Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

Book Plunge: The Civil War As A Theological Crisis

September 2, 2014

What do I think about Mark Noll’s book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters. 

The Civil War was an awful time in our nation’s history. There can be much debate about what went into it and why it happened. I personally don’t think the war was about slavery at the root, but I think slavery did play a part in it. I would say it was about the decision of the states to secede the union. It did end in freedom for the slaves and the abolition of slavery, but there was more to it than that. Still, that’s just a theory and I leave it to Civil War historians to say more about that.

There can be no doubt however that slavery is a dark mark on our nation’s history as well. What is even sadder about it is that so many people were using the Bible to defend the practice. This has led many of us to forget that the Civil War was not just a crisis of politics, but in fact it was a crisis about theology, since both sides would be able to say the exact same statements about the Bible. They’d just disagree on hermeneutics.

Knowing my interest in inerrancy, it was suggested to me that I should read this book. I’m glad I did. I found in it many of the problems that are still going on today.

Here in America, we believe greatly in the individual power of each person. To some extent, this is not problematic. However, the problem is we often carry this over to every area. We say that the average man is capable of electing his leaders for government. (Note that unique aspect of us. We are a self-governing people instead of people who have a king ruling over us.) We believe in the American Dream where with hard work and ability, you can reach the goals you have. You are to have the freedom to pursue happiness.

If all of this is true, then surely we can also do what every other man should surely be able to do! We can read the Bible and interpret it correctly! This is especially so since if this is the Word of God, then it must be that information which God would want us to know and if He wants us to know it, it should be simply to understand shouldn’t it?

Now I do think the common man to an extent can understand the Bible. You can get the main message of the Bible, such as that of salvation found in Jesus Christ, out of the Bible by a casual reading. Yet you will not get the inner intricacies of the Bible without doing real deep study and it could be the “common sense” interpretation, might be what many Americans think it is, but not what it really is. 

Of course, the fact that we were materialist did not help with this. By materialist, I do not mean philosophical materialism, but rather that we had a great love for our wealth. Slavery was a great way to increase your wealth. Invest a little bit in some slaves who you don’t have to particularly treat well and have them do all the work for you. 

Still, we’re going to be sticking with the problem of Scripture. America had been largely built on the Bible and it held a high place in American society. So what happens when there is a fundamental disagreement among the common man on how it is to interpret the most important book that exists in the American culture?

And you thought your church scuffle was bad….

As Noll also says on Location 2089 of the Kindle, foreign observers could see much clearer what was going on. If the highest authority that they had was every man’s private interpretation of Scripture, then what happens when there is a clash and there is nothing beyond that to point to? Naturally, the Catholics were willing to point out there was a problem with such a view. I, as a Protestant, would point out the need for much study and reflection in reading the leading works of scholarship. Unfortunately, too often, we’ve degenerated further into a strange idea of “That’s just your interpretation!” (Postmodernism I see as the end result of this kind of thinking.)

The great danger is that so many Protestants were saying the Bible was clear on the issue. Unfortunately, that clarity existed on both sides. One side said the Bible was clearly pro-slavery. One side says the Bible was clearly anti-slavery. Once again, we have the same problem today with people going by what is “clear.” What is clear to a modern American however is not necessarily what would be clear to an ancient Jew.

Also add in the view of providence and this makes it more difficult. Every event was interpreted as a specific “sign” from God. (I always get wary when people talk about receiving what they are sure has to be signs from God. These are even more difficult to interpret and while God allows all things to happen, there is no clear indication that any one of them is a direct message from God to the people involved.) This could in fact be something that’s a precursor to another situation today in America, interpreting events in the Middle East as signs from God and seeing Scriptural fulfillment in everything that happens.

A lot of this also came from Christianity blending itself with the Enlightenment. If the power of reason by its own is so great, then surely we can understand a book like Scripture and it must be simple. After all, if God is going to speak a message, won’t He make that message simple? Note that this is an assumption that is not defended. If anything, reading the Bible should show that the message will not be simple as even Jesus says this specifically about His parables.

