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March 29    Scripture

Manners & Customs: Slaves
Slaves and Slavery in the Ancient World

Foreign Slaves in Israel Slavery with Hebrew masters and foreign slaves. Most of these slaves were those who were captured in wartime (See Numbers 31:26 ff. and Deuteronomy 21:10). Some were bought in foreign slave markets (Leviticus 25:44). And foreigners living in the land could become slaves for the same reasons Hebrews could, through poverty or theft. Such slaves were treated as the property of their masters (Leviticus 25:45). There are indications, however, that some of them were freed under certain conditions, and some writers are of the opinion that they were freed under the law of Jubilee. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Protection of Slaves Protection of the slaves. The Mosaic Code contains various regulations that protect the rights and privileges of slaves. For instance, a fugitive slave law was quite favorable to the slave and was designed to protect him from oppression (Deuteronomy 23:15, 16). All the religious privileges enjoyed by free Israelites were assured to their slaves, including the rest of the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10), the right to attend the national festivals (Deuteronomy 16:10, 11), and the right to attend the gathering of the people to hear the reading of the law (Deuteronomy 31:1013). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Roman Law and Slavery The Roman law and the slave. Under the Roman law the slave did not have the rights or protection such as he enjoyed under the Hebrew legislation. A master might have his slave crucified for almost any reason. Augustus Caesar had thirty thousand slaves crucified during his reign. A slave who stole might be branded by his master on the face with the letters C. F., representing the words "Cave furem," meaning, "Beware the thief." And in the case of a runaway slave, if he were caught, his master might brand him, give him more than customary labor, or could have him put to death if he so desired. The law did allow that he could be reinstated with mercy, through the intercession of a special friend of the master. The Apostle Paul was Philemon's friend who interceded on behalf of the runaway slave Onesimus. The Epistle to Philemon was Paul's plea to his friend on behalf of the converted slave. No doubt Philemon gave Onesimus his freedom after receiving Paul's letter. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slave in Easton's Bible Dictionary Jer. 2:14 (A.V.), but not there found in the original. In Rev. 18:13 the word "slaves" is the rendering of a Greek word meaning "bodies." The Hebrew and Greek words for slave are usually rendered simply "servant," "bondman," or "bondservant." Slavery as it existed under the Mosaic law has no modern parallel. That law did not originate but only regulated the already existing custom of slavery (Ex. 21:20, 21, 26, 27; Lev. 25:44- 46; Josh. 9:6-27). The gospel in its spirit and genius is hostile to slavery in every form, which under its influence is gradually disappearing from among men.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/S/Slave/


Slave in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Hired service was little known anciently; slavery was the common form of service. But among the Hebrew the bond service was of a mild and equitable character; so much so that ebed, "servant," is not restricted to the bond servant, but applies to higher relations, as, e.,g., the king's prime minister, a rich man's steward, as Eliezer (Genesis 15:2; Genesis 24:2), God's servant (Daniel 9:17). Bond service was not introduced by Moses, but being found in existence was regulated by laws mitigating its evils and restricting its duration. Man stealing was a capital crime (Deuteronomy 24:7); not only stealing Israelites, but people of other nations (Exodus 21:16). The Mosaic law jealously guarded human life and liberty as sacred. Masters must treat Hebrew servants as hired servants, not with rigour, but with courteous considerateness as brethren, and liberally remunerate them at the close of their service (Deuteronomy 15:12-18; Leviticus 25:39-41). Exodus 21:2 provided that no Israelite bound to service could be forced to continue in it more than six years. Leviticus supplements this by giving every Hebrew the right to claim freedom for himself and family in the Jubilee year, without respect to period of service, and to recover his land. This was a cheek on the oppression of the rich (Jeremiah 34:8-17). Property in foreign slaves might be handed down from father to son, so too the children born in the house (Genesis 14:14; Genesis 17:12). Some were war captives (Numbers 31:6-7; Numbers 31:9; Deuteronomy 20:14); but Israelites must not reduce to bondage Israelites taken in war (2 Chronicles 28:8-15). The monuments give many illustrations of the state of the Israelites themselves reduced to bondage by foreign kings to whom they were delivered for their rebellion. Others were enslaved for crime (Exodus 22:3, like our penal servitude), or bought from foreign slave dealers (Leviticus 25:44), so they were his property (Exodus 21:21). The price was about 30 or 40 shekels (Exodus 21:32; Leviticus 27:3-4; Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:15). The slave was encouraged to become a "proselyte" (doulos) (Exodus 12:44). He might be set free (Exodus 21:3; Exodus 21:20-21; Exodus 21:26-27). The law guarded his life and limbs. If a married man became a bondman, his rights to his wife were respected, she going out with him after six years' service. If as single he accepted a wife from his master, and she bore him children, she and they remained the master's, and he alone went out, unless from love to his master and his wife and children he preferred staying (Exodus 21:6); then the master bored his ear (the member symbolizing willing obedience, as the phrase "give ear" implies) with an awl, and he served for ever, i.e. until Jubilee year (Leviticus 25:10; Deuteronomy 15:17); type of the Father's willing Servant for man's sake (compare Isaiah 50:5; Psalm 40:6-8; Hebrews 10:5; Philemon 2:7). A Hebrew sold to a stranger sojourning in Israel did not go out after six years, but did at the...
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/S/Slave/


