his wife Keturah, the majority remaining largely undiscovered. All have their part to play by firstly responding to the call for a return to God and His Laws, and then by assisting the end-time work of publishing the Gospel to all nations starting with their respective tribes in the House of Abraham.

 

As recorded in Matthew 2:1-11, the “wise men” or magos of the East (to which vague area Keturah’s sons had been sent centuries earlier) arrived after Christ’s birth to present him with gold, frankincense and myrrh. These two most important spices were traded in early times by Arabians including Jokshan and Midianite merchants, and gold itself was found in abundance in the ancient Land of Midian. We saw also in Judges 8:27 that the captured gold of Midian was used by Gideon to make an ephod; hence an altogether strong Midianite connection. The prophecy of Isaiah may well refer also to these men of Jokshan who dwelt in Sheba just before the dam was destroyed.

 

If we accept Pliny’s observation that dromedaries can endure thirst for up to four days (see Poole’s comment on Isa. 60:6 above), we could apply it spiritually and say that most of Midian, or any of the sons of Keturah for that matter, has been without the “water springing up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:14) for close on 4000 years (on “a thousand years is as a day” basis) and presumably would therefore have a great thirst for the Spirit of God in these Latter Days – together with the rest of mankind, naturally.

 

This may be the time for those of Kenite descent to embrace and preach the true religion as zealously as did their ancestor Jethro, father-in-law of Moses, who appears to have been directly commissioned by God.

 

With respect to the plight of the Druze and the  Roma or Gypsies, whether or not they might be sons of Keturah or otherwise we see that God very often favours the outcasts and weak of this world. Paul said that the true apostles and people of God are also considered “as the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things” (1Cor. 4:13). And the prophet Jeremiah noted that God’s people were often brought low and made contemptible in the sight of others, which to the Roma sounds depressingly familiar.

 

Lamentations 3:45-46 Thou hast made us offscouring and refuse among the peoples. 46 "All our enemies rail against us; (RSV)

 

Like all other sons of Abraham and followers of Christ no matter from what tribe or nation, the Roma would be required to put aside their false gods, their dealing with the spirit world as “fortune-tellers” and become instead true prophets and servants of the God Most High. In Hosea a call is made ostensibly to Israel, but with broad application to all who are willing to return to God. The Druze and all Islam have to alter their ways also.

 

Hosea 2:16  And in that day, says the LORD, you will call me, ‘My husband’ [Heb. Ishi], and no longer will you call me, ‘My Baal’ [Baali]. (RSV)]

 

Just as Israel was typified by idolatry, it is prophesied that the descendants of these same people will one day remember God in far countries (Zech. 10:9). It is no permanent hardship to be an outcast or a “wanderer among the nations” (Hos. 9:17), for this also is said of God’s beloved Israel – as long as the wandering results in all people finding their way back to Him.

 

Those of Spartan descent may have retained their forebears’ nobility of spirit and sense of knowing and (more importantly) of doing what is right (as in the example of giving place and honour to an old man at the Games). Allied with their remarkable military prowess – demonstrated in the fierce defence of their nation against overwhelming might – it seems likely that their descendants would make unrivalled soldiers in the army of the Lord, the end-time Churches of God.

 

2Corinthians 10:3-6  For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (RSV)

 

The skills of the Spartans could be put to better use spiritually in the service of God today. Once informed of the truth and fully convinced of it, and as lovers of law, they would presumably act upon it and help carry the message without fear or favour to their fellow Keturites and beyond.

 

Romans 10:12-15 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. 13 For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." 14 But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15 And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" (RSV)

 

You Sons of Keturah are called to return to the One True God whom your fathers knew; to follow the example of your mother Keturah’s piety and nobility, and live up to her name by becoming a truly sweet aroma to your Father in Heaven; and to eventually become known as ‘friends of God’ like your illustrious and blessed Patriarch Abraham, the father of all nations now being brought into the House of God.

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Hear O Israel Yahovah our God, Yahovah is one. Eloah is Allah', Allah' is Eloah. We will all be Elohim.