Bible family values: part 4 – In which marriage is defined as one man, one woman, and her female slavegirl

16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight.

I know it’s shocking that when we discuss biblical marriage in the sphere of ideas, we completely ignore the biblical account of what marriage used to be defined as.

In this case, the matriarch decides to give her husband her slave girl to use as her surrogate/his sexual object, as was the custom and law of the time in many places. Hagar would have nothing to say about it, of course, because she was property.

I’m starting to think that the concept of biblical marriage might be a little warped.


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