It’s important to point out that the side that would have often been going the most for the clear reading of the Scripture and seen as conservative, even including the SBC, would have been the side that was pro-slavery. The other side would have been the side that brought forward the textual evidence such as looking at what slavery consisted of in the OT and the NT and what was going on at the time in the world and the marked ways slavery was different in America. Why were these arguments not given the attention they deserved? On Loc. 519, Noll says

But because those arguments did not feature intuition, republican instinct, and common sense readings of individual texts, they were much less effective in a public arena that had been so strongly shaped by intuitive, republican, and commonsensical intellectual principles.

 

Today, we would be told these arguments involved rationalization or “trying to deny the clear meaning of the text” and no doubt several wicked ulterior motives would be involved. Those who were opposed were the ones doing some of the hardest research and analyzing the Scriptures piece by piece instead of going with the “simple” interpretation. (Note: This simple interpretation is also preferred by too many internet atheists today.)

In fact, notice this contrast shown in Location 612.

James M. Pendleton was a hard-nosed defender of the Bible’s inerrancy as well as of Baptist distinctives, but that cast of mind did not prevent him from mounting a strong case against slavery as practiced in Kentucky at a time when possible legislation concerning slavery was being considered by a state constitutional convention.

Note this. Pendleton is seen as a strong defender of inerrancy and the Baptist faith, and yet marked out because he opposed slavery. Now none of this is said to slam Baptists as a large number of Northern Baptists did oppose slavery. Many Baptists today from the South have acknowledged this dark mark on their past and it does no good to deny it. It must be owned up to just like Crusades that went wrong or the fact that even one death in the Inquisition was too many. (Although the number of hundreds of thousands or millions is not accurate at all)

Pendleton also dealt with what was called “the Negro problem.” This meant that even if you freed the slaves, how are you to treat the black population? Are you to view them as Christian brothers and sisters? To the shame of the North, even up there that was not done that often. It would still be difficult to accept them not just as free, but as fully human. In fact, the problem of race was one that could not be answered from within the Biblical text, like many others. (Geez. Maybe extra-Biblical resources aren’t always so bad.)

What this gets down to was that too often, an attack on slavery was seen by those with the persuasion that the text was simple and clear, that this was an attack on Scripture itself and an undermining of its authority. After all, if this is what Scripture clearly teaches, then if you are going against it and bringing in ideas outside of the text, then you are going against the text of Scripture and undermining it as the final authority.

As Noll regularly points out, this was an American problem. It wasn’t that much of a problem to those who were outside of America. In America, to go against this viewpoint would make you be seen as heterodox. In the other nations, it would not. The problem then was not the Bible, but rather how Americans viewed themselves and ultimately, that came from how they viewed God should present His message. Our individualism made it possible.

Reading this book for me was a quite eye-opening event and I made several several more highlights in my Kindle that could not be recorded. What are some lessons to get?

First, we should all seek to go beyond the common sense interpretation of Scripture. We must really wrestle with Scripture and while I am not a presuppositionalist, that does not mean I do not recognize the importance of presuppositions. The assumptions that we bring to the text can affect the way that we read the text.

Second, we must also get over ourselves majorly. All of us who want to learn the Scriptures need to realize that there is no shortcut to understanding. By all means pray before Bible study, but don’t pray expecting God to just beam the answers into your head. You’re going to have to do your part to learn the answers.

Third, be extremely careful about signs. Some signs read would have pointed to the favor of slavery. Some would have pointed to the condemnation of it. It’s very difficult to judge God by current events, especially since you don’t know which ones are specifically from Him and which ones aren’t. We tend to view ourselves as really really special and therefore, God will treat us differently.

Fourth, even opponents of Scripture need to learn to not be so simplistic. When we go by what the clear meaning is, we have to ask who that is clear to. Is what is clear to a modern Westerner the same as what is clear to an ancient Jew? The Bible was written for us, but we must not think that it was written to us. It is not all about us.

Fifth, different interpretations does not mean that one is calling Scripture or inerrancy or anything like that into question. In fact, the ones who were opposed to slavery certainly did have a high view of Scripture. The fact that they weren’t using simple arguments was often seen as if it was a point to be used against them.

