Hebrew Laws, Exodus 21
Often discussed is the Bible’s take on slavery. What is often misunderstood is that the Bible speaks of enslaved people with an indentured worker in mind. In essence, the Bible focuses on preserving the worker’s human rights, with less on safeguarding the “employer’s” investment. The focus is on the worker, not the employer.
Remembering the times, there was little structure for employment, and wealth creation was limited to a few industries- farming, carpentry, blacksmith, clothing, and similar skill set. To that effect, there was, in some cases, little direction on the length of apprenticeship, the worth of apprenticeship to both parties, and proper exit strategies. Exodus chapter 21 guided the Hebrews on all these matters, including servitude long enough for families to be born within the said timeline.
We also read (in this chapter 21) about laws associated with personal injury. The focus here is on how to treat one another and the punishments related to the ill-treatment of another. The premise of an eye for an eye was to limit punishment to the measurable loss, no more.
All the laws were guides to the people of Isreal, who came from Egypt, where they had followed Egyptian laws. God was intent on creating a new path for his people and needed to establish these ground rules for relating with one another. The moral here is that, as Christians, there are ground rules we must follow. In our dispensation, Christ came to fulfill the law and to enhance our understanding that wrongdoings are first internal before external. Read Exodus 21 and, additionally, Matthew 5:17-30 when you can.