NARRATIVES

IN THE GOSPEL OF LIBERATION

Slavery, Masters and Servants in the Bible

No one should have to unclutter the messages of the Bible on such a basic level for people who apparently have no sense of reason or logic, nevertheless, is seems necessary to do just that where it pertains to white Americans and Black folks who refuse to think for themselves and who need deliverance from the modern day slave mentality.

In today's context, when people think of master and slave, they think white man with a whip beating an African against a tree, raping a Black woman at their pleasure, and buying and selling people like livestock. Unfortunately, this was a reality during the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade at the founding of America. But none of these things were done in the Bible even in the most rigorous times of bondage. No where in the Bible does it say that slaves were beaten with whips, murdered by the millions or raped, burned alive or hung from trees.

The white man in America practiced his own cruel form of slavery. One that was never documented in the Bible as being done by any other nation. The Egyptians made the Hebrews serve with vigor and hard bandage but nowhere is it documented that they were beaten, raped, and murdered at the Egyptians pleasure. The Israelites served the Babylonians also, but they served under tribute and customary demands, not as field hands and house slaves.

From the context of the Bible, slavery was a system based on repaying debt, subjecting captured peoples of another land to services or homage, and often punishment for nations that disobeyed God's law in the form of captivity. Nevertheless, God never condoned slavery and He always commanded and warned those in charge that slaves and servants were not to be ruled by vigor or cruelty (Leviticus 25:46).

Terminology is another misunderstanding. Slaves were referred to in the Bible as bondmen and bondmaids or servants, and in the harshest sense people were sold to others or inherited by families as slaves, and were to work off a debt, or as tribute to the heirs of the kingdom. They were bought and sold based on debt, not on profit like American slavery operated, thus people were debtors and tributary, not property.

Individuals were regularly sold to others if they were found owing or too poor and could not take care of themselves or if they were refugees of foreign lands and vagabonds of the earth. Some nations went into captivity to other nations based on debt, a failure to live humanely with others or because they were idolaters. But there were always opportunities for freedom built into the terms of servitude.

God never condoned slavery just like he never condoned murder, rape, thievery, or any other sin He spoke against. These were all things that men did against His commandments. In fact, God promised to judge those who committed these sins and judge the nations that held people in bondage. "And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place" (Acts 7.7).

Furthermore, the relationship between the master and servant in Biblical times (specifically during the New Testament times when Paul spoke of it in 1 Timothy 6:1-3 and 1 Peter 2:18,) can be equated to the employer/employee relationship of today. It was not based on cruelty and murder, but on the service and mentality of working for someone else or acknowledging the authority of social leaders. The terminology of the times then, does not reflect the cruelty of the American slave owner. Only a non-conscious person would equate the two for their own juvenile pleasure.

Only a person (whether white or Black), would think in terms of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the era of American slavery when they read those passages in the Bible. Or maybe they saw a Hollywood movie. This thinking is classic slave mentality. If a white person believes that Blacks are inferior because of misinterpretation of terminology of the scriptures, and likewise, a Black person who thinks the same way, they both have fallen into the bondage of their own false doctrine.

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage" (2 Peter 2:19).



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