Slavery in the Bible

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Slavery in the Bible The first mention of slavery in the Bible is found in Noah's declaration, "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers" (Gen. 9:25). He said this after waking up from a naked, drunken stupor and learning that his son Ham had mocked him. Although Ham was the guilty party, Noah's statement was directed at Ham's youngest son Canaan. If he was involved with his father in this act of disrespect, the statement can be taken as the pronouncement of a curse, "Cursed be Canaan." It is possible, however, that Canaan did not join his father in making fun of Noah. If so, the statement would be in the form of a prophecy: "Cursed will be Canaan." Exodus 20:5 and Ezekiel 18:4 clearly declare that God punishes the children for the sins of their parents only when they choose to continue the wicked ways of their parents. So this is the preferred translation if Canaan was not personally involved. In either case, God gave Noah a prophetic knowledge of the future. The Canaanites developed an advanced society but became involved in despicable moral and spiritual practices, including ritual prostitution, sexual orgies, and child sacrifice. That is why God warned the Israelites against any association with Canaan's citizens (Lev. 18:24-30). Because He knew that the danger of spiritual contamination for His people was so great, He commanded the execution of all the Canaanites who resisted their advance and the complete destruction of every trace of their religion (Dt. 7:1-6). It was the failure of the Israelites to follow God's directions that brought about the fulfillment of Noah's prophecy. Their negligence to consult God led to their being tricked into making slaves of the Gibeonites instead of driving them ... ... middle of paper ... ...gulations that would give children the rights they possess today. For example, consider the story of Rebekah and Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham's servant told Rebekah's father and brother his desire to take her to be Isaac's wife. Notice that they asked her if she were willing to go before they sent her to her new home (vv.57-58). Few parents would run roughshod over the wishes of their daughters. And for those who might do so, God provided laws to protect girls from being exploited. The non-Hebrew slaves, though not eligible for release like the Hebrew slaves, did receive considerable protection from inhumane treatment. The law said, "If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished" (Ex. 21:20). As we can see throughout the bible slavery is an important issue and no matter where we turn we will always see it.
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