I was reading a book on slavery, and it is a bit sketchy on specifics re slavery among Jews in Ancient Isreal. So, what were the patterns of slave status inheritance, both pre- and post-exodus? For example, what happened when a free or slave Jewish woman/man had a child with a Jewish or gentile slave, what would the status of the child be?
In drawn-out form: S = non-Jew slave, s = Jewish slave, F = free, w = woman, m = man
Sw + sm = ?
Sw + Fm = ?
Sm + sw = ?
Sm + Fw = ?
sw + sm = ?
sw + Fm = ?
sm + Sw = ?
sm + Fw = ?
Also, could a Jew marry a slave, either a Jewish slave or free? Did having a child with a slave or free person affect the status of the woman and/or man? Also, is there any archelogogical evidence re the answers to these questions?
A non-Jewish slave could not marry a Jewish woman (nor could a non-Jewish female slave marry a Jewish man). A non-Jewish slave could be married to another non-Jewish slave.
If two non-Jewish slaves had children, their children were considered the property of the owner.
A Jewish slave was more like an indentured servant than a slave. Thus he could marry a Jewish woman, divorce his wife, etc. He was not “owned” by his master. As such, his children by his wife were not slaves of his “owner.” Males served for six years, or until the Jubilee year (whichever came first). Females went out under the same conditions, but had one other: puberty. A Jewish woman could not become a “slave” upon reaching puberty.
A slaveowner, however, did have one particular right over his Jewish male slave. He could have a female non-Jewish slave “designated” for him. Any children that they had, following the general rule for determining Jewishness, were considered non-Jewish slaves.
Non-Jewish slaves, when freed, were considered full-fledged Jews. In addition, if they were mistreated to extent of loosing an eye, tooth or limb, they must be set free.
There is, to my knowledge, no archaelogical evidence to support this. This is based on standard Jewish law.
One matter that I realize I didn’t address was the issue of cohabitation.
In short, the same rules that apply to Jewishness apply here as well. Thusly, if a male slave (Jewish or non-Jewish) cohabits with a Jewish woman, her child is a Jew, free (you cannot be born into Jewish “slavery.)”.
If a male (non-Jewish slave or Jewish slave) cohabits with a female non-Jewish slave, then the child is considered a non-Jewish slave.