Thursday, October 1, 2009

Slavery in the Bible

In the Bible slavery is mentioned many times. Evilbible.com claims that these mentions are the Bible condoning slavery, such as Leviticus 25:44-46 where God allows the Israelites to purchase slaves from foreign countries. Evilbible portrays slavery as "one of the most evil things a person can do, save murder."

While this is true in the modern world, the argument that Evilbible makes comes from the fact that it is comparing what we think of slavery now, namely kidnapping Africans and selling them to do virtually free labor, to what slavery meant in cultural times. Slavery in the cultural context was not based on racism, cheap labor, or sex.

There's another big issue with a two words that begin every single one of these statement. Those words are "when" and "if", primarily "if". The Bible says IF x happens, you should do y. It never says Since I commanded you to do x, you should also do y. Evilbible is inserting words that are not in the text, and therefore changing the meaning into instructions on slavery into God condoning slavery, and it clearly doesn't say that. It's the same idea with the word "when". God knows it's going to happen, so he says uses when. It still never says anything about God commanding slavery, or encouraging slavery, etc.

They cite Exodus 21:2-6 which talks about men choosing to sell their daughters into slavery and how that daughter is to be treated while she is in bondage. What this means within the culture is a man selling his daughter as a BRIDE. She is to be treated as such, whether bought or not, which is what the point of the scripture is.

Also evilbible mentions Exodus 21: 20-21 talking about beating slaves. It says that if a slave lives more than 24 hours after a beating, and then dies, there is no punishment, but if it dies immediately you are to be punished. This verse seems to condone beating at first, but in the time period masters were not to be cruel like we here about in our nation's early history, but beatings were only given when the slave committed a crime.

Lastly, evilbible uses a parable of Jesus in Luke 12:47-48 to try to say that Jesus supported slavery. Again, in ancient culture slavery was an accepted practice, and much different than we know it today. He was acknowledging it and giving guidelines for how a master should act. Also, earlier in the verse it talked about the servant being beaten in these verses, that the servant knew his master would be awhile longer, and so he got drunk and beat the other slaves. Strengthening the point above, slaves were beaten only for CRIMES.

The last thing I would like to point out is the slavery we typically think of now is based on race, but the Bible clearly condemns this. The process of "man-stealing" is how people acquired slaves from Africa in America's early history, and that practices is condemned in the Bible. Exodus 13 says that the reason the Hebrews were enslaved was because they were Hebrews, and the following 10 Plagues should show how God feels about racial slavery. Exodus 21:16 “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death." Sounds like condoning slavery to you?

Sources: www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=4896
www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html
www.allaboutworldview.org/slavery-in-the-bible.htm
www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/feedback/2007/0202.asp

47 comments:

  1. Nice blog. It reminds me of something...Oh yeah, mine!

    Above a servant, a brother beloved (Exod 21:2ff, slavery)

    Anyway, I look forward to reading more, and will probably link to you.

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  2. thank you for taking the time to clear this up.

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  3. Hello,
    The Bible is not worth the paper its written on. Today if someone says he is son of god, brother of god, prophet of god, no one will believe as we like to find if its true by scientific methods. However during the primitive times in the middle ages, suckers were made to believe about son of god and prophet of god and generations pass over this to the kids. What a shame. The earth was flat according to the Bible and we were at the center of the Universe. Its not so ,the Universe is infinite and there are many Big Bangs, Many fall backs ( Big Bangs Fall Back again and stars and Planets are borne, die in countless numbers. Unfortunately, some stars have planets which can support life and intelligent forms suffer any how with, Birth, Sorrow, Age and Death. In all those places there will be pseudo Jeasuses, pseudo Mohammeds etc etc hood winking intelligent forms of lives. Best is to give up your desires, see the true suffering of Life forms and think that, You dont want to be any part of these systems and you die ending your cycles of birth. ( Got To be Life after Life, for the simple reason that if once you were here with your unique identity, there is a probability to come again, if it happened random it gotta happen again, why not)

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    1. All of that is nonsense. 'Centre of the universe' is from Ancient Greece. The Bible does not say the Earth is flat, and Thomas Aquinas believed it to be spherical. By the way, Christians invented the idea of the big bang, which was then rejected by atheists for years for being 'too religious' an idea. And we have no idea what happens on other planets so stop making shit up.

