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What the Bible says about slaves

Slavery as talked about in the Bible

What the Bible says about slaves
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Slavery is a topic that gets under peoples skin. Some get really emotional about it to the point of tears, while others reach their peak of anger. The period of slavery as we were taught in school was not a pretty one. It was one of pain, oppression, restriction, violence, abuse, injustice, and even death.

Millions of individuals died during the slavery period. Slavery, however, existed long before the period we were taught in schools, all the way back to the days spoken about in the Bible.

The Hebrews, the set of people God led across the Red Sea, were once slaves in Egypt. When God led them into the desert, He gave them a set of rules to help keep them organized. Some of these rules pertain to how slaves are to be treated. Even though when God brought them out of Egypt they became free individuals, they themselves were now able to acquire and own slaves. As with all topics that pertain to slavery, some of these rules and or laws were hard to swallow.

Nevertheless, these laws can be found in the Bible.

“If you buy a slave (Hebrew), if he came alone, he will leave alone. If he was married, his wife will leave with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children belong to his master; he will leave alone. But if the slave says: “I love my wife, my master and my children, I will not go free”, his master shall bring him to God; he will take him to the door or the doorpost, then his master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him for life” (Exodus 21:3-6).

“When a man strikes his slave or his servant with a rod and he man dies at his hands, he shall be punished. But if the slave survives for a day or two, he will not be penalized since the slave is his property” (Exodus 21:20-21).

This is not meant to anger anyone. I am just making a connection in our historical and biblical past.


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The story of slavery in the Old Testament should be viewed historically. We can read a lot of tough and cruel laws but when Christ came, all the laws were already summed into a new commandment which says, "Love your neighbor as you love yourselves."

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Very true. The words of the Bible are sometimes hard to swallow. But the hold true as they are guidelines, instructions as to how we should live. Christ's coming helps us to understand the ways of old found in the Old Testament.

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True. Slavery goes waaaaayyyyy back and was in many societies. After Christ came, in the New Testament a slave was looked at as more than a piece of property. And, for those that have time, read the short but beautiful epistle to Philemon about Philemon's runaway slave. Depending upon the passage, for the New Testament passages I either apply them to the employee / employer relationship or how each person is a slave to sin until they surrender to Christ.

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Indeed sin keeps us bound, bent and broken. Sin cripples and wounds us. It is through Christ that we become free.

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Bible is very peaceful book and it can't say anything wrong about slave I suggest every one must read bible

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We all should be reading the Bible all the time, not just when it is convenient for us. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to wisdom and instructions and comfort presented in the Bible. After all, it is the most important book ever written.

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Hi rajahuja. About the Holy Bible, well, there are some mighty mighty rough passages in there too. Take, for example, Revelation 6 to 19. God's wrath is once again poured out, partly because sinners do not repent. God is loving, but most of all He is Holy. Sin will not be tolerated by Him. However, He is merciful and sins can be forgiven in Christ. Christ took our penalty so He can meet the righteous demands of the Father's righteousness for us. In all, though, the Holy Bible is a peaceful book for those who have made their peace with God through Christ.

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Hmm. Trying to get the message tho

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I was trying to show that slavery was in existence since the beginning of time. Over the years it has gotten more oppressive and demeaning. However, clearly we have not learnt how destructive such a system is. Just like the Israelites, we continue to make the same faults and failures over and over, but in our case it gets worse and worse. We shouldn't be surprised with how we treat one another. Those of us who know better should do better and be shinning examples for others to follow.

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