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This was not the situation of the D'tPjVs or * concubines amongst the 'jews; these y seem to have been looked upon as wives, though, in some respects, of an inferior rank. They were i'o far considered as wives, that the man who took them had such 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 son of Jacob, had lain with her -, and Jacob, Gen. xlix. 4. calls it ** going up to ** his bed and dejiling it."
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
* Dr. ^Johnson, in his Dictionary, makes a concur line signify—" a woman kept in fornication, a whore, "a strumpet:" hut no such rrieaning of the word U'j'P'S is to be found in the sacred scriptures. It is greatly owing to such interpretations of words which are used in our translation, that we are led to have very false conceptions, not only of words, but of whole passages, in the sacred volume.
So the word adultery—instead of keeping to the unvaried use of the Hebrew 5]>0 we make it signify every thing which our ideas have annexed to the Englijh term adultery. At this rate, the truth of scripture can never be fixed, but must alter with the languages into which it may happen to be translated, or with the ideas which change of times, .or opinions, may affix to certain words in those languages.
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were deemed so att:u
■■.'-; Bilhah and vas may appear vet the children i of Canaan equal : the former. :t master enough of . vastly the difference . and tiM^S a concuneither have I been meet with so precise v author, as to warrant of the question. This
nark of disapprobation is set jiage in the sacred'scriptures, icy speak so severely against whore. nich, to me, is an evident arid con.ve proof, that there is some specific Terence between them..1 Indeed we find the owner of the cdncubine called her.husband; she his wife. So the text, Judges xix. i. a certain Levite took to him syjV'S nj^N uxorem pellicem. Mont.; a wife concubine: and" in verse 3. he is called rltP'K vir ejusx Mont.; her husband, as we translate it. So the Fr. of3 D. Martin, 'son mart. The damsel's father is called, ver. 4. his (the Levite's) \DD father-in-law; and ver. 5. the Levite is called linn his (the damsel's father's) son-in-law; each of these relations by marriage being expressed by the word ^nn. Surely this affords a conclusive proof, that the concubines, in those days, were in some sense wives; but, in what sense, it may be very difficult to determine exactly. The root ]nn signifies to contrast affinity by marriage. Gen. xxxiv. 9. Josh, xxiii. 12. In this last passage, the LXX render it by e7nyafu'tx.c vetuv, to make marriages. So that though we cannot state the precise difference between the wife and
hus. "An handmaid united and devoted to a man, or husband, without writing— i.e. without any contract for dower or espousals."
£ 4 the in every particular, yet there
uo $r«tt ft iimilarity between them,
. . »v> be both widely different from what
* sJ&l A kept mistress, in whom the man
.turn, not A jot more property, than in
.1 hoiic hired for a day's journey, nor.is
'Ujttw cat* or concern usually taken about
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thv ta'l*- leads him to resolve upon dis
the remedy of this mischief depends oa that of, the others which have been men-•.uJ . ail mult stand or fall together.
■ «. ■ • • . . •■/
I COME now to consider an offence against the positive precepts of God, which is of the most malignant kind, that of commerce between the /exes, where the woman is the wife, consequently the inviolable and unalienable property of another man.
This is truly and properly adultery, and described in the seventh commandment by a word, which, throughout the whole Hebrew scriptures, is confined to that single idea. Hence it is, that it is used, in a figurative sense, to denote the turning fromrGoD to the worship of idols. God calls himself the husband of His church; the church is represented under the figure of a spouse or wife; therefore, apostatizing from Jehovah to idols, is called, in a spiritual fense, adultery, Is. liv. 5. * 'Thy
* The words in the original are TW T'tW 'n 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 passages, the careful reader must fee a plurality of persons in Jehovah