The Three Divisions of Mankind (22 April, 2015, 3 Iyar, 5775)
1. 70 Descendants of Noah
2. 70 Descendants of Abraham
3. 70 Descendants of Israel
4. All Nations are Now Under the Influence of Esau, Ishmael, or the Children of Keturah [and sub-divided into either Esau or Ishmael].
5. Who were the descendants of Keturah?
The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.
They begat all of mankind.
In the time of the Deluge all inhabitants of the earth were wiped out apart from Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japhet, and of course their wives and children.
In Genesis 10 we find a list of 70 descendants of Noah. Each and every nation on earth somehow or other may trace themselves back to one of the original seventy.
In the Temple at Jerusalem, at the Feast of Succoth 70 bulls were sacrificed (Numbers 29:13-39), one for each nation.
We therefore have 70 nations NOT including the descendants of Israel.
Due to forced deportations and deliberate intermixing of peoples in the past alongside demographic blocks and environmental influences, etc, separate peoples may now seem quite different from each other but they still could have the same forefather.
As stated, the original 70 descend from Shem, Ham, and Japhet. Under Shem (in Genesis ch. 10) are listed 26 ancestral figures, under Japhet 14, and under Ham 40.
[See: Yehudah Kiel, 'Sefer Breishit' (Hebrew-language), Daat Mikra, Jerusalem 1997, 5757].
Israelites are descendants of Abraham who came from Shem and therefore Israelites also belong to the division of Shem.
In general Shem became the ancestor of certain Middle Eastern and European peoples, Japhet of European and Asian nations, and Ham fathered the inhabitants of Africa, many of the Indians of India and others.
Canaan was a son of Ham and Canaan had been cursed to be subservient to both Shem and Japhet (Genesis 9:25-27). In the same passage it was prophesied that Japhet should expand greatly and dwell in the Tents of Shem apparently meaning be under the direction of Shemites.
25 “Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brothers.”
26 He also said,
“Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.
27 “May God enlarge Japheth,
And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.”
A descendant of Shem was Abraham. He is considered to have been the first Hebrew. Abraham through Hagar begat Ishmael from whom come many of the Arabs. From his wife Sarah, Abraham begat Isaac. From another wife (or wives) named Keturah, Abraham begat six nations who went to the East. These were the children of Keturah.
From Sarah Abraham begat Isaac. Isaac begat twins, Jacob and Esau.
Jacob was re-named Israel (Genesis 32:8, 35:10) and begat 12 sons.
These became the 12 Tribes of Israel.
Esau, the twin-brother of Jacob, was also known as Edom (Genesis 25:25, 30). Esau begat 5 sons of whom 11 grandsons are listed and 11 'alufim' which word is translated variously as dukes, chieftains, or generals. It means 'leaders' (Genesis chapter 28). Some of the alufim have the same names as the grandsons but if (following the Commentary of Yehudah Kiel) we take them as different entities we get a number of 28 for Esau, his sons, grandsons, and generals. For Israel and his sons we get 13. Ishmael and his sons also gives us 13. The sons of the concubines of Abraham (Keturah and company) number 16. Altogether this comes to a total of 70 parallel to the 70 sons of Noah.
Descendants of Abraham may be divided into descendants of Ishmael, Edom, and Keturah. There are 70.
Israelites are under the cultural domination of Edom.
Israelites also number 70 (Genesis ch.46, Numbers ch.26). The Israelites are destined to rule the earth (Onkelos on Genesis 48:19).
Each Israelite clan is parallel to a specific non-Israelite nation:
8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of man,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the sons of Israel.
Israelites ruling the earth applies to the future even though, through the Ten Tribes, all nations of the earth have been influenced by Israelites and at some time or other ruled over by them to some degree. Nevertheless we are still at an interim level
In this intermediate stage we find 70 sons of Abraham (including Jacob and Esau and their offspring) parallel to the 70 nations of Noah. They are in an intermediate position. In other words they too have a role to play in ruling over and influencing other peoples. This is prior to the Messianic Era.