      Delete
  4. That was just about the most depressing and "life is pointless" philosophy I've every heard. Email me if you care do, commenting here is useless unless you're challenging one of my explanations.

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    1. Spirit Slain,i'm challenging all of your
      explanations, due to the fact that you are
      of the belief that the bible is the word of
      some god, that's living out there in space
      some where and like there has never been a
      holy book before your bible.Maybe if you take the time and read some of them you would know this.If i were you, i would start with the " Egyptian Book of the Dead",being that who ever put the bible together plagiarized so much from it.Also being that Egyptian Civilization was many many many years before the bible and Christianity.It's all to enslave you as it has.Know the truth and the truth well set you free.

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    2. its the other way around.

      Delete
  5. Perhaps you address this elsewhere, but an omniscient, omnipotent being who created the world and intervenes directly in human affairs repeatedly without apparent qualms must not only condone but also be considered the cause of slavery and every other existing misfortune. How could this not be so?

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    Replies
    1. You need to read some theology on omnipotence!

      Delete
  6. Joe,
    Every time the Lord has intervened, it has been to show the right way. To kill people who do evil things, or any other method to prevent evil is directly violating humanity's free will. None of His interventions have done that.

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  7. Oh, that clears it up. Slavery was ok in the past but isn't now. Good thing our all knowing God had the foresight to point that out. And selling your daughter as a BRIDE isn't SLAVERY, it's selling someone for money against their will. Totally different. And just because the bible says how badly you can beat your slave doesn't mean you can. It means IF you do, here's how to do it.

    ReplyDelete
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  8. Given all the acts of rape, pillage and murder committed in the name of God, the tithes taking bread from peasants mouths so priests can live off the land and the profusion of child abuse in the Church today, do you really think any sane person would believe in the Bible if they actually read it?

    If the Bible was as holy (pun intended) as you're trying to make it out to be, it would have come out against slavery, not condoned it by putting down in words exactly how to treat slaves. "All it needs for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" or in this case, say "if' and "when" when it should say "don't".

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  9. Joe Rembetikoff ... just because God allows something to happen doesn't mean that it's His will for it to happen.

    Jesus taught His disciples to pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) That insinuates that God's will is not being done on earth. In other words, there are things transpiring that are directly against God's will.

    So while God is all-knowing and all-powerful, He doesn't override our freedom of choice ...

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    1. Yes "he" DOES, have you even read this stupid blog where all the attempts to justify the act of "god" commands his followers to murder loads of people?

      Delete
  10. I would highly recommend to try reading books on both sides of the Bible is real!/Bible is not real! argument. For those of you who read on the latter side, check out Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh MacDowell or Reasonable Faith: The SCIENTIFIC [I CAPped that] Case for Christianity.

    ReplyDelete
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  15. Your feet must be pretty tired from all the dancing you have to do to make these quotes fit your view of the Bible. Sad that an omniscient god would write a book that was so opaque that it requires explanation. But then I guess that's what the priest class is for.

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    1. You sound like an anti-vaxxer who doesn't read or understand theology, or the quotes from it, and only listens to other people who also don't understand it.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  17. Logic, my friend, let us reason together says the Lord, why do we have no instructions for the merciful and restrained use of rape or murder? The Ten Commandments forbids the mere desire, " You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor."

    Even thinking about stealing his stuff is a mortal sin but forcing him to work for you and enrich you for life only requires some rules to make it more palatable.

    You must not covet your neighbor's possessions but you may purchase your neighbor if someone offer him to you for sale.

    If he is of your race, however, you are restricted in owning him but if he is a foreigner, no problem.

    Don't tell me the OT doesn't condone slavery, that isn't necessary, if it simply ignores it, that is evil, if it sets rules that make it possible without sinning, that's evil.

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    1. exactly, this blog is so stupid and the comments are mind numbing... mostly.

