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B&H
03-16-2015, 10:00 PM
7 "If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.
8 "If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her.
9 "If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters.
10 "If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights.
11 "If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.
(Exo 21:7-11 NAU)

If the reason in the text given for restricting the master from selling the female slave to foreigners, is because of his unfairness to her, then would he have lawful authority to sell her to foreigners as long as he isn't unfair to her?

What is the point of the text blaming the prohibition against selling her to foreigners on his being unfaithful to her, if he wasn't allowed to sell her to foreigners regardless of the circumstances?

If you agree with me that this Hebrew master could sell this girl into foreign servitude as long as he wasn't unfair to her, then...do you accept the biblical testimony that the Gentile nations surrounding Israel in the time of Moses were exceedingly corrupt and sinful?

If so, doesn't Exodus 21:8 become divine authorization to subject a Hebrew girl to the most vile of pagan living conditions and practices?

You can scream as long as you wish that the Hebrew slave code was more civil than others, in your never-ending quest to excuse away the divine atrocities of the Old Testament, but that argument would not seem to benefit you much here. This is allowing for very cruel treatment of a girl solely because she is a girl, no punishment for sin expressed or implied. For which reason I conclude that within this "more civil" slave code, is a rather sadistic rule putting the Hebrews on par with the brutality of the very pagans that apologists ceaselessly try to contrast them with.

Think very carefully on this: If you observe the father in a modern American family selling his daughter to some guy whom she didn't herself pick for marriage, does your immediate revulsion to this arise from eternal absolute laws of god that are on your heart? Or do you feel revulsion merely because you've been conditioned to believe that the modern American way of life is best (i.e., relative morals)?

If they arise from absolute morals God placed on your heart, how can you reconcile that absolute law of god, with God's law in Exodus 21:8 authorizing Hebrews to sell their slaves to idolatrous Gentiles?

If they arise from relative morals, then aren't you saying that barbaric treatment of young girls in human trafficking can be morally justified if the conditions are right?

I have serious problems with conservative Christian apologists who are forever twisting the Mosaic writings to make them appear more in conformity with modern American morality than they really are. You would be horrified to see America replace its current federal laws with the Law of Moses, and it wouldn't simply be because of your subjective belief that modern American morality is superior. When we feel revulsion at the thought of human trafficking and slavery, it is most likely because we are instinctively aware of how dangerous and fundamentally unfair such practices are, and how such institutions easily breed great corruption. If we lived under the law of Moses today, what exactly could your slave girl/concubine do if you gave her a black eye? The law of Moses forbids punishing a slave owner where the abuse inflicted was not fatal. Exodus 21:21.

No amount of "but the Hebrew law code was more civilized than others in those days" will shield the conservative position from attack here. It could not be more obvious, once the realities of life in ancient Mesopotamia are taken into account, how utterly barbaric the Hebrew slave laws were.

Naturally raising the question of why you think the bible god is far more loving of you than your own parents, when this god instituted practices that make you scream "sadism!" when you see the pagans doing the same things. Have you ever seriously considered that Christian faith has a psychological dimension despite what other dimensions it has, and that you naturally rebel against justified rebuttals solely because the rebuttals are in fact attacking your comfort zone?

If a mom really is a crack whore subjecting her three year old to dangerous conditions, do you think you'll ever convince the toddler that her mom really is a bad person? No amount of evidence will be sufficient. There is a reason why people cling to what is comforting, and it obviously has nothing to do with desire to pursue "truth".

Chrawnus
03-16-2015, 10:14 PM
If the reason in the text given for restricting the master from selling the female slave to foreigners, is because of his unfairness to her, then would he have lawful authority to sell her to foreigners as long as he isn't unfair to her?

Eh, no, that's not what the text is saying. His unfairness refers back to the phrase "designated her for himself" (probably as a wife/concubine) which means that it is the very act of not taking her as a wife/concubine (because she is displeasing to him) that is considered unfair. In other words, there is no circumstance under which he has lawful authority to sell her to foreigners.

Which means that the rest of your post simply does not follow and can be safely ignored.

ETA: Just a clarification. Whether or not this text is talking about taking a girl as your wife/concubine, or simply as a servant has no bearing on my argument. The main point is that the man in question has designated her for himself, whether that means as a servant or something else is on the whole not relevant to the point that it is the act of reneging on his promise to designate her for himself that is considered unfair to her.

Chrawnus
03-16-2015, 11:24 PM
I thought I would take a crack at your questions anyway, even though most of them are irrelevant in light of a proper understanding of the passage in question:



What is the point of the text blaming the prohibition against selling her to foreigners on his being unfaithful to her, if he wasn't allowed to sell her to foreigners regardless of the circumstances?

I don't understand the question. Are you asking what the relevance is of pointing out that breaking his promise to her is being unfair to her? He is being unfair to her by breaking his promise (to designate her for himself) so I'm not sure what your gripe is. Regardless of if the text allows for circumstances where he could sell the girl into foreign servitude (it does not) or if the passage serves to completely block off the option of her master selling her into foreign servitude (which it does) it still is the case that the master is being unfair to her, and so it's not peculiar at all that the text should point it out.



If you agree with me that this Hebrew master could sell this girl into foreign servitude as long as he wasn't unfair to her, then...do you accept the biblical testimony that the Gentile nations surrounding Israel in the time of Moses were exceedingly corrupt and sinful?


I don't agree with the first assumption, I do agree with the second about the Gentile nations being corrupt and sinful.



If so, doesn't Exodus 21:8 become divine authorization to subject a Hebrew girl to the most vile of pagan living conditions and practices?

Only if we agree with your assumption that there are circumstances where a Hebrew girl can be sold into foreign servitude, but there are no such circumstances, so your conclusion does not follow.



You can scream as long as you wish that the Hebrew slave code was more civil than others, in your never-ending quest to excuse away the divine atrocities of the Old Testament, but that argument would not seem to benefit you much here. This is allowing for very cruel treatment of a girl solely because she is a girl, no punishment for sin expressed or implied. For which reason I conclude that within this "more civil" slave code, is a rather sadistic rule putting the Hebrews on par with the brutality of the very pagans that apologists ceaselessly try to contrast them with.

Perhaps learning to properly interpret the Bible would be a better way to spend your time than to foolishly accuse apologists of defending "divine atrocities" because you couldn't be bothered to learn the necessary information and proper methodology to interpret the biblical text and so spare yourself the embarrassment of showing the whole world that even though you do not have the slightest clue on how to properly interpret a document from an ancient culture you still think you can pronounce moral judgements on it.



Think very carefully on this: If you observe the father in a modern American family selling his daughter to some guy whom she didn't herself pick for marriage, does your immediate revulsion to this arise from eternal absolute laws of god that are on your heart? Or do you feel revulsion merely because you've been conditioned to believe that the modern American way of life is best (i.e., relative morals)?

My objection would be that we (speaking as a member of the modern West, not as an American) are no longer under the same circumstances that the ancient Israelites were under, and that the conditions under which it would be justified to concede to the kind of system where a father has the kind of legal right over his daughter that allows him to pick a husband for her simply does not exist in modern Western civilization anymore (or atleast not that I'm aware of).



If they arise from absolute morals God placed on your heart, how can you reconcile that absolute law of god, with God's law in Exodus 21:8 authorizing Hebrews to sell their slaves to idolatrous Gentiles?

No reconciliation needed, the reason why should be quite clear.



If they arise from relative morals, then aren't you saying that barbaric treatment of young girls in human trafficking can be morally justified if the conditions are right?

They don't arise from relative morals though.



I have serious problems with conservative Christian apologists who are forever twisting the Mosaic writings to make them appear more in conformity with modern American morality than they really are. You would be horrified to see America replace its current federal laws with the Law of Moses, and it wouldn't simply be because of your subjective belief that modern American morality is superior. When we feel revulsion at the thought of human trafficking and slavery, it is most likely because we are instinctively aware of how dangerous and fundamentally unfair such practices are, and how such institutions easily breed great corruption. If we lived under the law of Moses today, what exactly could your slave girl/concubine do if you gave her a black eye? The law of Moses forbids punishing a slave owner where the abuse inflicted was not fatal. Exodus 21:21.

And I have serious problems with rabid anti-theists twisting the Mosaic writings to make them appear more atrocious than they really are. I guess that makes us even. And no one is arguing that we should replace any nations law with the law of Moses (except maybe a few crackpots). The law of Moses was written specifically for the kind of time and culture that the Israelites at the time found themselves in, which means that there are sometimes necessary concessions to ancient customs there that wouldn't necessarily have been given if the Law had been written in a culture more similar to ours.

And to answer your question about hitting a slave girl: If the injury to the eye in question was permanent, the slave owner had to let the girl go free. Of course, given that corporal punishment was a common occurrence for that time, even for free persons (such as teachers disciplining students for example) the fact that the Mosaic law regulates (rather than permits) corporal punishment for slaves isn't really that morally outrageous as you seem to think it is. If the Mosaic Law had said nothing about this issue then the slave/servant would have had literally no legal protection when it came to the issue of corporal punishment. The fact that permanently damaging a body part of the servant would mean having to let that servant go free would mean that any slave owner would probably be quite careful not to inflict punishment on any easily damaged part of the body (such as the eyes and teeth). Unless the master in question is a complete moron of course, and does not mind letting perfectly good labor walk away without him (the master) getting any recompensation for lost workforce whatsoever.



No amount of "but the Hebrew law code was more civilized than others in those days" will shield the conservative position from attack here. It could not be more obvious, once the realities of life in ancient Mesopotamia are taken into account, how utterly barbaric the Hebrew slave laws were.

Actually, once the realities of ancient Mesopotamia are taken into account it becames much more apparent why the laws of Moses are written in the way they are. :shrug:



Naturally raising the question of why you think the bible god is far more loving of you than your own parents, when this god instituted practices that make you scream "sadism!" when you see the pagans doing the same things. Have you ever seriously considered that Christian faith has a psychological dimension despite what other dimensions it has, and that you naturally rebel against justified rebuttals solely because the rebuttals are in fact attacking your comfort zone?

He didn't institute these practices though, what He did was regulate them so that their damaging effects wouldn't be as pervasive and deep as they otherwise would have been.



If a mom really is a crack whore subjecting her three year old to dangerous conditions, do you think you'll ever convince the toddler that her mom really is a bad person? No amount of evidence will be sufficient. There is a reason why people cling to what is comforting, and it obviously has nothing to do with desire to pursue "truth".

Your problem of course, is that you fail to realize that if the Mosaic law really was as atrocious as you anti-theists twist it into appearing to be, hardly anyone would find reading the Bible comforting.

The Pixie
03-17-2015, 06:32 AM
Chrawnus

I agree with your interpretation.The daughter was sold to be a wife or concubine, and if her master did not want her in that capacity, he was to let her go free. The Hebrews were quite protective of Hebrew slaves (not so much gentile slaves).

My objection would be that we (speaking as a member of the modern West, not as an American) are no longer under the same circumstances that the ancient Israelites were under, and that the conditions under which it would be justified to concede to the kind of system where a father has the kind of legal right over his daughter that allows him to pick a husband for her simply does not exist in modern Western civilization anymore (or atleast not that I'm aware of).
Your position is that these laws are dependent on the culture, then? Or more specifically, the circumstances of the culture?

Most Christians seem to shy away from moral relativism (and I must admit, I do too). If something is wrong, then it is wrong no matter what culture you are in.

They don't arise from relative morals though.
Oh. So the laws apply across all cultures, no matter the circumstances? Perhaps you could clarify...

The law of Moses was written specifically for the kind of time and culture that the Israelites at the time found themselves in, which means that there are sometimes necessary concessions to ancient customs there that wouldn't necessarily have been given if the Law had been written in a culture more similar to ours.
And back to moral relativism.



If we lived under the law of Moses today, what exactly could your slave girl/concubine do if you gave her a black eye? The law of Moses forbids punishing a slave owner where the abuse inflicted was not fatal. Exodus 21:21.
And to answer your question about hitting a slave girl: If the injury to the eye in question was permanent, the slave owner had to let the girl go free.
He specifically said a black eye, which is not permanent. So in that case, no punishment is due, right?

Of course, given that corporal punishment was a common occurrence for that time, even for free persons (such as teachers disciplining students for example) the fact that the Mosaic law regulates (rather than permits) corporal punishment for slaves isn't really that morally outrageous as you seem to think it is.
So your argument is that corporal punishment was okay back then because everyone did it?

Can you confirm that I have understood you correctly?

If the Mosaic Law had said nothing about this issue then the slave/servant would have had literally no legal protection when it came to the issue of corporal punishment. The fact that permanently damaging a body part of the servant would mean having to let that servant go free would mean that any slave owner would probably be quite careful not to inflict punishment on any easily damaged part of the body (such as the eyes and teeth). Unless the master in question is a complete moron of course, and does not mind letting perfectly good labor walk away without him (the master) getting any recompensation for lost workforce whatsoever.
And so you consider the Mosaic laws to be perfectly moral?

Actually, once the realities of ancient Mesopotamia are taken into account it becames much more apparent why the laws of Moses are written in the way they are. :shrug:
Again, you are arguing that the Mosaic laws are perfectly moral because everyone else behaved worse at that time, right? Or is your position that they were perfectly moral back then?

He didn't institute these practices though, what He did was regulate them so that their damaging effects wouldn't be as pervasive and deep as they otherwise would have been.
He may not have invented the practices, but getting them put into a holy book is instituting them.

Abigail
03-17-2015, 07:32 AM
If the reason in the text given for restricting the master from selling the female slave to foreigners, is because of his unfairness to her, then would he have lawful authority to sell her to foreigners as long as he isn't unfair to her?

What is the point of the text blaming the prohibition against selling her to foreigners on his being unfaithful to her, if he wasn't allowed to sell her to foreigners regardless of the circumstances?

If you read the text in context. For Hebrew slaves, a male serves for six years and then is free to go without payment. For a female slave the context seems to intimate that she will also serve six years and at the end of that if the master hasn't decided to take her on as a wife then he has to let her be redeemed (I assume that means her family gets her back). The master also has the option of keeping the female slave for his son but then he has to treat her as a daughter and this has to be maintained even if the son takes another woman. If not then the female slave-who-became-a-daughter is free to go.



If you agree with me that this Hebrew master could sell this girl into foreign servitude as long as he wasn't unfair to her, then...do you accept the biblical testimony that the Gentile nations surrounding Israel in the time of Moses were exceedingly corrupt and sinful?

If so, doesn't Exodus 21:8 become divine authorization to subject a Hebrew girl to the most vile of pagan living conditions and practices?

No I don't agree


You can scream as long as you wish that the Hebrew slave code was more civil than others, in your never-ending quest to excuse away the divine atrocities of the Old Testament, but that argument would not seem to benefit you much here. This is allowing for very cruel treatment of a girl solely because she is a girl, no punishment for sin expressed or implied. For which reason I conclude that within this "more civil" slave code, is a rather sadistic rule putting the Hebrews on par with the brutality of the very pagans that apologists ceaselessly try to contrast them with.

Think very carefully on this: If you observe the father in a modern American family selling his daughter to some guy whom she didn't herself pick for marriage, does your immediate revulsion to this arise from eternal absolute laws of god that are on your heart? Or do you feel revulsion merely because you've been conditioned to believe that the modern American way of life is best (i.e., relative morals)?

No one chose their wives then and in fact when you see how quickly people seem to fall in and out of love today it is questionable whether picking ones own marriage partner is the route to happiness and bliss (that's an observation too):smile:

Chrawnus
03-17-2015, 08:48 AM
Chrawnus

I agree with your interpretation.The daughter was sold to be a wife or concubine, and if her master did not want her in that capacity, he was to let her go free. The Hebrews were quite protective of Hebrew slaves (not so much gentile slaves).

I'm quite interested what you're referring to by your comment about gentile slaves.



Your position is that these laws are dependent on the culture, then? Or more specifically, the circumstances of the culture?

Most Christians seem to shy away from moral relativism (and I must admit, I do too). If something is wrong, then it is wrong no matter what culture you are in.

Oh. So the laws apply across all cultures, no matter the circumstances? Perhaps you could clarify...

And back to moral relativism.


It isn't really a question of moral relativism, but rather how much you're able to upturn the customs and institutions of an ancient civilization before you plunge it into chaos. My argument is this: God decided to work within the framework of the ancient Middle-Eastern culture and therefore tailored the laws to that situation. If the culture had looked different then He would have probably tailored the laws differently. These laws are not moral rules intended for all civilizations and cultures, rather they're intended specifically for that particular culture and civilization. You could possibly see them as the application of the absolute moral laws of God to that particular situation, with the implication that in a different situation, God's moral laws would express themselves differently.



He specifically said a black eye, which is not permanent. So in that case, no punishment is due, right?

Yes, but who is going to punch their servant/slave in the eye if they know that by doing it they risk having to let that slave go free?



So your argument is that corporal punishment was okay back then because everyone did it?

Can you confirm that I have understood you correctly?

My point was more that since corporal punishment was issued to people other than slaves it's quite odd to complain that slaves were beaten, as if they were the only ones who were subject to such treatment. If I wanted to defend the practice of corporal punishment I would have argued something similar to this article (http://www.tektonics.org/af/corppun.php), namely that disciplining people in that age was not only an issue of teaching them to behave properly, it was a question of society's survival.



And so you consider the Mosaic laws to be perfectly moral?

I consider them to be perfectly reasonable within the cultural context under which they were written.



Again, you are arguing that the Mosaic laws are perfectly moral because everyone else behaved worse at that time, right? Or is your position that they were perfectly moral back then?

I'm arguing that the question of whether or not they're perfectly moral is a misguided one. The reality of this fallen world is such that it simply isn't realistic to expect to be able to create a legal system that is perfectly moral.



He may not have invented the practices, but getting them put into a holy book is instituting them.

I fail to see how setting restrictions on a practice equals instituting them. :shrug:

The Pixie
03-17-2015, 11:53 AM
I'm quite interested what you're referring to by your comment about gentile slaves.
It is based primarily on this:

Leviticus 25:39 "‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

44 "‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 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. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

Hebrew slaves were released after a while, gentile ones were not, and there was a special law saying not to treat Hebrew slaves "ruthlessly".

It isn't really a question of moral relativism, but rather how much you're able to upturn the customs and institutions of an ancient civilization before you plunge it into chaos.
So God was not unable to do any better? Strange, I thought he was all-powerful.

Why did God allow these customs to become so firmly embedded in the culture before creating these laws?

My argument is this: God decided to work within the framework of the ancient Middle-Eastern culture and therefore tailored the laws to that situation. If the culture had looked different then He would have probably tailored the laws differently. These laws are not moral rules intended for all civilizations and cultures, rather they're intended specifically for that particular culture and civilization. You could possibly see them as the application of the absolute moral laws of God to that particular situation, with the implication that in a different situation, God's moral laws would express themselves differently.
How is this different to moral relativism?

