Slavery was practiced among Jews from the time of Abraham, but consciousness of caste is hardly noticeable in patriarchal days; master and slave lived together as mems. of a household (cf. Gn 15:23; 24; 1 Sm 9:510; Pr 29:1921). During the period of the kings the condition of slaves became more intolerable (2 K 4:1; Am 2:6; 8:6). Nehemiah tried to rectify conditions that fostered slavery (Neh 5:411).
Servitude of Heb. slaves was regulated by laws that regarded them as hired servants (cf. Ex 21:111; Lv 25:3955; Dt 15:1218). The lot of for. slaves was less tolerable (cf. Dt 20:1015; Ju 1:28), but they, too, lived as mems. of a religious community (Dt 12:12, 18; 16:11, 14; 21:1014). The nations that sold Israelites into slavery were denounced (Jl 3:6; Am 1:6). The number of slaves in Israel was never as large as among the Gks. and Romans.
Christianity did not require masters to release their servants (cf. Eph 6:59) but invited all to be children of God, without soc. distinction (1 Co 7:2122; Gl 3:28; Cl 3:11; Phmn 10, 16).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.
Content Reproduced with Permission