Anyone interested in learning the importance of good interpretation in history and the problems with a rampant individualism need to take this book and see what it has to say.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 3

July 22, 2014

Is the church demeaning and subjugating women? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

We have part 3 from Allie here. Tomorrow I do plan on a book review and then Thursday will be something different. For now, here’s Allie:

We are moving into a third part of the series from the article: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0 Our next section is: 3. Demeaning and subjugating women is evil. Like the second part of the series, this should be pretty short as well. I’ll go ahead and copy what they said first:

“When it comes to dignity and equality for women, instead of acting as moral torchbearers, Bible believers have been at the back of the pack for generations, along with conservative factions from other Abrahamic traditions ranging from Islam to Mormonism. The American Quiverfull movement, “ complementarianism,” the expulsion of Southern Baptist women who were making inroads into the clergy, the Mormon Patriarchy’s threats to excommunicate women who seek equality, the Vatican’s decision to crush nuns who thought poverty was a bigger problem than abortion . . . Need I say more?”

First of all, one of the sources they used (for the explusion of Southern Baptist women) was an Atheist website. If you are going to to complain about something about a religion or a politician or anything for that matter, don’t use a source that agrees with you, use the source that it actually comes from! If you’re going to complain about the Southern Baptists, use a source directly coming from the Southern Baptists. If you’re going to complain about Islam, use a source that directly comes from Muslims. If you’re going to complain about the Bible, use the Bible as a source. This irritates me to no end. But, I will let this slide because I will assume this person doesn’t properly know how to do their research. Of course, if you’re defending a position, it’s fine. For an example, in the first part when the author of the article was accusing the Bible to support child sacrifices, I used the Bible itself as a source to show that it in fact did not support child sacrifices. This is fine, but it’s also good when defending your case to use sources that support your case that may not believe the same things you do. For an example, if you are arguing whether or not Jesus actually existed, there are many people who aren’t Christians who believe Jesus did in fact exist. They may not believe he was a holy deity, but they believe he was in fact a man who was a good teacher who was crucified and did actually exist. Anyway, let’s move on from there.
So the first thing they bring up is the term “Quiverfull.” I’m pretty young and honestly not too bright, so I was like, “What in the world is Quiverfull?” Luckily, they were kind enough to provide a link to it! Basically, they don’t believe in any kind of artificial insemination, birth control, etc. Everything is natural and they have as many babies as God gives them. Their view is basically, “As arrows in the hand of the mighty man, so are the children of ones youth, happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them.”(Psalm 127:4) I guess that’s where you get the term “Quiverfull.” So, here’s my question to the author and to you, why does it matter? If they don’t want to use birth control, what difference does it make to you? If they want to have a lot of kids, what difference does that make to you? People who are for same-sex marriage say, “Why do you not want people to get married to the same gender? It’s not going to bother you!” That discussion is for another time, but I bring that up because you say something like that won’t affect us. Well, a family who chooses to not use birth control and do everything naturally and have however many kids God gives them won’t affect you either! As long as they can provide for the children and are not foolish to take on more than they should. But even then, God will help even the most foolish of people and he won’t abandon his children.
The next point they bring up is “Complementarians.” Basically, the belief that men play a more dominent role in the church than women. I know for some women this could be a little bit of a touchy subject, and I understand why too. It used to bother me how so many men were in ministry and it seemed like few women were in ministry; and if women were in ministry, it seemed like they were only in ministry because their husbands were in ministry. Even when I would read my Bible, it would upset me sometimes that it was always men preaching. All the famous prophets – men. The apostles – men. There were a few famous women in the Bible, but they weren’t famous like the men except for maybe Jesus’ mother, Mary. Most women in the Bible to me seemed more like they were in the background, and in my life I always felt like I was in the background. As someone with high anxiety problems, I didn’t mind being in the background, but at the same time, I wanted to do more than just be in the background: I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives! I wanted to show people the love and mercy Christ has for everyone, as