Currently Doing Research On Biblical Slavery.

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Brian J. Rivera, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. So basically the issue of slavery has been bothering me and I decided to post my progress. Since I am really busy I cannot do that much research a day, but perhaps people that are interested can help.(maybe a few links or thoughts) Basically I want to cover the types of slavery, how slaves were treated, and other factors related. Also please excuse my liberal use of the word slavery, it's quite obvious that most of what is in the bible is indentured servitude.

    So far I have identified the following forms of "slavery" in the bible:

    Voluntary servitude by the sons of Israel (indentured servants)
    Deuteronomy 15.12

    Voluntary permanent slaves
    Exodus 21.2-6: 2

    Thief or criminal making restitution
    Exodus 22:1-3

    Pagans could be permanent slaves
    Leviticus 25:44-46

    Prisoners of war were kept as slaves
    Deuteronomy 20.16-

    Woman can be sold into indentured servitude for marriage reasons or they can just be regular servants.
    Exodus 21.7-11 7

    Alien or temporaries that become rich can own slaves
    Leviticus 25.47-47

    slaves can own slaves…???
    2 Samuel 19.17- 16

    Women and children could be taken as slaves and married off
    Deuteronomy 20:14, Deuteronomy 21:10

    So I think that about covers it. I'm also working on showing some of the moral laws related to Israelite slavery. So far I'm making good progress two verses that I would like to highlight are

    Job 31.13:
    If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves[‘amah],

    when they brought a complaint against me;

    14 what then shall I do when God rises up?

    When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?

    15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?

    And did not one fashion us in the womb?

    *this one seems to show that it is admirable to treat your slaves well. Job even admits their equal humanity, takes responsibility for them, and allows them to complain.

    & Genesis 24.1-..."Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 Abraham said to his servant['ereb], the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh 3 and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live

    *the key point her is that servant/slave['ereb] is part of Abraham's house. So much in fact that the slave takes care of all his property. I also have a speculative theory that this servant is of foreign decent since Abraham tells him not to get a Canaanite wife and sends him out above all others. There is a good chance that his servant is foreign according to Genesis 17.27.(this verse also shows slaves can join the covenant)

    Anyway, does anyone have some verses regarding slavery that are bothering them, curious about, want me to cover? I am actually making on monster of a paper on this issue. It will be posted on Google docs when it's ready and if anyone want to view it. Seriously though no question is too stupid here, let's talk it out. :D
    KingJ likes this.
  2. I think you've done a great job so far. I'm not sure how to add to it, except to say, a righteous person will take care of all his property and those under their authority.

    What is your end goal in this inquiry? I've recently been told I'm a cynic so take it as such. :D
    Major likes this.
  3. #3 CCW95A, Jul 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
    Many times the word "servant" is also translated "slave" in the New Testament. Everyone, no matter who they are are a servant/slave to someone. Even if you are your own boss. There is the federal government who has its demands that you must comply with or else. I work for Home Depot, and as long as I am on the clock I am their servant/slave to do what they want, if I want to stay employed. Even when it comes to sin, we a become slaves to it, and there is nothing you can do about it, unless you make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life.
  4. There is a difference between being a slave and an employee.
    Major likes this.
  5. I would like to point out in the new testament the book Philemon has context about a slave named Onesimus. From what I can gather Philemon was a wealthy slaveowner and had probably been converted to Christianity under Paul. I think Pauls goal was to see Philemon embrace his run away slave that had also stolen some of his property as a Christian brother. I think perhaps its more about forgivness than slavery but maybe it could be of service to your studies. Personally I see the letter as a way to conduct ourselves
  6. And aren't you glad all of that was rescinded by The King? Correcting man because of his hard heart?

    I know I am.
  7. Your lucky. I have been called a lot worse than that recently!

  8. No I understand I'm a little cynical too. Basically the goal is to un-demonize "slavery" in the OT this is just my progress so far.

  9. I am too and I actually would say the OT is slavery for everyone. I won't get too in depth because this is a completely different topic.
  10. Currently Doing Research On Biblical Slavery.

    I think that is a controversial title, if not politically incorrect: as if: bible endorse slavery....unless you can clarify the adjective "biblical"

    A none controversial title can be: slavery during ancient times... of a nation...