      Delete
    2. "Even thinking about stealing his stuff is a mortal sin but forcing him to work for you and enrich you for life only requires some rules to make it more palatable."
      If someone works for you to pay back his DEBT, he's not enriching you. He's just giving back something he OWES you anyway in the first place

      Delete
    3. "If someone works for you to pay back his DEBT, he's not enriching you. He's just giving back something he OWES you anyway in the first place"

      That is an indentured servant. The following verse shows that there are different classes of servants and slaves:
      Leviticus 22:10-11
      10 No lay person shall eat of the sacred donations. No bound or hired servant of the priest shall eat of the sacred donations; 11 but if a priest acquires anyone by purchase, the person may eat of them; and those that are born in his house may eat of his food.

      Here's the people that could be bought and how you could treat them. Note that is specifies that you should be nice to Hebrew servants which allows harsh treatment of Gentile slaves:
      Leviticus 25:44-46
      44 As 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.

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  18. Nice rationalizations. So slavery wasn't commanded, but it was condoned. I love this part, " Again, in ancient culture slavery was an accepted practice, and much different than we know it today."
    Anyway, it was a kindler gentler slavery. Really? I'm sure the slaves of the time would tell you it was great to be a slave. Besides, it was a different culture then, an accepted practice. So the bible, God, changes what is acceptable as time goes on? NO. Either the practice was wrongfully condoned by God then, or it should be allowed now.

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    1. It was indentured servitude as payment on debts - much like washing dishes to pay for a restaurant meal. That is what the Bible says. He only has to explain it because a lot of people don't understand it. There are books and books explaining this, but you comment without knowledge.

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  19. Slavery was acceptable in the ancient culture and therefore it is not as bad as we thought.

    Seriously? Is that the best defense that you can do?

    No matter how you assume that we have a different concept of slavery from the ancient culture, a slave is still something that can be owned or bought. The main point still exists, that PEOPLE ARE TREATED AS OBJECTS!!!.

    Slavery is bad no matter when or where it is. Now we don't have it ( well almost ) because we improve as a society. Just like we don't have gladiator games now which is an accepted form of entertainment in the past.

    I can't understand how people can still defend this bible. The content of this is just ancient and obsolete. Well, just do yourself a favor and research how your bible came to be.

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    1. It was indentured servitude as payment on debts - much like washing dishes to pay for a restaurant meal. They were not treated as objects but as servants. When they left at the end of their term they were granted money and land. That is what the Bible says. He only has to explain it because a lot of people don't understand it. There are books and books explaining this, but you comment without knowledge.

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  21. The argument being made is that Biblical slavery was different than slavery in the US, and somehow worse. Let's compare. For each of the following questions "Biblical" refers to Biblical law, and "Modern" refers to US law in the decades before the Civil War.

    Slaves were treated as property, bought, sold, inherited, held permanently? Biblical: Yes. Modern: Yes.

    Slavery was allowed but not mandated? Biblical: Yes. Modern: Yes.

    With certain restrictions, slaves could be beaten without master being punished? Biblical: Yes. Modern: Yes.

    Master could be punished in certain cases for physically mistreating slaves? Biblical: Yes. Modern: Yes.

    Kidnapping someone into slavery was illegal? Biblical: Yes. Modern: Yes.

    Importation of slaves illegal? Biblical: No. Modern: Yes.

    Slavery was limited to indentured servitude for those of the same "tribe"? Biblical: Yes. Modern: Yes.

    Compliant slaves were generally treated less harshly? Biblical: Yes. Modern: Yes.

    Clearly, they had far more in common than Christians care to admit.

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    1. Biblical slaves were indentured servants paying off debts who were then granted money and land when they left.

