"Yet I am the LORD your God, ever since the land of Egypt, and you shall know no God but Me; for there is no Saviour besides Me." Hosea 13:4
Text: Exodus 21 : 3-4
THE ISSUE OF SLAVERY
It is most interesting to note that Moses penned the issue of slavery as the first judgment that God gave to him! Was it perhaps that Israel had just come out of slavery that the Lord sought to highlight this subject? In any case, Israel must never be cruel or unjust towards those who served as slaves!
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES I
No other nation had kind and good laws to govern slaves! Who cared about slaves? They were simply seen as chattel! God did not want Israel to learn the ways of wicked nations! His people must have humane laws that are fair to everyone – including the master!
“If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself;
if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him.”
1. “If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself”
That is most fair! The owner of the slave cannot demand more from his slave!
2. “If he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him”
This law displays great kindness to the slave and his wife! The master would have to feed both husband and wife! Yet, when his six years are up, the master cannot retain his slave nor his wife! (No nation had such laws)!
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES II
There were other possible scenarios that must be considered! The following text highlights an intriguing set of circumstances.
“If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him
sons or daughters, the wife and the children shall be her master’s,
and he shall go out by himself.”
This text must be read in conjunction with the one above- “If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself” (Exodus 21:3)! How do we understand this text?
1. This law is made known to the slave ahead of time
The slave cannot complain because this law was made known to him before he allowed himself to be bought as a slave!
2. The slave could always reject the master’s offer of a wife
The slave does not have to be married while serving out his term! If he does want to be married he must be prepared to leave his family behind – under the mutual agreement entered into earlier! (This law is NOT unfair at all)!