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EBD: Concubine
SMITH: CONCUBINE
Conclusion | Concordance | Concordance, English Bible | Concourse | Concubinage | Concubine | Concupiscence | Condemnation | Condemnation, Self | Condemned | Condescension of God

Concubine


NET Glossary: a slave woman in ancient Near Eastern society who could have legitimate sexual relations with her master but still did not have the rights of a free wife

Concubine [EBD]

in the Bible denotes a female conjugally united to a man, but in a relation inferior to that of a wife. Among the early Jews, from various causes, the difference between a wife and a concubine was less marked than it would be amongst us. The concubine was a wife of secondary rank. There are various laws recorded providing for their protection (Ex. 21:7; Deut. 21:10-14), and setting limits to the relation they sustained to the household to which they belonged (Gen. 21:14; 25:6). They had no authority in the family, nor could they share in the household government.

The immediate cause of concubinage might be gathered from the conjugal histories of Abraham and Jacob (Gen. 16;30). But in process of time the custom of concubinage degenerated, and laws were made to restrain and regulate it (Ex. 21:7-9).

Christianity has restored the sacred institution of marriage to its original character, and concubinage is ranked with the sins of fornication and adultery (Matt. 19:5-9; 1 Cor. 7:2).

CONCUBINE [SMITH]

The difference between wife and concubine was less marked among the Hebrews than among us, owing to the absence of moral stigma. The difference probably lay in the absence of the right of the bill of divorce, without which the wife could not be repudiated. With regard to the children of wife and of concubine, there was no such difference as our illegitimacy implies. The latter were a supplementary family to the former; their names occur in the patriarchal genealogies, (Genesis 22:24; 1 Chronicles 1:22) and their position and provision would depend on the father?s will. (Genesis 25:6) The state of concubinage is assumed and provided for by the law of Moses. A concubine would generally be either (1) a Hebrew girl bought of her father; (2) a Gentile captive taken in war; (3) a foreign slave bought; or (4) a Canaanitish woman, bond or free. The rights of the first two were protected by the law, (Exodus 21:7; 21:10-14) but the third was unrecognized and the fourth prohibited. Free Hebrew women also might become concubines. To seize on royal concubines for his use was probably the intent of Abner?s act, (2 Samuel 3:7) and similarly the request on behalf of Adonijah was construed. (1 Kings 2:21-24)


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