Thought about slavery


#1

biblical slavery has been an issue with many Christians and non Christian alike. Recently a thought came to my head. In the gospel of Matthew Jesus talks about divorce that moses allowed it because the hardness of the peoples hearts, and that divorce was never in Gods original design. Same goes about eating certain foods again Jesus refutes the idea and says things that come from within makes you unclean. Can we say the same about slavery? That it was never Gods idea or design to have slaves but cause people wanted to have slaves during those times? This also reminds me of the OT how the nation of isreal demanded that they wanted to have a king to be like the other nations but God opposed this cause they would be paying taxes and be under authority. Seems like certain parts of the law was written to appeal to the people and their hearts.


#2

Yes, :shrug: God may accommodate Mankind in accordance with its cultural circumstances, as well as the personal circumstances of its individuals.

God dislikes incest, yet has seemingly allowed it for a time, so that Mankind could grow.


#3

There is no comparison of biblical slavery and what we think of as slavery. Most often it was a form o f debt payment . A better comparison is me being a slave to Chase bank since i owe them money.
As far as the Kings, the big deal there was God was their King and that wasn’good enough for them .


#4

wiggbuggie, while there is a passage in the Bible claiming that divorce was allowed initially as an accommodation for his people nothing even close to that exists for slavery. Not one word is made against the practice of slavery. Anyone out there who tells you that God allowed slavery just like he allowed divorce for a time is not only coming to that conclusion out of thin air but is also adding to scripture (which is strictly not allowed).

Faxero, when God was said to give his people the instructions on how one can acquire and treat slaves (e.g. Exodus 21 and Leviticus 25:44) they were supposedly wandering the desert after having been enslaved by the Egyptians for 430 years. They possessed no slaves at the time and numerous generations of Hebrews had gone without slaves. There was no practice of slavery to accommodate and there were no cultural circumstances to consider. On top of that Leviticus 20:23 has God specifically telling his people to not follow the practices of neighboring nations, so any suggestion that God had to take into account the act of slavery in that time and place are both null and void.

hadulzo, what you are referring to is indentured servitude, which was a real thing. It did not involve being born into slavery, sold into slavery, or having one’s children become slaves. It also did not involve the threat of manslaughter (see Exodus 21:20-21). This common apologetic that there is a distinction between slavery of say the 19th century slavery (so-called “chattel slavery”) and that of Biblical times falls to tatters upon examination.


#5

catholic.com/magazine/articles/let-my-people-go


#6

You could make that argument, but it would be an odd move on God’s part, don’t you think? He was handing down rules to his chosen people to obey. He could have unequivocally, in no uncertain terms, condemned and forbidden the owning of other people as property. Why would he be make concessions about something like this just because of the people being hard-hearted, especially when he knew what sorts of horrors would eventually be justified (even falsely) because of it, and especially along side other, newer, much more bizarre rules that carried harsh penalties? ‘Go ahead and own other people for now, but make sure you execute anyone who picks up sticks on the Sabbath. Can’t be having any of that.’


#7

That is overstating things.The Bible does not unequivocally condemn slavery, but it does sow the seeds for its demise in the simple fact that it makes no sense to enslave someone you claim is your brother in Christ. This is readily apparent when we look at the theological foundations of abolitionism in the West.

Luke 4:18 places Christ’s messianic mission in the contexts of liberating the captive and freeing the oppressed. In 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul condemns the slave trade as “contrary to sound doctrine” and enslavers as unholy sinners. Paul encourages Christian slaves to gain their freedoms (by legal means) in 1 Corinthians 7:21. He told Philemon to treat the slave Onesimus not as a slave but as a brother. Further, Christianity taught equality between masters and slaves, Ephesians 6:9 and Galatians 3:28, as all being equal in Christ (those who are free are yet slaves to Christ; and those who are slaves are yet free in Christ).


#8

I concur with you that there are things that we tend to apply to God which God did not mean to have happened… yet, we have free will and act according to our desires even if they are in complete conflict with God’s Will.

