Leviticus 25:44
Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
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(44) Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen.—Rather, As for thy bondmen and bondmaids which thou must have of the heathen, &c. As the Law forbids the Israelites to have their brethren as bondmen, or employ them in menial work which belongs to the slaves, the Lawgiver anticipates a difficulty which the Hebrews might raise against these enactments. If they are not to be engaged in this work, who then is to do it? Hence the reply in the verse before us.

Of the heathen that are round about you.—These are to be purchased to do the necessary work. The Israelites, however, were restricted to the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Edomites, and the Syrians, who were their neighbours, but were not permitted to buy any slaves from the seven nations who were in the midst of them, and whom they were ordered to destroy (Deuteronomy 20:16-18).

25:39-55 A native Israelite, if sold for debt, or for a crime, was to serve but six years, and to go out the seventh. If he sold himself, through poverty, both his work and his usage must be such as were fitting for a son of Abraham. Masters are required to give to their servants that which is just and equal, Col 4:1. At the year of jubilee the servant should go out free, he and his children, and should return to his own family. This typified redemption from the service of sin and Satan, by the grace of God in Christ, whose truth makes us free, Joh 8:32. We cannot ransom our fellow-sinners, but we may point out Christ to them; while by his grace our lives may adorn his gospel, express our love, show our gratitude, and glorify his holy name.Property in foreign slaves is here distinctly permitted. It was a patriarchal custom Genesis 17:12. Such slaves might be captives taken in war (Numbers 31:6 following; Deuteronomy 20:14), or those consigned to slavery for their crimes, or those purchased of foreign slave-dealers. The price of a slave is supposed to have varied from thirty to fifty shekels. See Leviticus 27:3-4, note; Exodus 21:32, note; Zechariah 11:12-13, note; Matthew 26:15, note. It was the object of Moses, not at once to do away with slavery, but to discourage and to mitigate it. The Law would not suffer it to be forgotten that the slave was a man, and protected him in every way that was possible at the time against the injustice or cruelty of his master. See the notes at Exodus 21.39-46. if thy brother … be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant—An Israelite might be compelled, through misfortune, not only to mortgage his inheritance, but himself. In the event of his being reduced to this distress, he was to be treated not as a slave, but a hired servant whose engagement was temporary, and who might, through the friendly aid of a relative, be redeemed at any time before the Jubilee. The ransom money was determined on a most equitable principle. Taking account of the number of years from the proposal to redeem and the Jubilee, of the current wages of labor for that time, and multiplying the remaining years by that sum, the amount was to be paid to the master for his redemption. But if no such friendly interposition was made for a Hebrew slave, he continued in servitude till the year of Jubilee, when, as a matter of course, he regained his liberty, as well as his inheritance. Viewed in the various aspects in which it is presented in this chapter, the Jubilee was an admirable institution, and subservient in an eminent degree to uphold the interests of religion, social order, and freedom among the Israelites. No text from Poole on this verse.

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have,.... Such it seems were allowed them, if they had need of them; but if they had them, they were to be not of the nation of Israel, but of other nations; this is an anticipation of an objection, as Jarchi observes; if so, who shall I have to minister to me? The answer follows, they

shall be of the heathen that are round about thee, of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids; that is, of the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, and Syrians, as Aben Ezra, that were their neighbours, that lived round about them, of any but the seven nations, which they were ordered utterly to destroy; wherefore Jarchi observes it is said, "that are round about thee"; not in the midst of the border of your land, for them they were not to save alive, Deuteronomy 20:16.

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
Verses 44-46. - Slavery is not forbidden in respect to non-Israelites. The world was not yet ready for it, as it was not ready in the days of St. Paul. Leviticus 25:44As the Israelites could only hold in slavery servants and maid-servants whom they had bought of foreign nations, or foreigners who had settled in the land, these they might leave as an inheritance to their children, and "through them they might work," i.e., have slave-labour performed, but not through their brethren the children of Israel (Leviticus 25:46, cf. Leviticus 25:43).
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