The Principles of Slavery

The sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. When Abe was twenty-one the Lincoln family moved to Illinois. Admitted to the state bar in 1837, he was a member of the House of Representatives from 1846 to 1849. … More

Slavery

Moses teaches Israel the principles of the Hebrew bond-slave and the conditions for setting him free (vv. 12-18). The Lord had previously made it clear that six full years of a person’s life were enough to have to work as a slave for defaulting on a loan (Exodus 21:2). At the end of that time the employer must let the slave go free, but he must also furnish him liberally (v.v. 12-14). After six years the servant would have little or nothing, so to send him away empty-handed would jeopardize his freedom all over again. This humanitarian act recognized that God created each person with dignity and worth. It also reminded the Israelites that they had once been slaves in Egypt and their present state was a gift from God.

Moses also made provision for a servant who became attached to his master and did not want to leave him (vv. 15-18). The master was to pierce the servant’s earlobe with an awl to indicate he was a willing servant for life. A spiritual message for us is that we should want to serve the Lord willingly and gladly all our life. We are to love Him and never want to go free. What we need is an open ear to hear God’s will (Ps. 40:6-8); and a pierced ear that tells the world we are ready to obey His every command. In the final section of this chapter Moses reminds Israel that the first-born of the flock was to be sacrificed to the Lord in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt (vv. 19-23). Israel was to offer the first-born every year, thus their obedience became the basis for the future blessing of God. 

Application

Through this release of slaves, Israel was reminded that they too had once been slaves in Egypt and were now free. I was once a slave to sin but now I am free because of Christ’s death on the cross.

Deuteronomy 15:12-23 (English Standard Version)


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