Slave in Smiths Bible Dictionary The institution of slavery was recognized, though not established, by the Mosaic law with a view to mitigate its hardship and to secure to every man his ordinary rights. I. Hebrew slaves. -- 1. The circumstances under which a Hebrew might be reduced to servitude were-- (1) poverty; (2) the commission of theft; and (3) the exercise of paternal authority. In the first case, a man who had mortgaged his property, and was unable to support his family, might sell himself to another Hebrew, with a view both to obtain maintenance and perchance a surplus sufficient to redeem his property. Le 25:25,39 (2) The commission of theft rendered a person liable to servitude whenever restitution could not be made on the scale prescribed by the law. Ex 22:1,3 The thief was bound to work out the value of his restitution money in the service of him on whom the theft had been committed. (3) The exercise of paternal authority was limited to the sale of a daughter of tender age to be a maidservant, with the ulterior view of her becoming the concubine of the purchaser. Ex 21:7 2. The servitude of a Hebrew might be terminated in three ways: (1) by the satisfaction or the remission of all claims against him; (2) by the recurrence of the year of jubilee, Le 25:40 and (3) the expiration of six years from the time that his servitude commenced. Ex 21:2; De 15:12 (4) To the above modes of obtaining liberty the rabbinists added, as a fourth, the death of the master without leaving a son, there being no power of claiming the salve on the part of any heir except a son. If a servant did not desire to avail himself of the opportunity of leaving his service, he was to signify his intention in a formal manner before the judges (or more exactly at the place of judgment), and then the master was to take him to the door-post, and to bore his ear through with an awl, Ex 21:6 driving the awl into or "unto the door," as stated in De 15:17 and thus fixing the servant to it. A servant who had submitted to this operation remained, according to the words of the law, a servant "forever." Ex 21:6 These words are however, interpreted by Josephus and by the rabbinsts as meaning until the year of jubilee. 3. The condition of a Hebrew servant was by no means intolerable. His master was admonished to treat him, not "as a bond-servant, but as an hired servant and as a sojourner," and, again, "not to rule over him with rigor." Le 25:39,40,43 At the termination of his servitude the master was enjoined not to "let him go away empty," but to remunerate him liberally out of his flock, his floor and his wine-press. De 15:13,14 In the event of a Hebrew becoming the servant of a "stranger," meaning a non-Hebrew, the servitude could be terminated only in two ways, viz. by the arrival of the year of jubilee, or by the repayment to the master of the purchase money paid for the servant, after deducting a sum for the value of his services proportioned to the length of his servitude. Le 25:47-55 A Hebrew woman might enter into voluntary servitude on the score of poverty, and in this case she was entitled to her freedom after six years service, together with her usual gratuity at leaving, just as in the case of a man. De 15:12,13 Thus far we have seen little that is objectionable in the condition of Hebrew servants. In respect to marriage there were some peculiarities which, to our ideas, would be regarded as hardships. A master might, for instance, give a wife to a Hebrew servant for the time of his servitude, the wife being in this case, it must be remarked, not only a slave but a non-Hebrew. Should he leave when his term had expired, his wife and children would remain the absolute property of the master. Ex 21:4,5 Again, a father might sell his young daughter to a Hebrew, with a view either of marrying her himself or of giving her to his son. Ex 21:7-9 It diminishes the apparent harshness of this proceeding if we look on the purchase money as in the light of a dowry given, as was not unusual, to the parents of the bride; still more, if we accept the rabbinical view that the consent of the maid was required before the marriage could take place. The position of a maiden thus sold by her father was subject to the following regulations: (1) She could not "go out as the men- servants do," i.e. she could not leave at the termination of six years, or in the year of jubilee, if her..
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/S/Slave/


