5 thoughts on “Did the Bible allow men to have sex slaves?

  1. An interesting article. I had never really given any thought to exactly what a concubine was. I never figured them as ‘sex slaves’, if I had ever considered them at all! I’m good trying to deal with one wife, much less several including ‘slave wives’! You are right, though, that most Christians would not accept the fact that God never condemns this particular practice, then or now. Odd how we filter out the bible based on our culture, when it should be the other way around….

  2. BGR, interesting topic never really thought it through. What about women taken as spoils of war? We know of course the Israelites neighbors as all ancient peoples kept slaves. Would the Israelites have been any different? I wonder, it certainly would have been difficult not to yield to temptation as we know even from pre Civil War America. Of course the term slave is loaded now and we can’t discuss the idea in modern circles logically. But I remember an ancient history prof arguing quite strongly that being captured and then enslaved by the Romans was a far better existence than living free but outside the benefits of the Empire. Hard to wrap our minds around but probably correct.

  3. Dash,

    Your question “What about women taken as spoils of war?” is a great question and the Bible actually speaks very specifically on the issue of women being taken as spoils of war in the book of Deuteronomy:

    “10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,

    11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;

    12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

    13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

    14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.” – Deuteronomy 21:10-14 (KJV)

    Here we see clearly that God allowed the Israelite men to take women from foreign nations as spoils of war. However I want to draw your attention to a very BIG difference between Israel’s practice of taking women as spoils of war and other nations:

    “…that thou wouldest have her to thy wife”

    Israelite men were FORBIDDEN from raping women in towns and cities they captured. Men of other nations could indiscriminately rape women as they went through towns and cities. Israelite men had to have the intention of of making this women their wife. They also had to give her a month to mourn for her family that had been killed in war. Then they could make her their wife. Now if she turned out to be resistant to this man and would not submit to him and her husband he could send her away. But it is clear that the men had to treat these women with proper respect and have every intention of being a husband to these women.

    Contrast this with other nations that would allow their soldiers to indiscriminately rape and abuse women as they went from town to town in war. Often even men from foreign nations did take women back with them they truly did make them sex slaves and did not give them the status of wife as God commanded for Israelite men.

    Another thing we must realize as you were alluding to it was actually a kindness in many cases for these Israelite men to take these women back to be wives. Would it have been better to leave them in a burned out town with all the men dead so there was no one to protect and provide for these women? These are things we don’t often consider.

    Again great question and I hope I answered your question.

  4. Found you just by chance(?) great reading for those of us who wish to live by God’s word. thank you.

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