If we look at Scriptures we find that God understand that man enslaves man; in the Old Testament we find a direct Command by Yahweh God forbidding Israel from taking their own people as slaves in lieu of debt. There is also a Command to release those that are in bondage of servitude (contract of trade) on the seventh year. Conversely, Jesus acknowledges that there are people who live in poverty–yet, both poverty and slavery are conditioned by man’s desire to control and possess not because God has ordained it.

One clarification about Israel’s demand for an earthly king–God warned them about what a king would do to them and they accepted it; Israel wanted to be part of the “in” crowd. Though God foretold Israel of the oppression that it would receive from its king/s, His real concern was that Israel rejected Him as its KING and preferred a tyrant that would oppress and subjugate it at whim.

Maran atha!

Angel


#9

…you are correct… boy mess with the Sabbath…

But wait… is the Sabbath something prescribed by man or God?

…well since God prescribes the Sabbath He would have direct interest in having His Chosen People uphold it.

However, the practices of say humanitarians could or could not be within His interest–to a humanitarian allowances, dispensations, and mandates from God may be incomprehensible because… what’s that term?.. “may ways are not your ways!”

Interestingly enough, when Jesus checked the religious people about their breaking of the Sabbath, how many of them did He condemned to death?

Maran atha!

Angel


#10

This is exactly correct.

It’s called “incrementalism”. God worked with the Israelites slowly over time to bring about the changes in their hearts. Eventually, in England and in the United States, for example, Christians completed the transition by outlawing slavery.

But at the time, the rules instituted by God for the Hebrew treatment of slaves were a radical improvement over the standards of other nations.


#11

IS GOD A MORAL MONSTER? - SLAVERY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Many people argue that the portrayal of God in the Old Testament exposes Him as a “moral monster”, and they cite the existence of slavery in Israel as one example of God’s immorality. In their view, it would have been proper for God to outlaw slavery altogether.

This perspective suffers from the fallacy of presentism—the interpretation of past events in terms of modern-day morals and attitudes. Instead, the historical accounts of Israel as recorded in the Bible should be judged within the context of the Ancient Near East (ANE). Specifically, the Mosaic Law of Israel may be compared with other ANE codes of law such as that of Hammurabi. Such comparisons will highlight the incremental advancement of ideals for human behavior which God embedded in Mosaic Law.

There are three primary texts pertaining to the treatment of slaves in the Old Testament: Exodus 21, Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15. From these, we can extract the following specific instructions:

  1. Enslavement of others by kidnapping was prohibited. (Ex. 21:16) “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.”
  2. A Hebrew slave was to be set free after six years of service if the slave chose freedom; they were not slaves for life (Ex. 21:2-6). Non-Hebrew slaves purchased from neighboring nations could be slaves for life. (Lev. 25:46)
  3. If a female slave was chosen to be a wife of the owner’s son, the owner was to treat her as his own daughter. The husband was obligated to provide her with food, clothing and sex. If he failed to provide these things, she was free to leave. (Ex. 21:7-11)
  4. Slave owners were to be punished for killing their slaves. (Ex. 21:20)
  5. Under some circumstances, slaves were to be set free if they were severely injured by their owners. (Ex. 21:26-27)
  6. Slaves were to be given a day of rest. (Ex. 23:12)

Paul Copan, author of Was God a Moral Monster?, notes the following incremental improvements in the treatment of slaves required by Mosaic Law:

What specific improvements could we highlight? Regarding slavery, Christopher Wright declares: “The slave [in Israel] was given human and legal rights unheard of in contemporary societies.” Mosaic legislation offered a radical advance for ANE cultures. According to the Anchor Bible Dictionary, “We have in the Bible the first appeals in world literature to treat slaves as human beings for their own sake and not just in the interests of their masters.” Kidnapping a person to sell as a slave was punishable by death: “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death” (Exod. 21:16; see also 1 Tim. 1:10). This biblical prohibition presents a marked repudiation of the kidnapping of Africans that ushered in the era of more recent Western slavery. Yet the new atheists seem given to blur any such distinctions. While other ANE cultures may too have prohibited kidnapping, the Mosaic Law stands out in sharp moral contrast to their standard extradition treaties for, and harsh treatment of, runaway slaves. Hammurabi called for the death penalty to those helping runaway slaves. Israel, however, was to offer safe harbor to foreign runaway slaves (Deut. 23:15-16).

