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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
Barrenness is, in the East, the hardest lot that can befall a woman, and was considered among the Israelites as the heaviest punishment with which the Lord could visit a female (Genesis 16:2; Genesis 30:1-23; 1 Samuel 1:6; 1 Samuel 1:19; Isaiah 47:9; Isaiah 49:21; Luke 1:25). This general notion of the disgrace of barrenness in a woman may early have given rise, in the patriarchal age, to the custom among barren wives of introducing to their husbands their maid-servants, and of regarding the children born in that concubinage as their own, by which they thought to cover their own disgrace of barrenness (Genesis 16:2; Genesis 30:3).
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Barrenness'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/b/barrenness.html.