Anti-swearing law

A. Maberry maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Wed Feb 23 21:19:00 UTC 2000

On Wed, 23 Feb 2000, James Smith wrote:
> I don't know whether or not the Israelites had slaves
> in the sense we usually picture them.  Bond-servants
> were not slaves, but were bound or indentured, for
> example as a result of debt, or had voluntarily bound
> themselves to a master for life. They were not chattel
> that could be bought and sold. The Pentateuch contains
> rules and laws defining certain rights and obligations
> of both the bond-servant and the master.

I believe that the Israelites had several classes of slaves. There is a
good article on "Slavery" in the Encyclopaedia Judaica. Basically they
belong to several classes of slave:
Hebrew slaves--(only evslaved voluntarily or by court order) serve for 6
years and are freed on the 7th (cf. Ex.21:2-6)
Alien slaves--(cf. Lev. 25:44-45) serve in perpetuity
Paupers--(cf. Lev.25:39, Prov.22:7) serve until first Jubilee year
Criminals--(cf. Ex.22:2)
Prisoners of war--(cf. Nu.31:26-7; Deut. 20:10-11)
Female slaves--(cf. Ex.21:7; 7-11)

Some classes of slaves certainly had more rights than others, and none
were supposed to be ill-treated. Although I doubt that alien slaves or
prisoners of war enjoyed a substantially better fate than any other slave
in the ancient Near East. As one would expect the Talmudic laws regarding
slavery are more detailed and complex.

Not exactly American Dialects but interesting none the less.

maberry at

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