he has shown me! So I really do understand where women come from when they want to make a difference in people’s lives for God’s kingdom. Men and women’s roles are different. But women can be involved in ministry. Like a couple, a man and a woman have to work together. The man is head of the family, but at the same time, they both submit to each other. I think in a way it’s the same way in a church. A man is the head of the church, but men aren’t the only ones in ministry, they need women to help in ministry too! They help each other out! Women can be in charge of children’s ministry for example! God gave us women a more nurturing spirit than men tend to have, and children really need that! Women’s ministry! It’d be pretty awkward for a man to lead a women’s ministry. I can just imagine my husband (we both have Asperger’s Syndrome) who’s a minister, if he had to lead a women’s ministry. All the drama us women have to face daily, men cannot handle that kind of drama! I’m sorry but men are not going to understand your periods or your menopause! He just knows that time of the month you get really cranky and he knows he’s going to be in the tenth circle of hell for a few days. Only another woman is going to understand the drama other women face. There are so many other ministries women can do: music ministry, missionary work, counceling, and so much more! You can’t just have one pastor do all the work! You need a team! Who’s going to help with the children? Who’s going to help with the youth? Who’s going to help with the music? Who’s going to help with getting the church setup? Who’s going to help with organizing the funds? Who’s going to organize the events? So much more goes into a church that one person can’t do all the work!
The author brings up the excommunication of women wanting to join the all-male priesthood of the LDS temple. As sad as it is for them to be excommunicated, the temple is still an all-male priesthood. I don’t agree with the LDS church, but if they don’t believe women should be priests for moral reasons, why should they be forced to allow women to be priests? As an Atheist (author of the article I’m responding to), how does this affect you? Isn’t it your personal mission to bring others to Atheism? To bring people to what you believe is “Reason?”
The last thing the author brings up for this part is how the Vatican is “destroying” nuns who are saying the issue of poverty is more important than other issues such as homosexuality and abortion. These are all important issues for sure. Abortion is a type of child sacrificing. Homosexuality is a type of sexual sin. We (The Church) are also commanded to take care of the poor! But we have dropped the ball and instead the government is taking over that job and I’ve gotta tell you, they do a really bad job at it. You know why they do a really bad job at it? Because it’s originally supposed to be our job! We are not perfect. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect! Name any commandment in the Bible and I’ve broken it more than a million times! The Apostle Paul calls himself the “worst of sinners” and I completely relate to him with that; I often call myself the same thing! But, poverty is not the most important issue either. It’s very important, but it’s not the most important issue. Homosexuality is not the most important issue. It’s very important, but it’s not the most important issue. I’ll even go as far as to say abortion is not the most important issue. It’s very important, but not the most important issue. We get so passionate about all these political issues going on around us, even I get really passionate about some of them. But they are not the most important. They are important, but not the most important. Here’s the most important issue, are you ready? Jesus Christ is Lord and there are people who either don’t know this or refuse it. There are people who are alone and suffering in the world who think nobody cares about them and are literally killing themselves because they have no hope. People are screaming out for help and us Christians are sitting on our butts in front of the computer or the tv all day complaining about Obama or complaining if our favorite tv stars get kicked off a show. People are going to the pits of Hell because we’re sitting here waiting for Jesus to come back! Get off your butts and go out there and do something! Bring people to the truth! Set people free with the truth of Christ’s freedom and redemption! If people reject you, remember they rejected Christ first and dust the dirt off your feet and go somewhere else where they will listen to you! We are dropping the ball! Get up and do something! Turn the tv off, get off the computer or smart phone! Change a person’s life by allowing Christ to use you!
The next part will be: 4. Obstructing humanity’s transition to more thoughtful, intentional childbearing is evil.

Deeper Waters Podcast 7/19/2014: Is God A Moral Monster?

July 17, 2014

What’s coming up on this Saturday’s episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

One of the most common charges today leveled against Christianity is the God of the Old Testament. One of the most memorable lines against Him comes from Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion.”

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

Is this really the case?