Slave in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE slav, slav'-er-i: 1. Acquiring of Slaves 2. Hebrews as War Captives 3. Freedom of Slaves 4. Rights of Slaves 5. Rights of Slave Masters 6. The New Testament Conception LITERATURE The origin of the term "slave" is traced to the German sklave, meaning a captive of the Slavonic race who had been forced into servitude (compare Slav); French esclave, Dutch slaaf, Swedish slaf, Spanish esclavo. The word "slave" occurs only in Jer 2:14 and in Rev 18:13, where it is suggested by the context and not expressed in the original languages (Hebrew yelidh bayith, "one born in the house"; Greek soma, "body"). However, the Hebrew word `ebhedh, in the Old Testament and the Greek word doulos, in the New Testament more properly might have been translated "slave" instead of "servant" or "bondservant," understanding though that the slavery of Judaism was not the cruel system of Greece, Rome, and later nations. The prime thought is service; the servant may render free service, the slave, obligatory, restricted service. Scripture statement rather than philological study must form the basis of this article. We shall notice how slaves could be secured, sold and redeemed; also their rights and their masters' rights, confining the study to Old Testament Scripture, noting in conclusion the New Testament conception. The word "slave" in this article refers to the Hebrew slave unless otherwise designated. 1. Acquiring of Slaves: Slaves might be acquired in the following ways, namely: (1) Bought. There are many instances of buying slaves (Lev 25:39 ff). Hebrew slavery broke into the ranks of every human relationship: a father could sell his daughter (Ex 21:7; Neh 5:5); a widow's children might be sold to pay their father's debt (2 Ki 4:1); a man could sell himself (Lev 25:39,47); a woman could sell herself (Dt 15:12,13,17), etc. Prices paid were somewhat indefinite. According to Ex 21:32 thirty shekels was a standard price, but Lev 27:3-7 gives a scale of from 3 to 50 shekels according to age and sex, with a provision for an appeal to the priest in case of uncertainty (27:8). Twenty shekels is the price set for a young man (27:5), and this corresponds with the sum paid for Joseph (Gen 37:28). But in 2 Macc 8:11 the price on the average is 90 for a talent, i.e. 40 shekels...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/S/SLAVE;+SLAVERY/