      Delete
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  24. Now for my humble opinion: It is pointless to argue this in a forum with so much hostility. I've studied the bible extensively,, and know well how important it is to take its passages into context, both within the scriptures as well as the context of the cultures to which it as written to at the time. No culture is perfect, and never is America's. I've lived in Aisa for over 20 years, and the cultures I've seen and studied all have their shortcomings, but that is no reason to blame God or assault his credibility when it comes to the passages in Exodus on slavery. It is apparentthat slavery in the times of the early Hebrews was different, and in many cases, limited to 6 years. I myself, a devout believer in the LORD may not agree with the unequal treatment for women in the time of Exodus, for example, but I also am aware from years of experience in living in different cultures today, that there are often reasons for why "unnacceptible practices as they appear to us" occur in cultures and are accepted. Those cultures also question why Amerians and Europeans do the crazy things they do in their own cultures; and to them, many of our practices are hideously unnacceptible as well.
    Therefore, please don't judge the LORD on practices written for people thousands of years ago which have no bearing on today. Thank you, and have a nice day :)

    Lumyai

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  25. I agree with you that no culture is perfect but that is no excuse for the grossest imperfections. If you credit God for the good things in the Bible, you have to own up to the bad things, too. Why don't we have the Eleven Commandments which includes "Thou shalt not enslave others"?

    If you studied slavery in the Bible, you would know that indentured servants are Israelites, not foreigners bought with money. Genesis 17:12-13 makes a clear distinction between slaves, indentured servants, and hired hands. Exodus 21:2-6 describes the indentured servant. The American southern colonies had indentured servants who served 6 years. They got their laws for slavery and indentured servants from the Bible though they omitted the part about turning indentured servants into permanent servants.

    Leviticus 25:44-46 says you could take foreigners as slaves and your descendants could inherit them. I have seen wills from the South that bequeath slaves. The passage says to not treat fellow Israelites, harshly, but the specificity allows treating the foreigners in this passage harshly.

    If we can't judge the unchanging God of the Bible by the what he forbid and allowed in the Bible then you can't judge God to be good, either.

    ReplyDelete
  26. MOSES WAS A WAR CRIMINAL

    We often hear people say, “If only Jews would return to the Law of Moses!

    “Instead, they follow their secular, atheistic, and Zionist ways!”

    They express horror at the recent deliberate slaughter of Gazans, particularly the slaughter of women and children. (1)

    But haven’t these folks ever read the Bible? Are they unaware of the influence of the Old Testament on Judaism?

    Please open your Bible. Turn to the Old Testament. For the moment, focus your attention on the Book of Numbers.

    You are about to learn that Moses, the great “law giver,” was a war criminal who ORDERED his followers to commit war crimes. The most heinous were crimes were committed against women and children.

    NUMBERS 31:13-18:
    (13) Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. (14) But Moses was furious with all the generals and captains [a] who had returned from the battle.

    (15) “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded.

    (16) “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the Lord’s people.

    (17) So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man.

    ( 18 ) Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

    The rest of Chapter 31 is concerned with distributing the Midianite plunder. Thirty-two thousand (32,000) virgin girls were counted in the booty (Verse 35). Thirty-two of these were given to “the Lord.” That is, 32 of these little girls were set aside for the Levities (heave offerings), to be used as concubines (Verses 40 and 41).

    Yes, Numbers 31 says what it says. The Talmud sages used Numbers 31 to justify having sex with children. And since the Talmud sages, along with Christians, regard the Old Testament as “the word of God,” why beat up on the Talmud sages? Why not beat up on Jehovah and Moses, who set the standards?

    For further discussion of Jewish teachings on sex with children, see the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Yebamoth 60b, Soncino 1961 Edition, page 402. Discussion and links at http://www.come-and-hear.com/editor/america_2.html

    It’s true. Moses was a war criminal. The Bible tells you so. Should we be surprised at how women and children were treated in Gaza?

    THE TRAUMA OF WAR

    Children watch their mothers die
    Raping a city in the name of freedom
    Children growing - their hate inside
    A world they lost in the name of reason

    I never came back from that trench
    I can't be alone I won't be alone
    A schizophrenic cycle of paranoia

    Trauma of war!

    I saw the worst in the human nature
    My hands are stained with blood of death
    Attack all ghosts - I'm like a soldier
    Wasted minds that are all alike

    I never came back from that trench
    I can't be alone I won't be alone
    A schizophrenic cycle of paranoia

    Trauma of war!

