Slavery was universal 4th ABE cultures and God was the first one to regulate it with humanitarian laws where the master can be held responsible for mistreatment of his,servants.
The KJV translation is very poor in Ex 21 & 22.
The Hebrew word [EBED] can be translated as slave, servant, or attendant depending on the context but the KJV ignores the context and uses slave where the context dictates otherwise.
The context in Ex 21:2, 5, and 7 is "indentured servitude" which was a voluntary agreement between the servant and the master where the servant agrees to serve the master for 7 years and is PAID for that service. It's not the traditional slavery that yuo are envisioning.
If you go to Ex 21:16 you will see that the penalty for traditional slavery, as you are envisioning it, is DEATH !
The same goes for the word rape used in Ex 22: 16. The Hebrew word is [PATAH] and means to seduce. It is not rape, the young girl is consenting to the sexual relationship.
It's the same Hebrew word used in Dt 22:28.
Ancient Israel: Slavery, Servanthood, and Social Welfare
The Hebrew word עֶבֶד (ebed) can mean a slave, a servant, or even a highly ranked subordinate.2 Even a king's officials were called "slaves."3
Slave/servanthood was a safeguard against the destitution of poverty. Rather than face starvation, the poor could sell themselves as indentured servants to others. But the law was designed so that if all safeguards regarding social welfare were practiced, then poverty should not exist among ancient Israelites and this practice would be unnecessary (Deut 15:4).
If every command of the Old Testament were followed, it becomes impossible for masters to treat Israelite or foreign servant-slaves inhumanely:
Kidnapping people to be servant/slaves was punishable by death (Ex 21:16).
"You shall not oppress a resident alien" (Ex 23:9), "You shall also love the stranger" (Deut 10:19), "you shall love the alien as yourself" (Lev 19:34), and "love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18).
If a servant is released, masters were required to send them away with generous supplies (Deut 15:13-14).
It was illegal to force escaped slaves to return to their masters (Deut 23:15-16).
The Bible & slavery
Atheists are always claiming that because Christians owned slaves at various times in history, the whole Christian religion is hypocritical. But that’s nonsense. Slavery was practiced for centuries all over the world before Christianity came on the scene. No one ever criticized or opposed slavery in any systematic way—until Christianity. From its very beginning, Christians discouraged the enslavement of fellow Christians. And many early Christians purchased slaves for the sole purpose of setting them free. Because human dignity is at the heart of Christian doctrine, it was only a question of time before Christians began to realize that the very idea of “owning” another human being was contrary to their faith. By the Middle Ages, the institution of slavery—which provided the whole foundation for Greek, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations—was largely replaced by serfdom, a system which at least guaranteed basic human rights to all workers—such as the right to marry and to own property.
Later it was Christians who started the first antislavery movement in history. It wasn’t Democrats who did that. It wasn’t Republicans. It wasn’t politicians or unions or any other kind of socially conscious group. And it certainly wasn’t atheists. It was the church. Slavery came to an end in Europe mainly because of the work of Christian activists such as William Wilberforce, the famous British evangelical philanthropist. And the successful antislavery movement in England—made up overwhelmingly of religious groups—took the lead in the international campaign to end slavery as well. By the early 1800s, two-thirds of the members of the American abolition society were Christian ministers. We see this same positive influence in every area of social reform. Take economic freedom. The ancient world—built on the backs of slaves—had no real concept of the value of labor; yet Christianity—with its emphasis on human equality and dignity—revolutionized the workplace. The concept of private property, property rights, workers’ rights, and unionization all flow from the Judeo-Christian understanding of work and its proper relationship to social justice.
Isn't it remarkable that atheists, who did virtually nothing to oppose slavery, condemn Christians, who are the ones who abolished it?
Consider atheist Sam Harris, who blames Christianity for supporting slavery. Harris is right that slavery existed among the Old Testament Jews, and Paul even instructs slaves to obey their masters. During the civil war both sides quoted the Bible. We know all this. (Yawn, yawn.)
But slavery pre-dated Christianity by centuries and even millennia. As we read from sociologist Orlando Patterson's work, all known cultures had slavery. For centuries, slavery needed no defenders because it had no critics. Atheists who champion ancient Greece and pre-Christian Rome somehow seem to forget that those empires were based on large-scale enslavement.
Slavery was mostly eradicated from Western civilization--then called Christendom--between the fourth and the tenth century. The Greco-Roman institution of slavery gave way to serfdom. Now serfdom has its problems but at least the serf is not a "human tool" and cannot be bought and sold like property. So slavery was ended twice in Western civilization, first in the medieval era and then again in the modern era.
In the American South, Christianity proved to be the solace of the oppressed. As historian Eugene Genovese documents in Roll, Jordan, Roll, when black slaves sought to find dignity during the dark night of slavery, they didn't turn to Marcus Aurelius or David Hume; they turned to the Bible. When they sought hope and inspiration for liberation, they found it not in Voltaire or D'Holbach but in the Book of Exodus.
The anti-slavery movements led by Wilberforce in England and abolitionists in America were dominated by Christians. These believers reasoned that since we are all created equal in the eyes of God, no one has the right to rule another without consent. This is the moral basis not only of anti-slavery but also of democracy.
Jefferson was in some ways the least orthodox and the most skeptical of the founders. Yet when he condemned slavery he found himself using biblical language. In Notes on the State of Virginia Jefferson warned that those who would enslave people should reflect that "the Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest." Jefferson famously added, "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep for ever."
But wasn't Jefferson also a man of science? Yes he was, and it was on the basis of the latest science of his day that Jefferson expressed his convictions about black inferiority. Citing the discoveries of modern science, Jefferson noted that "there are varieties in the race of man, distinguished by their powers both of body and of mind...as I see to be the case with races of other animals." Blacks, Jefferson continued, lack the powers of reason that are evident in whites and even in native Indians. While atheists today like to portray themselves as paragons of equal dignity, Jefferson's scientific and skeptical outlook contributed not to his anti-slavery sentiments but to his racism. Somehow Harris and Shermer neglect to point this out.
In the end the fact remains that the only movements that opposed slavery in principle were mobilized in the West, and they were overwhelmingly led and populated by Christians. Sadly the West had to use force to stop slavery in other cultures, such as the Muslim slave trade off the coast of Africa. In some quarters the campaign to eradicate slavery still goes on.
So who killed slavery? The Christians did, while everyone else generally stood by and watched.
Last edited by Otangelo on Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:24 am; edited 8 times in total