Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
The word concubine, or a form thereof, is mentioned some 37 times in the KJV Bible. It is
most often mentioned in the Old Testament, for concubinage seems to have been a common
practice for Old Testament peoples, both the Jews as well as Gentiles.
Basically, a concubine is a second-class wife. She does not enjoy nor inherit all the things
that the first or most esteemed wife has. A concubine may have been a servant girl sold to a
man by a poor family, or may have made up the harem of a king. A concubine may also have
been part of the spoils of a victory in war.
Though a ‘second class’ or ‘second level’ wife, a concubine did have privileges above the
common work and service of females servants or slaves. She bore children to the one who
owned her. Even though she was a ‘second class’ wife, the man who owned her was referred
to as her husband. And he had to observe, in most early Old Testament societies including
Hebrew, special treatment and rules regarding his concubines and their children.
Concubines were a source not only of service but of building up the numbers a man’s family
and thus, having more workers available, that one became more powerful and wealthy.
Concubinage was no sanctioned by God, but we do not read of it being denied to God’s
earthly people under the Old Covenant — the covenant of law. However when Christianity
was established, polgamy (more than one wife) and concubinage were no longer allowed as
acceptable, though unsanctioned actions, of a man towards women.
In Chnristian teaching, one man was to have one wife, even as we read in the original
creation where Adam was given one wife, Eve. It was not till the rebellious, Godless city of
Enoch was built by the murdered, Cain, that a man is recorded as having two wives.
The reason Christianity does not allow for more than one wife for a man is because the
marriage union between one man and one wife has always pictured the coming joyous
union between the Lord Jesus Christ and His blood bought, redeemed Church, called the
bride of Christ in Revelation 19.
Read carefully all of Ephesians 5, 1 Cor. 12, to understand how God views His redeemed
children, the body of Christ and the Bride of Christ (also not that in Revelation 19, the wife
of Christ is used ... thus in that chapter there are two glorious aspects to the same thing—the
Bride is celebrated at the bridal supper of the lamb, and His wife (the same as the bride) has
made herself ready. It is this that the marriage union pictures and why there can only be one
man and one woman involved with each other in a God ordained, Christian wedding.0
It is believers in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, in the past 2,000 years who comprise
the bride, the wife, the body of the Lord Jesus Christ—each having special moral character-
istics that belong to each on of these three.