    Freedom comes with a hail of bullets

    My sun is getting dark
    My urge to kill awakes
    My world is no more
    My urge to kill awakes

    Children watch their mothers die
    Raping a city in the name of freedom
    Children growing - their hate inside
    A world they lost in the name of reason

    I never came back from that trench
    I can't be alone I won't be alone
    A schizophrenic cycle of paranoia

    Trauma of war!

    Footnotes

    (1) New Evidence of Gaza Child Deaths, BBC, 22 January, 2009

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7843307.stm
    For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

    Matthew 5:18

    ReplyDelete
  27. MOSES WAS A WAR CRIMINAL

    We often hear people say, “If only Jews would return to the Law of Moses!

    “Instead, they follow their secular, atheistic, and Zionist ways!”

    They express horror at the recent deliberate slaughter of Gazans, particularly the slaughter of women and children. (1)

    But haven’t these folks ever read the Bible? Are they unaware of the influence of the Old Testament on Judaism?

    Please open your Bible. Turn to the Old Testament. For the moment, focus your attention on the Book of Numbers.

    You are about to learn that Moses, the great “law giver,” was a war criminal who ORDERED his followers to commit war crimes. The most heinous were crimes were committed against women and children.

    NUMBERS 31:13-18:
    (13) Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. (14) But Moses was furious with all the generals and captains [a] who had returned from the battle.

    (15) “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded.

    (16) “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the Lord’s people.

    (17) So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man.

    ( 18 ) Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

    The rest of Chapter 31 is concerned with distributing the Midianite plunder. Thirty-two thousand (32,000) virgin girls were counted in the booty (Verse 35). Thirty-two of these were given to “the Lord.” That is, 32 of these little girls were set aside for the Levities (heave offerings), to be used as concubines (Verses 40 and 41).

    Yes, Numbers 31 says what it says. The Talmud sages used Numbers 31 to justify having sex with children. And since the Talmud sages, along with Christians, regard the Old Testament as “the word of God,” why beat up on the Talmud sages? Why not beat up on Jehovah and Moses, who set the standards?

    For further discussion of Jewish teachings on sex with children, see the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Yebamoth 60b, Soncino 1961 Edition, page 402. Discussion and links at http://www.come-and-hear.com/editor/america_2.html

    It’s true. Moses was a war criminal. The Bible tells you so. Should we be surprised at how women and children were treated in Gaza?

    THE TRAUMA OF WAR

    Children watch their mothers die
    Raping a city in the name of freedom
    Children growing - their hate inside
    A world they lost in the name of reason

    I never came back from that trench
    I can't be alone I won't be alone
    A schizophrenic cycle of paranoia

    Trauma of war!

    I saw the worst in the human nature
    My hands are stained with blood of death
    Attack all ghosts - I'm like a soldier
    Wasted minds that are all alike

    I never came back from that trench
    I can't be alone I won't be alone
    A schizophrenic cycle of paranoia

    Trauma of war!

    Freedom comes with a hail of bullets

    My sun is getting dark
    My urge to kill awakes
    My world is no more
    My urge to kill awakes

    Children watch their mothers die
    Raping a city in the name of freedom
    Children growing - their hate inside
    A world they lost in the name of reason

    I never came back from that trench
    I can't be alone I won't be alone
    A schizophrenic cycle of paranoia

    Trauma of war!

    Footnotes

    (1) New Evidence of Gaza Child Deaths, BBC, 22 January, 2009

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7843307.stm
    For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

    Matthew 5:18

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  29. "Again, in ancient culture slavery was an accepted practice..." Was it accepted by the slaves? Does a practice being accepted make it good or right?

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    1. Makes no difference whether slavery was an accepted practice or not , if you say the bible is Gods word then you admit his own word condones slavery , there is no getting around that. And these rules for the treatment of slaves also include sexual slavery , again....condoned and not condemned by the bible. Very strong implication given that children were involved in this sexual slavery. And not all biblical slavery was " indentured servitude " , much of it was lifelong and only for being a foreigner. There is no way to defend these morally evil practices or why they are condoned in the bible.

      Delete
    2. The Jews sold themselves into slavery to pay debts.

      Delete
  30. Why do you call a slave "it" rather than he or she?

    ReplyDelete