Yes, but who is going to punch their servant/slave in the eye if they know that by doing it they risk having to let that slave go free?
Hence, slaves are traditionally whipped I guess.

Not sure what your point is. The original question was about a black eye. A master giving his slave a black eye would not be punished according to Mosaic Law. I know you insist that this is based on "the application of the absolute moral laws of God to that particular situation", but I do ponder what that absolute moral law is.

My point was more that since corporal punishment was issued to people other than slaves it's quite odd to complain that slaves were beaten, as if they were the only ones who were subject to such treatment. If I wanted to defend the practice of corporal punishment I would have argued something similar to this article (http://www.tektonics.org/af/corppun.php), namely that disciplining people in that age was not only an issue of teaching them to behave properly, it was a question of society's survival.
Really?

You think a society that uses corporal punishment is moral fine if it allows slaves to be whipped? Again, I wonder what "the absolute moral laws of God" is here.

I consider them to be perfectly reasonable within the cultural context under which they were written.
The question is why that is not moral relativism.

I'm arguing that the question of whether or not they're perfectly moral is a misguided one. The reality of this fallen world is such that it simply isn't realistic to expect to be able to create a legal system that is perfectly moral.
So are you saying it is not possible for God to create a perfectly moral legal system?

So let us suppose he could only create a superior moral system. Do you think it is possible for God to create a legal system that is morally superior to any created by man?

Do you think the Mosaic Law was created by God?

Do you think the Mosaic Law is a legal system that is morally superior to any created by man?

I fail to see how setting restrictions on a practice equals instituting them. :shrug:
To institute something is to establish a policy. Slavery already existed, but the Mosaic Law regulated it, it established a policy for slavery, it instituted slavery. Take a look at the definition of the word.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/institute

Anyway, it is a minor semantic issue, and I have said enough on it already.

Abigail
03-17-2015, 12:17 PM
It is based primarily on this:

Leviticus 25:39 "‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

44 "‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 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. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

Hebrew slaves were released after a while, gentile ones were not, and there was a special law saying not to treat Hebrew slaves "ruthlessly".



I think the point is that a person could only keep a Hebrew 'slave' for as long as it took to pay off the debt owed (hence a workers wage), no more and I think this was capped to six years. This was a special protection dictated by God because they were His people and it made a distinction between His and the rest.

Chrawnus
03-17-2015, 12:23 PM
It is based primarily on this:

Leviticus 25:39 "‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

44 "‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 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. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

Hebrew slaves were released after a while, gentile ones were not, and there was a special law saying not to treat Hebrew slaves "ruthlessly".

Eh, to say that gentile slaves were not released after a while is a bit misleading. The text gives you permission to buy the slave (or, rather his labor, output of his work) for an indefinite period of time. Another point to consider is that these "temporary residents" were probably disgraced exiles from the surrounding nations with no hope of ever returning to their homes, so it's mainly a difference of letting someone go free who has a home to return to vs. keeping someone in servitude who doesn't have that option.*



So God was not unable to do any better? Strange, I thought he was all-powerful.

I'm not sure how God's omnipotence is relevant in this discussion.



Why did God allow these customs to become so firmly embedded in the culture before creating these laws?

I'm not sure that there ever was a time when these customs weren't embedded in the ANE culture. :shrug:



How is this different to moral relativism?

I'm arguing that there are absolute moral principles that needs to be applied differently and sometimes less rigorously depending on the situation you find yourself in, not that there are different ethical systems for different cultures. A different legal framework is not the same as a different ethical framework.



Hence, slaves are traditionally whipped I guess.

Or beaten with a rod. Not that that's any different from how "free" person were disciplined.



Not sure what your point is. The original question was about a black eye. A master giving his slave a black eye would not be punished according to Mosaic Law. I know you insist that this is based on "the application of the absolute moral laws of God to that particular situation", but I do ponder what that absolute moral law is.

My point is that the situation that B&H describes isn't very likely to occur given the law about permanent damage to a slave. A prudent master isn't going to risk injuring the eye of his slave if it means having to let that slave go.



Really?

You think a society that uses corporal punishment is moral fine if it allows slaves to be whipped? Again, I wonder what "the absolute moral laws of God" is here.

I would say that the absolute moral law is that ideally there should be no slavery, or indentured servitude, but in the cases where this is unavoidable there needs to be checks that ensure that the intendured servant is not treated cruelly.



So are you saying it is not possible for God to create a perfectly moral legal system?

No, I'm saying it's impossible for us fallen human beings to live under a perfectly moral legal system.



Do you think the Mosaic Law was created by God?

Yes.



Do you think the Mosaic Law is a legal system that is morally superior to any created by man?

I think it was the best for the specific circumstances under which it was written and that any alternative is going to be inferior.






*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDWtLHJt8Do

The Pixie
03-18-2015, 02:28 AM
Eh, to say that gentile slaves were not released after a while is a bit misleading. The text gives you permission to buy the slave (or, rather his labor, output of his work) for an indefinite period of time. Another point to consider is that these "temporary residents" were probably disgraced exiles from the surrounding nations with no hope of ever returning to their homes, so it's mainly a difference of letting someone go free who has a home to return to vs. keeping someone in servitude who doesn't have that option.*
The text makes a clear distinction.

Hebrew slaves: "they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee"
Gentile slaves: "make them slaves for life"

So I am wondering why you claim "to say that gentile slaves were not released after a while is a bit misleading". The text says they could be made slaves for life, hence it is quite reasonable to say they were not released after a while.

It is interesting that you make a distinction between buying a slave and buying his labour. With regards to gentile slaves, it says "they will become your property". While you could make the case that, with Hebrew slaves, it was their labour that was purchased, the Bible says otherwise for gentile slaves.

On what basis do you think all gentile slaves were disgraced exiles? Is it not possible that some were prisoners of war or debtors?



It isn't really a question of moral relativism, but rather how much you're able to upturn the customs and institutions of an ancient civilization before you plunge it into chaos.
So God was not unable to do any better? Strange, I thought he was all-powerful.
I'm not sure how God's omnipotence is relevant in this discussion.
Then I shall attempt to explain.

Your argument here seemed to be that God was unable to do something, i.e., God would not be able to abolish slavery without turning the civilisation into chaos. This would seem to limit the power of God. Sure he can create the universe, but he cannot stop Hebrew civilisation turning to chaos after abolishing slavery.

I'm not sure that there ever was a time when these customs weren't embedded in the ANE culture. :shrug:
Really?

Do you believe in a global flood? When Noah emerged from the ark, there were no slaves.

I'm arguing that there are absolute moral principles that needs to be applied differently and sometimes less rigorously depending on the situation you find yourself in, not that there are different ethical systems for different cultures. A different legal framework is not the same as a different ethical framework.
We will get to this the absolute moral principle in a bit...

Or beaten with a rod. Not that that's any different from how "free" person were disciplined.
And that makes it acceptable?

My point is that the situation that B&H describes isn't very likely to occur given the law about permanent damage to a slave. A prudent master isn't going to risk injuring the eye of his slave if it means having to let that slave go.
Seems reasonable.

Now can you confirm that a slave owner giving a slave a black eye is not against Biblical Law, even if it is not very likely to happen?

I would say that the absolute moral law is that ideally there should be no slavery, or indentured servitude, but in the cases where this is unavoidable there needs to be checks that ensure that the intendured servant is not treated cruelly.
That is an absolute moral law? Ideally you must not do something, but if you really have to...

That is like saying ideally you will not murder anyone, but in cases where it is unavoidable, try to do it painlessly.

See my absolute moral law is that slavery is wrong. It seems a little more... absolute than yours.

Who gets to decide if slavery is unavoidable? Was the slavery of blacks in America unavoidable? Would you say that what was wrong with slavery was that there were not checks in place to ensure they were not treated cruelly? I think many people would disagree with that, but I must say it is brave of you to go on record saying this.

No, I'm saying it's impossible for us fallen human beings to live under a perfectly moral legal system.
Can you talk me through that?

Let us start with the supposedly perfectly moral law on slavery. Why do you think it is impossible for humans to live under a law that says ideally there should be no slavery, but if it is unavoidable, just go for it? See, to me that sounds like the sort of weasel-worded law that is very easy to live under. Just do not keep slaves unless you feel you really, really need to.

Abigail
03-18-2015, 04:48 AM
Who gets to decide if slavery is unavoidable? Was the slavery of blacks in America unavoidable? Would you say that what was wrong with slavery was that there were not checks in place to ensure they were not treated cruelly? I think many people would disagree with that, but I must say it is brave of you to go on record saying this.


It is notable that you make the comment that Chrawnus is brave to say what he did, because even though nowadays we say we do not have slavery, we really do and this can be seen when people make comments that powerful (or organized) people do not like - they are bullied and villified in very pernicious and brutal ways. Slavery comes in many guises and yes valuing your fellow man as yourself will render it powerless. Legally the Hebrews were allowed to take stranger slaves permanently but that does not mean that they had to or should and how they treated their slaves could well have been the test of their metal - especially when they themselves were the recipients of God's good treatment. Under the New Covenant and the law of the heart, slavery is rendered powerless in a way that no law of the letter could. Further if you really believe no one should ever have their freedom curtailed then you should start opening prisons right now and especially not allow ISIS fighters to be jailed or curfewed in any way.

And just for the record. Black slavery in America (and elsewhere) was wrong because innocent people were treated badly and as less than equals and used as workhorses and the law of the heart should have told people that.

The Pixie
03-18-2015, 05:07 AM
It is notable that you make the comment that Chrawnus is brave to say what he did, because even though nowadays we say we do not have slavery, we really do and this can be seen when people make comments that powerful (or organized) people do not like - they are bullied and villified in very pernicious and brutal ways. Slavery comes in many guises and yes valuing your fellow man as yourself will render it powerless.
Slavery is a real problem still today, even though it is not legal (some estimates say there are more slaves today than at any time in history).

I appreciate that is not what you meant, however. To be honest, I am not too sure what your point is. Slavery is a touchy subject, and to say that enslaving blacks in America was not inherently wrong (only wrong because it did not have suitable checks on the cruelty) was brave of Chrawnus as I can imagine quite a backlash from that. Bullying and vilifying are wrong, but are not the same as slavery.

Legally the Hebrews were allowed to take stranger slaves permanently but that does not mean that they had to or should ...
The point is the the Mosaic Law supposedly came from God, and it clearly condoned keeping slaves permanent. Whether that happened in practice is not so important.

Legally the Hebrews were allowed to take stranger slaves permanently but that does not mean that they had to or should and how they treated their slaves could well have been the test of their metal - especially when they themselves were the recipients of God's good treatment. Under the New Covenant and the law of the heart, slavery is rendered powerless in a way that no law of the letter could.
Are you actually arguing that slavery was good for the slave? Or have I misunderstood?

Further if you really believe no one should ever have their freedom curtailed then you should start opening prisons right now and especially not allow ISIS fighters to be jailed or curfewed in any way.
I think there is a difference between imprisoning criminals and keeping slaves. Do I need to spell it out to you?

And just for the record. Black slavery in America (and elsewhere) was wrong because innocent people were treated badly and used as workhorses and the law of the heart should have told people that.
See, that is the difference right there. Imprisoning criminals is entirely different to using innocent people as workhorses.

In fact, I agree with you. Slavery is "wrong because innocent people were treated badly and used as workhorses". Like you, I reject Chrawnus' supposedly objective moral law that slavery is "ideally" wrong, but actually is okay if you have to do it.

Abigail
03-18-2015, 11:53 AM
Slavery is a real problem still today, even though it is not legal (some estimates say there are more slaves today than at any time in history).

I appreciate that is not what you meant, however. To be honest, I am not too sure what your point is. Slavery is a touchy subject, and to say that enslaving blacks in America was not inherently wrong (only wrong because it did not have suitable checks on the cruelty) was brave of Chrawnus as I can imagine quite a backlash from that. Bullying and vilifying are wrong, but are not the same as slavery. Bullying (which is not the same as not agreeing with other people on issues or behaviours) is slavery since the victims are often subjected to tyranny just like the tyranny of master who has no regard for the personhood of the slave.



The point is the the Mosaic Law supposedly came from God, and it clearly condoned keeping slaves permanent. Whether that happened in practice is not so important. I think you have missed my point. I am not arguing that it didn't happen but rather that just because God said non-Hebrews could be kept permanently it does not mean He was saying they had to do it. The Law was for God's people to tell them how to live and also in lots of ways to offer protection to them from other members of their group. So the law set limits on what a Hebrew could do to another and how long they could keep another Hebrew as a slave etc. God seems to have done this to impress upon them how they were released from slavery in Egypt by His hand etc. The law was not about non-Hebrews and they did not have that same national Egyptian experience. I am sure God did help non-Hebrews in ways we have no records of but the Hebrews were God's special people and He was showing it in ways which could well have not only made this apparent to non-Hebrews but made those others want to be part of the group.


Are you actually arguing that slavery was good for the slave? Or have I misunderstood? You have misunderstood - I am not arguing whether slavery is good or bad for the slave but rather that it was a fact of life in the ancient world and that God put protections in place for Hebrew slaves. They were His people. He seems to have allowed the Hebrews to treat non-Hebrews slaves with what was possibly the norm amongst surrounding nations. His protection was for Hebrews, however I think that He would have expected Hebrews to treat non-Hebrews with a certain amount of kindness since that is a theme we see over in the Bible (do unto others etc, mercy not sacrifice).


I think there is a difference between imprisoning criminals and keeping slaves. Do I need to spell it out to you? The problem is that back then you only went to jail till your case was heard and then you were sentenced to a punishment or released - nowadays we lock up war criminals and people who want to attack and harm the nation. Back then if you didn't kill your enemies you had to make sure they could not harm you. The difference seems to be very blurry




See, that is the difference right there. Imprisoning criminals is entirely different to using innocent people as workhorses.

In fact, I agree with you. Slavery is "wrong because innocent people were treated badly and used as workhorses". Like you, I reject Chrawnus' supposedly objective moral law that slavery is "ideally" wrong, but actually is okay if you have to do it.

How is a person captured in war different from say an Isis fighter. An Isis fight who is captured will be deprived of his freedom. Where is your evidence that Hebrews just went out and captured slaves to be workhorses?

DesertBerean
03-18-2015, 12:01 PM
Deut. 23:15 said to give foreign runaway slaves asylum in any Hebrew town they wished.

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 12:58 AM
Bullying (which is not the same as not agreeing with other people on issues or behaviours) is slavery since the victims are often subjected to tyranny just like the tyranny of master who has no regard for the personhood of the slave.
Two things can have something in common without being the same.

I think you have missed my point. I am not arguing that it didn't happen but rather that just because God said non-Hebrews could be kept permanently it does not mean He was saying they had to do it.
Okay, I was imagining something deeper than that. Of course not all Hebrews kept slaves, many would not be able to afford to. So what?

The Law was for God's people to tell them how to live and also in lots of ways to offer protection to them from other members of their group. So the law set limits on what a Hebrew could do to another and how long they could keep another Hebrew as a slave etc. God seems to have done this to impress upon them how they were released from slavery in Egypt by His hand etc. The law was not about non-Hebrews and they did not have that same national Egyptian experience. I am sure God did help non-Hebrews in ways we have no records of but the Hebrews were God's special people and He was showing it in ways which could well have not only made this apparent to non-Hebrews but made those others want to be part of the group.
There were instructions in the Mosaic Law that covered gentile slaves.

Those slaves could be treated ruthlessly and were considered property on the basis, you say, that they came from nations that had not been rescued from slavery by God. I would love for you to talk me through the reasoning there.

It is ironic that a big chunk of the Bible is God rescuing the Israelites from slavery, and then, not long after, he is giving them laws on how to keep their own slaves. Very much one rule for his chosen people, another rule for the other races.

You have misunderstood
Just went back and reread what you posted. Somehow I read it as testing the slave's metal, not the owner's. Apologies.

I am not arguing whether slavery is good or bad for the slave but rather that it was a fact of life in the ancient world and that God put protections in place for Hebrew slaves. They were His people. He seems to have allowed the Hebrews to treat non-Hebrews slaves with what was possibly the norm amongst surrounding nations. His protection was for Hebrews, however I think that He would have expected Hebrews to treat non-Hebrews with a certain amount of kindness since that is a theme we see over in the Bible (do unto others etc, mercy not sacrifice).
The bit in bold is pretty damning.

God, the all-powerful and all-loving, allowed slavery of gentiles to continue under his law in the same way it did for those not under his law.

He could have stopped it. He could have protected gentiles like he did Hebrews. He chose not to.

The problem is that back then you only went to jail till your case was heard and then you were sentenced to a punishment or released - nowadays we lock up war criminals and people who want to attack and harm the nation. Back then if you didn't kill your enemies you had to make sure they could not harm you. The difference seems to be very blurry
I am not sure what your point is. Which are you saying is better?

Just to be clear here, imprisoning a criminal is a punishment for breaking the law. Slavery is not. Some slaves would be law-breakers, certainly, but others would be debtors and plenty would be slaves purely because their parents were.

How is a person captured in war different from say an Isis fighter. An Isis fight who is captured will be deprived of his freedom. Where is your evidence that Hebrews just went out and captured slaves to be workhorses?
The Hebrews were permitted by law to buy slaves from their neighbours. The question then is where did their neighbours get slaves? Are you sure that their neighbours never captured innocent people, turned them into slaves and then sold them to the Hebrews? Can you find anything in the Bible that prohibits such a thing?

Abigail
03-19-2015, 08:54 AM
Two things can have something in common without being the same.

Okay, I was imagining something deeper than that. Of course not all Hebrews kept slaves, many would not be able to afford to. So what?

There were instructions in the Mosaic Law that covered gentile slaves.

Those slaves could be treated ruthlessly and were considered property on the basis, you say, that they came from nations that had not been rescued from slavery by God. I would love for you to talk me through the reasoning there.

It is ironic that a big chunk of the Bible is God rescuing the Israelites from slavery, and then, not long after, he is giving them laws on how to keep their own slaves. Very much one rule for his chosen people, another rule for the other races.

Just went back and reread what you posted. Somehow I read it as testing the slave's metal, not the owner's. Apologies.

The bit in bold is pretty damning.

God, the all-powerful and all-loving, allowed slavery of gentiles to continue under his law in the same way it did for those not under his law.

He could have stopped it. He could have protected gentiles like he did Hebrews. He chose not to.

You always seem to get the wrong end of the stick. When I said God seemed to allow them to treat the non-Hebrews like the surrounding nations it doesn't mean He wanted them to do that just that He gives them a measure of free will to decide how they should - obviously using His treatment of them as an example.

