“What was a concubinage?”

“Concubinage was practiced in many ancient cultures, especially in Mesopotamia…where a private citizen might have one or two concubines in addition to his primary wife…A concubine was often a slave or part of the booty of war (Judges 5:30). A man might have a concubine simply as an economical form of marriage, since no dowry or bride-price was required. A concubine could add to a man’s prestige by giving him two wives and thus an increased capacity for children. Such offspring were normally delivered onto the knees of the legal wife, thus establishing their legitimacy as family members. The concubine was also another servant to add to his work force.” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible 

1 Chronicles 3:9 These were all the sons of David, besides the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister.

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3 Responses to “What was a concubinage?”

  1. jtveg says:

    So according to the bible was this an acceptable practisce or something the bible wanted someone to avoid? Wasn’t it sinful to live in unmarried relationship. I am confused. Why does the bible call certain people “righteous” when they have multiple wives and concubines if God said marriage is for one man and one woman? Please help me understand.

  2. Thank you for that clear explanation. Some people might have guessed that a concubinage was a cross between a cucumber and a cabbage, but they would have been dreadfully wide of the mark. I was once told that King David had many porcupines, but I had to point out to the speaker that, admirable though the creatures are, a prickle (for that is the collective name} of porcupines would have caused havoc in a royal palace and would therefore have disrupted the king’s lute-playing.

  3. Thank you for that clear explanation.

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