Slavery During the Time of Christ The wisdom of such a policy is seen in the actual influence of the Mosaic legislation upon slavery among the Jews. Due to this influence, slavery among the Jews themselves had virtually disappeared by the time of CHRIST and His disciples. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slavery in the Old Testament Why the Mosaic Law permitted slavery instead of abolishing it. When the laws were given at Mt. Sinai, slavery was universal among the nations of the world. It was not practical to do away with it all at once. Rather, laws were given to prevent the worst abuses and evils of it from being present among the Jews. W. M. Taylor has this to say in regard to the relation of the law to slavery, divorce, etc. "It is noticeable, however, that wherever things in themselves questionable are tolerated, because they were too deeply seated to be removed by an immediate prohibition, the legislation regarding them is of such a character as to mitigate the evils, and prepare the way for their ultimate repression." [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slavery in the Roman Empire SLAVERY IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE Character and extent of slavery. In the first century human life was indeed cheap, for it has been estimated that a half of the total population of the empire, or about sixty million people, were slaves. Some wealthy Romans possessed as many as twenty thousand slaves. Slave owners became very brutal, and the slaves themselves were without hope and many of them very corrupt. For the most part these slaves were those conquered in war. Some of those captured were more educated than their captors. Thus it came about that sometimes Greek slaves became schoolteachers for the family of their masters. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slavery Under the Law of Moses Slavery in Bible Times SLAVERY UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES SLAVERY AMONG THE HEBREWS THEMSELVES. Hebrews could be "hired servants" of their brethren, but they were not allowed to be "bondservants" (Leviticus 25:39, 40). Concerning the one thus hired out as a servant, the LORD said: "Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor; but shalt fear thy God" (Leviticus 25:43). Such slavery was ordinarily brought about by poverty, i.e., because of debts a man could not meet (Leviticus 25:39); or by theft, i.e., because of restitution a man could not pay (Exodus 22:2, 3). Such a Hebrew slave could be redeemed by relatives at any time (Leviticus 25:48, 49). If not redeemed, he was set free after six years of service and was sent away with presents of cattle and fruit (Deuteronomy 15:12-14). A Hebrew slave could choose out of love for his master not to be free in the seventh year, and thus become a lifelong servant of his master. The following custom was observed in such a case: "Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever" (Deuteronomy 15:17). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slaves of Christ New Testament use of the word slave in relation to CHRIST. In view of the way slaves were so often treated in the first century, it is remarkable that the Apostles again and again called themselves the slaves, of CHRIST. Paul refers to himself thus (Romans 1:1 and Philippians 1:1). James, Peter, and Jude do the same thing (James 1:1; II Peter 1:1; Jude 1). To be the slave of CHRIST is to be GOD's freeman (I Corinthians 7:22). Of course, some of those first century slaves were treated as friends to be trusted, and they really loved their masters and served them faithfully.12 This is the picture of all true believers in relation to CHRIST. CHRIST is our Owner, and we are His willing and loving slaves. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slaves Scripture - Revelation 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Revelation/18/


Slaves to the Assyrians When the Assyrians conquered Samaria, many of the Jews were taken away to the land of Assyria to serve as slaves of that people (II Kings 17:6). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slaves to the Babylonians When Jerusalem was destroyed, the Babylonians carried away to Babylon many Hebrews to become their slaves in this foreign capital (II Chronicles 36:20). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slaves to the Philistines The Philistines captured them and then delivered them up to Edom (Amos 1:6). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slaves to the Phoenician SLAVERY UNDER ISRAEL'S ENEMIES Many of the Jews experienced slavery under foreign rule in the time of the captivities. They became captives of war to the Phoenicians who sold them to the Greeks (Joel 3:4-6). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slaves to the Romans And in the days of Rome's supremacy many Jews served as slaves of the empire. But slavery under Gentile dominion was indeed altogether different from slavery under the Mosaic Law. Masters were for the most part cruel and slaves were usually oppressed greatly. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Slaves to the Syrians At a later date, the Syrian merchants came into camp in order to secure Jewish slaves. (l Maccabees 3:41 in the Apocrypha). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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The Apostles and Slavery Attitude of the Apostles toward slavery in the Roman Empire. They did not attempt to do away with the terrible evil immediately. This would have been a hopeless task, and such an attempt would have been doubtless crushed by the iron hand of Rome. Rather, they were satisfied to give forth Christian principles, and so preach the gospel of liberation from sin, that the result would be to do away with human slavery through the conquering power of CHRIST. Paul's letter to Philemon has, no doubt, done more to overcome slavery than any other document ever written. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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