There seems to be a lot of symbolic legalities in these laws and so what looks offensive might not really be ie the use of 'permanent' might actually be their way of including strangers into the congregation and so would be a good thing. Leviticus 25:44-46 refers to the sons of strangers (sojourners) living amongst them becoming permanent slaves. Strangers were not included in the circumcision but bought servants were once they had been circumcised (Ex 12:44) and those born in service. Once a slave was circumcised he could eat the Passover meal and presumably have been considered part of that history (making the latter part of verse 46 applicable to them). In other words the slave is part of the group and to be treated well and there never comes a time when he has to be let go to foreigners - The expectation is that neither the slave nor his owners would want him to leave the group. This does not necessarily mean the owner can't free his slave. It is notable that that the references to the sons of sojourners in Lev 25:45-46 echoes Exodus 21:4. In other words the use of permanent is not quite as malign as it has been made out to be



I am not sure what your point is. Which are you saying is better?

Just to be clear here, imprisoning a criminal is a punishment for breaking the law. Slavery is not. Some slaves would be law-breakers, certainly, but others would be debtors and plenty would be slaves purely because their parents were.

I am making a point about how we today control those elements in our lands who do not consider themselves part of the mainstream or wish to do others harm. In the ancient world they used slavery to do this.




The Hebrews were permitted by law to buy slaves from their neighbours. Which verses are you referring to because although Lev 25:44 refers to slaves from pagan nations there is no indication of how they were acquired in this verse - these could have been slaves as the result of wars. In anycase a bought slave can be circumcised (Ex 12:44)


The question then is where did their neighbours get slaves? Are you sure that their neighbours never captured innocent people, turned them into slaves and then sold them to the Hebrews? Can you find anything in the Bible that prohibits such a thing? Who knows how the neighbours got their slaves but if they got a better life by being bought by Hebrews then I wouldn't complain

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 11:33 AM
You always seem to get the wrong end of the stick. When I said God seemed to allow them to treat the non-Hebrews like the surrounding nations it doesn't mean He wanted them to do that just that He gives them a measure of free will to decide how they should - obviously using His treatment of them as an example.
Sorry, I fail to see the distinction.

If God wanted them to behave a certain why, he put it in the law. He was quite clear about them not wearing garments made of two types of thread or eating shellfish. He was quite clear that the Hebrews could treat their gentile slaves just as the nations around them did - ruthlessly and as property.

What you are doing is pretending there is a morality there that is clearly lacking, then objecting ("You always seem to get the wrong end of the stick.") when I take the text to mean what it actually says.

There seems to be a lot of symbolic legalities in these laws and so what looks offensive might not really be ie the use of 'permanent' might actually be their way of including strangers into the congregation and so would be a good thing.
Again this sounds like you saying slavery is a good thing.

Have I misunderstood? Can you clarify?

Leviticus 25:44-46 refers to the sons of strangers (sojourners) living amongst them becoming permanent slaves. Strangers were not included in the circumcision but bought servants were once they had been circumcised (Ex 12:44) and those born in service. Once a slave was circumcised he could eat the Passover meal and presumably have been considered part of that history (making the latter part of verse 46 applicable to them). In other words the slave is part of the group and to be treated well and there never comes a time when he has to be let go to foreigners - The expectation is that neither the slave nor his owners would want him to leave the group. This does not necessarily mean the owner can't free his slave. It is notable that that the references to the sons of sojourners in Lev 25:45-46 echoes Exodus 21:4. In other words the use of permanent is not quite as malign as it has been made out to be
Are you sure this is what routinely happened to gentile slaves? Chrawnus made the point that no master would risk hitting a slave in the eye in case the slave lost the eye and had to be set free. The same applies here. Not many owners will circumcise his slave if the result is he has to be freed in the Jubilee year. Unless you have something more than wishful thinking to support it?

I am making a point about how we today control those elements in our lands who do not consider themselves part of the mainstream or wish to do others harm. In the ancient world they used slavery to do this.
Are you saying is a moral way to do that?

How do you deal with those who were slaves because their parents were?

Which verses are you referring to because although Lev 25:44 refers to slaves from pagan nations there is no indication of how they were acquired in this verse - these could have been slaves as the result of wars. In anycase a bought slave can be circumcised (Ex 12:44)
That is the one:

Lev 25:44 "‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.

It seems it does not matter whether the slave was a prisoner of war, a debtor, a criminal or the son or daughter of another slave.

Who knows how the neighbours got their slaves but if they got a better life by being bought by Hebrews then I wouldn't complain
Again this sounds like you saying slavery is a good thing.

Have I misunderstood? Can you clarify?

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 11:35 AM
Ancient times were a tough time to live in. And no, God couldn't just give them advanced technology because that would not turn out very well. And you have to figure out the knowledge to get advanced by yourself. Familiar with Star Trek's Prime Directive?

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 11:42 AM
Ancient times were a tough time to live in.
Does that mean slavery was morally right at that time?

And no, God couldn't just give them advanced technology because that would not turn out very well. And you have to figure out the knowledge to get advanced by yourself.
So you personally figured out the knowledge to build and program a computer before using it? Or did someone give you the technology without you having to figure it out?

Why should it be different for an ancient Hebrew to you?

Familiar with Star Trek's Prime Directive?
Yes, and I remember it gets routinely broken because sometimes it is more moral to intervene.

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 11:45 AM
There's a difference between cultures and individuals! Yeesh... If you didn't have to worry about the different germs, you could theorectically take an infant from Ancient times and raise them to be able to use modern tech, but you couldn't do that to a whole society. Oh, and indentured servitude was not the antebellum slavery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 12:04 PM
The text makes a clear distinction.

Hebrew slaves: "they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee"
Gentile slaves: "make them slaves for life"

So I am wondering why you claim "to say that gentile slaves were not released after a while is a bit misleading". The text says they could be made slaves for life, hence it is quite reasonable to say they were not released after a while.

My point was that they were allowed to keep them for life, they didn't have to. :shrug:



It is interesting that you make a distinction between buying a slave and buying his labour. With regards to gentile slaves, it says "they will become your property". While you could make the case that, with Hebrew slaves, it was their labour that was purchased, the Bible says otherwise for gentile slaves.

I don't really understand why it would make a difference. True, for the gentile slave it is indefinite, but it's still the labour that's being purchased, not the person himself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo_g-qGxblQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyCAOsKIiow

It's comparable to the principle of purchasing land. You're not actually purchasing the land, since the land belongs to God (Leviticus 25:23), what you're purchasing is the crop output, not the actual land itself (Lev 25:14-16).



On what basis do you think all gentile slaves were disgraced exiles? Is it not possible that some were prisoners of war or debtors?

It's the temporary sojourners who are most likely disgraced exiles. As the video that I linked to pointed out, the familial and national ties of ancient people were very strong. To just up and leave your nation would have been almost unthinkable so if they did it was probably because they had been shamed/disgraced and forced to leave.

Also, you mentioned in your previous post how you weren't supposed to treat your Hebrew slave ruthlessly, while there wasn't a similar law for gentile slaves, but that's not technically true, given that Exodus 22:21-22 warns the israelites about mistreating or oppressing the foreigners in their country. This law naturally would have extended to any foreign slaves as well.



Then I shall attempt to explain.

Your argument here seemed to be that God was unable to do something, i.e., God would not be able to abolish slavery without turning the civilisation into chaos. This would seem to limit the power of God. Sure he can create the universe, but he cannot stop Hebrew civilisation turning to chaos after abolishing slavery.

Can? I guess he could, but not without working miracles. I guess it's typical of the modern Western mindset to expect God to pamper and babysit us.



Really?

Do you believe in a global flood? When Noah emerged from the ark, there were no slaves.

That's arguable. Gen 7:1 says that God told Noah to enter the ark with his house/household, and I find it pretty unlikely that a well-off man such as Noah (I mean, according to the story he did build the ark, which would have required considerable resources) wouldn't have owned a few (or not so few) servants.

But even so the conditions of the ANE would basically have determined that the slave/indentured servitude system would have arosen after the population grew sufficiently. :shrug:



And that makes it acceptable?

You're talking to a guy who finds the death penalty justifiable. What do you think?



Now can you confirm that a slave owner giving a slave a black eye is not against Biblical Law, even if it is not very likely to happen?

Except that's not how ANE law codes functioned. They were didactic and exemplary and not all encompassing. It's true Biblical law doesn't explicitly mention anything about giving your slave a black eye, but I don't really see the problem. The Mosaic Law, just as any other ANE law code, was never meant to cover every single circumstance in the first place. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6FkCJ-btf0



That is an absolute moral law? Ideally you must not do something, but if you really have to...

That's not what I'm saying, but I guess you could take it that way. My apologies for being ambigious. What I'm saying is that the absolute moral principle would be that slavery shouldn't exist, but because of various circumstances (the hardness of the human heart for example) this absolute moral principle could not be realized and therefore checks need to be put into place until we get to such a time as slavery, or indentured servitude could realistically be done away with.



That is like saying ideally you will not murder anyone, but in cases where it is unavoidable, try to do it painlessly.

If how you understood my statement was what I really meant I agree that the comparison would be apt. Fortunately that's not how I meant my statement to be taken.



See my absolute moral law is that slavery is wrong. It seems a little more... absolute than yours.

I take slavery to be wrong. I do not think that the system described in the OT can be described as slavery though. It's more like indentured servitude than slavery.



Who gets to decide if slavery is unavoidable? Was the slavery of blacks in America unavoidable? Would you say that what was wrong with slavery was that there were not checks in place to ensure they were not treated cruelly? I think many people would disagree with that, but I must say it is brave of you to go on record saying this.

Wait, first you ask me a question and then you go on just assuming that my answer to that question is going to be is yes? How presumptuous can you actually get? :no:

No, the slavery of blacks in America wasn't unavoidable, and neither was it biblically supportable either (even if there were people who attempted a biblical defense). For instance, Exodus 21:16 explicitly forbids the kidnapping of another person which would have effectively removed the whole basis of the American slavery system.



Can you talk me through that?

Let us start with the supposedly perfectly moral law on slavery. Why do you think it is impossible for humans to live under a law that says ideally there should be no slavery, but if it is unavoidable, just go for it? See, to me that sounds like the sort of weasel-worded law that is very easy to live under. Just do not keep slaves unless you feel you really, really need to.

Your description of my understanding of the absolute moral law is flawed, as I've pointed out before.

But to answer your question. I believe the absolute moral law would demand such perfection that it would be virtually impossible for us flawed human beings to even come close to following it fully.

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 12:15 PM
He was quite clear that the Hebrews could treat their gentile slaves just as the nations around them did - ruthlessly and as property.

What you are doing is pretending there is a morality there that is clearly lacking, then objecting ("You always seem to get the wrong end of the stick.") when I take the text to mean what it actually says.


There's nothing in the biblical text that supports this notion of the Hebrews being allowed to treat their gentile slaves ruthlessly and as property. And you don't take the text to mean what it actually says. What you're doing is completely ignoring the context in which the text was written and ignore the genre of the text (ANE law code) which leads you to completely misread it. If you were actually interested in knowing what the text actually said you'd be doing the background studies necessary to understand it in it's proper context.

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 12:18 PM
You really expect Pixie to do background study! Way too much work. Anyways, if God solved every little problem and rescued us every time we got in danger... we'd get in more trouble than a certain nosy fictional reporter(she gets in danger because her coworker will rescue her and she gets a story).

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 12:18 PM
Ancient times were a tough time to live in. ...
Thinking about this some more.

Say you have ten people, a certain area of land and the technology of that era. If nine of them are slaves owned by the tenth, does that mean they can produce more than if they were ten feee people? No. The limitation is the number of people working and the size of the land.

So the question is, how did slavery make it any easier to live in those tough times? Okay, it obviously did for the owners. Is that what this is about? God looking after the top ten percent of the population, and who cares about the rest? This is the ecomincs of the plantation in the Southern States. Thousands of slaves working hard to make other people rich. Times were tough then, so we can allow those rich landowners to own slaves, right?

Of course not, that is the antithesis of Christianity.

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 12:21 PM
Thinking about this some more.

Say you have ten people, a certain area of land and the technology of that era. If nine of them are slaves owned by the tenth, does that mean they can produce more than if they were ten feee people? No. The limitation is the number of people working and the size of the land.

So the question is, how did slavery make it any easier to live in those tough times? Okay, it obviously did for the owners. Is that what this is about? God looking after the top ten percent of the population, and who cares about the rest? This is the ecomincs of the plantation in the Southern States. Thousands of slaves working hard to make other people rich. Times were tough then, so we can allow those rich landowners to own slaves, right?

Of course not, that is the antithesis of Christianity.

:lolo: More non sequiters! As if ten percent(or even one percent) would even be wealthy enough to pay room and board to nine indentured servants or any servants. They would have better survival chances if they work together on one plot of land versus try to have ten separate farms where each one has to do all the work by himself!

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 12:23 PM
There's nothing in the biblical text that supports this notion of the Hebrews being allowed to treat their gentile slaves ruthlessly and as property. And you don't take the text to mean what it actually says. What you're doing is completely ignoring the context in which the text was written and ignore the genre of the text (ANE law code) which leads you to completely misread it. If you were actually interested in knowing what the text actually said you'd be doing the background studies necessary to understand it in it's proper context.
It is implied here:

Lev 25:45 You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. 46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

The law specifically says not to rule over other Hebrews ruthlessly, with the implication that that is permitted with Hebrew slaves. We also see a clear statement that a slave can be beaten to within an inch of his life:

Exo 21:20 "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

If you believe I have misread any of this, then do please make you case. Merely asserting I have misread is not going to cut it, I am afraid.

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 12:27 PM
:lolo: More non sequiters! As if ten percent(or even one percent) would even be wealthy enough to pay room and board to nine indentured servants or any servants. They would have better survival chances if they work together on one plot of land versus try to have ten separate farms where each one has to do all the work by himself!
What on earth are you talking about? Some people were wealthy enough to own slaves. I think it a good bet at least some could afford as many as nine.

However, my claim is that that one owner and nine slaves would produce no more than ten free people working together (a point you seem to agree with). Thus, claiming slavery was necessary because times were tough is fallacious.

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 12:29 PM
Thinking about this some more.

Say you have ten people, a certain area of land and the technology of that era. If nine of them are slaves owned by the tenth, does that mean they can produce more than if they were ten feee people? No. The limitation is the number of people working and the size of the land.

So the question is, how did slavery make it any easier to live in those tough times? Okay, it obviously did for the owners. Is that what this is about? God looking after the top ten percent of the population, and who cares about the rest? This is the ecomincs of the plantation in the Southern States. Thousands of slaves working hard to make other people rich. Times were tough then, so we can allow those rich landowners to own slaves, right?

Of course not, that is the antithesis of Christianity.

:no:

The situation would have been more like this:

You're a poor person living in a village in the ANE. Due to various circumstances you've been put in a situation where you've been rendered homeless and without the possibility of feeding yourself, so you basically have two options. Either you starve to death, or you depend on the mercy of someone more well-off to survive. Now, there's a man in the village who is a reasonably well off (for the standards of that time) vineyard owner so you decide to go and ask him for help. The man wants to help you, but while he is reasonably well-off he isn't rich enough to just hand out charities for nothing, so the two of you come to an agreement. The man in question will provide you with shelter and food and in exchange you will agree to work for him in his vineyard. It isn't an ideal situation, but atleast it doesn't involve you freezing and starving to death, so you graciously accept the offer.

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 12:57 PM
It is implied here:

Lev 25:45 You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. 46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

The law specifically says not to rule over other Hebrews ruthlessly, with the implication that that is permitted with Hebrew slaves.

No, that's not a reasonable implication at all. Leviticus 19:33-34 practically makes such an understanding of the text pretty much impossible:


When a foreigner resides with you in your land, you must not oppress him. The foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.



We also see a clear statement that a slave can be beaten to within an inch of his life:

Exo 21:20 "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

If you believe I have misread any of this, then do please make you case. Merely asserting I have misread is not going to cut it, I am afraid.

I'd like to know what translation you're using. Most of the translations I've read on this verse (NET, NASB, ESV, MSG, BBE, NKJV, NRSV, KJV) does not say that the slave recovers after a day or two, but rather that he survives/goes on living for another day or two, with the implication that he later succumbs to his injuries. The fact that the slave survives for 1-2 days before dying means that there could have been an unknown intermediate cause that led to his death, which would have been seen as a mitigating factor seeing as it wouldn't have been clear that the intent of the beating of the slave was homicidal rather than disciplinary. In that case the fact that he lost his property (i.e the labour that he could have expected from the slave if he hadn't died), is seen as punishment enough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6FkCJ-btf0 (From 2:14 and onwards)


https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Exodus%2021:21 <-- Here's a comparison of different English bible translations on Exodus 21:21. The clear majority of them seem to support the notion that the slave succumbs to his injuries after 1-2 days, instead of understanding the verse to say that the person in question recovers.

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 01:11 PM
:no:

The situation would have been more like this:

You're a poor person living in a village in the ANE. Due to various circumstances you've been put in a situation where you've been rendered homeless and without the possibility of feeding yourself, so you basically have two options. Either you starve to death, or you depend on the mercy of someone more well-off to survive. Now, there's a man in the village who is a reasonably well off (for the standards of that time) vineyard owner so you decide to go and ask him for help. The man wants to help you, but while he is reasonably well-off he isn't rich enough to just hand out charities for nothing, so the two of you come to an agreement. The man in question will provide you with shelter and food and in exchange you will agree to work for him in his vineyard. It isn't an ideal situation, but atleast it doesn't involve you freezing and starving to death, so you graciously accept the offer.

Sounds like a good deal to me! Room and board!

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 02:24 PM
:no:

The situation would have been more like this:

You're a poor person living in a village in the ANE. Due to various circumstances you've been put in a situation where you've been rendered homeless and without the possibility of feeding yourself, so you basically have two options. Either you starve to death, or you depend on the mercy of someone more well-off to survive. Now, there's a man in the village who is a reasonably well off (for the standards of that time) vineyard owner so you decide to go and ask him for help. The man wants to help you, but while he is reasonably well-off he isn't rich enough to just hand out charities for nothing, so the two of you come to an agreement. The man in question will provide you with shelter and food and in exchange you will agree to work for him in his vineyard. It isn't an ideal situation, but atleast it doesn't involve you freezing and starving to death, so you graciously accept the offer.
Now that is perfectly reasonable.

So much more moral than a boy forced to work for someone else just because his parents were slaves, living in terrible conditions, while his owner sits on his backside getting rich off his slaves.

I have no problem with employment, it is slavery that is the issue here.

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 02:25 PM
Sounds like a good deal to me! Room and board!
I agree entirely. Employment is far preferable to enslavement.

The Pixie
03-19-2015, 02:37 PM
No, that's not a reasonable implication at all. Leviticus 19:33-34 practically makes such an understanding of the text pretty much impossible:


When a foreigner resides with you in your land, you must not oppress him. The foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Unless we read "foreigner" to exclude slaves.