In order to investigate this question, I’ve decided to invite on the show a Biblical scholar who has written a response directly to such a claim and shown how the battles in the OT do not show that God is in fact a moral monster. He should know since he wrote the book “Is God A Moral Monster?” I of course mean none other than Dr. Paul Copan.

PaulCopan

According to his bio:

“Paul Copan (Ph.D. Philosophy, Marquette University) is Professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and he has served as president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He is author and editor of thirty books including The Rationality of Theism, The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues, The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics, Is God a Moral Monster? and “True for You, But Not for Me.” He has contributed essays to over thirty books, both scholarly and popular. Paul and his wife, Jacqueline, have six children, and they reside in West Palm Beach, Florida. His website is http://www.paulcopan.com.”

Paul Copan has been writing several excellent books aimed at a general audience to deal with popular objections, a much-needed niche if there ever was one. This started largely with his book “True For You But Not For Me” and has progressed all the way to his book “When God Goes To Starbucks.” I have never been disappointed by a Copan book and “Is God A Moral Monster?” is no exception.

So we’ll be spending our time talking about the charges that God does in fact inflict genocide in the Old Testament as well as getting into other issues that seem to paint the God of the Old Testament in a highly negative light. We could also be discussing the critiques that Thom Stark has brought towards Copan based on the book and see what he thinks about them.

Also, this will include a lesson on how we are to read the Old Testament. Is it really a straight forward narrative every time or does it use terminology that would have been recognizable to an ancient reader but is not so recognizable to us today?

And of course, is it really justified for God to take life in this way? Surely there could have been something else to be done besides using the Israelites as a force of war. Right?

I really look forward to having Dr. Copan come on to discuss this important topic and I hope you’ll be listening. Remember, we’ll have the link up on ITunes as soon as possible for you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Slavery and Marriage?

August 27, 2012

What do slavery and marriage have in common? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I know some of you think you already see the connection. You might even be thinking “There’s a difference between the two of them?”

No. That’s not what I’m getting at.

I have been looking at the Old Testament Law lately and seeing how it relates to us today. Does it stand for all time, or are there things in there that are actually less than perfect? The answer to the question is the latter. The law is good, but it was not meant to be something for all time. Keep in mind in Galatians 3 that the Law was meant to be a guide to us until the time of the fulfillment of the law, Jesus Christ, came.

Something we often see in the Bible in the Old Testament is polygamy. By the time we get to the NT, we don’t see this as much. Jesus affirms in the gospels that marriage is one man and woman. Polygamy was a differentiation from the ideal but it still had the foundation that Jesus affirmed of one man and one woman. Interestingly, Jesus starts off with asking the Pharisees what Moses said. Moses was of course the authority.

Jesus instead points them back to the higher authority of God who created marriage as one man and one woman. How did he override Moses? He stated that Moses granted a concession. He said that the hearts of people were hardened and so Moses granted the people that they would be able to divorce. Quite likely this was done to avoid an abuse to the system of marriage. There is a case where a law can tolerate a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil.

For instance, we do not prosecute people for adultery even though by and large, we consider it to be wrong. Why? Because we don’t want to spend every effort micromanaging everyone’s marriage. We do have a place for freedom to allow people to do evil so that there can be even more freedom to do good. Our laws should often seek to have the bare minimum for a functioning society to do good and to have laws that encourage goodness. We do have penalties for if a marriage is made void because we want to encourage marriage. The law is meant to make a statement about actions and encourage good behavior.

In other words, God took a system that was less than ideal and said “For the time being, I am going to work with this system and use it for good until we reach the point where it is not needed.” The goal would be to change the hearts of the people through the Law over time so that they would not want to divorce or to practice polygamy. It would seem there was some success with polygamy at least as there is not much mention of it after the exile when the Law started to be taken seriously.

What does that have to do with slavery?

Because slavery in the OT also showed less than the perfect will of God.

Now let’s be clear, we are not talking about slavery like it was in the Civil War time. The slavery done then was not a system set in place to exploit the poor. In fact, it was set in place so the poor could have a job. Keep in mind that there weren’t supermarkets and gas stations and Wal-Marts you could go and apply at. You did have to work for someone else and usually in a home setting.

