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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 5672 concubines
5672 concubines

5672 concubines

A woman, often a servant or slave, with whom a man had regular sexual relations, but to whom he was not married. A concubine did not have the rights of a wife and her children were not rightful heirs, though a wife might offer a servant to her husband as a concubine to have children on her behalf.

Concubines and wives

Concubines were distinguished from wives 1Ki 11:3 Having concubines alongside wives was accepted in a polygamous society. See also Jdg 8:30-31; 2Sa 5:13; 2Sa 19:5; 2Ch 11:21; Da 5:2-3

Concubines were sometimes called wives Ge 16:3 Hagar was Abraham’s “wife” only in a secondary sense. See also Ge 25:1 Keturah was one of Abraham’s concubines; Jdg 19:1-4

Concubines did not have the rights of a wife Ge 21:8-14 They were more easily dismissed; Ex 21:7-11 They did have some legal protection.

Maidservants were given as concubines Ge 30:3-6 Bilhah’s sons would be regarded by Rachel as her own and would thus share the inheritance with Jacob’s other sons. See also Ge 30:9; Ge 16:1-2; Gal 4:22-23

The tension between concubines and wives Ge 16:4-6 Though Abraham’s concubine, Hagar’s status was still that of servant. See also Ge 21:9; Pr 30:23; Gal 4:29

Children born to concubines were not rightful heirs Ge 21:10-12 See also Ge 25:5-6; Jdg 9:18; Ro 9:7; Gal 4:30; Heb 11:18

Concubines were a symbol of possession

By taking Jacob’s concubine, Reuben laid premature claim to his father’s estate Ge 35:22 See also Ge 49:3-4; 1Ch 5:1

Taking the concubine(s) of a king was tantamount to laying claim to the kingdom 2Sa 3:7 Abner is accused here of trying to usurp Ish-Bosheth’s inheritance. See also 2Sa 12:8; 2Sa 16:21-22; 1Ki 2:21-22

Further examples of concubines

Ge 22:23-24 Nahor’s concubine, Reumah; Ge 36:12 Eliphaz’concubine, Timna; Jdg 19:1 a Levite’s concubine; 2Sa 15:16 David’s concubines; 1Ch 1:32 Abraham’s concubine, Keturah; 1Ch 2:46-48 Caleb’s concubines, Ephah and Maacah; 1Ch 7:14 Manasseh’s concubine; Est 2:14 Xerxes’concubines; Da 5:23 Belshazzar’s concubines

See also


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