The fact is that the Bible clearly differentiates between gentile slaves and Hebrew slaves (Lev 25 is clear that Hebrew slaves are freed at a Jubilee, gentile slaves are not). If you want to claim it also says gentile slaves must be treated the same as Hebrew slaves, then we have a Biblical contradiction. Which way do you want to play this, Chrawnus?

I'd like to know what translation you're using. Most of the translations I've read on this verse (NET, NASB, ESV, MSG, BBE, NKJV, NRSV, KJV) does not say that the slave recovers after a day or two, but rather that he survives/goes on living for another day or two, with the implication that he later succumbs to his injuries.
New International Version.

The fact that the slave survives for 1-2 days before dying means that there could have been an unknown intermediate cause that led to his death, which would have been seen as a mitigating factor seeing as it wouldn't have been clear that the intent of the beating of the slave was homicidal rather than disciplinary. In that case the fact that he lost his property (i.e the labour that he could have expected from the slave if he hadn't died), is seen as punishment enough.
I know.

I quoted the verse to show that treating slaves ruthlessly was permitted as long as the slave survives (for 2 days), and does not lose an eye or tooth.

https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Exodus%2021:21 <-- Here's a comparison of different English bible translations on Exodus 21:21. The clear majority of them seem to support the notion that the slave succumbs to his injuries after 1-2 days, instead of understanding the verse to say that the person in question recovers.
Either way, the ancient Hebrews were allowed to beat their slaves almost to death, refuting your claim: "There's nothing in the biblical text that supports this notion of the Hebrews being allowed to treat their gentile slaves ruthlessly and as property."

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 02:49 PM
Now that is perfectly reasonable.

So much more moral than a boy forced to work for someone else just because his parents were slaves, living in terrible conditions, while his owner sits on his backside getting rich off his slaves.

I have no problem with employment, it is slavery that is the issue here.

Except the situation you describe, with the servant living in terrible conditions while the owner sat on his backside doing nothing wouldn't really have existed in the ANE. Or at the very most it would have been significantly rare. The master would most of the time simply not have been in a situation where he could have afforded to "sit on his backside getting rich off his slaves" but would more likely have some work himself in some capacity.


And letting his servants live in terrible conditions, while certainly a possibility, would have gone against the Mosaic Law, which explicitly forbade oppressing those less well-off than yourself. If they did allow their servants to live in terrible conditions it would have been in spite of what the Law said, not because of it.

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 02:55 PM
Except the situation you describe, with the servant living in terrible conditions while the owner sat on his backside doing nothing wouldn't really have existed in the ANE. Or at the very most it would have been significantly rare. The master would most of the time simply not have been in a situation where he could have afforded to "sit on his backside getting rich off his slaves" but would more likely have some work himself in some capacity.


And letting his servants live in terrible conditions, while certainly a possibility, would have gone against the Mosaic Law, which explicitly forbade oppressing those less well-off than yourself. If they did allow their servants to live in terrible conditions it would have been in spite of what the Law said, not because of it.
When fundy atheists resort to :strawman:, you know you got yourself a desperate fundy atheist. Stop actin' like a fundy atheist, Pixie!!!

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 03:05 PM
Unless we read "foreigner" to exclude slaves.

For what reason? So you can go on in your delusion of how horrible the Bible is for supporting the mistreatment of foreign slaves? (which it doesn't)



The fact is that the Bible clearly differentiates between gentile slaves and Hebrew slaves (Lev 25 is clear that Hebrew slaves are freed at a Jubilee, gentile slaves are not). If you want to claim it also says gentile slaves must be treated the same as Hebrew slaves, then we have a Biblical contradiction. Which way do you want to play this, Chrawnus?

I want to play this in a way that doesn't involve forcing an interpretation on the text that creates an artificial contradiction. It is entirely possible and justified to understand the texts as not allowing the mistreatment of foreign servants, while still maintaining that the Hebrew servants enjoyed special treatment in some capacity, namely that you weren't allowed to keep them indefinitely. There's is nothing contradictory at all about this.



I quoted the verse to show that treating slaves ruthlessly was permitted as long as the slave survives (for 2 days), and does not lose an eye or tooth.

Permitted? Did you actually read what I wrote? The argument I presented was basically that the master was let off the hook because it wouldn't have been possible to reasonably infer that the intent of his actions were homicidal rather than disciplinary, and therefore it wouldn't have been justifiable to punish him for intentional manslaughter. The law does not permit the master to treat his servant any way he pleases as long as he doesn't kill him, the intent is to secure the rights of the servant so that if he gets killed, and homicidal intent can be reasonably inferred, the perpetrator is punished on the same basis as if he had killed a free man.



Either way, the ancient Hebrews were allowed to beat their slaves almost to death, refuting your claim: "There's nothing in the biblical text that supports this notion of the Hebrews being allowed to treat their gentile slaves ruthlessly and as property."

Except the text nowhere states that the Hebrews were allowed to beat their servants almost to death.

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 03:14 PM
For what reason? So you can go on in your delusion of how horrible the Bible is for supporting the mistreatment of foreign slaves? (which it doesn't)



I want to play this in a way that doesn't involve forcing an interpretation on the text that creates an artificial contradiction. It is entirely possible and justified to understand the texts as not allowing the mistreatment of foreign servants, while still maintaining that the Hebrew servants enjoyed special treatment in some capacity, namely that you weren't allowed to keep them indefinitely. There's is nothing contradictory at all about this.



Permitted? Did you actually read what I wrote? The argument I presented was basically that the master was let off the hook because it wouldn't have been possible to reasonably infer that the intent of his actions were homicidal rather than disciplinary, and therefore it wouldn't have been justifiable to punish him for intentional manslaughter. The law does not permit the master to treat his servant any way he pleases as long as he doesn't kill him, the intent is to secure the rights of the servant so that if he gets killed, and homicidal intent can be reasonably inferred, the perpetrator is punished on the same basis as if he had killed a free man.



Except the text nowhere states that the Hebrews were allowed to beat their servants almost to death.

Beating them almost to death would be a bad idea. Once word got out, no one would want to work for you in the future. And the servant wouldn't be able to work until he recovered. And permanent damage meant he'd go free. Newsflash, the law codes of the ANE were didactic in nature, meaning that they didn't cover EVERYTHING.

And I am not going to try to reason with Pixie anymore. Like giving spheres of calcium carbonate created by Ostrea to a member of Sus domesticus

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 03:18 PM
Beating them almost to death would be a bad idea. Once word got out, no one would want to work for you in the future. And the servant wouldn't be able to work until he recovered. And permanent damage meant he'd go free. Newsflash, the law codes of the ANE were didactic in nature, meaning that they didn't cover EVERYTHING.

And that's not even taking into account the fact (which JPH mentions in the video series about Scripture and Slavery which I have been referring to in this thread) that it's extremely difficult to actually gauge how much damage you're able to inflict on a person so that he is almost dead, but not an inch more. Who, other than the most moronic and clinically insane person, is actually going to attempt something like that, especially when it would have involved loss of labor, as you mentioned?

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 03:21 PM
And that's not even taking into account the fact (which JPH mentions in the video series about Scripture and Slavery which I have been referring to in this thread) that it's extremely difficult to actually gauge how much damage you're able to inflict on a person so that he is almost dead, but not an inch more. Who, other than the most moronic and clinically insane person, is actually going to attempt something like that, especially when it would have involved loss of labor, as you mentioned?
I dare Pixie to watch the entire series. And read the ebook, but then he'd have to invest something! Youtube is free. Not counting paying for the internet.

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 03:33 PM
I dare Pixie to watch the entire series. And read the ebook, but then he'd have to invest something! Youtube is free. Not counting paying for the internet.

I'm going to go even further. If Pixie PM's me an e-mail address I promise I will buy a copy of the ebook and gift it to him via amazon's gift purchase system.

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 03:35 PM
I'm going to go even further. If Pixie PM's me an e-mail address I promise I will buy a copy of the ebook and gift it to him via amazon's gift purchase system.

But, then he'd have to :shocked: READ A BOOK!

Chrawnus
03-19-2015, 03:36 PM
But, then he'd have to :shocked: READ A BOOK!

Bummer, right? :shrug:

Christianbookworm
03-19-2015, 03:39 PM
Seriously. Just watch, he may even claim we're the fundies! :popcorn:

The Pixie
03-20-2015, 12:51 AM
Except the situation you describe, with the servant living in terrible conditions while the owner sat on his backside doing nothing wouldn't really have existed in the ANE. Or at the very most it would have been significantly rare. The master would most of the time simply not have been in a situation where he could have afforded to "sit on his backside getting rich off his slaves" but would more likely have some work himself in some capacity.
Okay, so we have the slaves working hard and the owner working "in some capacity". And the owner gets the fruit of that labour right? He is the one who gets the money?

And letting his servants live in terrible conditions, while certainly a possibility, would have gone against the Mosaic Law, which explicitly forbade oppressing those less well-off than yourself. If they did allow their servants to live in terrible conditions it would have been in spite of what the Law said, not because of it.
Can you quote the verses that make it clear this applies to gentile slaves? You know,the ones that are property, that can be ruled over ruthlessly, that can be beaten almost to death according to Mosaic Law?

The Pixie
03-20-2015, 12:53 AM
When fundy atheists resort to :strawman:, you know you got yourself a desperate fundy atheist. Stop actin' like a fundy atheist, Pixie!!!
When Christians are forced to resort to ad homs, you know they are desperate.

The Pixie
03-20-2015, 01:05 AM
For what reason? So you can go on in your delusion of how horrible the Bible is for supporting the mistreatment of foreign slaves? (which it doesn't)
Well, because foreign slaves were considered property.

Lev 25:45 You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property.

Exo 21:20 "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

How you can pretend the Bible does not support the mistreatment of foreign slaves of slaves, given Exodus 21:20 is beyond me. It clearly states an owner is not to be punished for beating a slave almost to death.

Do you think beating a slave almost to death is appropriate treatment of a slave?

I want to play this in a way that doesn't involve forcing an interpretation on the text that creates an artificial contradiction. It is entirely possible and justified to understand the texts as not allowing the mistreatment of foreign servants, while still maintaining that the Hebrew servants enjoyed special treatment in some capacity, namely that you weren't allowed to keep them indefinitely. There's is nothing contradictory at all about this.
So now you just have to explain why it specifically says Hebrew slaves must not be ruled over ruthlessly:

46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.


Oh, and why it was acceptable to beat a slave almost to death.

Permitted? Did you actually read what I wrote? The argument I presented was basically that the master was let off the hook because it wouldn't have been possible to reasonably infer that the intent of his actions were homicidal rather than disciplinary, and therefore it wouldn't have been justifiable to punish him for intentional manslaughter. The law does not permit the master to treat his servant any way he pleases as long as he doesn't kill him, the intent is to secure the rights of the servant so that if he gets killed, and homicidal intent can be reasonably inferred, the perpetrator is punished on the same basis as if he had killed a free man.
I am not talking about killing the slave, I am talking about beating him almost to death.

The text says the slave can be beaten almost to death without the owner fearing punishment.

My position is that that condones mistreatment of slaves.

Except the text nowhere states that the Hebrews were allowed to beat their servants almost to death.
Then what does this mean?

Exo 21:20 "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

If a slave owner takes a rod, and gives his slave a terrible beating, then the law says that is fine as long as the slave recovers in a couple of days. At least, that is how I read it. How do you think the law condemns that sort of treatment of slaves?

The Pixie
03-20-2015, 01:10 AM
And that's not even taking into account the fact (which JPH mentions in the video series about Scripture and Slavery which I have been referring to in this thread) that it's extremely difficult to actually gauge how much damage you're able to inflict on a person so that he is almost dead, but not an inch more. Who, other than the most moronic and clinically insane person, is actually going to attempt something like that, especially when it would have involved loss of labor, as you mentioned?
Wow.

So your argument is that the law is moral because slave owners had to be careful not to actually kill their slaves. Any beating of a slave that does not risk the slave dying was perfectly moral, right, no matter how much pain was inflicted?

That is what you are saying, right?

Christianbookworm
03-20-2015, 05:50 AM
Wow.

So your argument is that the law is moral because slave owners had to be careful not to actually kill their slaves. Any beating of a slave that does not risk the slave dying was perfectly moral, right, no matter how much pain was inflicted?

That is what you are saying, right?

Corporal punishment applied to everyone, slave and free, back then. What's better, getting a whipping or contributing to the death of your community?

The Pixie
03-20-2015, 06:49 AM
Corporal punishment applied to everyone, slave and free, back then. What's better, getting a whipping or contributing to the death of your community?
That is the choice, is it? Either we say it is fine for slave owners to beat their slaves if they feel like it or the community dies.

You are actually unable to conceive any third option, I take it.

Christianbookworm
03-20-2015, 06:55 AM
That is the choice, is it? Either we say it is fine for slave owners to beat their slaves if they feel like it or the community dies.

You are actually unable to conceive any third option, I take it.

What's the problem if everyone was subject to whippings as punishment for misbehavior? It's great that we don't have to do that anymore, since there isn't as high of a chance that disobeying social mores will result in death. There might be a problem if only indentured servants received corporal punishment, but they weren't. Oh, why should I even bother explaining to you? The previous explanation is more for anyone else reading this thread. Though I would hope they would be wise enough to not need an explanation! Is Pixie seriously this simple! If some one beat their servants with no reason than because they wanted to, no one would want to indenture themselves to that guy! Indentured servitude/OT slavery was voluntary! Kidnapping a person was a capital crime!

Chrawnus
03-20-2015, 10:12 AM
Well, because foreign slaves were considered property.

Lev 25:45 You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property.

I already answered this. It's not the person itself who is sold, it's their labor output. The word used for property is the same as is used in Gen 17:8 where it says that Canaan is an everlasting possession of Israel. This cannot mean that Israel owns the land in the sense that we think of owning though, since Lev 25:23 clearly states that it is God that owns the land. What Israel owns is not the land per se, but it's crop yield (Lev 25:16). In the same way, it's not the person itself who is sold, but their labor.



Exo 21:20 "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

Again, property, or money, as it is also translated, refers not to the slave as a person, but as their labor.



How you can pretend the Bible does not support the mistreatment of foreign slaves of slaves, given Exodus 21:20 is beyond me. It clearly states an owner is not to be punished for beating a slave almost to death.

Uh, no. That's not what it says at all. The intent of Exodus 21:20-21 is as I already mentioned, is to secure the rights of the servant so that if he gets killed, and homicidal intent can be reasonably inferred, the perpetrator is punished on the same basis as if he had killed a free man. Coupled with Exodus 21:26-27 where it is mentioned that you must set your servant free if you permanently damage the eye or tooth (although it can be reasonably inferred that the law is intended to cover any permanent injury, not only the eye and tooth) this effectively means that any master would think twice about trying to beat his slave "almost to death". How on earth is he going to attempt to beat his servant "almost to death" when there is a considerable risk that by doing so he is going to inflict permanent injury on his slave, and so risk losing the investment and future labor that he could have looked forward to?

Your assertion that the master was allowed to beat their servants almost to death is simply just not that damning, given that the laws that do exist in the Mosaic Law Code effectively would have made any but the most clinically insane persons veer away from disciplining their servants more than what was necessary.



Do you think beating a slave almost to death is appropriate treatment of a slave?

No, but I don't think any sane person living in the ANE would ever get the notion that trying to beating a slave almost to death would be a splendid idea after reading the Mosaic writings.



So now you just have to explain why it specifically says Hebrew slaves must not be ruled over ruthlessly:

46 You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.


No, I really don't. Specifically pointing out that you're not allowed to treat your Hebrew brother ruthlessly (whatever that is supposed to mean) does not automatically mean that you're justified in thinking that you're allowed to treat your foreign slave ruthlessly.



Oh, and why it was acceptable to beat a slave almost to death.

I will answer that question when you're able to provide a passage where this is advocated. Exodus 21:20-21 is not such a passage.



I am not talking about killing the slave, I am talking about beating him almost to death.

The text says the slave can be beaten almost to death without the owner fearing punishment.

My position is that that condones mistreatment of slaves.


That's not what it actually says, but please do go on in your ignorance.



Then what does this mean?

Exo 21:20 "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

If a slave owner takes a rod, and gives his slave a terrible beating, then the law says that is fine as long as the slave recovers in a couple of days. At least, that is how I read it. How do you think the law condemns that sort of treatment of slaves?

I'm not convinced that the passage speaks of the servant recovering, but rather of him surviving for 1-2 days before succumbing to his injuries. In that case the homicidal intent of the master cannot be established, and therefore the labor/prospective money he lost due to the death of the servant is deemed punishment enough. If homicidal intent could reasonably be inferred the slave would have been avenged.

Chrawnus
03-20-2015, 10:14 AM
Wow.

So your argument is that the law is moral because slave owners had to be careful not to actually kill their slaves. Any beating of a slave that does not risk the slave dying was perfectly moral, right, no matter how much pain was inflicted?

That is what you are saying, right?

...No.


ETA: Also, you still haven't dealt with my post #21. Maybe you missed it, in which case here it is again: http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?6090-Exodus-21-8-sadism-in-the-Hebrew-slave-code&p=174776&viewfull=1#post174776

Christianbookworm
03-20-2015, 10:18 AM
Where'd the guy that started this thread go? Alright, looks like Pixie's a broken record and keeps going around in circles.

B&H
03-22-2015, 10:06 PM
Eh, no, that's not what the text is saying. His unfairness refers back to the phrase "designated her for himself" (probably as a wife/concubine) which means that it is the very act of not taking her as a wife/concubine (because she is displeasing to him) that is considered unfair. In other words, there is no circumstance under which he has lawful authority to sell her to foreigners.

Supposing "designated her for himself" means "made her his wife", what if he was a mature kind man who found her displeasing for a valid reason, such as refusal to have sex?

Supposing "designated her for himself" means "made her a house servant", what if he was a mature kind man who found her displeasing for a valid reason, such as her stealing from him?

How can the bible author call the displeasure 'unfair', when there could be plenty of very fair reasons to be displeased with her?

I rather think that the bible author did no such thing, YOU are the one trying to credit the unfairness to the man's displeasure, so you can avoid having to explain why the biblical author seems to call the act of marital sex or purchasing of this female slave 'unfair'.


Which means that the rest of your post simply does not follow and can be safely ignored.
ETA: Just a clarification. Whether or not this text is talking about taking a girl as your wife/concubine, or simply as a servant has no bearing on my argument. The main point is that the man in question has designated her for himself, whether that means as a servant or something else is on the whole not relevant to the point that it is the act of reneging on his promise to designate her for himself that is considered unfair to her.

