As we interpret the bible in “Modern” times, many questions arise. Why has the world’s highest selling book,”the holy bible”, been used to justify oppression, of a specific group of people? Fear, political, and economic power, are the three main reasons to oppress people. Society uses fear to condemn, what is not understood, by controlling through opression keeping one subordinate. The majority, or the group in power uses scripture to maintain status, and build their retention of power. Humans sometimes use fear as a scapegoat for lack of their acountabilities. The word scapegoat originates from biblical days of atonement. Priests performed a ritual, in which the sins of people were symbolically placed on goats. The goats were then driven into the wilderness, along with the sins, and impurities of the people (Paul J Harpers Bible Dictionary). Its funny to see that people believed a goat running into wilderness, took accountability for their wrong actions, giving them instant forgiveness, with no apology, or correction.
In less than 300 years, in the United States alone, there are four major examples of how scripture has been used to oppress particular social groups. Oppression of African Americans, and Jews, through slavery are seen throughout the bible. Oppression of women, and now LGBTQ(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) have all been supported by scripture in the bible.
There are over 500 translations of the bible. Every translation changes ” the words of god”, as they are mass produced over time. If a person is not smart enough, by reading the “holy bible” , they will follow the “will of god”, and become a slave.
Scripture was used especially by churches in the south’s “Bible Belt”, to support slavery during the time of the Civil War. It was also used to justify Apartheid in South Africa, and killing Jews of the Holocaust. Christians would claim slavery is the “will” and “truth” of “god”. Sad to say but some people still agree, and try to enforce these practices today. Here are some scriptures that regard the emancipation of slaves.
Jewish slaves were to be freed after 6 years, unless born by a female slave. Females sold by their fathers into slavery, would be slaves forever. The cost of freeing a slave was calculated using the number of years to the next “Jubilee Year”, between 1 and 50 years. This left many slaves bound to a life of oppression. .
Exodus 21:1-4 “If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.”
Deuteronomy 15:12-18 “And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: Thou shalt furnish him liberally
out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.”
Here are some laws for killing, and punishment of slaves. This just shows the contradictions of the bible, and how psychotic, and sadistic, the Christian “god” has been created to be. The following scriptures made it ok for masters to harm their slaves, and maids.
Exodus 21:20-21 “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.”
Exodus 21:26-27 “And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”
These laws prohibited harsh ruling over, or enslaving Israelites, but slaves could be taken from the Gentiles.
Leviticus 25:44-46 “Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.”
Here a distinction is made between a hired servant and a slave. The distinction is once the slave is paid for, it is then enslaved again as a hire. This proves there was no way out of being a servant, or enslaved for any human.
Leviticus 25:48-53 “After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him.”
The punishment for sexual activity with a female slave who is engaged, consisted of animal sacrifice in the Temple. There is no comment on sexual activity with one who is not married or engaged.
Leviticus 19:20-22 “And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the Lord for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him.”It is not permitted to return an escaped slave, nor was it permissable to “oppress” him.
Deuteronomy 23:15-16 “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.”
The Book of Numbers makes references to thousands of female captives who were to be given to the priests.This just shows how religion is a scapegoat for numerous contradictions.
Numbers 31:28-47 “And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep: Take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazar the priest, for an heave offering of the Lord. And of the children of Israel’s half, thou shalt take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them unto the Levites, which keep the charge of the tabernacle of the Lord.”
Mark 14:66 “And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest.”
These restrictions on reselling slaves, state a Hebrew slave could not be resold.
Exodus 21:8 “If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.”
The punishment for kidnapping an Israelite, and selling them into slavery, is punishable by death. A debtor who could not pay back creditors may be sold into slavery, or have his children sold.
Exodus 21:16 “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”
Deuteronomy 24:7 “If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.”
II Kings 4:1 “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.”
Slaves could, themselves, own slaves.
Saul’s slave Ziba owned 20 slaves of his own: 2 Samuel 9:10: “…Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.”
Observation of the Sabbath was forced upon slaves too.
Exodus 20:10 “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.”
The New Testament did not forbid, altar, or improve the institution of slavery’s conditions.
1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 3:11 “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
As you read through the “holy bible”, scriptures, contradictions begin to jump out at you. If slaves can be beaten, killed, owned, raped, and abducted, how are they equal to their owners. Where do we see anywhere in scripture for masters to obey their slaves? The bible makes slavery ok in the minds of its believers. It makes life valuable depending on who you are, and not what you are capable of. A “god” can not treat a slave equal to its master, unless a slave can have the same power over its master. However, as we read in the “holy bible” slavery is celebrated, accepted, and tolerated.
Slavery is said in the bible to be ok in the eyes of the Christian god.
If you ask me any god that promotes enslaving any human life is sick, and psychotic, following the words of “the holy bible” have caused mass killings, confusion, hatred, and fear. You would be confused if your master beat you, then said “it’s god’s will to own you, and we are equal in his eyes.” Bible contradictions are missed by many who follow Christianity because the font read the bible in its entirety. If more Christians knew the truth about slavery in the bible, would they still follow?
The Bible, 21st Century King James Version.
The Bible, King James Version.
The Bible, Modern Language Version.
The Bible, New International Version.
The Bible, New Living Translation.
The Bible, Revised Standard Version.
Ellerbe, Helen, The Dark Side of Christian History, Morning Star Books, 1995.
Wood, Forrest, The Arrogance of Faith, Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.