About Me

  Patricia Hammell Kashtock

Aka: Pat Kashtock. Mother of three, wife of one. BA in Social Work and Biblical Studies. Graduate work at Virginia Tech interrupted, then derailed by oldest child’s brain tumor...

My life has not followed the course I planned. But I am not complaining. Pain is to be expected in a world broken apart from its Creator.

The miracle resides in the ability to find joy when least expected...

 

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For What It's Worth

Each life is a journey. The voices of many guides try to direct us, saying, “This is the path – walk in it!” Yet each one leads in a different direction.

I believe only one Voice can be true. That Voice will lead us in ways most unexpected, into worlds yet undiscovered. It will lead us up the hill, around the river and through the forest. And sometimes, it will lead without mercy.

Or so it seems.

I have made listening for that Voice and following it, my life’s quest. I will share some of what I have heard that Voice say with you. But I am not in the business of telling people how to think or what to believe. Each has to decide for himself. Only you can decide if you find the truth of the Voice in these words. And only you can decide how much it is worth to know the Voice, and follow.

But for me, it is worth the whole world.

And then some…

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« Day two: The Bible Permits Sex Slaves!!! | Main | Beautiful Slave: a true story in song »
Monday
Dec072009

“The Bible is so full of endorsement of slavery it makes me sick”

I received a most interesting "comment" about the bible and slavery. The commenter asks a number of intriguing questions, well, after panning me for being a "cherry-picking hypocrite" :0 (To read his entire comment, go here.)

I suspect a number of people may wonder about the ideas he raised so I thought I would take the time to address them. If scripture is given a quick read through, one can get some pretty weird ideas about what the Lord wants or doesn't want. There is also the difficulty of understanding any thing written millennia ago. We need to place it in the context of history to understand what actually was happening, and in some ways, more importantly, why it was happening. That larger global issue may be more than I can handle on a website like this as it needs a good deal of scholarly references, so I will probably only touch on it at some point.

Anyway, if I am going to begin to answer some of the questions raised, the issues are involved enough, that I will break this down into a series of articles. I may only answer one question per post. Here is the first one.

Hello Seborgarsen .

You raise a number of interesting questions. These seem based on either you misunderstood what was said, or you have removed the passage from the context of time and its surrounding passages. To understand ancient writings, we have to place them in their historical context. To understand any communication, written or spoken, we have to keep the various sentences in context of the whole statement.

Then of course, some prefer to distort intentionally. They need healing for their anger. I can’t imagine a simple post would help a person in that condition.

For now, I will assume you fall into the first category. I believe people deserve a fair hearing. Because I do not know you, personally, I will not presume to judge your motives.

As your thesis you state, “the Bible is so full of endorsement of slavery it makes me sick. If I understand what you have written correctly, you have presented what you believe are five examples that support your thesis.

I will start with the more apparently horrifying ones. But first, I want to touch on the need to understand individual statements as they are set in the whole body of a writing. More later, but for now, let’s look at two statements, one each from the Old and new Testaments that address the Lord’s view on the matter.

From the OT, Exodus 21: 16

Kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.” (NLT)

Here He states that slave-traders deserve capital punishment. Hardly an endorsement.

The NT states the same, lumping slave traders in with murderers. 1Timothy 1: 9-10

We also know that law[a] is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine” (NIV)

No endorsement of slavery there, either.

On to your specific questions. You ask:

1) What does the Bible say about beating slaves? It says you can beat both male and female slaves with a rod so hard that as long as they don't die right away you are cleared of any wrong doing.

 

You use this scripture to back up your statement:

20 “If a man beats his male or female slave with a club and the slave dies as a result, the owner must be punished. 21 But if the slave recovers within a day or two, then the owner shall not be punished, since the slave is his property.” (Exodus 21: 20-21 NLT)

Taken that way, it sounds pretty bad.

One problem. You pulled it out of context.

The scripture you cite is from a section of law dealing with penalties and restitution for personal injury. You left out the preceding verses:

Cases of Personal Injury

12 “Anyone who assaults and kills another person must be put to death.13 But if it was simply an accident permitted by God, I will appoint a place of refuge where the slayer can run for safety. 14 However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death.

 15 “Anyone who strikes father or mother must be put to death.

 16 “Kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.

