CONCUBINAGE (kon-lcirbl-nAj), (I leb.
tee-leh'ghesh, a half wife), in a scriptural sense, means the state of cohabiting lawfully with .1 wife of second rank, who enjoyed no other conjugal right but that of cohabitation, and whom the hus band could repudiate and send away with a small present (Gen. xxi.14).
In like manner, he could by means of presents, exclude his children by her from the heritage (Gen. xxv :6). Such concubines had Nalior (Gen. xxii •24), Abraham ( xxv .6), Jacob ( xxxv : 22). Eliphai. (xxxvi :12), Gideon, Saul (2 Sam, iii :7), David ( 2 Sam. v :13 ; xv .16 ; xvi .21), Solo. mon (1 Kings xi •3), Caleb ( t Chron. :46), Manasseh (ib. vii. 14), Rehoboam (2 Chron. xi • 21). Abiah ( 2 Chron. xiii :21) and Belshazzar (Dan. v :2).
(1) Causes. To judge from the conjugal his tones of Abraham and Jacob (Gen. xvi and xx ), the immediate cause of conetibinage was the barrenness of the lawful %%Is in that case introduced her maid-servant, of her own accord, to her husband, for the sake of having children. Accordingly we do not read that Isaac, son of Abraham, had any concubine, Rebecca, his wife, not being barren. In process of time, however, concubinage appears to have degenerated into a regular custom among the Jews, and the institu tions of Moses were directed to prevent excess and abuse in that respect, by wholesome laws and regulations (Exod. xxi :7-9; Deut. xxi:to-14). It would seem that the unfaithfulness of a concubine was not regarded as an act of real adultery (Lev. xix :2o). To guard adult male offspring from de bauchery before marriage, their parents, it appears, used to give them one of their female slaves as a concubine. She was then considered as one of the children of the house, and she retained her rights as a concubine, even after the marriage of the son (Exod. xxi :9, it). When a son had inter course with the concubine of his father, a sort of family punishment, we are informed, was inflicted on him (Gen. xxxv :22; I Chron. v:1).
(2) Children. With regard to the children of the wife and concubine, there was not the differ ence that our illegitimacy implies; the latter were a supplementary family, and their names occur in the patriarchal genealogies (Gen. xxii :24; I
Chron. i :32). The rights of a Hebrew concubine, who had been bought of her father and of a Gen tile taken in war, were protected by law (Exod. xxi :7; Deut. xxi :to),but the rights of a concubine who had been bought as a foreign slave were un recognized, and those of a Canaanitish woman prohibited.
In the Talmud (tit. Cetuboth), the Rabbins dif fer as to what constitutes concubinage; some re garding as its distinguishing feature the absence of the betrothing ceremonies (sponsalia), and of the dowry (libellus dotis), or portion of property allotted to a woman by special engagement, and to which she was entitled on the marriage day, after the decease of the husband, or in case of repudia tion; others, again, the absence of the latter alone.
(3) Roman Custom. The Roman law calls concubinage an allowed custom. When this ex pression occurs in the constitutions of the Chris tian emperors, it signifies what we now some times call a marriage of conscience. The concu binage tolerated among the Romans, in the time of the Republic and of the heathen emperors, was that between persons not capable of contracting legal marriage. Inheritances might descend to children that spring from such a tolerated cohabi lance. Concubinage between such persons they looked on as a kind of marriage, and even allowed it several privileges; but then it was confined to a single person, and was of perpetual obligation, as much as marriage itself. Concubinage is also used to signify a marriage with a woman of in ferior condition, to whom the husband does not convey his rank, much like the morganatic mar riages of European princes. The connection was considered so lawful that the concubine might be accused of adultery in the same manlier as a wife.
This kind of concubinage is still in use in some countries, title of halb-ehe (half-marriage), or left-hand marriage, in allusion to the manner of its being contracted, namely, by the man giving the woman his left hand instead of the right. This is a real marriage, though without the usual solemnity, and the parties are both bound to each other forever, though the female cannot bear the husband's name and title.