Showing posts from September, 2016

Was it OK to beat slaves in the Old Testament?

Hi David,

I was talking to my husband about what we learned tonight, and when i got to the bit about slavery he immediately brought up Exodus 21:20-21. I have to admit, it does paint a rather ugly picture, but I'm hoping you'll have some insight you can share to help me explain it better. I've no doubt this is not the first time someone has come to you with this verse. :)

Thanks! Sarah
I’m not sure what bothers him.
These verses come within a larger context of legal code given to the Israelites by Moses. And, since I don’t know what bothers him, I’ll only say a couple things that might be bothering him…but I’m only guessing.
(1)In nearly every single instance of the OT, a “slave” is really a “debt servant.” These were people who either (a) owed a person so much money that they had to go work for the master to pay him off; (b) were sold into that kind of slavery by a parent or relative to help work off the debt; or (c) were just so very poor that they sold themselves into sla…