Indeed, Hebrew slaves were to be granted release in the seventh year (Lev. 29:35-43) - a notable improvement over other ANE law codes. Furthermore, masters had to release them from service with generous provisions, all conducted with the right attitude for the slave’s well-being as he enters into freedom: “Beware that there is no base thought in your heart . . . and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother” (Deut. 15:9). The motivating reason for all of this is the fact “that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today” (Deut. 15:12-18, esp. v. 15). The overriding goal in Deuteronomy 15 is that there be no slavery in the land at all (vv. 4, 11). Gordon McConville calls this “revolutionary.”

Another marked improvement is in the release of injured slaves themselves (Exod. 21:20-1). This is in contrast to their masters merely being compensated, which is typical in the ANE codes. Elsewhere in the OT, Job recognizes that he and his slaves have the same Maker and come from the same place-their mother’s womb (Job. 31:15). Later in Amos (2:6; 8:6), slavery is again repudiated. Thus, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris notwithstanding, such improvements—or pointers back to Genesis 1:26-27-can hardly be called “a warrant for trafficking in humans” or treating them “like farm equipment.”


#12

Yet another reason the bible is not meant to be taken literally. It’s used everyday to justify all kinds of horrible acts, discrimination, wars, oppression and behavior.


#13

How silly.

The Bible was used as the rationale for ending slavery.


#14

Agnostics claim enlightenment… yet, it seems that you reason that the Word of God is to be blamed for your tenets, mine, and the world’s… kind of dark, don’t you think?

Maran atha!

Angel


#15

No it isn’t. The secular left in the First World may WISH it were to fit their narrative (we know most of them won’t dare mention the Koran in a negative light), but the Bible really is being forced out of the public sphere and has been for some time.


#16

Luke 4:18 has a mention of “freeing prisoners” but that is certainly not a call to end slavery.

Ephesians 6 doesn’t tell the slave owners to release their slaves. It does tell slaves to fear and respect their masters and do as they are told. This sure seems like a call to maintain the practice. The fact that Paul here equates serving a master with service God seems to be a healthy endorsement of it, despite an aside in 1 Timothy 1:10.

1 Corinthians 7:21 is more a call to not concern oneself with being a slave and in fact says one "should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. That combined with Galatians 3:28 where it equates worship God with serving a master certainly gives a push to the worthiness of slavery. That passage in Galatians, while it does claim that all men are equal with respect in their need to worship Jesus, it ignores that God was the one who called for and spelled out how one man can do grave harm to another and call it good in his eyes.

Paul doesn’t call for the ending of slavery and God (any of the three persons) certainly does not call for it. It simply doesn’t add up to say that because God calls us to love one another that overtakes God telling a man how to sell his daughter into sex slavery or how perfectly fine it is to beat a slave because he’s his property.


#17

And since God prescribed slavery for his people (telling them which people they can and can’t purchase) and how can treat (or more accurately mistreat) their slaves they are on the same level. God has no problem with one owning, beating, blackmailing, or manslaughtering their slaves. A person picks up some sticks on the wrong day or doesn’t get their kid circumcised (see Moses) in time and the threat of death is upon him. Those are some frightening priorities.

However, the practices of say humanitarians could or could not be within His interest–to a humanitarian allowances, dispensations, and mandates from God may be incomprehensible because… what’s that term?.. “may ways are not your ways!”

And since my ways don’t allow for slavery, I’m quite thankful for that.

Interestingly enough, when Jesus checked the religious people about their breaking of the Sabbath, how many of them did He condemned to death?

