“Musical instruments” or “Concubines” in Ecclesiastes 2:8?
"I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts." (Ecclesiastes 2:8, KJV)
“שׁדּה (shiddâh)” appears only here in the Bible. The usual words for concubine are either “פּלגשׁ (pilegesh)” or “לחנה (lechênâh).” The footnote in the Zondervan KJV Study Bible says, “The Hebrew for this word occurs only here in Scripture, and its meaning is uncertain. The meaning seems to be indicated in an early Egyptian letter that uses a similar Canaanite term for concubines.” According to the footnote, the identification of this word as concubine “seems to be” (not conclusively) based on a “similar” (not the same) “Canaanite” (not Hebrew) term. Interestingly, the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate translate this word as containers for wine. The Bishops' Bible of 1568 and the Geneva Bible of 1587 have "woman taken captiue", so the theory that the word referred to some type of kept women was known to the KJV translators. The context of the singers, however, supports the KJV’s translation of “שׁדּה” as “musical instruments.” The American Standard Version agrees with the KJV.
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