    IMO/POV:, slavery is a political thing. how a individual or a state handle its affairs.

    Slavery is in the context of person to person relationship.

    Entities that can enter into a relationship: Individual, the collective: community, nation

    For an individual to his environment:

    Relationship in between changes over time: relationship of individual to nation: as a subject, a citizen, as a civilian or military personnel, as legislator etc.
    To his fellowman or doing business together: as a partner, a financier, as an employee-employer.
    To member of his own household: to his blood relation or stranger, to his helper, that is: his slaves.​

    For the collective to its environment
    Relationship to its citizen, regulating laws on military, business, etc.
    Laws affecting the individual: how he handles his business, even how he handle his own household (parental obligation), his helpers, that is: his slaves….​

    That is: it is a political thing: how a person or a state handles its affairs.
  11. It should be noted that nowhere does the bible say " slavery is great and is how we should live." (Slavery to humans) In fact that was not god's original plan. God originally intended us to live freely with one another in paradise. Just because the bible says you can own slaves and you can divorce does not mean it is the preferred method.
  12. I agree, this topic, as well as divorce, in my opinion are highlights of another topic: ‘Authority”…

    That is: “Divine Law” compared to “Law of Man with legislative authority from Divine Law”....
  13. It is amazing how many are still enslaved by it.
  14. God didn't even want men to have kingdoms, because he knew what it would bring.

    But he allowed a LOT of rope to be given. Sadly mankind hung itself with it.
  15. Yes and that's what makes the holocaust so much worse... and the hate crimes....WBC....the KKK.....neo nazis....slavery in egypt..................can we seriously just leave Jewish people alone
    KingJ likes this.
  16. Just be sure to include:

    1. It's a 6 year contract Exo 21:2.
    2. The slave can leave at anytime and the new master must not report him / her Deut 23:15.
    3. If the master abuses a slave the master is accountable for damages and if it is serious, the slave is free Exo 21:26-27.
    4. The slaves can choose to stay with their masters.
    5. Whoever kidnaps a person and sells them shall be put to death Exo 21:16
    6. Slaves were to be 'loved as yourself' Lev 19:34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
    7. God speaks out against the modern idea of slavery 1 Tim 1:10.

    Lastly it is crucially important that you explain who the Jews were. They were a race that lived under the harshest laws ever seen by mankind. So to assume any slave woman for example, would be forced into marriage / raped when...they stone rebellious children to a very high level of ignorance.

  17. Ok so the new updated forum will be posted soon. Just a heads up it will not be here but it will be on a separate thread. I will post the link here to redirect everyone. I'm doing this to allow others to join in, to keep everyone here updated, and to make it look more organized
  18. Actually scratch that I will continue to post new revised versions and I will only post the completed one on a new thread.
  19. OK OK I'm gonna post my progress and then eat.


    1. Voluntary servitude by the sons of Israel (indentured servants)
    Deuteronomy 15.12: “If a member of your community, whether a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold[a] to you and works for you six years, in the seventh year you shall set that person free.” They were also blessed by god for their services.

    *This is probably the most common form of slavery. It most likely was a way for the poor to get a better chance at life. They were not sent out without any wealth and would be let go after the seventh year. [OAB:NRSV, p.275] Mentions that this law actually improves the older law in a few ways: it applies to both genders and the master must grant the slave a gift. Female slaves may have been sold the same way before this law though.(since laws are generally written after practice) For example [Shiphchah] female hand maid (which oddly enough has more of a sexual connotative and denotative meaning) was used by Abraham’s wife as a maid.(the relationship was most likely platonic) It’s hard to tell if this relationship was more for foreign or local servants.

    1. Voluntary permanent slaves
    Exodus 21.2-6: 2 When you buy a male Hebrew slave[‘ereb], he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. 3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone. 5 But if the slave declares, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person,” 6 then his master shall bring him before God.[a] He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

    *In this case it is the servants choice to remain in his master’s household. Some may say that the master is holding the servant hostage, but this is not necessarily true. It is clear that the servant already has financial issues and if he was sent out with his family they would probably not have enough money. There is also the issue that perhaps the female servant still had debt to the master. Another problem is the issue of whether or not the wife is the masters daughter. Regardless this is a form of indentured servitude that most people agree with

    1. Thief or criminal making restitution
    Exodus 22:1-3“When someone steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, the thief shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.[b] The thief shall make restitution, but if unable to do so, shall be sold for the theft. “

    *ever see chain gangs working on the highway. Ya it’s a lot better than having them waste all of our tax dollars and watching TV all day.