Is God the Father not the same god as God the Son? Does this in any way negate the actions of God the Father in killing a man for a few sticks?


#18

What were they incrementing from? As I noted in an earlier post the Hebrews were allegedly wandering the desert without slaves after being enslaved themselves for the past 430 years. If ever there was a time for God to just abolish slavery that was it, instead he tells his people the ways by which one could purchase slaves or sell their daughters into slavery. I don’t know about you, but personally I’m not bound by the actions and practices of my ancestors from 1586 and before.


#19

Please explain this in the context of Leviticus 20:23, which eliminates the excuse that God had to take into account the prevailiting attitudes towards slavery at the time. Remember as I noted when God supposedly spoke to his people in Exodus – the same speech in which God first spoke the 10 Commandments – he told his people how to get, keep, and treat slaves although they themselves had no slaves and hadn’t had any for at least 430 years.

There are three primary texts pertaining to the treatment of slaves in the Old Testament: Exodus 21, Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15. From these, we can extract the following specific instructions:

  1. Enslavement of others by kidnapping was prohibited. (Ex. 21:16) “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.”

Leviticus 25:44 allows for the purchasing of slaves, which is only slightly more respectable then having someone else kidnap a person and then buying that person from the kidnapper.

  1. A Hebrew slave was to be set free after six years of service if the slave chose freedom; they were not slaves for life (Ex. 21:2-6). Non-Hebrew slaves purchased from neighboring nations could be slaves for life. (Lev. 25:46)

That’s not wholly accurate. It was male Hebrew slaves who were to be released after six years. On top of that the male slave would have to not submit to blackmail, specifically if he left then he left alone without any wife or children gained during that time. He could submit to blackmail by never leaving and stating he loved his family (as well as getting pierced in the ear by an awl). That is all laid out in explicit detail by God.

Also are we not to consider God a “moral monster” for allowing people to be slaves for life? Is God not just the father of the Hebrews but of all men?

  1. If a female slave was chosen to be a wife of the owner’s son, the owner was to treat her as his own daughter. The husband was obligated to provide her with food, clothing and sex. If he failed to provide these things, she was free to leave. (Ex. 21:7-11)

Ariel Castro provided the same things to his captive and we don’t praise him for that.

  1. Slave owners were to be punished for killing their slaves. (Ex. 21:20)

That’s not wholly accurate either. If the slave didn’t die the same day that he was beaten then there was no punishment. If I had a dollar for every time someone defending biblical slavery brought up Exodus 21:20 while also ignoring Exodus 21:21 I’d be typing this up from a laptop in Maui.

Two things that don’t often get mentioned about those two verses: One, it demonstrates that non-fatal beating of slaves was normal and came with no punishment from God whatsoever. This is one of two places in the Bible that God calls slaves property. Two, also in Exodus God says the punishment for killing another man is death while there is no such call for death if one kills a slave that day (as opposed to letting him die slowly in agony). It shows how slaves were not equal in the eyes of God wanted them treated.

  1. Under some circumstances, slaves were to be set free if they were severely injured by their owners. (Ex. 21:26-27)

Apart from loosing an eye or tooth or same-day death, all other thrashings are perfectly fine. Hmm.

  1. Slaves were to be given a day of rest. (Ex. 23:12)

If I told you of a town that allowed for rape six days a week, you wouldn’t consider the elders of that town very moral, correct?

I’ve clipped out the part of the quoted article praising God for instructing his people to be a bit less horrendous to slaves than perhaps other peoples. You can’t go a day listening to EWTN radio without a mention of two things:

  1. Moral relativism is bad.
  2. God is perfectly good.

This simply does not jive with what the text actually says where the apologists are neck deep in moral relativism and where God could just as easily have told his people that slavery is bad as he did murder, dishonoring the Sabbath, and letting sorcerers live.


#20

“War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” – George Orwell, 1984

It’s amazing to think that a book which describes in great detail how one is to obtain slaves and make new slaves is a blueprint for ending slavery. That’s like saying Jack Daniels is the cure to alcoholism.


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