I received the following question:

How many wives did Saul actually have?  In 1 Samuel 14:50 it only says “wife” yet I always had thought before that there were others.

I Samuel 14:50 does, indeed, only list one wife for Saul.

50. The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle.

While we would like to say that in this, at least, Saul excelled David, yet a closer examination will reveal that Saul was not a “one-woman man.” II Samuel 3:7 reveals the truth of this.

7. And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. So Ishbosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?”

So Saul had a concubine (one of those “slave-wives” so common in those days) besides his wife Ahinoam. It is her children, not those of Ahinoam, whom David turns over to the Gibeonites at their request in II Samuel 21:8. She protects their bodies, and again is called Saul’s concubine in II Samuel 21:11.

11. And David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.

So while we can commend Saul for having only one wife, he did add to her a concubine. Other than these two, I can find no other mention of wives for Saul. He at least stuck much closer to the command not to multiply wives than David did.

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