This was also an age where a lot of people might not have their own home. Today, it seems natural, but homes cost money and time and resources, and not everyone has those. When you get a home, how will you put food on the table, or even get a table for that matter? How will you provide clothes for the family? One way to deal with this is to live with someone else and to the work for them. They provide room and board for you and your family and you work for them.

There were numerous problems with this system as it could easily lead to exploitation, but it was a way the world had to work in the infancy of humanity. The large market of jobs was not available in a society not as developed. The more economies were built by people, the more they had job opportunities. In our society, we can find that hard to think of with so many businesses that can offer places to work. We need to look outside of our own system and see the biblical system and how it was.

We can realize the law was good for the time, but it was not perfect, and we should not treat it as the way a perfect society was to be for all time. We have the fullness in Christ now. Some might be tempted to think things will be easier, but let’s remember when Jesus commented on the moral aspects of the Law, he always went even stronger than the Law did. Fortunately, he enables us to do that which we would not be able to do on our own as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Exodus 21:2-11

July 3, 2012

Why this slavery stuff in the Bible? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I developed the idea last night that so many skeptics raise up points about the Law in the OT so why not just go straight through the Torah and look at the laws that we do not understand and explain them on a point by point basis? That does not mean that we will not have diversions from time to time based on current events and such, but hopefully this will be the kind of thing that can set some matters to rest.

The text I will be looking at is Exodus 21: 2-11.

“2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.

5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.”

To begin with, slavery is not to be confused with slavery in the Civil War. In that time period, a people was exploited and taken advantage of based on their race and it was done at their expense. In the ancient world, slavery was still a necessity. You did not have a Wal-Mart around the corner that everyone could go and work at and get jobs. Out wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites had to work for someone and like today, if you have a job, it is because of a richer person. (The exception being rich people who run the companies themselves)

So what we have going on is Joe Israelite. He is poor and needs some money. What does he do? He goes and offers himself on a contractual basis to one of his fellow Hebrews to be provided for. The statement is that if the Hebrew will provide room and board for him, then he will be sure to work in exchange. What if this man is married? Then when he comes, his wife is to be provided. The wife doesn’t even have to work.

What if the master gives a wife? The master is doing that for the benefit that can come from the wife true, but also it would be a way of creating an alliance between the two families. When the two families joined together, it created a system to ensure the survival of the family unit. The only way that can happen is if the two are connected for life and if the man wishes to leave, that will break the connection resulting in the woman not being able to be provided for in the future.

Hence, if the man wants to ensure the welfare of his wife, he needs to stay with the master. Besides, the wife belonged to the master prior to the servant and that has not changed. The master would lose out if that happened and that would mean his own future family would be in danger. In the ancient world, you didn’t give something for nothing. There was always some sort of exchange going on.

Of course, a man could become a servant for life. If that was the case, then they had a ritual to bring that about. Now someone could ask “Yeah. But what kind of treatment would he get?” We will deal with that later in the text.

Now what about the last part of selling a daughter as a servant. Why would a guy do this? Because he doesn’t have the means to provide for her and wants to make sure that there will be a family that will. This was looking out for the family unit. Tying together two families would ensure the survival of both families. Notice some aspects about what would happen when the exchange took place.

To begin with, the master was expected to honor his covenant. He was not to treat her like an object but rather as a person. He is the one who has broken faith. Note that. The woman does not break faith. The man is to be held responsible for breaking his covenant with a woman. If he gives her to the son, he must treat her as if she is a daughter that is born to her. If he marries another woman, he is not to neglect her. The law at this point is entirely looking out for the woman, which is exactly the opposite of what we’re always told about this sexist society. The man will have an easier time taking care of himself than the woman would.

Now to be sure, this is not ideal for us, but that is fine. The goal was not to create the ideal society at that moment. The purpose was to begin the creation of a really good society. That was an incremental process that would happen step by step.

Hopefully this has shed light on the passage and further passages will explain the Jewish system even more.

In Christ,
Nick Peters