Women of the Word: David’s Ten Concubines

davids-ten-concubines-wotw

In Old Testament Biblical times, it was common for men to have one or more wives and also several other women who they were not married to. These other women were called concubines and had lower status than the wives. King Solomon is probably the most infamous for this practice. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Three passages in the book of 2 Samuel (15:16; 16:22; 20:3), however, tell us that Solomon’s father, David, also had his share of concubines.

When he was running away from his rebellious son, Absalom, David left ten concubines behind to take care of the palace. Absalom took revenge on David and raped all ten women in a tent on the roof of the palace, in the sight of all Israel. Absalom later died in a tragic way and David was able to come back to the palace. When he returned, he took the ten concubines and put them in a house to themselves. David continued to provide for these women, but they were kept in confinement till the day of their death, living as widows. Continue reading