Biblical slavery

I was arguing with a friend recently about the Bible, and whether it was divinely inspired, and we got onto the topic of slavery. The Bible appears to condone slavery, in that it gives sets of rules and regulation. My friend excused this by asserting that Biblical slavery was much much nicer than the kind we more often think about, and was more like indentured servitude, and they were well treated, and could win their freedom, and their children were free.

Is there any evidence, Biblical or historical, to support this contention?
Are there examples in the bible of “good guys” selling or giving people into involuntary servitude?

From the New Living Translation…

So, feel free to buy foreigners and pass them on to your kids, they’re yours to keep no matter how you finish in the game

If he was married when he became your slave, he and wife can be freed. If he got married and has kids after he became a slave, the wife and kids are still yours even if the slave goes free.

Go ahead and beat your slaves if you want, but just don’t kill them on the spot. If they die later, oh well.

There’s a few examples of what the bible has to say about slavery.

The Koran.

Hehehe, guy, you have been a member since '00 and you are seriously asking if the Bible and its adherents are OK with slavery? Ever heard of Moses, the Civil War? Come on!

Arrested Development throwaway

The bible (that is, Old Testament) does not forbid slavery. It was written addressed to the Israelite society of its time; slavery was an accepted and common fact in every society of that era. The text reminds the Israelites that they were themselves mistreated as slaves in the land of Egypt, and therefore they must not mistreat slaves.

The bible does restricts and constrains the concept of slavery. There are biblical laws to protect the rights of slaves. As noted, the term of slavery is limited to six years. A master cannot kill a slave, although casual beatings from which the slave recovers are OK. However, if there’s any permanent damage done (literatlly, if a master knocks out an eye or tooth of a slave), the slave goes free.

These rules seem harsh to us, 2500 or 3000 years later. In fact, for its time, it was extremely advanced.

Actually, the quote above indicates that the six year limit on slavery applies only to Hebrew slaves, and even that has an out (the husband who loves his [enslaved] wife & children and his master and gets his ear pierced in public with an awl – ouch!).

As well, the above passages indicate that if the slave survives a beating for a few days but subsequently succumbs to his or her injuries, there’s no legal problem with it. That doesn’t seem to jibe with your contention that any permanent damage results in freedom for the slave.

The Bible clearly condones slavery and masters beating slaves NEARLY to death on a whim. I don’t know what it says about a master’s sexual rights wrt female slaves. I imagine it maintains a discreet silence on the topic.

In one moment it’s a historical document, not to be taken seriously as a guide to conduct in modern times. In another moment it’s the Word of God and must rule all our lives.

Kinda makes you wonder …

Feel free to wonder about it in another forum.

While it might have been “advanced” for its time, I don’t think the details you outline correctly reflect the actual conditions a slave might encounter, per the Biblical quotes above. Further, the question here isn’t so much about how advanced it was for the time, the question is one of whether ther words in the Bible are inspired by God or not. I don’t think the Bibilican literalists would try to argue that God’s morality has evolved (pardon the pun) over time, would they?