Your apologetic makes the bible author a fool since it could very easily be that the owner had morally justifiable or "fair" reasons for being displeased with her. A better apologetic is one that doesn't have the bible author presuming that the displeasure must necessarily be unjustified.

B&H
03-22-2015, 10:40 PM
I thought I would take a crack at your questions anyway, even though most of them are irrelevant in light of a proper understanding of the passage in question:

I don't understand the question. Are you asking what the relevance is of pointing out that breaking his promise to her is being unfair to her? He is being unfair to her by breaking his promise (to designate her for himself) so I'm not sure what your gripe is.

But if she persistently refused his sexual advances (if he took her as wife) or if she stole from him (if he took her as slave) the his reasons for breaking his promise would be justified, and as such, no unfairness to her. Yet the bible author presumes unfairness as if there is no way a purchased wife or slave could possibly deserve to be cast out.


Regardless of if the text allows for circumstances where he could sell the girl into foreign servitude (it does not) or if the passage serves to completely block off the option of her master selling her into foreign servitude (which it does)

No, the text requires fulfillment of a condition in order to justify the prohibition against selling her to foreigners. It is not an unconditional blanket condemnation of selling her to foreigners. If he is not unfair to her, then the prohibition does not apply.


it still is the case that the master is being unfair to her, and so it's not peculiar at all that the text should point it out.

But you are missing the point in the text. The text says if she is displeasing, he must let her be redeemed, he cannot sell her to foreigners because of his unfairness to her. In other words, the man's being displeased with her is considered the unfairness, when in fact it is possible that he could be displeased with her for reasons that are not unfair, such as her stealing from him, or refusing marital relations. So the bible author erred, because not all displeasure of the master toward the slave would be unjustified, therefore not all of it would be unfair.


Only if we agree with your assumption that there are circumstances where a Hebrew girl can be sold into foreign servitude, but there are no such circumstances, so your conclusion does not follow.

but the biblical author does not just make a blanket statement prohibiting the owner from selling her to foreigners. the condition of his being displeased with her, in a way that constitutes unfairness to her, must be fulfilled, before the prohibition comes into effect. Otherwise, its like a parent telling a child "I'm not taking you to the Burger King because you didn't do your chores", when in fact the parent isn't taking them because the parent has no money. If there was a blanket rule prohibiting Hebrews from selling Hebrew slaves to foreigners, there would be no reason to credit the owner's unfairness to the girl as the 'reason' he cannot sell her to foreigners.


Perhaps learning to properly interpret the Bible would be a better way to spend your time than to foolishly accuse apologists of defending "divine atrocities" because you couldn't be bothered to learn the necessary information and proper methodology to interpret the biblical text and so spare yourself the embarrassment of showing the whole world that even though you do not have the slightest clue on how to properly interpret a document from an ancient culture you still think you can pronounce moral judgements on it.

My, my, defensive are we? I'll choose to believe I rattled your cage despite your self-serving assurances otherwise.


My objection would be that we (speaking as a member of the modern West, not as an American) are no longer under the same circumstances that the ancient Israelites were under, and that the conditions under which it would be justified to concede to the kind of system where a father has the kind of legal right over his daughter that allows him to pick a husband for her simply does not exist in modern Western civilization anymore (or atleast not that I'm aware of).

What conditions in the ANE do you think made forced marriages smarter than allowing the girl to choose the man she wanted?


And I have serious problems with rabid anti-theists twisting the Mosaic writings to make them appear more atrocious than they really are.

Hold your horses, buddy, we haven't even scraped the tip of the ice-box. If you want to do a formal written debate with me, I'll be happy to oblige. I've already seen the responses of internet apologists to our charges of "divine atrocities" and will take the affirmative to prove them. If you don't wish to have such a debate, then stick your dogmatizing in your ear.


I guess that makes us even. And no one is arguing that we should replace any nations law with the law of Moses (except maybe a few crackpots). The law of Moses was written specifically for the kind of time and culture that the Israelites at the time found themselves in, which means that there are sometimes necessary concessions to ancient customs there that wouldn't necessarily have been given if the Law had been written in a culture more similar to ours.

Sounds like your god needs to make concessions.


And to answer your question about hitting a slave girl: If the injury to the eye in question was permanent, the slave owner had to let the girl go free.

Irrelevant, I'm not talking about that. But either way, if the master's only punishment for putting out her eye was to let her go free, then the author of the Law didn't think slaves deserved the "eye for eye" justice.


Of course, given that corporal punishment was a common occurrence for that time, even for free persons (such as teachers disciplining students for example) the fact that the Mosaic law regulates (rather than permits)

If I was on trial for regulating prostitution in my house, what would you think if my defense was that I only regulate rather than permit it? Stupid, right?


corporal punishment for slaves isn't really that morally outrageous as you seem to think it is.

Tell that to the family of the slave who died one or two days after the beating mentioned in Exodus 21:20-21.


If the Mosaic Law had said nothing about this issue then the slave/servant would have had literally no legal protection when it came to the issue of corporal punishment.

If god had said "thou shalt not imitate the pagan nations which beat their slaves" we wouldn't be having this conversation.


The fact that permanently damaging a body part of the servant would mean having to let that servant go free would mean that any slave owner would probably be quite careful not to inflict punishment on any easily damaged part of the body (such as the eyes and teeth). Unless the master in question is a complete moron of course, and does not mind letting perfectly good labor walk away without him (the master) getting any recompensation for lost workforce whatsoever.

Or if he is rich and sadistic, Exodus 21:20-21 would be music to his ears for any slave he wants to beat to death.

Actually, once the realities of ancient Mesopotamia are taken into account it becames much more apparent why the laws of Moses are written in the way they are. :shrug:

Oh yeah, I just can't imagine how the Hebrews could have had any hope as a society unless there was a law that allowed them to sell their kids to each other. LOL.


He didn't institute these practices though, what He did was regulate them so that their damaging effects wouldn't be as pervasive and deep as they otherwise would have been.

Which seems to indicate that your god's failure to specify any prohibition against sex within adult-child marriages, implies that he cared less about such trauma to kids, than he did about the immorality of bestility, which he did specifically prohibit in Leviticus 18.

Your problem of course, is that you fail to realize that if the Mosaic law really was as atrocious as you anti-theists twist it into appearing to be, hardly anyone would find reading the Bible comforting.[/QUOTE]

The Pixie
03-23-2015, 04:13 AM
What's the problem if everyone was subject to whippings as punishment for misbehavior? It's great that we don't have to do that anymore...
Do you have a problem with everyone being subjected to whippings as punishment for misbehavior? Given you say it is great that wer do not do that, then it seems the answer is yes. Therefore, you already know the answer to this question.

The bigger issue here is that you are assuming slaves were only beaten when they have committed a misdemeanor. Why should we assume gentile slaves were not beaten for not working hard enough in the opinion of the slave owner, or looking at his owner the wrong way or just for the enjoyment of the slave owner?

It's great that we don't have to do that anymore, since there isn't as high of a chance that disobeying social mores will result in death.
A lot of people nowadays drive cars, and disobeying social mores such as driving when drunk and driving at high speed will result in death. Should we give a sound whipping to people who engage in these dangerous activities?

There might be a problem if only indentured servants received corporal punishment, but they weren't.
I am talking about gentile slaves, not indentured servants.

Oh, why should I even bother explaining to you?
Because you have to rationalise some the condoning of slavery in your holy book to yourself.

The previous explanation is more for anyone else reading this thread. Though I would hope they would be wise enough to not need an explanation! Is Pixie seriously this simple! If some one beat their servants with no reason than because they wanted to, no one would want to indenture themselves to that guy! Indentured servitude/OT slavery was voluntary! Kidnapping a person was a capital crime!
Kidnapping Hebrews was a capital crime. The Bible condones buying gentile slaves, and is clear that such slaves can be kept for their whole life and that such slaves are property.

The Pixie
03-23-2015, 04:50 AM
I already answered this. It's not the person itself who is sold, it's their labor output. The word used for property is the same as is used in Gen 17:8 where it says that Canaan is an everlasting possession of Israel. This cannot mean that Israel owns the land in the sense that we think of owning though, since Lev 25:23 clearly states that it is God that owns the land. What Israel owns is not the land per se, but it's crop yield (Lev 25:16). In the same way, it's not the person itself who is sold, but their labor.
Apologies, I do not recall you bring this up before.

The word in dispute here is 272 in Strong's concordance.
http://biblehub.com/hebrew/272.htm

It is a word that is used a lot to mean property as in an area of land. Did individual Hebrews not own land at all? I find that a little surprising; can you find anything else to support this claim? I ask, because I wonder if there was kind of two layers of ownership, with God owning everything, but individuals also owning a plot of land upon which they build a house or farm.

Let us look more closely. Leviticus 25 uses the word thirteen times,

10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family.

Is this referring to crop output? Families have to return to their crop output?

24 And in all the country you possess, you shall grant a redemption of the land.
25 “If your brother becomes poor, and sells part of his property, then his next of kin shall come and redeem what his brother has sold.
...
27 let him reckon the years since he sold it and pay back the overpayment to the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return to his property. 28 But if he has not sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he sold shall remain in the hand of him who bought it until the year of jubilee; in the jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property.

Is this talking about land or about crop output?

32 Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time.

That would be the cities of their crop output, right? The crop output of a city, whatever that might be...

What Leviticus 25 is about resetting ownership of the land. Every fifty years, land ownership reverts to what it was originally. And not to God. The idea that god owns the land is the rationale behind it, but the Hebrews also owned land. The idea of handing land back to the family or tribe who originally owned it makes no sense unless, you know, they originally owned it.

Uh, no. That's not what it says at all. The intent of Exodus 21:20-21 is as I already mentioned, is to secure the rights of the servant so that if he gets killed, and homicidal intent can be reasonably inferred, the perpetrator is punished on the same basis as if he had killed a free man. Coupled with Exodus 21:26-27 where it is mentioned that you must set your servant free if you permanently damage the eye or tooth (although it can be reasonably inferred that the law is intended to cover any permanent injury, not only the eye and tooth) this effectively means that any master would think twice about trying to beat his slave "almost to death". How on earth is he going to attempt to beat his servant "almost to death" when there is a considerable risk that by doing so he is going to inflict permanent injury on his slave, and so risk losing the investment and future labor that he could have looked forward to?

Your assertion that the master was allowed to beat their servants almost to death is simply just not that damning, given that the laws that do exist in the Mosaic Law Code effectively would have made any but the most clinically insane persons veer away from disciplining their servants more than what was necessary.
What is the punishment for severely beating a gentile slave, Chrawnus?

Just point me to the verse that makes it clear gentile slaves are not to be severely beating at the whim of his owner. Can you do that?

If you cannot, then the Bible condones severely beating slaves at the whim of his owner. It is as simple as that.

No, but I don't think any sane person living in the ANE would ever get the notion that trying to beating a slave almost to death would be a splendid idea after reading the Mosaic writings.
Okay.

How about a severe beating just because his owner feels like it?

No, I really don't. Specifically pointing out that you're not allowed to treat your Hebrew brother ruthlessly (whatever that is supposed to mean) does not automatically mean that you're justified in thinking that you're allowed to treat your foreign slave ruthlessly.
Yes it does.

It indicates that treating slaves ruthlessly was the norm (probably across the entire ANE), and that the Hebrew slaves were not to be treated as normal slaves.

All you have to do is find an instruction not to treat gentile slaves ruthlessly, and you win. If you cannot find it, then the Bible allows gentile slaves to be treated ruthlessly (whatever that means).

That's not what it actually says, but please do go on in your ignorance.
Oh, please enlighten me.

Find me the verse that makes it clear gentile slaves are not to be severely beating at the whim of his owner.

Find me the verse that says gentile slaves are not to be treated ruthlessly.

I'm not convinced that the passage speaks of the servant recovering, but rather of him surviving for 1-2 days before succumbing to his injuries. In that case the homicidal intent of the master cannot be established, and therefore the labor/prospective money he lost due to the death of the servant is deemed punishment enough. If homicidal intent could reasonably be inferred the slave would have been avenged.
Either way (and I am not sure either), the beating of slaves is condoned as long as the owner does not do it too much, and that beating can be severe and it can be because the owner is having a bad day. That is what the Bible condones.

And that is what you are obliged to support.

Christianbookworm
03-23-2015, 05:14 AM
Do you have a problem with everyone being subjected to whippings as punishment for misbehavior? Given you say it is great that wer do not do that, then it seems the answer is yes. Therefore, you already know the answer to this question.

The bigger issue here is that you are assuming slaves were only beaten when they have committed a misdemeanor. Why should we assume gentile slaves were not beaten for not working hard enough in the opinion of the slave owner, or looking at his owner the wrong way or just for the enjoyment of the slave owner?

A lot of people nowadays drive cars, and disobeying social mores such as driving when drunk and driving at high speed will result in death. Should we give a sound whipping to people who engage in these dangerous activities?

I am talking about gentile slaves, not indentured servants.

Because you have to rationalise some the condoning of slavery in your holy book to yourself.

Kidnapping Hebrews was a capital crime. The Bible condones buying gentile slaves, and is clear that such slaves can be kept for their whole life and that such slaves are property.

:argh: Where do you get the idea that only Hebrews weren't to be kidnapped? Remeber that the Mosaic law doesn't cover every single possibility like today's law codes do. And if corporal punishment was one of the options one could choose instead of jail time, I don't really have a moral problem with it. It's just not practical for this culture. You sure seem to think that moral absolutes makes EVERYTHING and black or white issue. The reason one can have valid grey areas is that there are black and white ares too.

The Pixie
03-23-2015, 05:32 AM
Chrawnus, I did indeed miss this. Thanks for pointing it out.

My point was that they were allowed to keep them for life, they didn't have to. :shrug:
All I am arguing is that the Bible condones life-long slavery. It clearly does. Whether the Hebrews routinely freed their gentile slaves (and I am doubt they did) is beside that point.

I don't really understand why it would make a difference. True, for the gentile slave it is indefinite, but it's still the labour that's being purchased, not the person himself:
...
It's comparable to the principle of purchasing land. You're not actually purchasing the land, since the land belongs to God (Leviticus 25:23), what you're purchasing is the crop output, not the actual land itself (Lev 25:14-16).
I just addressed this in the last post.

It's the temporary sojourners who are most likely disgraced exiles. As the video that I linked to pointed out, the familial and national ties of ancient people were very strong. To just up and leave your nation would have been almost unthinkable so if they did it was probably because they had been shamed/disgraced and forced to leave.
In contrast, I am talking about gentile slaves purchased from other nations, so something else entirely.

Also, you mentioned in your previous post how you weren't supposed to treat your Hebrew slave ruthlessly, while there wasn't a similar law for gentile slaves, but that's not technically true, given that Exodus 22:21-22 warns the israelites about mistreating or oppressing the foreigners in their country. This law naturally would have extended to any foreign slaves as well.
The word is generally translated as "sojourner". Would a slave be considered a sojourner? Seems doubtful.

Can? I guess he could, but not without working miracles. I guess it's typical of the modern Western mindset to expect God to pamper and babysit us.
Right, so we are agreed that God could have worked miracles to put a stop to slavery.

He chose not to, and instead chose to codify it.

I find that a curious moral choice.

That's arguable. Gen 7:1 says that God told Noah to enter the ark with his house/household, and I find it pretty unlikely that a well-off man such as Noah (I mean, according to the story he did build the ark, which would have required considerable resources) wouldn't have owned a few (or not so few) servants.
I have never come across that claim before.

So Noah, who is considered a righteous man, was a slave owner in your view. Further, that was justified, in your opinion because he would need slaves to get all the work done.

This is like your absolute morality I guess. Ideally, you should not keep slaves, but if you have a lot of work that needs doing, and you cannot afford to pay wages, then slavery is acceptable.

But even so the conditions of the ANE would basically have determined that the slave/indentured servitude system would have arosen after the population grew sufficiently. :shrug:
Not if God had made it clear slavery was not acceptable from the start. That way he could avoid those pesky miracles that Christians dislike to much.

He chose not.

Because he condones slavery.



Or beaten with a rod. Not that that's any different from how "free" person were disciplined.
And that makes it acceptable?
You're talking to a guy who finds the death penalty justifiable. What do you think?
Given a free person might be punished for committing a crime by being beaten by a rod, does that mean it was morally acceptable back then for a slave owner to severely beat a slave because he feels like it?

If so, is it still morally acceptable today?


Now can you confirm that a slave owner giving a slave a black eye is not against Biblical Law, even if it is not very likely to happen?
Except that's not how ANE law codes functioned. They were didactic and exemplary and not all encompassing. It's true Biblical law doesn't explicitly mention anything about giving your slave a black eye, but I don't really see the problem. The Mosaic Law, just as any other ANE law code, was never meant to cover every single circumstance in the first place.
Do please enlighten me, Chrawnus, on how this works.

Suppose a slave owner gave a slave a black eye. Where do the judges go to determine whether a crime has been committed? Talk us through it.

In my ignorance, I was guessing they would look to the Bible for a corresponding incident, find the lost eye and broken tooth, note that a black eye is not permanent, and conclude that no crime was committed and no punishment due. Now over to you, Chrawnus.

That's not what I'm saying, but I guess you could take it that way. My apologies for being ambigious. What I'm saying is that the absolute moral principle would be that slavery shouldn't exist, but because of various circumstances (the hardness of the human heart for example) this absolute moral principle could not be realized and therefore checks need to be put into place until we get to such a time as slavery, or indentured servitude could realistically be done away with.
Ah I see.

Because God chose not to make it clear with Noah that slavery is morally wrong, and because God so dislikes stopping suffering via miracles, he was unable or unwilling to make it clear that slavery is wrong in his holy book.

Another possibility that fits the facts better is that God condones slavery, and hence the verses in the Bible (a more likely possibility in my opinion is that no god had anything at all to do with the verses in the Bible).

I take slavery to be wrong. I do not think that the system described in the OT can be described as slavery though. It's more like indentured servitude than slavery.
Sure, if you re-interpret "property" to mean "labour", if you convince yourself "can be kept for life" means they probably were not, and ignore where it says owners can beat their slaves if they want to.

No, the slavery of blacks in America wasn't unavoidable, and neither was it biblically supportable either (even if there were people who attempted a biblical defense). For instance, Exodus 21:16 explicitly forbids the kidnapping of another person which would have effectively removed the whole basis of the American slavery system.
But the plantation owners in the US did not kidnap anyone. They purchased slaves from the nations around them, just as the Bible allows. And they needed someone to pick the cotton - there were no machines that could do it - so it was as unavoidable for them as it was for Noah.

So the difference between the gentile slaves owned by the Hebrews and the black slaves owned by the plantation owners were not so very great after all.

