The issue of slavery has been in existence from creation. Well, Christians believe God created the heavens and the earth and hence, has accepted and followed the Bible. The bible is in addition considered as the oldest book in the history of man. While the Christianity is the largest religion with the majority members in the world, the Bible or God sound silent on the issue.
This has raised many questions whether God agrees to slavery or not. In this post of ajonafrica.com, we are discussing why slavery is not condemned in the bible by God or Jesus Christ.
The Bible standpoint on slavery
In the olden days, in the ancient times, God allowed his people to own slave. When we look at [Genesis 14:14, 15] It is recorded that Abram had slaves. Also, when we look at [Philimon 15, 16] we can see that even in the days of the Apostles, some Christians were owning slaves. Does this mean that God/Bible support slavery?
What does the Bible talks on slavery?
There are specific instructions given in the law of Moses or The Ten Commandment on how man should relate with one another. For instance, in [Exodus 21, 16] we can see that, kidnapping man and selling him was punishable by death.
However, if despite all the provisions made to prevent poverty, an Israelite found himself deeply in debt, perhaps as a result of poor management, he could sell himself as a slave. In some cases he might even be able to earn a surplus by which he could redeem himself.— [Leviticus 25:47 – 52].
● This was not the oppressive kind of slavery that has been common in many lands through the ages. [Leviticus 25:39, 40] says: “In case your brother grows poor alongside you and he has to sell himself to you, you must not use him as a worker in slavish service. He should prove to be with you like a hired laborer, like a settler.” So this was a loving provision to care for Israel’s poorest.
● A person found guilty of stealing who was unable to make full restitution according to the Law could be sold as a slave and in this way pay off his debt. [Exodus 22:3] When he had worked off the debt, he could go free.
● Cruel and abusive slavery was not allowed under God’s Law to Israel. While masters were allowed to discipline their slaves, excesses were forbidden. A slave killed by his master was to be avenged. [Exodus 21:20] If the slave was maimed, losing a tooth or an eye, he was set free.— [Exodus 21:26, 27].
● The maximum time that any Israelite would have to serve as a slave was six years. [Exodus 21:2] Hebrew slaves were set free in the seventh year of their service. The Law demanded that every 50 years all Israelite slaves were to be set free nationwide, regardless of how long the individual had been a slave.— [Leviticus 25:40, 41].
● When a slave was released, the master was required to be generous toward him. [Deuteronomy 15:13, 14] says: “In case you should send him out from you as one set free, you must not send him out empty-handed. You should surely equip him with something from your flock and your threshing floor and your oil and winepress.”
Later, in the days of Jesus and his apostles, slavery was an entrenched practice in the Roman Empire. As Christianity spread, it was inevitable that individuals who were slaves and others who were slave owners would come in contact with the good news and become Christians. Neither Jesus Christ himself nor his apostles preached a gospel of social liberation, as if trying to reform the existing system. Rather, both slaves and slave owners were admonished to love one another as spiritual brothers.— [Colossians 4:1;] [1 Timothy 6:2].
Why then was slavery introduce in Africa by Europeans;
Despite these detailed instructions and directions in the Bible by God, the people who introduced Christianity to Africans brought about commercial slavery on the people of Africa. This this post Transatlantic slave trade, the woes of Africa we can see that Europeans participation in slavery was so intense that came with barbaric move towards Africans.