Sermons on Deuteronomy

Doesn’t The Bible Condone Slavery?

First, ancient slavery was not yoked to racial hierarchy. Hagar was an Egyptian slave to Hebrews; Joseph was a Hebrew slave to Egyptians. Second, it was common for people to sell themselves into slavery, as it represented a form of employment and was preferable to destitution. Third, while many slaves in the ancient world undoubtedly suffered the kind of brutality and exploitation experienced by many enslaved Africans in America, advancement was also possible within the slave status and beyond—even to the point of becoming a senior civil servant.