The Pixie
03-23-2015, 05:34 AM
:argh: Where do you get the idea that only Hebrews weren't to be kidnapped? Remeber that the Mosaic law doesn't cover every single possibility like today's law codes do. And if corporal punishment was one of the options one could choose instead of jail time, I don't really have a moral problem with it. It's just not practical for this culture. You sure seem to think that moral absolutes makes EVERYTHING and black or white issue. The reason one can have valid grey areas is that there are black and white ares too.
The Bible still condones buying slaves from other nations, keeping them for life, beating them on a whim, as long as it is not too hard.

Do you find that morally acceptable? Personally I do not.

Christianbookworm
03-23-2015, 06:02 AM
The Bible still condones buying slaves from other nations, keeping them for life, beating them on a whim, as long as it is not too hard.

Do you find that morally acceptable? Personally I do not.

:whack: :bthump: :poke: NOT ON A WHIM! Idiot.

Chrawnus
03-23-2015, 06:11 AM
Supposing "designated her for himself" means "made her his wife", what if he was a mature kind man who found her displeasing for a valid reason, such as refusal to have sex?

Supposing "designated her for himself" means "made her a house servant", what if he was a mature kind man who found her displeasing for a valid reason, such as her stealing from him?

How can the bible author call the displeasure 'unfair', when there could be plenty of very fair reasons to be displeased with her?

I rather think that the bible author did no such thing, YOU are the one trying to credit the unfairness to the man's displeasure, so you can avoid having to explain why the biblical author seems to call the act of marital sex or purchasing of this female slave 'unfair'.

why the biblical author seems to call the act of marital sex . . . 'unfair'.

Huh?

I'm now leaning even more towards the opinion that this is speaking about the daughter being sold as a concubine/wife rather than as merely a servant, so I will stick to that line of thought from now on. Which means I will only answer your first hypothetical:

Supposing "designated her for himself" means "made her his wife", what if he was a mature kind man who found her displeasing for a valid reason, such as refusal to have sex?

Then I guess you could make the case that he was free to let her go, without providing for her upkeep, but it still does not give him the right to sell her to a foreign nation.

And it's not my understanding that the unfairness refers back to "designated her for himself", the translators of the NET bible also has the same understanding:


18 tn The verb יָעַד (ya’ad) does not mean “betroth, espouse” as some of the earlier translations had it, but “to designate.” When he bought the girl, he designated her for himself, giving her and her family certain expectations.

21 sn The deceit is in not making her his wife or concubine as the arrangement had stipulated.

https://lumina.bible.org/bible/Exodus+21




Your apologetic makes the bible author a fool since it could very easily be that the owner had morally justifiable or "fair" reasons for being displeased with her. A better apologetic is one that doesn't have the bible author presuming that the displeasure must necessarily be unjustified.

The text does give some recourse for the man if the girl herself fails to keep her end of the contract. His first option seems to be that he lets someone redeem her. If this is not possible then it would seem that he has the option of letting her go free, as verse 11 could possibly be taken as a allowance for the man to let her go, although without any expectations of a redeeming price, if he found her displeasing. But he was never allowed to sell her to a foreign nation. It's not entirely clear to me if this is a justifiable understanding of the text (except the fact that he couldn't sell her to a foreign nation), but it does not seem like an impossibility.

The Pixie
03-23-2015, 06:21 AM
:whack: :bthump: :poke: NOT ON A WHIM! Idiot.
Where does it say that? Do please give the verse.

Or is this just wishful thinking, supported by ad hom?

The Pixie
03-23-2015, 06:22 AM
I'm now leaning even more towards the opinion that this is speaking about the daughter being sold as a concubine/wife rather than as merely a servant, so I will stick to that line of thought from now on.
For what it is worth, that is how I read it.

Christianbookworm
03-23-2015, 06:30 AM
Where does it say that? Do please give the verse.

Or is this just wishful thinking, supported by ad hom?

Besides God telling the Israelites that since they were sojourners in Egypt, they souldn't mistreat foreigners?



When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. (Lev 19:33-34)

Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt. (Ex 23:9)

Chrawnus
03-23-2015, 07:04 AM
But if she persistently refused his sexual advances (if he took her as wife) or if she stole from him (if he took her as slave) the his reasons for breaking his promise would be justified, and as such, no unfairness to her. Yet the bible author presumes unfairness as if there is no way a purchased wife or slave could possibly deserve to be cast out.

Deserve to be cast out? This discussion was about whether or not the master had any right to sell her to a foreign nation, not whether he had any rights to cast her out. He clearly could either let her be redeemed or letting her go free of charge (i.e she did not have to pay the redeeming price) if he did not want to provide for her upkeep, the latter of which could reasonably be seen as casting her out.



No, the text requires fulfillment of a condition in order to justify the prohibition against selling her to foreigners. It is not an unconditional blanket condemnation of selling her to foreigners. If he is not unfair to her, then the prohibition does not apply.

I do not share your understanding of what the text is saying, and I see no good reasons to why I should prefer your understanding over the one I proposed here in this thread. The fulfillment of the condition is his decision not to designate her for himself, no other condition needs to be fulfilled.




But you are missing the point in the text. The text says if she is displeasing, he must let her be redeemed, he cannot sell her to foreigners because of his unfairness to her. In other words, the man's being displeased with her is considered the unfairness, when in fact it is possible that he could be displeased with her for reasons that are not unfair, such as her stealing from him, or refusing marital relations. So the bible author erred, because not all displeasure of the master toward the slave would be unjustified, therefore not all of it would be unfair.

Eh, it's not the man being displeased with her that is considered unfair(or deceitful, as the NET bible translates it), it is his decision not to designate her to himself that is considered unfair/deceitful. The man had given the family and the girl certain expectations/promises, and now he wanted to break these promises, for whatever reasons he might have. So, no, I'm not missing any point of the text, atleast not any point that you've deluded yourself into thinking you've found.




but the biblical author does not just make a blanket statement prohibiting the owner from selling her to foreigners. the condition of his being displeased with her, in a way that constitutes unfairness to her, must be fulfilled, before the prohibition comes into effect. Otherwise, its like a parent telling a child "I'm not taking you to the Burger King because you didn't do your chores", when in fact the parent isn't taking them because the parent has no money. If there was a blanket rule prohibiting Hebrews from selling Hebrew slaves to foreigners, there would be no reason to credit the owner's unfairness to the girl as the 'reason' he cannot sell her to foreigners.

I agree that the biblical author does not make a blanket statement. The master had certain expectations to fulfill, and by not designating her for himself he failed to meet those expectations. It's clear as crystal. :shrug:




My, my, defensive are we? I'll choose to believe I rattled your cage despite your self-serving assurances otherwise.

:ahem:

You really got me there. My reason for being condescending towards you has to be because I got emotionally disturbed by your arguments, it couldn't possibly be because I really believe what I wrote.



What conditions in the ANE do you think made forced marriages smarter than allowing the girl to choose the man she wanted?

The fact that ensuring her survival was more important than personal fulfillment, for instance? :shrug:




Hold your horses, buddy, we haven't even scraped the tip of the ice-box. If you want to do a formal written debate with me, I'll be happy to oblige. I've already seen the responses of internet apologists to our charges of "divine atrocities" and will take the affirmative to prove them. If you don't wish to have such a debate, then stick your dogmatizing in your ear.

Or I could just reject your offer of a formal written debate and go on insisting that you're twisting the passage in question to say something it is not.



Sounds like your god needs to make concessions.

Depends on what you're trying to imply by the word "needs".



Irrelevant, I'm not talking about that. But either way, if the master's only punishment for putting out her eye was to let her go free, then the author of the Law didn't think slaves deserved the "eye for eye" justice.


Yeah, because letting the slave go free wasn't incomparably preferable to the slave than simply having the masters eye poked out.

Seriously, do you ever engage your brain when you're writing your posts? :no:




If I was on trial for regulating prostitution in my house, what would you think if my defense was that I only regulate rather than permit it? Stupid, right?

You're comparing apples to oranges. Corporal punishment is not inherently immoral, while on the other hand prostitution is.



Tell that to the family of the slave who died one or two days after the beating mentioned in Exodus 21:20-21.

Corporal punishment =/= excessive violence




If god had said "thou shalt not imitate the pagan nations which beat their slaves" we wouldn't be having this conversation.

If you had done the relevant research we wouldn't have it either.



Or if he is rich and sadistic, Exodus 21:20-21 would be music to his ears for any slave he wants to beat to death.

Yes, because the rich and sadistic master in question would have had a keen understanding of how to beat someone so they died 1-2 days after the deed, rather than on the same day as the beating.



Oh yeah, I just can't imagine how the Hebrews could have had any hope as a society unless there was a law that allowed them to sell their kids to each other. LOL.

When faced with the option of having your kid starve to death or selling him/her to someone more well off on the expectation that the buyer will provide them with food and shelter I guess the morally upright decision is to let them starve to death, rather than to support the reprehensible institution of "slavery". :ahem:




Which seems to indicate that your god's failure to specify any prohibition against sex within adult-child marriages, implies that he cared less about such trauma to kids, than he did about the immorality of bestility, which he did specifically prohibit in Leviticus 18.

Or perhaps it was such a non-issue that it need not be dealt with. The prohibitions in Leviticus 18 deals specifically with the abominations done by the previous inhabitants of the land (Lev 18:24-30), so if they did not engage in sex with prepubescent children I have no idea why God would have needed to bring it up.

Chrawnus
03-23-2015, 08:10 AM
Apologies, I do not recall you bring this up before.

The word in dispute here is 272 in Strong's concordance.
http://biblehub.com/hebrew/272.htm

It is a word that is used a lot to mean property as in an area of land. Did individual Hebrews not own land at all? I find that a little surprising; can you find anything else to support this claim? I ask, because I wonder if there was kind of two layers of ownership, with God owning everything, but individuals also owning a plot of land upon which they build a house or farm.

Let us look more closely. Leviticus 25 uses the word thirteen times,

10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family.

Is this referring to crop output? Families have to return to their crop output?

24 And in all the country you possess, you shall grant a redemption of the land.
25 “If your brother becomes poor, and sells part of his property, then his next of kin shall come and redeem what his brother has sold.
...
27 let him reckon the years since he sold it and pay back the overpayment to the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return to his property. 28 But if he has not sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he sold shall remain in the hand of him who bought it until the year of jubilee; in the jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property.

Is this talking about land or about crop output?

32 Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time.

That would be the cities of their crop output, right? The crop output of a city, whatever that might be...

What Leviticus 25 is about resetting ownership of the land. Every fifty years, land ownership reverts to what it was originally. And not to God. The idea that god owns the land is the rationale behind it, but the Hebrews also owned land. The idea of handing land back to the family or tribe who originally owned it makes no sense unless, you know, they originally owned it.


My argument was not that the word in question does not denote ownership, but that it does not denote it in the way we think of ownership. First of all, the text clearly states that God is the ultimate owner of the land, which means that in whatever way the hebrew word denotes ownership, it cannot refer to ultimate possession, rather, in the context of land ownership it's more like God is the suzerain who owns the land, while the Hebrews are his vassals, to whom he grants usage of the land so that they can enjoy it's produce. So when it talks about people returning to their property, it's not talking about people going back to their original possessions as we think of it, but rather as the people receiving back their rights of usage of the land. In the context of farmland it's usage results in crop yields, which is why you can legitimately say that what is sold is the crop yield (which is even explicitly stated in Lev 25:16 to be the case), while in the context of property where a residence has been built (such as in a city), it's usage would have been as a plot where a house could be built for shelter. It still refers to the rights of usage, not rights of ownership.



What is the punishment for severely beating a gentile slave, Chrawnus?

Just point me to the verse that makes it clear gentile slaves are not to be severely beating at the whim of his owner. Can you do that?

If you cannot, then the Bible condones severely beating slaves at the whim of his owner. It is as simple as that.

Okay.

How about a severe beating just because his owner feels like it?

I've already provided verses where the Hebrews are mandated to treat foreigners in their nations well. You're the one who tried to argue that it does not extend to foreign slaves, without any justification whatsoever.

And in any case, as Victor P. Hamilton in his commentary on Exodus points out, Deuteronomy 25:15-16 allows the slave (The word is the same as the one used for foreign slaves in Lev 25:44) to run away if he feels he is being mistreated, and forbids anyone from forcibly returning him to his master. Instead they must allow him to live wherever he wants in the city to which he escapes.

In other words, the Mosaic Laws makes it an obligation to harbor fugitive slaves who are being mistreated and in turn forbids the harborers (is that a word?) from mistreating the fugitive slave themselves, and I do not see anywhere that it would exclude people from having to shelter foreign runaway slaves in this way.



Yes it does.

It indicates that treating slaves ruthlessly was the norm (probably across the entire ANE), and that the Hebrew slaves were not to be treated as normal slaves.

I'm not even convinced that the term ruthlessly refers to their treatment. The more natural reading seems to be that the term refers back to the allowance that you can keep gentile slaves for lives. In that case, ruling over anyone harshly would mean to enslave them perpetually, not how you treat them given the fact that they're your slaves.



All you have to do is find an instruction not to treat gentile slaves ruthlessly, and you win. If you cannot find it, then the Bible allows gentile slaves to be treated ruthlessly (whatever that means).

Oh, please enlighten me.

Find me the verse that makes it clear gentile slaves are not to be severely beating at the whim of his owner.

Find me the verse that says gentile slaves are not to be treated ruthlessly.

I already did. I referred to passages that states that foreigners are not to be oppressed. Your objection was that it needn't apply to foreign slaves, but gave no justification for such an exception. But more importantly, the Mosaic law permits any slave, Hebrew or Gentile, who feels like they're being mistreated to run away from their master, without having to fear being forcibly returned to him.



Either way (and I am not sure either), the beating of slaves is condoned as long as the owner does not do it too much, and that beating can be severe and it can be because the owner is having a bad day. That is what the Bible condones.

And that is what you are obliged to support.

I am? I'm also obliged to support the notion that the Mosaic law compels people to harbor fugitive slaves who perceives that they have been mistreated, regardless of whether or not they're Hebrew or Gentile. I'm not convinced that it can be argued convincingly that the Bible condones mistreatment of Gentile slaves when these same Gentile slaves are allowed to run away from their masters and the Mosaic law does not even require them to justify why they ran away, but instead compels the city to whom the slave runs away to to harbor him. :shrug:

Chrawnus
03-23-2015, 09:16 AM
Chrawnus, I did indeed miss this. Thanks for pointing it out.

All I am arguing is that the Bible condones life-long slavery. It clearly does. Whether the Hebrews routinely freed their gentile slaves (and I am doubt they did) is beside that point.

The Bible condones keeping Gentile slaves for life, but it also permits these same slaves to escape from their master if they want to. Can it really be argued that these person are slaves if they have the option to run away instituted as a law?



I just addressed this in the last post.

And I've answered it in my previous post.



In contrast, I am talking about gentile slaves purchased from other nations, so something else entirely.

My point still stands. What property could a gentile slave purchased from a neighbouring nation possibly have to return to?



The word is generally translated as "sojourner". Would a slave be considered a sojourner? Seems doubtful.


Grammatical and Lexical Notes

22:21 [20]. The Bible distinguishes between those non-Israelites who are in Israel permanently (gēr, “sojourner, alien,”) and those who are there temporarily, say, on a trading mission (nokrî, “stranger”).

Emphasis mine. So, unless you want to argue that a gentile slave did not live in Israel permanently I find it hard to see how one could argue that Exodus 22:21 does not also apply to foreign slaves.



Right, so we are agreed that God could have worked miracles to put a stop to slavery.

He chose not to, and instead chose to codify it.

I find that a curious moral choice.

God has no moral obligations, so his choices can by definition not be moral. And in any case, while God does not explicitly condemn slavery in the OT he still regulates it in such a way (such as permitting slaves to run away from their masters) that if the Hebrews would have followed the Law faithfully they would have had a system of slavery only in name, but certainly not in practice.



I have never come across that claim before.

Do you disagree that the Bible gives us enough to infer that Noah was probably rich enough to afford servants/slaves?



So Noah, who is considered a righteous man, was a slave owner in your view. Further, that was justified, in your opinion because he would need slaves to get all the work done.

I find it hard to believe that he did not have servants, that is correct. How you're able to infer your second statement from what I wrote I have no idea, since I no way came even remotely close to arguing something like that.



This is like your absolute morality I guess. Ideally, you should not keep slaves, but if you have a lot of work that needs doing, and you cannot afford to pay wages, then slavery is acceptable.

I find it more than slightly strange that you continue to perpetuate your misunderstanding of what I meant by absolute morality when I already explained how you misunderstood my point it in the very post to which you're replying to. And you can't be even be satisfied with that, you even have to misrepresent yet another point of mine, even when there is not even the slightest justification for interpreting what I wrote in the way you decided to understand it. If you can't even read a contemporary and straightforward text without making unjustified inferences how on earth is anyone going to be convinced that you know how to read an ancient document without making the same type of unjustified inferences?



Not if God had made it clear slavery was not acceptable from the start. That way he could avoid those pesky miracles that Christians dislike to much.

He chose not.

Because he condones slavery.

He also condones slaves to run away from their masters if they feel like they're being mistreated (and for other reasons as well).



Given a free person might be punished for committing a crime by being beaten by a rod, does that mean it was morally acceptable back then for a slave owner to severely beat a slave because he feels like it?

If so, is it still morally acceptable today?


I've already explained how the Mosaic law dissuaded anyone from beating their slaves severely, simply because he felt like it, but in any case, if the master beat his slaves severely they were free to run away if they felt like it, as I've already noted several times already.



Do please enlighten me, Chrawnus, on how this works.

Suppose a slave owner gave a slave a black eye. Where do the judges go to determine whether a crime has been committed? Talk us through it.

In my ignorance, I was guessing they would look to the Bible for a corresponding incident, find the lost eye and broken tooth, note that a black eye is not permanent, and conclude that no crime was committed and no punishment due. Now over to you, Chrawnus.

I'm not sure I need to answer this other than by pointing to Deut 23:15-16. The Law would have dissuaded the master from treating the slave in such a way that would have resulted in a black eye, and if he did ignore these commandments and struck the eye of his slave the slave had the option of running away from his master if he thought his treatment was unacceptable.



Ah I see.

Because God chose not to make it clear with Noah that slavery is morally wrong, and because God so dislikes stopping suffering via miracles, he was unable or unwilling to make it clear that slavery is wrong in his holy book.

Another possibility that fits the facts better is that God condones slavery, and hence the verses in the Bible (a more likely possibility in my opinion is that no god had anything at all to do with the verses in the Bible).

Only the most biblically ignorant person could possibly argue that the Bible condones forcibly keeping another person in bondage when it explicitly allows slaves to run away from their masters without stipulating that they need a justifiable reason for it.



Sure, if you re-interpret "property" to mean "labour", if you convince yourself "can be kept for life" means they probably were not, and ignore where it says owners can beat their slaves if they want to.