    1. Foreigners could be permanent slaves

    Leviticus 25:44-46As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. 45 You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. 46 You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness.

    5. Prisoners of war were kept as slaves

    Deuteronomy 20.10-11- When you draw near to a town to fight against it, offer it terms of peace. 11 If it accepts your terms of peace and surrenders to you, then all the people in it shall serve you at forced labor.

    *DO NOT ! DO NOT! CHANGE THIS INTO A DEBATE ABOUT THE WAR WITH CANAAN! that’s in another article. Also the fact that terms of peace are being offered probably shows some care for the local populace. Notice in the next section that even after besieging all of the women and children are kept alive.Also let us note that the Gibeonites deceived Israel into making a covenant with them by pretending to be another nation. What did the Israelites punish them with drawing water and chopping wood for the congregation and the altar of the lord.[Desiring God] Ya it sounds like they’re going to literally fall over from thirst. Even if I do through the atheist a bone and say “ya the war wasn’t just” taking survivors is still better than killing them.No more on this.

    6. Female slaves could be sold as wives, but they could also be sold as regular indentured servants 1..

    Exodus 21.7-117 When a man sells his daughter as a slave[amah], she shall not go out as the male[ebed] slaves do. 8 If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt unfairly with her. 9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife.[b]11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out without debt, without payment of money.

    * Just a quick note the word please[ra`] does not necessarily mean sexually. For example I do not find this room to be pleasing. An example would be gen28:8 In this case the daughters of canaan are not pleasing to him. Also on Num 11:1 the lord was displease which was not sexual at all.

    7. Alien or temporaries that become rich can own slaves

    Leviticus 25.47-47 If resident aliens among you prosper, and if any of your kin fall into difficulty with one of them and sell themselves to an alien, or to a branch of the alien’s family, 48 after they have sold themselves they shall have the right of redemption; one of their brothers may redeem them, 49 or their uncle or their uncle’s son may redeem them, or anyone of their family who is of their own flesh may redeem them; or if they prosper they may redeem themselves.

    *This shows us that temporaries or foreigners can actually own slaves. It is strange how the servant her can redeem himself, but this is most likely indentured servitude.

    8. slaves can own slaves…???

    2 Samuel 19.17- 16 Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahurim, hurried to come down with the people of Judah to meet King David; 17 with him were a thousand people from Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan ahead of the king, 18 while the crossing was taking place,[c] to bring over the king’s household, and to do his pleasure.

    *This could probably help slaves loosen the workload. This is probably just an example of a very well off slave.

    9.Women and children could be taken as prisoners of war and married off or serve as servants

    Deuteronomy 20:14-You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you.

    *reminder I will not be discussing the war with the canaanites. Hebrew word is [‘akal] which means to eat…. I doubt it has to do with the children. This is the subject of cannibalism and will also not be discussed.

    Deuteronomy 21:10-14-10 When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God hands them over to you and you take them captive, 11 suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman whom you desire and want to marry, 12 and so you bring her home to your house: she shall shave her head, pare her nails, 13 discard her captive’s garb, and shall remain in your house a full month, mourning for her father and mother; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you are not satisfied with her, you shall let her go free and not sell her for money. You must not treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

    *This was done to reintegrate them into hebrew society. Keep in mind most marriages were already arranged. I’m not saying this was good, but rather I’m saying that it was not as bad AS OTHER PLACES.

    What the fundy hears vs what we hear.

    JP Holding actually deals with these quite well, I recommend checking it out.
  20. A
    And all of it, like divorce, is because the hard-hearted men wanted it.

    It was allowed, but not IDEAL.

    The King came, changed all that. But men still kept slaves, even ones that claimed to be Christian.

    You from now on I'll use the word christianised when talking about people that clearly cannot follow The Two Great Commands but claim to be Christians.

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