Concubines

Concise Bible Dictionary:

These were a class of inferior wives: they were at times personal servants given by wives to their husbands from their great desire for children, who then accounted the children of the servant as their own, as it was with Rachel and Leah. Such cases may have been comparatively rare, and would in no way account for the prevalence of men having concubines. Deuteronomy 21:1111And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; (Deuteronomy 21:11) gives the root of it: a man saw a beautiful woman and lusted after her. God seems to have simply allowed it: as the Lord said about their easy way of writing a bill of divorcement: Moses permitted it “because of the hardness of your hearts.” When God spoke of Israel having a king, one of the things forbidden to him was that of multiplying wives, lest his heart be turned away (Deut. 17:1717Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. (Deuteronomy 17:17)). This alas, was the very fall of Solomon, who had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and they did turn away his heart (1 Kings 11:33And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. (1 Kings 11:3)). In the Canticles we read of 60 queens and 80 concubines and virgins without number; but there was one, a choice one, the only one of her mother, that excelled them all—the bride of the song (Song of Solomon 6:8-98There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. 9My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. (Song of Solomon 6:8‑9)). Esther 2:1414In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name. (Esther 2:14) and Daniel 5:22Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. (Daniel 5:2) show that concubinage was a custom also among the heathen. Christianity disallows such evil, and recognizes the relationship as established of God, and hence the sanctity of the marriage tie in those whom God joins together.