The Hebrew word translated property is not equivalent with how we understand the english word to which it is translated, so there is no re-interpreting being done. I've never argued that gentile slaves weren't kept for life, only that it wasn't a requirement, and in any case it's irrelevant since Gentile slaves, just as Hebrew slaves, were permitted to run away from their masters if they wanted to. Which also answers your objection that I have ignored passages where owners can beat their slaves if they want to, which is verifiably dishonest of you, given that you've even replied to posts where I specifically deal with these passages (Yes, I am in fact claiming that you're lying through your teeth). That you find my answers to these passages unsatisfying is a far cry from me ignoring them.



But the plantation owners in the US did not kidnap anyone. They purchased slaves from the nations around them, just as the Bible allows. And they needed someone to pick the cotton - there were no machines that could do it - so it was as unavoidable for them as it was for Noah.

So the difference between the gentile slaves owned by the Hebrews and the black slaves owned by the plantation owners were not so very great after all.

Except that gentile slaves owned by the Hebrews were free to run away from their masters if they wanted to, and anyone they ran away to were obliged to harbor them and not return them to their masters. I'm quite certain black slaves owned by the plantation owners had no such option and in fact, aiding a fugitive slave and not returning him to his owner was considered a crime. In fact, a runaway slave in America could even be punished with having their limbs amputated, something that was clearly forbidden by the Mosaic law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugitive_slaves_in_the_United_States

And they certainly did not needed slaves to pick the cotton, they could just as well have employed free person to do it for them, in exchange for paying them wages.

The Pixie
03-24-2015, 02:11 AM
My argument was not that the word in question does not denote ownership, but that it does not denote it in the way we think of ownership. First of all, the text clearly states that God is the ultimate owner of the land, which means that in whatever way the hebrew word denotes ownership, it cannot refer to ultimate possession, rather, in the context of land ownership it's more like God is the suzerain who owns the land, while the Hebrews are his vassals, to whom he grants usage of the land so that they can enjoy it's produce. So when it talks about people returning to their property, it's not talking about people going back to their original possessions as we think of it, but rather as the people receiving back their rights of usage of the land. In the context of farmland it's usage results in crop yields, which is why you can legitimately say that what is sold is the crop yield (which is even explicitly stated in Lev 25:16 to be the case), while in the context of property where a residence has been built (such as in a city), it's usage would have been as a plot where a house could be built for shelter. It still refers to the rights of usage, not rights of ownership.
You are building a big argument on dubious foundations. Historically, there are other examples of land having more than one owner, such as feudalism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudalism_in_England). The King owners all the land, but a baron also owned a larghe chunk, aknight a smaller chunk of that, anmd a serf a considerably smaller chunk of that. Thus an acre of land might be said to have four owners. Now you could describe that as the King owning all the land, and the others as merely having the crop output, but that was not the way the people of the time saw it. Likewise here, I appreciate that God owned the land, but that does not preclude it also being owned by an individual or tribe at the same time. Further, the Bible seems to support this view of land ownership, rather than the crop output that you are trying to support here (and I quoted such verses in Leviticus previously.

I've already provided verses where the Hebrews are mandated to treat foreigners in their nations well. You're the one who tried to argue that it does not extend to foreign slaves, without any justification whatsoever.
The verses you provided says sojourners. Slaves are not sojourners. You do know what a sojourner is right?

And in any case, as Victor P. Hamilton in his commentary on Exodus points out, Deuteronomy 25:15-16 allows the slave (The word is the same as the one used for foreign slaves in Lev 25:44) to run away if he feels he is being mistreated, and forbids anyone from forcibly returning him to his master. Instead they must allow him to live wherever he wants in the city to which he escapes.
It is Deuteronomy chapter 23 by the way.

So he can pick any house in the city and just go and live there? Are you sure that that is what happened?

In other words, the Mosaic Laws makes it an obligation to harbor fugitive slaves who are being mistreated and in turn forbids the harborers (is that a word?) from mistreating the fugitive slave themselves, and I do not see anywhere that it would exclude people from having to shelter foreign runaway slaves in this way.
If you are right, then Paul broke that law by sending Onesimus back to his master. Why do you think Paul would do that? I appreciate he taught that gentiles did not live under the same law, but he was a Jew, and he followed the Mosaic Law.

In the old testament, we also have this example of someone recovering his slaves from someone who was sheltering them:

1 Kings 2:39 But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shim′e-i’s slaves ran away to A′chish, son of Ma′acah, king of Gath. And when it was told Shim′e-i, “Behold, your slaves are in Gath,” 40 Shim′e-i arose and saddled an ass, and went to Gath to A′chish, to seek his slaves; Shim′e-i went and brought his slaves from Gath.


I would love to hear why you think Paul and Shim'e-i broke the Mosaic Law. My interpretation is that this law was about slaves who had runaway from other nations, and I am not alone in this:

http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/23-15.htm
Verses 15, 16. - A slave that had escaped from his master was not to be given up, but allowed to dwell in the land, in whatever part he might choose. The reference is to a foreign slave who had fled from the harsh treatment of his master to seek refuge in Israel, as is evident from the expression, בְאַחַד שְׁעָרֵיך, "in one of thy gates," i.e. in any part of thy land. Onkelos, עֲבִד עַמְמִין, "a slave of the Gentiles." His master; the word used is the plural adonim, masters.
If you are right, however, then that suggests an interesting dynamic in Hebrew society. Should someone get caught stealing and becomes a slave, all he has to do is runaway, and his debt to society is written off PLUS he gets to choose anywhere in the city to live. Must have been very tempting to take up robbery as a career.

I'm not even convinced that the term ruthlessly refers to their treatment. The more natural reading seems to be that the term refers back to the allowance that you can keep gentile slaves for lives. In that case, ruling over anyone harshly would mean to enslave them perpetually, not how you treat them given the fact that they're your slaves.
Good spin.

Now back to what the words actually mean...

I already did. I referred to passages that states that foreigners are not to be oppressed. Your objection was that it needn't apply to foreign slaves, but gave no justification for such an exception. But more importantly, the Mosaic law permits any slave, Hebrew or Gentile, who feels like they're being mistreated to run away from their master, without having to fear being forcibly returned to him.
Slaves are not sojourners.

I am? I'm also obliged to support the notion that the Mosaic law compels people to harbor fugitive slaves who perceives that they have been mistreated, regardless of whether or not they're Hebrew or Gentile. I'm not convinced that it can be argued convincingly that the Bible condones mistreatment of Gentile slaves when these same Gentile slaves are allowed to run away from their masters and the Mosaic law does not even require them to justify why they ran away, but instead compels the city to whom the slave runs away to to harbor him. :shrug:
I fully accept that there is good stuff in the Bible as well as bad. Whether this applies to slaves who have runaway from Hebrew owners is dubious, however.

There is a good summary of the legal code for slaves in the Bible here:

http://www.internationalstandardbible.com/S/slave-slavery.html
http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl1.htm

The Pixie
03-24-2015, 02:32 AM
I am going to skip bits I have just addressed. Do please say if you think I have missed anything.

My point still stands. What property could a gentile slave purchased from a neighbouring nation possibly have to return to?
I may be losing the point here, but are you arguing that keeping gentile slaves was moral because the slaves had no home in their own nation?


Grammatical and Lexical Notes

22:21 [20]. The Bible distinguishes between those non-Israelites who are in Israel permanently (gēr, “sojourner, alien,”) and those who are there temporarily, say, on a trading mission (nokrî, “stranger”).

Emphasis mine. So, unless you want to argue that a gentile slave did not live in Israel permanently I find it hard to see how one could argue that Exodus 22:21 does not also apply to foreign slaves.
Good point. However:

http://biblehub.com/topical/s/sojourner.htm
This word with its kindred verb is applied with slightly varying meanings to anyone who resides in a country or a town of which he is not a full native land-owning citizen; e.g., the word is used of the patriarchs in Palestine, the Israelites in Egypt, the Levites dwelling among the Israelites (Deuteronomy 18:6 Judges 17:7, etc.), the Ephraimite in Gibeah (Judges 19:16). It is also particularly used of free aliens residing among the Israelites, and it is with the position of such that this article deals. This position is absolutely unparalleled in early legal systems (A. H. Post, Grundriss der ethnologischen Jurisprudenz, I, 448, note 3), which are usually far from favorable to strangers.

God has no moral obligations, so his choices can by definition not be moral.[/qote]
Unusual - but very reasonable - position to take.
[quote]Do you disagree that the Bible gives us enough to infer that Noah was probably rich enough to afford servants/slaves?
I do. However, it does not give us reason to think he was not, and the OT does focus on the rich and powerful Jews, so it does seem likely, and I agree the building of the ark makes it more likely.

I find it hard to believe that he did not have servants, that is correct. How you're able to infer your second statement from what I wrote I have no idea, since I no way came even remotely close to arguing something like that.
Then let me ask: Do you think Noah was morally right to have slaves? If so (and he is described as righteous), then why was it morally right?

I've already explained how the Mosaic law dissuaded anyone from beating their slaves severely, simply because he felt like it, but in any case, if the master beat his slaves severely they were free to run away if they felt like it, as I've already noted several times already.
They were free to run away anytime they wanted, according to your interpretation, and to get a place to live wherever they want too. Why would any slave not run away at once?

I'm not sure I need to answer this other than by pointing to Deut 23:15-16. The Law would have dissuaded the master from treating the slave in such a way that would have resulted in a black eye, and if he did ignore these commandments and struck the eye of his slave the slave had the option of running away from his master if he thought his treatment was unacceptable.
The slave had that option if he could not be bothered to work in the field one day - if your interpretation of Deut 23:15-16 is correct.

And they certainly did not needed slaves to pick the cotton, they could just as well have employed free person to do it for them, in exchange for paying them wages.
Bingo. You spotted the flaw in your argument.

No one needs slaves. That is as true of the plantation owners as it is of Noah or any other Jew in the ANE. They can just as well employ free people to do in exchange for paying them wages. Somehow your faith has blinkered you so you can spot that for the plantation owners, but not for Noah.

Chrawnus
03-24-2015, 10:29 AM
This reply and the next will probably be my last in this thread.


You are building a big argument on dubious foundations. Historically, there are other examples of land having more than one owner, such as feudalism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudalism_in_England). The King owners all the land, but a baron also owned a larghe chunk, aknight a smaller chunk of that, anmd a serf a considerably smaller chunk of that. Thus an acre of land might be said to have four owners. Now you could describe that as the King owning all the land, and the others as merely having the crop output, but that was not the way the people of the time saw it. Likewise here, I appreciate that God owned the land, but that does not preclude it also being owned by an individual or tribe at the same time. Further, the Bible seems to support this view of land ownership, rather than the crop output that you are trying to support here (and I quoted such verses in Leviticus previously.

Right, so the Bible explicitly says that what is being sold between the two humans is a certain number of years of produce (Lev 25:16), but instead of what the text itself says, you're going to insist that we should insist that we should look at historical examples that have no bearing on the text in question what so ever. :huh:



The verses you provided says sojourners. Slaves are not sojourners. You do know what a sojourner is right?

I do know what sojourner is. I suspect that translating every instance of the hebrew word into sojourner is probably not a good idea.



It is Deuteronomy chapter 23 by the way.

Yeah, I messed up a bit. Thank you for that.



So he can pick any house in the city and just go and live there? Are you sure that that is what happened?

:doh:

Of course not, are you being intentionally obtuse?



If you are right, then Paul broke that law by sending Onesimus back to his master. Why do you think Paul would do that? I appreciate he taught that gentiles did not live under the same law, but he was a Jew, and he followed the Mosaic Law.

Paul only broke the law if he sent Onesimus back to Philemon against Onesimus' will, but why should we assume that? For instance Paul exhorts Philemon to consider Onesimus not as a slave anymore, but as a fellow brother in Christ, and also to accept Onesimus as he would have accepted Paul himself.



In the old testament, we also have this example of someone recovering his slaves from someone who was sheltering them:

1 Kings 2:39 But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shim′e-i’s slaves ran away to A′chish, son of Ma′acah, king of Gath. And when it was told Shim′e-i, “Behold, your slaves are in Gath,” 40 Shim′e-i arose and saddled an ass, and went to Gath to A′chish, to seek his slaves; Shim′e-i went and brought his slaves from Gath.


Uh, you do realize that these slaves had run away to a Philistine city, that wasn't subject to Mosaic law? Also, Shimei isn't exactly portrayed in the most favourable light in the OT, so I'm not sure why you're bringing him up, when the Bible itself sets him as an example of a wicked man. :huh:



I would love to hear why you think Paul and Shim'e-i broke the Mosaic Law. My interpretation is that this law was about slaves who had runaway from other nations, and I am not alone in this:

We have no reason to think that Paul broke the law in sending Onesimus back to Philemon, and there's no need to wonder about why Shimei did it.



http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/23-15.htm
Verses 15, 16. - A slave that had escaped from his master was not to be given up, but allowed to dwell in the land, in whatever part he might choose. The reference is to a foreign slave who had fled from the harsh treatment of his master to seek refuge in Israel, as is evident from the expression, בְאַחַד שְׁעָרֵיך, "in one of thy gates," i.e. in any part of thy land. Onkelos, עֲבִד עַמְמִין, "a slave of the Gentiles." His master; the word used is the plural adonim, masters.
If you are right, however, then that suggests an interesting dynamic in Hebrew society. Should someone get caught stealing and becomes a slave, all he has to do is runaway, and his debt to society is written off PLUS he gets to choose anywhere in the city to live. Must have been very tempting to take up robbery as a career.

First of all, anywhere in the city is probably not what the text is saying, I'll admit that (even though you took that to mean something I never intended, but let's ignore that for now), but rather that the slave should be allowed to live in whatever city he chooses. I do not agree with the pulpit commentary that this makes it "evident" that it is speaking of a foreign slave however.

What I do admit however, is that this law probably didn't give any slave permission to run away from their masters without any reason whatsoever however, but rather that it gave permission to run away if they we're being mistreated. Given that the Mosaic Law would have been didactic it's not at all unplausible that any competent judge who would have come across a case where a thief had been caught and forced into servitude and subsequently run away would have weighed the two relevant laws and would have made his judgement after considering them both. For example, if the thief had run away even though the master had not mistreated him it could be imagined that the judge would have ordered him to be returned to his master, while if he had run away after being subject to especially cruel treatment (let's imagine that he had his eyes poked out, for example), I don't find it implausible at all that the judge would rule in favor of the thief/slave, perhaps on the basis that the slave's sufferings outweighed the monetary loss that the thief's victim had suffered.



Good spin.

Uh, I'm not saying that the word harshly or ruthlessly has that meaning, and that meaning only, but rather that in this instance it probably refers to that. This makes more sense than to assume that it is speaking about their treatment, given that the text itself nowhere mentions anything about the treatment of slaves, while it does speak of the purchase of slaves, and the duration which you're allowed to keep them in servitude.



Now back to what the words actually mean...

Slaves are not sojourners.

And the Hebrew word does not exclusively refer to sojourners.



I fully accept that there is good stuff in the Bible as well as bad. Whether this applies to slaves who have runaway from Hebrew owners is dubious, however.

You've provided commentaries that argues that it is about foreign slaves who've run away from their foreign masters. I've not seen you provide any good reasons for thinking that this is the sense in which the passage should be understood, however. So I would argue that on the face of it, the interpretation that this is only speaking about foreign slaves is the one that is dubious. :shrug:



There is a good summary of the legal code for slaves in the Bible here:

http://www.internationalstandardbible.com/S/slave-slavery.html
http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl1.htm

Or, you know, one could consult more scholarly resources than religioustolerance.org, or more up-to-date resources than ISBE. Not that I'm arguing that ISBE is pure hogwash, but I'm not about to take it as my highest authority on what the bible says. :shrug:

Abigail
03-24-2015, 10:46 AM
Sorry, I fail to see the distinction.

If God wanted them to behave a certain why, he put it in the law. He was quite clear about them not wearing garments made of two types of thread or eating shellfish. He was quite clear that the Hebrews could treat their gentile slaves just as the nations around them did - ruthlessly and as property.
Bought slaves were to be circumcised. I have had a look to see if they had a choice but I can only find that they were to be included under the household so it seems that would imply they were to be treated well and didn't have a choice in the matter since they became part of the Egypt story. Also in Exodus 12:48, (discussing the ordinance of the Passover) strangers or sojourners could be included if they wanted to. So later when Israel had come out of Egypt and had their own land, it is not a great leap to assume some sojourners could, and would, still opt to become part of the circumcision too, just like in the original Egypt saga. So it seems that anyone who was not a bought slave still had the option of being treated like a countryman too and then finally we have Leviticus 19:33-34 where God commands that strangers be treated well.


33When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong, 34The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as you love yourself; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God

So it seems when I earlier assumed that God allowed Hebrews to treat non-Hebrews like their neighbours treated sojourners and slaves, I was wrong :smile:.



What you are doing is pretending there is a morality there that is clearly lacking, then objecting ("You always seem to get the wrong end of the stick.") when I take the text to mean what it actually says. No, it seems there is a real morality here and this becomes apparent when we look carefully at the text.


Again this sounds like you saying slavery is a good thing.

Have I misunderstood? Can you clarify? You keep clapping out these same lines. We are all slaves to something but happily slavery to God results in adoption as sons (Romans 8:15)



Are you sure this is what routinely happened to gentile slaves? Chrawnus made the point that no master would risk hitting a slave in the eye in case the slave lost the eye and had to be set free. The same applies here. Not many owners will circumcise his slave if the result is he has to be freed in the Jubilee year. Unless you have something more than wishful thinking to support it?It seems if they were bought then they were circumcised.


Are you saying is a moral way to do that?

How do you deal with those who were slaves because their parents were? I already dealt with that. They were circumcised as part of the household.


That is the one:

Lev 25:44 "‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.

It seems it does not matter whether the slave was a prisoner of war, a debtor, a criminal or the son or daughter of another slave.
Again this sounds like you saying slavery is a good thing.

Have I misunderstood? Can you clarify?
I am not sure I understand your question here. Did you even look at JP's slavery series (look in Tektonics section)as it covers the different senarios and we are just rehashing stuff here.

Chrawnus
03-24-2015, 10:59 AM
Right, this will probably be my last post in this thread, unless I change my mind, in which case ignore this disclaimer. :tongue:



I may be losing the point here, but are you arguing that keeping gentile slaves was moral because the slaves had no home in their own nation?

Moral? I'm arguing that the slave would have had little reason to want to be set free if it meant that he would have had to fend for himself in a foreign nation and no option of returning to his homeland.



