Concubine Judges 19:1-4 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The question arises, “What is a concubine?” And “what is the distinction, if any, between a concubine and a wife?” For the answer, we need to examine the Bible and see what the Lord says.
A Concubine is a Wife – v.3-4 Notice in this passage that the man from mount Ephraim is called “her husband” and her father is called his “father-in-law.” Interestingly, her father had never met his son-in-law before his arrival to bring her back to him, v.3. Notice, Gen 25:1-6, where Keturah, Abraham’s “wife” in v.1 is called one of his “concubines” in v.6. That would make Hagar his other concubine. Sarah was his wife but she was never called his concubine so there is definitely some distinction.
A Concubine is distinct from a wife who is not a concubine – 1 Ki 11:3, Solomon had 700 wives who were princesses and he had 300 concubines. Some have said that the concubines were “foreigners” perhaps. However, in v.3, it was the wives that turned Solomon’s heart away and many of them were foreign, v.5-8. David ended up married to Bathsheba, who was a Hittite, and their son Solomon was the heir to the throne. So, while there is a distinction, the line of distinction is not very clear. A concubine, in effect, is a 2nd rank wife.
A Concubine enjoys some of a wife’s privileges and responsibilities – 2 Sam 15:16, David’s concubines kept the house while he went into exile. Following Ahithophel’s counsel, Absalom slept with these women, 2 Sam 16:21, and David refused to go into them again after returning from the defeat of Absalom, 2 Sam 20:3.
A Concubine is similar to a wife in that she has slept with her “husband” – In Est 2:2-4 we see that a replacement queen is being sought for Ahasuerus from among fair virgins in his kingdom. In Est 2:12-14 we see that each virgin spends one night with the king, after which she goes to live in the house of the concubines. This is very important, because it indicates that after only one night together, her status changes. In Est. 2:16-17 we see that Esther becomes the new queen.
Application. Now, turning our attention to how these matters apply today, we find two very interesting passages in the New Testament worthy of our attention. In 1 Cor 6:15-16, we find that when a man joins his body to a harlot, he creates a union identical to the union created in marriage, cited in Gen 2:24. He essentially has a concubine. Therefore, premarital sex is specifically more complicated than one might assume. Then, In Heb 13:4 we find that only the marriage bed is honorable and undefiled. Therefore, according to the Lord, extra-marital or premarital sexual relations are defiled and dishonorable, by definition!
Conclusion: don’t get involved in premarital and extra-marital sex. Save yourself for your marriage.