Some of the common responses to these include some kind of weird equivocating… like saying, "Well the slavery at the time was different than later slavery." Or "the slaves were let free every 7 years, so it wasn't for life or anything…"

Well, according the the Bible, that every 7 years thing is the rule for Hebrew slaves, not other people. And if you think that others do get to go free, you'll have to contend with the verses below which state that they will be your slaves for forever.

Exodus 21:2-3
When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt.

Exodus 21:4
If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s and he shall go out alone.

Yay, the merry life of a slave! If you're given a wife while a slave, and have children — the slave owner owns your wife and children. You have to leave them once you're let free.

Actually, that's not entirely true. There is a way for you to stay with your wife and children. Agree to be a slave to the master for life. What's the problem with that?

Exodus 21:5-6
But if the slave declares, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person’, then his master shall bring him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.

Let's look at a few other verses:

Old Testament Verses

Exodus 21:20-21
If a man smite his servant or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall be surely punished; notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money.

Leviticus 19:20
And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.

Leviticus 25:44-46
Thy bond-men and thy bond-maids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bond-men and bond-maids. 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 bond-man forever.

Deuteronomy 20:10-11
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

Oh wait that was all Old Testament stuff… right? Didn't forget!

New Testament

Ephesians 6:5
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.

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.

1 Timothy 6:1
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:9-10
Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

1 Peter 2:18-20
Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval.

1 Peter 2:13
For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution…

Next time someone says they get their morality from the Bible — ask if they oppose slavery. If they don't, I think the conversation's probably over at that point. If they do, ask them why they think that God never got around to telling people that it was bad?

The last possible refuge for the Christian is to say, 'you expect God to tell what is right and wrong in every situation, are you kidding?' To which the proper response is: If God's going to mention slavery more than 10 times in His book, yet never mention a word against it. He addressed the issue, His thoughts are recorded on the institution of slavery.

By the way, if you really really want to argue that slavery was different back in the day, the last verse I quoted, 1 Peter 2:13 says to accept the authority of every human institution. So if slavery is different later than Biblical times, it's a human institution, the authority of which you should accept.

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