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Jack Ryan

What is your definition of a concubine as written in the Bible to describe the women of King David?

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Jack Ryan -
James Thomas Rook Jr. -

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Sex slave

In Judges 19 we read about a Levite man who took a concubine, she escaped from him, he found her and took her back. He also lent her to a group of Benjamites so they could gang rape her.

In Genesis 29:29 Rachel is given a slave girl named Bilhah. Later on, it specifically calls this slave a concubine “pilagesh” in Hebrew (Genesis 37).

We also have middle eastern references that show us concubines were not wives.

Middle Assyrian law 47 states: If a man wants to veil his concubine, he must assemble five or six of his neighbors and veil her in front of them, and say, “She is my wife.” In this way she becomes his wife. A concubine who has not been veiled in front of witnesses, or whose husband has not said, “She is my wife,” is not a wife; she is still a concubine.

Concubines still exist in Saudi Arabia and they function as sex slaves.

The son of a concubine's appointment as ‘deputy heir’ stirs up

Exodus 21:7-11 English Standard Version (ESV): When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

The Bible does not condemn the use of concubines

King David had 10 of them.



Note:The Bible also uses the word “Concubine”(Pilagesh) in the masculine form “Pilagshehem”. Another reason why this word can’t mean “wife” as some people have stated.

This appears in the verse Ezekiel 23:20. Look it up, it’s an interesting read!



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The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary 2013


CONCUBINE A concubine is a woman whose status in relation to her sole legitimate sexual partner is less than primary wife. The Hebrew loan word pilegesh(“concubine”) is notably non-Semitic (not linguistically related to Hebrew). Its cognates appear in Latin ( paelex) and Greek (pallakis). One view is that pilegeshreferred to non-Hebrew women, while another view sees it as describing a female partner in a matrilocal marriage (contra patriarchal). Although some see the treatment of concubines addressed in the slave rules of Exod. 21:7–11, pilegeshis not used there. It is better to understand the function of concubines more broadly within marriage terminology. Following Gideon’s death, both concubines and wives laid claim to his authority (Judg. 8:30–9:2). Reference to concubines is largely found in the Pentateuch (e.g., Gen. 22:24; 36:12) and monarchial texts (e.g., 2 Sam. 5:13; 1 Kings 11:3). The genealogies show that succession could move through concubines (Gen. 22:24; 1 Chron. 3:9). It is the kings who had concubines (1 Chron. 11:21), often guarded by eunuchs (2 Sam. 20:3; Esther 2:14). Therefore, access to the royal concubines functioned as a daring claim to the throne, exploited by interlopers (2 Sam. 12:11–12; 1 Kings 2:22–25). It took Nathan’s allegorical story to show David his own greed of stealing another’s “lamb” even though he already had many wives and concubines (2 Sam. 12:8; 16:21). While concubines did care for the household (2 Sam. 20:2), their lower status is observed when David flees into exile, leaving the concubines “to take care of the palace” (2 Sam. 15:16), a role too dangerous for the royal wives.

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18 hours ago, Jack Ryan said:

The Bible does not condemn the use of concubines

There is something so childish about this complaint, as though Jack cannot imagine anything other than a grade-school moral primer, as though he is a petulant child himself.

The Bible is a history of persons and their relationships with God. Some sought him. Some fled him. Some ignored him. Some never knew him. The history is a blend of each of these poles. 

If God has smashed everything that was wrong from Cain and Abel’s time on, we would not be here to talk about it.

1 hour ago, Ray Devereaux said:

The Hebrew loan word pilegesh(“concubine”) is notably non-Semitic (not linguistic

Thanks to Ray the Newbie for putting some meat on the bones that Jack hoped to shock everyone with.

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On 9/5/2019 at 9:21 PM, Ray Devereaux said:

CONCUBINE A concubine is a woman whose status in relation to her sole legitimate sexual partner is less than primary wife.


On 9/5/2019 at 11:06 PM, TrueTomHarley said:

Thanks to Ray the Newbie for putting some meat on the bones that Jack hoped to shock everyone with.

With or without meat .... said words not denied polygamous culture of Israel society. And not denied practice of women and men who enjoyed in sex outside of any sort of marriage arrangements.  

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The thought just occurred to me.... When Jesus (or was it Paul?) said a man should be a husband of one wife ... he did not mention concubines at all ... which did have some sort of legal status under Jewish Law.

King David was apparently very flexible with that arrangement.

Perhaps JW Insider has the bird's eye, low down on that caper.

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