'Slaves' in the Bible
God said to Abram, “Know for sure that your descendants will be strangers [living temporarily] in a land (Egypt) that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.
Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and male and female slaves, and gave them to Abraham, and returned Sarah his wife to him [as God commanded].
So Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, and they again gave birth to children,
The men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph’s house; and [expecting the worst] they said, “It is because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time [we came] that we are being brought in, so that he may find a reason to accuse us and assail us, and take us as slaves, and seize our donkeys.”
With whomever of your servants your master’s cup is found, let him die, and the rest of us will be my lord’s slaves.”
So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we reply? Or how can we clear ourselves, since God has exposed the sin and guilt of your servants? Behold, we are my lord’s slaves, the rest of us as well as he with whom the cup is found.”
And as for the people, he relocated them [temporarily] to cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other.
Then his brothers went and fell down before him [in confession]; then they said, “Behold, we are your servants (slaves).”
And all of you shall have for food whatever the [untilled] land produces during its Sabbath year; yourself, and your male and female slaves, your hired servant, and the foreigners who reside among you,
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves; and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk upright [with heads held high as free men].
The leaders said to them, “Let them live [as our slaves].” So they became the cutters and gatherers of firewood and water carriers for the entire congregation, just as the leaders had said of them.
Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall always be slaves, both cutters and gatherers of firewood and water carriers for the house of my God.”
But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites live among Ephraim to this day, and they became forced laborers.
He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves shall be his servants.
their children who were left after them in the land, whom the Israelites were unable to completely destroy, from them Solomon levied (conscripted) forced laborers, even to this day (the date of this writing).
But Solomon did not make slaves of the sons of Israel; for they were men of war (soldiers), his servants, his officers, his captains, his chariot commanders, and his horsemen.
Now one of the wives of a man of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha [for help], saying “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant [reverently] feared the Lord; but the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves [in payment for a loan].”
But Solomon did not make slaves of the Israelites for his work; they were men of war, his chief captains, and commanders of his chariots and his horsemen.
And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem as male and female slaves for yourselves. But are you yourselves not guilty of transgressions against the Lord your God?
Now our flesh (skin) is the same as that of our brothers (relatives), and our children are like their children, yet here we are forcing (selling) our sons and our daughters to be slaves; and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are powerless [to redeem them] because our fields and vineyards belong to others.”
“Behold, we are slaves today,And as for the land which You gave our fathers, to eat of its fruit and its goodness,Behold, we are slaves in it.
“Others snatch the fatherless [infants] from the breast [to sell or make them slaves],And against the poor they take a pledge [of clothing].
I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the ground.
‘It shall come about on that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘that I will break the yoke off your neck and I will tear off your bonds and force apart your shackles; and strangers will no longer make slaves of the people [of Israel].
that every man should let his Hebrew slaves, male and female, go free, so that no one should make a slave of a Jew, his brother.
Yet you backed out [of the covenant] and profaned My Name, and each man took back his servants, male and female, whom had been set free in accordance with their desire, and you brought them into servitude [again] to be your male servants and your female servants.”’
Servants rule over us;There is no one to rescue us out of their hand.
Javan (Greece), Tubal and Meshech (Asia Minor) traded with you; with the lives of men [taken as slaves] and vessels of bronze they paid for your merchandise.
Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its produce; and My people will be secure on their land. Then they will know [with confidence] that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have rescued them from the hand of those who made them slaves.
Also, O Judah, there is a harvest [of divine judgment] appointed for you,When I restore the fortunes of My people [who have been slaves to the misery of sin].
I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father.
However, some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (freed Jewish slaves), both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and [the province of] Asia, rose up and questioned and argued with Stephen.
‘And I will judge any nation to whom they will be in bondage,’ said God, ‘and after that they will come out and serve Me [in worship] in this place.’
We know that our old self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.
For sin will no longer be a master over you, since you are not under Law [as slaves], but under [unmerited] grace [as recipients of God’s favor and mercy].
Do you not know that when you continually offer yourselves to someone to do his will, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey, either [slaves] of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness (right standing with God)?
But thank God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness [you had no desire to conform to God’s will].
But now since you have been set free from sin and have become [willing] slaves to God, you have your benefit, resulting in sanctification [being made holy and set apart for God’s purpose], and the outcome [of this] is eternal life.
You were bought with a price [a precious price paid by Christ]; do not become slaves to men [but to Christ].
For by one [Holy] Spirit we were all baptized into one body, [spiritually transformed—united together] whether Jews or Greeks (Gentiles), slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one [Holy] Spirit [since the same Holy Spirit fills each life].
For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves [merely] as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.
For you tolerate it if anyone makes you his slave; or devours you and your possessions; or takes advantage of you; or acts presumptuously; or hits you in the face.
So also we [whether Jews or Gentiles], when we were children (spiritually immature), were kept like slaves under the elementary [man-made religious or philosophical] teachings of the world.
Now, however, since you have come to know [the true] God [through personal experience], or rather to be known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and worthless elemental principles [of religions and philosophies], to which you want to be enslaved all over again?
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with respect for authority, and with a sincere heart [seeking to please them], as [service] to Christ—
not in the way of eye-service [working only when someone is watching you and only] to please men, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart;
Masters, [on your part] deal with your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Older women similarly are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor addicted to much wine, teaching what is right and good,
For we too once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various sinful desires and pleasures, spending and wasting our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
They promise them liberty, when they themselves are the slaves of depravity—for by whatever anyone is defeated and overcome, to that [person, thing, philosophy, or concept] he is continually enslaved.
and cinnamon and spices and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat; of cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and carriages; and of slaves and human lives.