Had an unmarried Jewish woman ever owned a male slave, whom she acquired or asked to become her husband?

Was there ever any occurrence in the Tanach, Gemara, Mishna, Halacha, Aggadot, Midrashim, etc. of a single Jewish woman or a widowed Jewish woman who owned a male slave, whom she acquired or asked to become her husband?

In which circumstance could such a union be halachically permitted?

I ask this out of curiosity and for personal study. If I could have simply searched this for myself (like go to such and such search engine at such and such, where it is hooked up to all Jewish sources), then please teach me how and where I could have searched this. Thanks.

  • 1
    this is prohibited
    – kouty
    Aug 17, 2017 at 9:29
  • @kouty why? She could free him first. (Also can a woman own an eved ivri? Then she wouldn't have to free him.)
    – Heshy
    Aug 17, 2017 at 9:46
  • this is in mishna. a woman,cannot buy male slaves
    – kouty
    Aug 17, 2017 at 12:23
  • @kouty I understand that a woman can not buy male slaves, but where in the Mishna or Halacha or Gemara does it say she can not inherit a male slave?
    – ninamag
    Aug 17, 2017 at 12:33
  • 1
    Thanks, but that's in Shulchan Aruch - based on a Gemara in Bava Metzia 71. But @kouty claimed it was a Mishna - and I was wondering if my memory has gone faulty. (As to your question, the "kosher" scenario could be that she inherits a slave and then frees him to marry him. Fascinating question.) Aug 17, 2017 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


Example in Tanach of woman marrying a slave:[Divrei Hayomim 1, 2,35]-

וַיִּתֵּן שֵׁשָׁן אֶת-בִּתּוֹ לְיַרְחָע עַבְדּוֹ, לְאִשָּׁה; וַתֵּלֶד לוֹ, אֶת-עַתָּי - So Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant to wife; and she bore him Attai.

Rashi explains There were 14 generations till Yishmael ben Netania who killed Gedalia ben Achikam to show that there are bad genes from bad yichus (see [Jeremiah 41:2][2]-3) and meforshim.פרש"י ולששן עבד מצרי ירחע ויתן את בתו לירחע המצרי עבדו ומספר בגנותן כלומר לא היו ראויין למלכות ויצא ממנו ישמעאל בן נתניה בן אלישמע שהרג גדליה בן אחיקם ( ירמיה מ"א
She must have married an eved meshuchrar(freed slave who is Jewish) as marriage won't work to an eved canaani as evident in Kidushin 66b.

The mishna Yevamoth 67a says that a woman can own inherited male slaves:

מתני' בת ישראל שניסת לכהן ומת והניחה מעוברת לא יאכלו עבדיה בתרומה מפני חלקו של עובר
an Israelite daughter who married a cohen and he died and left her pregnant, her slaves may not eat teruma because of the portion of ownership of the fetus


Halachically, Kiddushin chapter 3 Mishnah 5 says that the eved must be freed first before any marriage can take place. Once he has been freed, he is like any other Jew and it would not be any different from any other marriage. Any kiddushin done while he is an eved is invalid.

הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת הָאִשָּׁה וְאָמַר, כְּסָבוּר הָיִיתִי שֶׁהִיא כֹהֶנֶת וַהֲרֵי הִיא לְוִיָּה, לְוִיָּה וַהֲרֵי הִיא כֹהֶנֶת, עֲנִיָּה וַהֲרֵי הִיא עֲשִׁירָה, עֲשִׁירָה וַהֲרֵי הִיא עֲנִיָּה, הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הִטְעַתּוּ. הָאוֹמֵר לְאִשָּׁה, הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי לְאַחַר שֶׁאֶתְגַּיֵּר אוֹ לְאַחַר שֶׁתִּתְגַּיְּרִי, לְאַחַר שֶׁאֶשְׁתַּחְרֵר אוֹ לְאַחַר שֶׁתִּשְׁתַּחְרְרִי, לְאַחַר שֶׁיָּמוּת בַּעֲלֵךְ אוֹ לְאַחַר שֶׁתָּמוּת אֲחוֹתֵךְ, לְאַחַר שֶׁיַּחֲלֹץ לָךְ יְבָמֵךְ, אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ, אִם יָלְדָה אִשְׁתְּךָ נְקֵבָה הֲרֵי הִיא מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי, אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. אִם הָיְתָה אֵשֶׁת חֲבֵרוֹ מְעֻבֶּרֶת וְהֻכַּר עֻבָּרָהּ, דְּבָרָיו קַיָּמִין, וְאִם יָלְדָה נְקֵבָה, מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת:

[With regard to] one who betroths a woman, and [later] says, "I had thought that she was a Kohenet [daughter of a Kohen] and behold she is a Levite;" "A Levite, and behold she is a Kohenet;" "Poor, and behold she is rich;" "Rich, and behold she is poor;" [in all these cases] she is betrothed, because she did not deceive him. [With regard to] one who says to a woman, "You are hereby betrothed to me after I convert;" "After you convert;" "After I am freed;" "After you are freed;" "After your husband dies;" "After your sister dies;" "After your yavam performs chalitzah [the ceremony performed to release a widow of a childless man from the obligation of levirate marriage];" [in all these cases] she is not betrothed. Similarly, [with regard to] one who says to his fellow, "If your wife gives birth to a female, [the child] is hereby betrothed to me," she is not betrothed. If his fellow's wife was visibly pregnant, his words are valid; and if she gives birth to a female, she is betrothed.

  • Interesting, but the question was whether a woman owned a slave. I don't see how this answers it.
    – msh210
    Aug 17, 2017 at 17:26
  • To me this shows what a Jewish woman would halachically do, before her man-slave can become her husband. Now whether this was done in the Tanach we would need a different source.
    – ninamag
    Aug 17, 2017 at 17:46
  • @ninamag it does not say anything about who the owner of the slave is, it seems it is also reffuring to when she was not the owner
    – hazoriz
    Aug 17, 2017 at 19:23
  • @hazoriz Does not Yevamoth 67a clearly examples a woman who inherits and, therefore, owns male slaves?
    – ninamag
    Aug 17, 2017 at 19:29
  • @ninamag I see that she owns male slaves but nothing about inheritance in that Source sefaria.org/Yevamot.67a.4
    – hazoriz
    Aug 17, 2017 at 19:46

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