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lot to keep for a time, and then, when pleasure or conveniency prompts, difmiffing her. This is ufually called keeping a mistress; but as there is no intention of marriage, and this is only done for the mere gratification of luft, it is not only a very evil example to others, and a defiance of the laws and good order of fociety, but doubtlefs comes under the condemnation, as it must be ranked under the defcription, of fornication and whoredom.

This was not the fituation of the 'w' or +concubines amongst the Jews; these feem to have been looked upon as wives, though, in some respects, of an inferior rank. They were fo far confidered as wives, that the man who took them had fuch a propriety in them, as to make it a very great offence, if not adultery itself, to violate them; as appears in the cafe of Jacob's concubine Bilhah. Reuben, the eldest fon of Jacob, had lain with her; and


† Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, makes a concubine fignify a woman kept in fornication, a whore, a ftrumpet:" but no fuch meaning of the word

is to be found in the fcriptures. It is greatly owing to fuch interpretations of words which are used in our tranflation, that we are led to have very falfe conceptions, not only of words, but of whole paffages, in the facred volume.

So the word adultery-instead of keeping to the unvaried ufe of the Hebrew N, we make it fignify every thing which our ideas have annexed to the English term adultery. At this rate, the truth of fcripture can never be fixed, but muft alter with the languages into which it may happen to be tranflated, or with the ideas which change of times, or opinions, may affix to certain words in those languages,

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Jacob, Gen. xlix. 4. calls it " going up to his bed and defiling it." For this crime Reuben was difinherited, and put from the right of the first-born, Compare Gen. xlix. 3, 4. with 1 Chron. v. I,

Though the children of the concubine did not inherit as the children of the wife in most cafes, yet in one very remarkable one we find they did, and that by the disposal of GOD Himself. Leah and Rachel, are called the wives of Jacob; Bilbab and Zilpah were his concubines (as may appear from Gen. xxxv. 22.); yet the children of these inherited the land of Canaan equally with the children of the former.

I confefs myself not mafter enough of the fubject, to define exactly the difference between a wife, and was a concubine, in all refpects; neither have I been fortunate enough to meet with so precise a definition in any author, as to warrant a determination of the question. What I have found upon the subject, I fubmit to the Reader, in the notes below, and in the appendix to this


+ The authors of the Univ. Hift. (vol. iii. p. 141.) call the wives of the first rank, and the wa wives of the fecond rank; which laft, fay they, though most "verfions render by the word concubines, harlots, and prof❝titutes, yet in none of thofe places of fcripture where "the word is used, which are about thirty-fix in num

ber, is any fuch finifter fenfe implied." However, they ftate a two-fold difference between these and the wives of the first rank. "First-that the latter were "taken with the ufual ceremonies, and the former with

66 out,

chapter, which he will fee at the end of this volume.

This is certain, no mark of difapprobation is set upon concubinage in the fcriptures, though they speak fo feverely against whoredom; which, to me, is an evident and conclufive proof, that there is fome fpecific difference between them. Indeed we find the owner of the concubine called her husband; fhe bis wife. So the text, Judges xix. 1. A certain Levite took to him a nes uxorem pellicem. Mont. ; a wife concubine: and in

"out. Secondly, with refpect to their authority, and "the honour paid to them and their children."

This is very clear, that the facred tongue, made use of by the Holy Ghost in the fcriptures, makes diftinctions, which amount to demonstration of there being no foundation for confounding the Dab with whores or harlots. The words and w are fometimes used for the fame perfon. See Gen. xxv. 1. 6. (xxx. 4. with xxxv. 22.); but wab and are never thus ufed.

Calafio defines was-Ancilla unita & addicta viro abfque fcriptura, i. e. contractu dotali & fponfalibus. "An "handmaid united and devoted to a man, or husband, "without writing-i. e. without any contract for dower "or efpoufals."

Bufbequius exprefsly affirms, "that a wife is diftinguifhed from a concubine, in Turkey, merely by a 66 dowry, which feems alfo to have been the diftinction



among the Jews." See Outlines of a new Commentary on Solomon's Song, (a moft ingenious and excellent work) p. 21. written by an author to whom the world is highly indebted, for "Obfervations on divers paffages of fcrip


ture," in two volumes - a work, which, by laying before us the manners and customs in the East, elucidates the fcriptures of the Old Teftament beyond any other comment that has yet appeared. It may be truly faid of Mr. Harmer, that he has the happy art of making " dark things plain," in a way, which, at the fame time that it inftructs, highly entertains the reader.


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verfe 3. he is called vir ejus. Mont.; her husband, as we tranflate it. So the Fr. of D. Martin, fon mari; and this tranflation feems to be very proper, because, the damfel's father is called, ver. 4. his (the Levite's) ¡nn father-in-law; and ver. 5. the Levite is called nn bis (the damfel's father's) fon-inlaw; each of thefe relations by marriage being expreffed by the word nn. Surely this affords a conclufive proof, that the concubines, in those days, were in some sense wives; but, in what fenfe, it may be very difficult to determine exactly. The root in fignifies to contract affinity by marriage. Gen. xxxiv. 9, Jofh. xxiii. 12. In this laft paffage, the LXX render it. by ἐπιγαμίας ποιειν, to make marriages. So that though we cannot state the precife difference between the wife and the concubine in every particular, yet there was too great a fimilarity between them, not to be both widely different from what we call a kept mistress, in whom the man claims not a jot more property, than in an horse hired for a day's journey, nor is more care or concern ufually taken about them, when once the fancy or humour of the keeper leads him to refolve upon difmiffion.

The remedy of this mifchief depends on that of the others which have been mentioned; all must stand or fall together.





COME now to confider an offence against the pofitive precepts of GOD, which is of the moft malignant kind, that of commerce between the fexes, where the woman is the wife, confequently the inviolable and unalienable property of another man.

This is truly and properly adultery, and described in the feventh commandment by a word, which, throughout the whole Hebrew fcriptures, is confined to that fingle idea. Hence it is, that it is used, in a figurative sense, to denote the turning from GOD to the worship of idols. GOD calls himself the busband of His church; the church is reprefented under the figure of a spouse or wife; therefore, apoftatizing from JEHOVAH to idols, is called, in a fpiritual sense, adultery, If. liv. 5. *Thy Maker is thine husband. Jer. iii. 14.

* The words in the original are Ty Thy in the plural number, thy husbands, thy makers; then follows, Jehovah Sabaoth IS HIS name. Surely here, as in Eccl. xii. 1. and in many other paffages, the careful reader muft fee a plurality of perfons in Jehovah openly revealed. To imagine, as many do, that this fundamental of true religion was referved to the days of the New Testament, is one of those confequences of ignorance with respect to the Hebrew fcriptures, under which we Chriftians content ourselves.


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