The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures has published an excellent article on female slaves in the Hebrew Bible. Below is an abstract of the article:
Edward J. Bridge, “Female Slave vs Female Slave: ’AMAH and SHIPHAH in the HB”
Abstract: This study of ’amah and shiphah shows that there is no inherent distinction in meaning between the two terms, due to the intertwining of context of use and text genre. Both are used for slave wives in Genesis, in legislation contexts, in deferential language by women, in property lists, and in relation to the master or mistress. Yet patterns of use occur. ’amah predominates in legislation and marriage contexts; and shiphah predominates in Genesis and when generally designating female slaves.
The article is available free online in PDF format. To access the article click here.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary