Leviticus 22:11, Slavery in Israel

But if a priest buys a slave with money, or if a slave is born in his household, that slave may eat his food.

//In this verse It appears that the Levitical law takes slavery for granted. Buying and selling slaves was a way of life.

Now, I’ve heard it argued that “owning” a slave in Bible days was a bit different than the slave ownership of America before the civil war. That a better comparison to Israelite slavery would be like the way the Denver Broncos now own superstar Peyton Manning. But I don’t really buy it.

Can we be thankful, however, that the New Testament abolishes the idea of slavery? Didn’t Paul promise, “there is no longer slave or free … for you are all one in Christ Jesus?” Yes, Paul said that, but note the provision. In Christ Jesus. Paul was writing to Philemon, but not to criticize Philemon for owning other slaves. He was writing to encourage Philemon to accept Onesimus, a runaway slave, back in a new status … because Onesimus had converted to Christianity.

Likewise, the Old Testament repeatedly discusses the humanitarian expectations God expects of his people … toward their fellow Israelites! God called his people out of slavery, and didn’t want them back in that role again.

If one of your countrymen becomes poor among you and sells himself to you, do not make him work as a slave. … Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. … Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

One might conclude that the Bible disapproves of slavery for people of like faith, but assumes its legitimacy for heathens. Thoughts?

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