Time or Eternity? ™

Was slavery a divine institution from God to Moses?

In Curse of Canaan on December 23, 2011 at 8:00 am

Question: If God, by Moses, ordains certain statutes as to slavery, what is this but a divine institution, authorizing the holding of human beings in unwilling servitude?

Answer: The answer is simple and conclusive.  Just because God ordains certain laws to slavery does not therefore institute that He approves the enslaving of human beings.

Moses, although an inspired legislator, had a previously fixed social element to deal with.  Slavery existed at the time.   It had been for centuries the system of labor among the Egyptians from whom the Hebrews had just escaped.   The Hebrews would naturally think that they, just setting up for themselves as one of the nations of the earth and having slaves, must continue that system of labor.   Moses, proceeding on the principle of doing the best thing possible under the circumstances, accedes to their demand so far as to lay down certain rules regulating slavery.   Divorce was a custom among the Hebrews.   Moses allowed men to put away their wives.   Did Moses institute and approve of divorce?   The divine law of marriage is that a man can have but one wife at a time, and that only one kind of offence is a sufficient reason for divorce,   And yet Moses allowed men to put away their wives.   Their hearts were so hard that he saw the women would suffer from the cruel treatment of their husbands if he abruptly discontinued divorce.   To disallow divorce is the law of God, and, of course, the best thing conceivable; but, under the circumstances it was not possible or expedient to put the rule in force.  Moses chose the less evil.   At a later day in Jewish history, Samuel assents, under protest, to a change of the form government.   The people demanded to have a king.  It was not best for them, in his judgment, and yet he anoints a king.  The question to the candid, is,  Did Samuel approve of Hebrews having a monarchical government? Certainly not; and yet he anointed their king and gave them a written constitution.   He was directed by God to do it.   Did Moses institute and sanction divorce? Certainly not.   He found it existing.   It existed throughout the East.   It had existed among their forefathers.  They were not prepared to have it annulled; and so Moses allowed certain customs as to divorce, not instituting or approving but regulating these things.   Jesus seems to sanction what Moses did.   The reasoning is precisely parallel as to slavery.   Moses, under authority from God, lays down certain rules as to slavery.   It was the best thing could be done.   Was this instituting or sanctioning slavery?   If it was, then Moses, under authority from God, instituted and sanctioned divorce,— and Samuel, under authority God, authorized and approved the monarchy.

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