 17 “Anyone who dishonors[b] father or mother must be put to death.

 18 “Now suppose two men quarrel, and one hits the other with a stone or fist, and the injured person does not die but is confined to bed. 19 If he is later able to walk outside again, even with a crutch, the assailant will not be punished but must compensate his victim for lost wages and provide for his full recovery.**

 20 “If a man beats his male or female slave with a club and the slave dies as a result, the owner must be punished.(See verse 12*) 21 But if the slave recovers within a day or two, then the owner shall not be punished, since the slave is his property.”(See verse 19**) (Exodus 21: 12-21)

Nowhere in scripture does it state slaves are not people. The punishment for killing another person stated in verse 12 is death. Ironic that death is also the punishment for enslaving another person, verse 16.

The one difference between slave and free, is that one doing the injury must pay the free man for his lost wages and for it appears, the needed medical help. If he injured his own slave, he already has lost the “wages” by losing the slave’s (or servant’s) productivity. He is also the one who needs to provide medical care.

So, your statement that “the Bible says” it is okay to beat slaves is incorrect. Same penalty if the slave dies. If the slave recovers, the man already bears the cost in lost productivity. The only punishment for beating a free man who subsequently recovers, is to compensate the man for time lost at work. Both are basically the same thing.

 

More tomorrow…See

Day two: The Bible Permits Sex Slaves!!!

References (3)

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Reader Comments (5)

Pat, I love how you answered the questions, you really addressed one of the big problems with those who try to discredit the Bible, by saying "The Bible Promotes Slavery" and other sayings that are floating around. People usually read things out of context or they do not, research historically what the Bible is talking about. Christians are also guilty of doing the same thing. It is just like saying..."The Bible Promotes Divorce"....when in truth and in fact, it does not! God just allows us to divorce because we are disobedient and want to do things our own sinful way, so instead he make some allowance. We cannot as you say pick a verse out of any book and build a theology out of it, we need to read the entire passage of scripture to back up our statements. There are today over 12 million people in the world who are subject to slavery: forced labor, sex trade, inheritable property, etc. there are more slaves today than there ever was historically at any given period of time and the people who are trying to stop these practices are...Christians..If the Bible encouraged slavery, then Bible followers would be preaching and practicing slavery today.

God’s gift of salvation is freedom from the slavery of sin, as God changes a persons soul, he/she will realize that enslaving another human being is wrong. A person who has truly experienced God’s grace will in turn and be gracious towards others. That would be the Bible’s prescription for ending slavery.

John Newton –slave trader turned abolitionist, God gave him eternal amazing grace. The epitaph on John Newton's gravestone says: JOHN NEWTON, Clerk [preacher] Once an infidel and libertine, A servant of slaves in Africa, Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior, JESUS CHRIST, restored, pardoned and appointed to preach the Gospel which he had long labored to destroy.

John Newton is a great example of the true teachings of the Bible, He was a slave trader and after he gave his life to Christ, he still practiced slave trading, because that was all he knew. But his soul was bothered so much that he stopped completely and wrote one of the most amazing Christian hymns... "Amazing Grace"

The Bible promotes freedom from sin...not slavery

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterloswl

Hey Mark -- thank you for your comment. Your observations give a lot of insight into the issues.

The story about John Newton illustrates the point I want to make in the third post on this subject, that the Lord seems to deal with individuals and societies in increments rather than all at once.

One of the issues I'm not sure I'll get to cover well, is that the debt slavery of the Old Testament has nothing to do with the chattel slavery American and Britain embraced.

This you said is such a take away:

there are more slaves today than there ever was historically at any given period of time and the people who are trying to stop these practices are...Christians..If the Bible encouraged slavery, then Bible followers would be preaching and practicing slavery today.

You put the thoughts running around my head into actual words. Thanks!

December 11, 2009 | Registered Commenter[Pat Kashtock]

Even if you are the only one who wants to save your troubled marriage you can do it alone once you know what you need to do. So, relax, take a deep breath and let's get started with some things you can do to get started on saving a troubled marriage.

October 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteruypckr uypckr

Well, UY -- I think you may have posted on the wrong blog ;)

October 17, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Pat Kashtock]

your artical looks like food taste so delicious, much information is very useful to me. thanks verpri

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterverpri

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