The Bible and slavery

The Bible contains such stellar morality! Below is what the Lord says to Moses shortly after giving him the 10 Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Note that God does not outlaw slavery, just qualifies it. And how nice of God to ordain that a slave who willingly stays with his master out of “love” should have an awl bored through his ear! And a man selling his daughter into slavery – well, nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned commerce!

“Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing…. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has 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 faithlessly with her.” Exodus 21:1-8

There is much more about slavery in the Old Testament, very little of which includes any liberating or evolved sentiments.

The New Testament is little better, as Jesus likewise doesn’t end slavery, and Paul exhorts slaves to obey their masters “in everything.”

“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ…” Ephesians 6:5

“Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be defamed.” 1 Timothy 6

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to the kind and gentle but to the overbearing. For one is approved if, mindful of God, he endures pain while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval.” 1 Peter 2:18-20

During the 19th century in America, when the debate about slavery was fast and fierce, the Bible was used both to assail and uphold slavery, the latter with good reason, obviously.

Further Reading

Quotes from Jewish Scriptures
Quotes from the New Testament

2 Comments

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  1. Sounds rather like …
    contemporary Capitalism …

  2. Thanks for your post
    🙂 Hi Murdock AKA Acharya S

    I just wanted to thank you for this post about bible slavery. These are passages that I did not have in my file of other negative bible quotes.

    I will be sure to be using them in yahoo answers & questions and other blog sites.

    I Enjoy the e-mails. You are much appreciated.

    Keep on rocking in the free world……………

    Margaret

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