View on Slavery
I've read Deuteronomy many times and just now noticed this verse. One objection to the Bible is that it approves of slavery. The skeptics say that God (in the OT) or the Apostle Paul (in the NT) could have forbid slavery in the clearest terms but did not. They use this to show how "immoral" the teachings of the Bible are. This is a skewed view based not on the Biblical view of slavery but on how slaves are frequently treated by those without a clear understanding of Scripture.
Deuteronomy 23:15-16 and 1 Cor 7:21-23 show that the preferred status of people was freedom. However slavery was tolerated in the Bible. Why? Honestly I don't completely understand this but what is clear is that being a slave is of no consequence to God. His foremost concern is our spiritual well-being, regardless of our freedom.
What else is clear is that the Bible reminds us that slaves are also made in God's image. Not only does the Bible command the owners to remember this, God placed limitations on how owners could treat their slaves. For example, if a slave was permanently injured by the owner, the slave must be set free as compensation for the injury.
Slavery back then wasn't always in the form that we in America think of slavery. Many people sold themselves into slavery for financial gain or to pay off a debt. Since these people willingly subjected themselves to slavery, God set in place laws to treat slaves with dignity and respect.
Finally, God has a different view of slavery. First, every one of us are already slaves in TWO ways. The first is our bondage to sin. We serve our sinful nature and are thus slaves to it. The other view is that everything belongs to God, including us. We are all His property by the fact that He created us. His followers are frequently called "servants." And as Creator, He has the right to do what He pleases with us, to bless us or to curse us or even to end our lives.
I think this goes a long way in explaining why the Bible doesn't outright forbid slavery. Because we are all slaves anyway. If we belong to Christ, we are his bond-servants. If we don't, we are slaves to sin.
Created 12 months ago