“Concerning the men and women you may have as slaves: you are to buy men- and women-slaves from the nations surrounding you. You may also buy the children of foreigners living with you and members of their families born in your land; you may own these.”-Leviticus 25:44-45
Today we’re going to deal with a topic that may be a bit too unsavory for some folks.
I’m talking about slavery or the practice of one human being owning another human being.
There is no way around the plain rendering of Scripture.
Verses 44-46 clearly state that Hebrews can own human property.
The only caveat is that these slaves must be foreigners or non-Hebrews from the gentile nations.
Not only are these slaves considered property just like a piece of land, but they can be handed down from one generation to another within the same Hebrew family.
And what’s worse, there is zero provision in the Torah for a foreign slave to be either released or redeemed.
There wouldn’t be any Jubilee year coming around to save him or his family.
A slave was stuck in that position without hope forever.
There is a very important principle being communicated to us here.
The ONLY PEOPLE who are eligible to be redeemed and freed from their debts are those who have entered into the covenant YHWH made with Israel.
Now here’s the thing and this should give those who are gentiles (including me) tremendous hope.
Foreigners who wanted to enjoin themselves to Israel were certainly allowed to be grafted in under the provisions of the covenant.
However, those foreigners who declined to become part of Israel were outside the saving provisions of the covenant and thus remained without hope and without God.
The very same principle applies to salvation.
A gentile is saved only under the provisions of the covenant YHWH made with Israel and in our day and age a key condition of these provisions is a saving Messiah.
This is the conclusion that the Apostle Paul reached in the Book of Romans, specifically chapter 11.
A gentile MUST BE GRAFTED IN TO Israel’s covenants because it’s only within these covenants that any human being anywhere on the planet can be saved.
Let’s take a look at verse 47.
“If a foreigner living with you has grown rich, and a member of your people has become poor and sells himself to this foreigner living with you or to a member of the foreigner’s family, he may be redeemed after he has been sold.”
Here we’re presented with a kind of reversed situation.
A wealthy foreigner living in Israel lends money to an Israelite who is unable to pay the money back.
According to the law, that Hebrew becomes a bondservant to the foreigner.
However, while it is permitted for a Hebrew to own a non-Hebrew slave, the opposite is NOT permitted.
A foreigner while living in Israel can NEVER be allowed to own a Hebrew slave.
Like HELL NO is YHWH gonna allow that!
Remember, all Israelites are God’s HOLY property.
If you touch God’s HOLY property, you’re just asking for a world of trouble.
And if a Hebrew becomes a bondservant to a foreigner, a member of his family is under STRONG obligation to do anything he can to rescue that Hebrew from his bondservant status to the foreigner.
Or if the bondservant suddenly comes into a windfall of cash, the TORAH grants him the option to redeem himself.
The rest of the chapter deals with how the redemption price to free the bondservant is to be calculated.
However, since it’s pretty much the same calculation method used to redeem a piece of land, I don’t see the need to go over it.
Understand that while it was the duty of a Hebrew relative to redeem a person’s land for him, it was an exceptionally super high priority duty for a relative to rescue another family member from servitude to a gentile.
The God-ordained principle is CRYSTAL CLEAR.
NO HEBREW UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD EVER BE A SERVANT OR A SLAVE TO ANYONE EXCEPT GOD.
And of course, this provision covers those foreigners who have been grafted into Israel.
It was considered an abomination for an Israelite to be a servant or a slave to a gentile.
If it happened, it was considered the duty of the family to take any means necessary to rescue that poor Hebrew from his unfortunate situation.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
Therefore, remember that formerly you
who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised”
by those who call themselves “the circumcision”
(which is done in the body by human hands)—
remember that at that time you were separate from Messiah,
excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners
to the covenants of the promise,
without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far away
have been brought near by the blood of Yeshua.
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers,
but fellow citizenswith God’s people
and also members of his household,
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
with Messiah Yeshua himself as the chief cornerstone.
In him the whole building is joined together
and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
And in him you too are being built together
to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”