At present all nations of the earth may be divided into three sections: Ishmael, Edom, Keturah.
The Nations of Keturah may also be divided between Ishmael and Edom.
The Vilna Gaon said: Half of the 70 non-Israelite nations of the earth may be classifiable as Edomite and the other half as those of Ishmael.
This means that every nation to some degree or other in the cultural and sociological sense tends to one or other of the attitudes represented by Edom or by Ishmael and also may have physical input from either one of them. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Pomerantz ('ACHISHENA', Hebrew-language, Articles and commentary by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Pomerantz, based on the Sages and the Commentary of Or Ha-Chaim, Beit-Shemesh, Israel, 5773) explains that nations of the earth belong to either of the two types, Ishmael or Edom. This division existed even before the birth of Esau and Ishmael. They however came to epitomize and vitalize the types that they each belonged to. In a spiritual sense they became the life force of their own groupings. They may also have contributed elite physical elements of their own.
Concerning the European Christian Nations who pertain to Rome and Christendom it is quite obvious where the connection to Edom may be proposed. So too, Islam is the religion of Arabs and of peoples who think like them. This is Ishmael the forefather of leading Arab and other groups.
Regarding Asia the apportionment is not that clear. It is correct that for Asian nations an allocation to either Ishmael or Edom may be made. Both China and Japan, for instance, owed their foundation as nations to input from Edomite elements. The same may apply to other peoples in the area. On the other hand, Arabs from Ishmael, were important in the histories of Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc. Together with this possibility we may also tentatively assign the Asian peoples to a category of their own, i.e. of descendants of Keturah the concubine of Abraham.
5. Who were the descendants of Keturah?
Apart from Sarah (mother of Isaac), and Hagar (mother of Ishmael), Abraham took to wife (after the death of Sarah) Keturah, and begat 16 descendants through her (Genesis 25:1-4).
In addition a reference is made to "the sons of the concubines, that Abraham had" (Genesis 25:6). One explanation (Rashi) says that Keturah and the concubines are one and the same and that the word translated as concubines [pilagshim] should be read as singular. Whatever the case they are recalled together and for our purposes the sons of Keturah and/or the concubines may be considered as one entity.
1 And Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah. 2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. 4 And the sons of Midian: Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. 4ll these were the children of Keturah. 5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 But unto the sons of the concubines, that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts. And he sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
It says that Abraham gave gifts to the Sons of the Concubines. The Sages (Talmud, Sanhedrin 91;a) said that these were Names of impurity. They went to the east.
They influenced Asian cultures and in this way, together with contribution from Esau and Ishmael, we see an overall primacy of Shem over Japhet, as prophesied (Genesis 9:27). Rabbi Manasseh ben Yisrael (1604-1657, Netherlands) related a tradition that the Brahmins of India were descended from Abraham. See: "India-Brahmin".
The Names of Impurity remind us of the mantras and chanting meditation techniques used throughout Asia. In India the main religions are Hinduism and Islam. Hinduisim believes in a multitude of gods, transmigration of the soul, the caste system, and various concepts of retribution. India as well as Africa is referred to in the Bible as Cush. Buddhism, which is important elsewhere in Asia, is an offshoot of Hinduisim. Chinese religions and philosophies parallel Buddhism. Chinese Communism is not alien to these systems and may be consdiered as part of them. Ancestor worship is also important in Asia, especially China and Japan. In WW2 the Japanese claimed to be fighting against the West on behalf of all Asia. Japanese atrocities in China, Korea, and everywhere else they went belied these claims but there were those who believed it. As abstract principle it had something to base itself upon. A certain cultural homogeneity exists that justifies an over categorization under the name of Keturah.
The 70 Clans of Israel are destined to rule over the 70 Peoples of the Earth.
At present all peoples to some degree or other may be classified as culturally aligned with one or other of the Three Divisions of Abraham: Ishmael, Esau, and Keturah.
Israel (meaning both Judah and the Ten Tribes) in a spiritual sense is at present dominated by Esau also known as Edom.
TO BE CONTINUED