Difference between revisions of "ABC:Isaiah 58"

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Latest revision as of 17:19, 31 October 2019

Verse 6: Is Slavery Okay? (FFRF)[edit]

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

Should We Own Slaves?

Leviticus 25:45-46 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

Genesis 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

Exodus 21:2 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

Joel 3:8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Luke 12:47-48 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

vs.

Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Matthew 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

Pro-slavery bible verses were cited by many churches in the South during the Civil War and were used by some theologians in the Dutch Reformed Church to justify apartheid in South Africa. There are more pro-slavery verses than cited here.

See Slavery. The Old Testament Law required that those who enslaved and sold others were to be put to death. (Exodus 21:16) The Bible also commanded that escaped slaves be sheltered from their masters. (Deuteronomy 23:15-16) Slaves injured in the most minor ways, such as loss of a tooth, were to be freed. (Exodus 21:26-27) In the case of Leviticus 25:46-47, this was part of a system to free slaves from the Middle East, because slaves purchased from other nations were freed along with all they owned twice each century, at regular 50-year-intervals known as Jubilees. (Leviticus 25:8-10)

As such, ancient Israel was unique among the ancient world in designing a system that made it profitable for Israelites to perpetually purchase and then free slaves, so that slaves would constantly be freed from the surrounding slave-capturing nations. Rather than perpetuating slavery like the nations around it, it served as a beacon of abolition in the ancient world, with a system designed to continually free slaves. Hebrew slaves could be purchased from other nations, but not enslaved, and after six years would go out free, per (Exodus 21:2). Furthermore, they were not to be treated as slaves but employees. (Leviticus 25:39-43) They could be freed every seven years, and be released from all debts along with their families and belongings at the 50-year Jubilees. If reading Exodus 21:7 in context it is apparent that betrothal, not slavery is being referred to. Verses 8 and 9 specifically mention betrothal. Indeed, the passage describes protection for betrothed wives, to ensure they could not be exchanged to others, had to be treated as daughters, and would be allowed to leave if not treated honorably. (vv. 8-11)

Israel disobeyed God by sacrificing their own children alive to idols (see Destruction of the Canaanites) and oppressing the poor including orphans, widows, and immigrants by stealing their homes and impoverishing them. (Ezekiel 22:7, Malachi 3:5, Isaiah 3:14) As such, God punished the wicked nation by sending them into captivity in Babylon and other nations. (Joel 3:8) In spite of this, He delivered Israel each time. It was because Israel was persecuting the poor and children, rather than letting the oppressed go free and break every yoke as commanded in Isaiah 58:6, that God subjected Israel to captivity. God had warned Israel that if they oppressed widows and orphans, He would destroy them and make their own wives widows and their children orphans. (Exodus 22:23-24)

Since the New Testament, opposition to slavery has been motivated by the Bible's teachings in Philemon and elsewhere, that Christians should treat one another as a family; and slaves should be freed. In the early United States, Quakers from William Penn's Province of Pennsylvania were the primary force opposing slavery. Roger Williams' Colony of Rhode Island, run by the Baptists, established the first anti-slavery organization in the U.S.[2] The radically Christian Quakers would prove the primary opponents of slavery throughout early America, figuring prominently in William Penn's Province of Pennsylvania, along with Roger Williams' Rhode Islanders. Christian churches played a prominent role in the Underground Railroad, just as they would do so a century later during the 1950s-60s civil rights movement. The Quakers were the earliest to assist escaped slaves in gaining freedom, with George Washington complaining they had attempted to liberate one of his slaves, but numerous other denominations were involved in the Underground Railroad as well.[3] Harriet Beecher Stowe's Christian beliefs led her to write Uncle Tom's Cabin, which was a primary source of anti-slavery sentiment leading up to the Civil War.[4]

Sources[edit]

  1. Barker, D. (2019). "Bible Contradictions." FFRF.
  2. History Channel (2019, February 13). "This Day in History, February 5, 1631: Roger Williams Arrives in America." A&E Television Networks.
  3. "Underground Railroad." History Channel.
  4. History.com Editors (2019, February 7). "Harriet Beecher Stowe." History Channel.