Good point. However:

http://biblehub.com/topical/s/sojourner.htm
This word with its kindred verb is applied with slightly varying meanings to anyone who resides in a country or a town of which he is not a full native land-owning citizen; e.g., the word is used of the patriarchs in Palestine, the Israelites in Egypt, the Levites dwelling among the Israelites (Deuteronomy 18:6 Judges 17:7, etc.), the Ephraimite in Gibeah (Judges 19:16). It is also particularly used of free aliens residing among the Israelites, and it is with the position of such that this article deals. This position is absolutely unparalleled in early legal systems (A. H. Post, Grundriss der ethnologischen Jurisprudenz, I, 448, note 3), which are usually far from favorable to strangers.

This word with its kindred verb is applied with slightly varying meanings to anyone who resides in a country or a town of which he is not a full native land-owning citizen; e.g., the word is used of the patriarchs in Palestine, the Israelites in Egypt, the Levites dwelling among the Israelites (Deuteronomy 18:6 Judges 17:7, etc.), the Ephraimite in Gibeah (Judges 19:16). It is also particularly used of free aliens residing among the Israelites, and it is with the position of such that this article deals. This position is absolutely unparalleled in early legal systems (A. H. Post, Grundriss der ethnologischen Jurisprudenz, I, 448, note 3), which are usually far from favorable to strangers.

In other words, the article does not pretend to be covering the meaning of the Hebrew word exhaustively. :shrug:



Unusual - but very reasonable - position to take.

Of course it is. God is good. He is not however, moral, as morality has more to do with obligations (i.e what one should do). But since God is not under any authority there are no obligations that he is compelled to fulfill.



Then let me ask: Do you think Noah was morally right to have slaves? If so (and he is described as righteous), then why was it morally right?

Why it was morally right? You have been reading my posts in this thread right? I'm not sure why I would need to repeat myself when everything that you need to know to infer my position about whether or not Noah was right in having slaves (if he did have slaves). :shrug:



They were free to run away anytime they wanted, according to your interpretation, and to get a place to live wherever they want too. Why would any slave not run away at once?

My previous interpretation was probably too far-reaching, I'll give you that. But it's not hard to explain why a slave would not automatically have wanted to run away from a master that was not mistreating him, namely the fact that he was provided food and shelter and a degree of protection that he would not gotten if he had run away and been forced to survive on his own.



The slave had that option if he could not be bothered to work in the field one day - if your interpretation of Deut 23:15-16 is correct.

My previous interpretation of Deut 23 was probably not correct, but my point about the slave having the option of running away if the master mistreated him still stands on my new modified understanding of what the text is saying.



Bingo. You spotted the flaw in your argument.

No one needs slaves. That is as true of the plantation owners as it is of Noah or any other Jew in the ANE. They can just as well employ free people to do in exchange for paying them wages. Somehow your faith has blinkered you so you can spot that for the plantation owners, but not for Noah.

First of all, why would any free people waste their time building an ark when they're not even convinced that a flood is coming in the first place? True, they're getting paid for it, but I would think they'd rather work on something that they would find more productive and beneficial to the future survival of the community (in their opinion of course) rather than help a lunatic on his misguided quest. And if they did decide to help him build the ark there's nothing that says that Noah wouldn't also have employed his servants in this endeavor.

But to address your more general point. The situation with the plantation owners and the people living in the ANE wasn't nearly as similar as you seem to want to argue. True, the conditions in 17 century America and onwards were not as good as they are in modern times, but I would argue that they were far worse in the ANE, where conditions were such that only employing hired workers would have been much less feasible than employing a combination of hired workers and slaves.

The Pixie
03-25-2015, 01:35 AM
Right, so the Bible explicitly says that what is being sold between the two humans is a certain number of years of produce (Lev 25:16), but instead of what the text itself says, you're going to insist that we should insist that we should look at historical examples that have no bearing on the text in question what so ever. :huh:
Your argument appears to be founded on the premise that if God is the owner of the land, then no one else can own it. However, this premise is flawed, because we know of other systems, such as feudalism, where land would have more than one owner.

Thus, while God was considered the owner of the land, that does not necessarily preclude individuals, families or tribes also owning the land. Now if you can provide further evidence that no individuals, families or tribes actually owned the land, you might have an argument.

Now you have offered Lev 25:16

16 If the years are many you shall increase the price, and if the years are few you shall diminish the price, for it is the number of the crops that he is selling to you.

But this is talking about the tenant, not the owner of the property. The own of the property gets the land back at the Jubiliee because the land belongs to him. Look at these verses from the same chapter:

10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family.

24 And in all the country you possess, you shall grant a redemption of the land.
25 “If your brother becomes poor, and sells part of his property, then his next of kin shall come and redeem what his brother has sold.
...
27 let him reckon the years since he sold it and pay back the overpayment to the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return to his property. 28 But if he has not sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he sold shall remain in the hand of him who bought it until the year of jubilee; in the jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his property.

32 Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time.

In all these cases the word "property" is used with regards to the original owner. We have the original owner, who has the land as his property. Then we have the tenant, who buys the usage of the land for a number of years, as Lev 25:16 makes clear. At the Jubilee, the tenancy ends, and the original owner returns to his property.



So he can pick any house in the city and just go and live there? Are you sure that that is what happened?
Of course not, are you being intentionally obtuse?
Yes I am, to highlight how stupid your interpretation is.

I note that you cannot explain what the text actually means.

Paul only broke the law if he sent Onesimus back to Philemon against Onesimus' will, but why should we assume that? For instance Paul exhorts Philemon to consider Onesimus not as a slave anymore, but as a fellow brother in Christ, and also to accept Onesimus as he would have accepted Paul himself.
I also was going to piint out that Paul exhorts Philemon to consider Onesimus not as a slave anymore. This indicates that not being a slave was considered preferable to being a slave (like that was in doubt). Given a choice of being a free man or being a slave, you think maybe Onesimus was choosing slave?

I guess you have to stretch you are imagine a lot when you are a Christian.

If Paul was following the Mosaic Law as you interpret it, he would find Onesimus a place to live. Instead, he chose to send Onesimus back to his master. To Paul's credit, he tried to persuade Philemon to free Onesimus, but that does not alter the plain fact that he freely broke Mosaic Law - your interpretation of it anyway.

Uh, you do realize that these slaves had run away to a Philistine city, that wasn't subject to Mosaic law? Also, Shimei isn't exactly portrayed in the most favourable light in the OT, so I'm not sure why you're bringing him up, when the Bible itself sets him as an example of a wicked man. :huh:
So your interpretation is that the Hebrews would shelter slaves who ran away from a Hebrew master to a Hebrew city, but if they ran to a foreign city, then the owner was free to drag them back?

Why did the slaves run away to a Philistine city? If they had just gone to another house in the same city, they would be free, right? And given a home to live in. Instead, they travelled all the way to Philistine. Why would they do that?

Because Mosaic Law only covered slaves escaping from foreign nations.

First of all, anywhere in the city is probably not what the text is saying, I'll admit that (even though you took that to mean something I never intended, but let's ignore that for now), but rather that the slave should be allowed to live in whatever city he chooses.
So what does it mean?

I do not agree with the pulpit commentary that this makes it "evident" that it is speaking of a foreign slave however.
Of course not. You will cling to this idea that a slave could at any time walk out of his owners property on to the next door farm, and declare himself a runaway, and then claim his new property. Despite the clear fact that Paul did not believe that to be the case, and that Shimei's slaves did not believe it.

What I do admit however, is that this law probably didn't give any slave permission to run away from their masters without any reason whatsoever however, but rather that it gave permission to run away if they we're being mistreated. Given that the Mosaic Law would have been didactic it's not at all unplausible that any competent judge who would have come across a case where a thief had been caught and forced into servitude and subsequently run away would have weighed the two relevant laws and would have made his judgement after considering them both. For example, if the thief had run away even though the master had not mistreated him it could be imagined that the judge would have ordered him to be returned to his master, while if he had run away after being subject to especially cruel treatment (let's imagine that he had his eyes poked out, for example), I don't find it implausible at all that the judge would rule in favor of the thief/slave, perhaps on the basis that the slave's sufferings outweighed the monetary loss that the thief's victim had suffered.
If you can find anything besides wishful thinking to support this I will address it.

Uh, I'm not saying that the word harshly or ruthlessly has that meaning, and that meaning only, but rather that in this instance it probably refers to that. This makes more sense than to assume that it is speaking about their treatment, given that the text itself nowhere mentions anything about the treatment of slaves, while it does speak of the purchase of slaves, and the duration which you're allowed to keep them in servitude.
Again just wishful thinking.

We know elsewhere the Bible allowed slaves to be treated ruthlessly, as long as there was no permanent injury.

Or, you know, one could consult more scholarly resources than religioustolerance.org, or more up-to-date resources than ISBE. Not that I'm arguing that ISBE is pure hogwash, but I'm not about to take it as my highest authority on what the bible says. :shrug:
I will wait and see what sources you provide. So far religioustolerance.org and ISBE trumps your offerings.

The Pixie
03-25-2015, 02:01 AM
Moral? I'm arguing that the slave would have had little reason to want to be set free if it meant that he would have had to fend for himself in a foreign nation and no option of returning to his homeland.
Yes, moral. Are you arguing that it was moral for the reason outlined above?

If a black slave was freed from plantations, he would have to fend for himself in foreign nation and no option of returning to his homeland. Was it better to keep him a slave therefore, do you think?

In other words, the article does not pretend to be covering the meaning of the Hebrew word exhaustively. :shrug:
Therefore you get to pick the meaning that suits your argument best? I do not think so.

The law said sojourners had to be well treated, but it also said only Hebrew slaves were not to be treated ruthlessly and slaves could be beaten with a rod as long as there was no permanent injury. The best way to make that coherent is to take sojourners to mean free people not slaves.


Then let me ask: Do you think Noah was morally right to have slaves? If so (and he is described as righteous), then why was it morally right?
Why it was morally right? You have been reading my posts in this thread right? I'm not sure why I would need to repeat myself when everything that you need to know to infer my position about whether or not Noah was right in having slaves (if he did have slaves). :shrug:
So you cannot give a straight answer and want me to guess. I suppose that gives you the chance to accuse me of a straw man.

Well I am going to guess you think Noah was morally wrong to keep slaves. Which means the Bible has a contradiction; Noah did morally bad things and yet was still considered righteous and was indeed considered so good that God saved his family alone from the Flood.

My previous interpretation was probably too far-reaching, I'll give you that. But it's not hard to explain why a slave would not automatically have wanted to run away from a master that was not mistreating him, namely the fact that he was provided food and shelter and a degree of protection that he would not gotten if he had run away and been forced to survive on his own.
What protection does the slave get that he would not get as a free man? Remember, not only does he get his pick of places to live, the law said foreigners were to be well-treated.

My previous interpretation of Deut 23 was probably not correct, but my point about the slave having the option of running away if the master mistreated him still stands on my new modified understanding of what the text is saying.
Sure. If his master makes him get up early, he can walk next door, declare himself a runaway and take his pick of properties in the city. If your interpretation is right.

I wonder how the slave economy could work at all. Why would anyone spend their hard-earned cash on a new slave if he could just walk away the very next day?

First of all, why would any free people waste their time building an ark when they're not even convinced that a flood is coming in the first place? True, they're getting paid for it, but I would think they'd rather work on something that they would find more productive and beneficial to the future survival of the community (in their opinion of course) rather than help a lunatic on his misguided quest.
Plenty of people do work that they think is a waste of time, but they do it because they are paid to, and they need the money. I see no reason to suppose it was any different in Noah's time.



And they certainly did not needed slaves to pick the cotton, they could just as well have employed free person to do it for them, in exchange for paying them wages.
No one needs slaves. That is as true of the plantation owners as it is of Noah or any other Jew in the ANE. They can just as well employ free people to do in exchange for paying them wages. Somehow your faith has blinkered you so you can spot that for the plantation owners, but not for Noah.
And if they did decide to help him build the ark there's nothing that says that Noah wouldn't also have employed his servants in this endeavor.
There are those blinkers again. You get that it was wrong for the plantation owners to use slave labour rather than pay a wage to free people, but you just cannot seem to understand that Noah could have done the same.

But to address your more general point. The situation with the plantation owners and the people living in the ANE wasn't nearly as similar as you seem to want to argue. True, the conditions in 17 century America and onwards were not as good as they are in modern times, but I would argue that they were far worse in the ANE, where conditions were such that only employing hired workers would have been much less feasible than employing a combination of hired workers and slaves.
Why? Merely asserting it does not make it so.

Explain why a man with a dozen slaves worked better in the ANE than a man with a dozen employees. And by better, I mean better for all thirteen, unless your position is that the slaves are insignificant, and so it is morally right to ignore their situation.

The Pixie
03-25-2015, 02:24 AM
When I said God seemed to allow them to treat the non-Hebrews like the surrounding nations it doesn't mean He wanted them to do that just that He gives them a measure of free will to decide how they should - obviously using His treatment of them as an example.
If God wanted them to behave a certain why, he put it in the law. He was quite clear about them not wearing garments made of two types of thread or eating shellfish. He was quite clear that the Hebrews could treat their gentile slaves just as the nations around them did - ruthlessly and as property.
Bought slaves were to be circumcised. I have had a look to see if they had a choice but I can only find that they were to be included under the household so it seems that would imply they were to be treated well and didn't have a choice in the matter since they became part of the Egypt story. Also in Exodus 12:48, (discussing the ordinance of the Passover) strangers or sojourners could be included if they wanted to. So later when Israel had come out of Egypt and had their own land, it is not a great leap to assume some sojourners could, and would, still opt to become part of the circumcision too, just like in the original Egypt saga. So it seems that anyone who was not a bought slave still had the option of being treated like a countryman too and then finally we have Leviticus 19:33-34 where God commands that strangers be treated well.
I am not sure I am following this. The Mosaic Law seems to have allowed the hebrews to treat gentile slaves just as the gentiles in the surrounding nations treated their slaves. So far we seem to agree. Your position appears to be that although the Law said that, God wanted his people to behave differently, to treat the gentile slaves well, and my response to that was that if God wanted them to behave like that, he would have said so in the Law.

I have no idea how this addresses that at all.


No, it seems there is a real morality here and this becomes apparent when we look carefully at the text.
Asserting it does not make it so. Quote the text and explain how the morality is apparent.


Again this sounds like you saying slavery is a good thing.
Have I misunderstood? Can you clarify?
You keep clapping out these same lines. We are all slaves to something but happily slavery to God results in adoption as sons (Romans 8:15)
So again I have to ask if you think slavery is a good thing because once again your reply is ambiguous.


Are you sure this is what routinely happened to gentile slaves? Chrawnus made the point that no master would risk hitting a slave in the eye in case the slave lost the eye and had to be set free. The same applies here. Not many owners will circumcise his slave if the result is he has to be freed in the Jubilee year. Unless you have something more than wishful thinking to support it?
It seems if they were bought then they were circumcised.
So it seems you do not have anything to support it.




The question then is where did their neighbours get slaves? Are you sure that their neighbours never captured innocent people, turned them into slaves and then sold them to the Hebrews? Can you find anything in the Bible that prohibits such a thing?
Which verses are you referring to because although Lev 25:44 refers to slaves from pagan nations there is no indication of how they were acquired in this verse - these could have been slaves as the result of wars. In anycase a bought slave can be circumcised (Ex 12:44)
That is the one:
Lev 25:44 "‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
It seems it does not matter whether the slave was a prisoner of war, a debtor, a criminal or the son or daughter of another slave.


Who knows how the neighbours got their slaves but if they got a better life by being bought by Hebrews then I wouldn't complain
Again this sounds like you saying slavery is a good thing.
Have I misunderstood? Can you clarify?
I am not sure I understand your question here.
There are two questions.

The first is about how gentile slaves became slaves. I know of nothing in the Bible that differentiates between gentile slaves who were criminals, prisoner of wars, the children of other slaves or innocent people captured by slavers.

The second is about whether you think slavery was good, given you think you would not complain if you were owned by a Hebrew who was allowed to beat you with a rod.

Did you even look at JP's slavery series (look in Tektonics section)as it covers the different senarios and we are just rehashing stuff here.
I tried doing a search on Tektonics for "slavery" and found dozens of pages that mention it, but none that properly address it (and I am sure I have seen at least one in the past). If you have a link to a page, I will take a look.

Abigail
03-25-2015, 07:18 AM
The Mosaic Law seems to have allowed the hebrews to treat gentile slaves just as the gentiles in the surrounding nations treated their slaves. So far we seem to agree.

As per my last post we do not agree:


So it seems when I earlier assumed that God allowed Hebrews to treat non-Hebrews like their neighbours treated sojourners and slaves, I was wrong

I am starting to think your only motive for being here is to further your own agenda - whatever that may be.

Christianbookworm
03-25-2015, 07:24 AM
As per my last post we do not agree:



I am starting to think your only motive for being here is to further your own agenda - whatever that may be.
Of course! Fundy atheists love to propagate their depressing pointless worldview that won't matter in 5 billion years. Or 800 million years either.

The Pixie
03-26-2015, 01:28 AM
As per my last post we do not agree:

I am starting to think your only motive for being here is to further your own agenda - whatever that may be.
You have changed your position part way through our discussion, and I am struggling to establish what your new position is.

I still am not sure if you think slavery was a good thing in the ANE or not. My best guess is that you do not either, and so you are unwilling to commit either way (and this "your only motive for being here is to further your own agenda" looks like an excuse to drop out of the discussion rather than clarify your position here.

Back in post #112 you said:

"And just for the record. Black slavery in America (and elsewhere) was wrong because innocent people were treated badly and as less than equals and used as workhorses and the law of the heart should have told people that."

Why can you not say that slavery in the ANE was wrong too? It is okay, that is a rhetorical question. The reason you cannot is that the Bible condones slavery in the ANE, and so you are obliged to support something that everyone else considers to be morally wrong. You have the same moral blinkers as Chrawnus, who could see that the American plantation owners could just as easily employ free people to do the work as using slave labour, but was unable to see that that also applied to the ancient Hebrews.

You and Chrawnus (and I am sure you are not alone - you two are at least willing to discuss the issue; compare to Cbw who can only cheer from the sidelines!) have been trained to think that black slavery in American plantation was wrong but that slavery in the ANE was right because it is in the Bible, and unfortunately you seem unable to think outside that training. And so you rail against me for not understanding your position, when the sad fact is that your position is fundamentally incoherent.

You know slavery is wrong, but at the same time you need to justify slavery:

"You keep clapping out these same lines. We are all slaves to something but happily slavery to God results in adoption as sons (Romans 8:15) "

"Who knows how the neighbours got their slaves but if they got a better life by being bought by Hebrews then I wouldn't complain"

shunyadragon
03-26-2015, 06:07 AM
:whack: :bthump: :poke: NOT ON A WHIM! Idiot.

Does not address the issues at hand, whim or not there is no law that prevented them from being beaten to near death. Foreign slavery is treated distinctly differently in the OT then indentured servitude of Hebrews. Foreign slaves are property and may be bought and sold.