Monday, May 2, 2022
Bible & Archaeology (University of Iowa)

The name Keturah comes from the Hebrew קטורה (qǝṭūrāh), mentioned in Genesis 25:1–2, where it is the name of Abraham’s second wife after Sarah died. The name probably comes from the Semitic verb קטר (qāṭar), which technically means "to steam, smoke, make a sacrifice go up in smoke" as would a thank-offering, but yields a probable meaning of "fragrance, incense, or perfume." It is intriguing to note that even though Abraham earlier protested that he was already too old to father Isaac, and yet was miraculously able to do so after his encounter with God in Genesis 18, he went on to father six additional sons conventionally with Keturah according to Genesis 25:2. The name Keturah became popular among Puritans after the Protestant Reformation.