I keep running across bible verses that support slavery.  I hope that if others find bible verses that support either slavery or racism, they will post them here, as a kind of repository for how religion can be a tool for racism and inhumane practices and beleifs.  I imagine that old Testament verses would be the same for Jewish Torah but confess ignorance on that so am willing to be corrected.  The verses here are from a collection of biblical verses on evilbible.com which has a section on biblical support of slavery. I can't take credit for collecting these verses, but want to pass them on to others as useful, here for comment and for others to add bible verses or other religious documents that support racism and slavery.

 

One precaution is these are out of context.  I still think they are useful, because many clearly show approval of inhumane behavior and affirm that the bible is pro-slavery.  Jesus and his followers were also pro-slavery.

 

When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.  (Exodus 21:20-21)

 

Slaves are to be under the control of their masters in all respects, giving them satisfaction, not talking back to them or stealing from them, but exhibiting completely good faith, so as to adorn the doctrine of God our savior in every way.   (Titus 2:9-10)

 

Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse.   (1 Peter 2:18)

 

There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.  These were descendants of the nations that Israel had not completely destroyed.  So Solomon conscripted them for his labor force, and they serve in the labor force to this day.  But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for forced labor.  Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, government officials, officers in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers.  He also appointed 550 of them to supervise the various projects.   (1 Kings 9:20-23)

 

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.  (Leviticus 25:44-46)

 

When the Lord has pity on Jacob and again chooses Israel and settles them on their own soil, the aliens will join them and be counted with the house of Jacob.  The house of Israel will take them and bring them along to its place, and possess them as male and female slaves on the Lord's soil, making captives of its captors and ruling over its oppressors.   (Isaiah 14:1-2)

 

After this, David subdued and humbled the Philistines by conquering Gath, their largest city.  David also conquered the land of Moab.  He made the people lie down on the ground in a row, and he measured them off in groups with a length of rope.  He measured off two groups to be executed for every one group to be spared.  The Moabites who were spared became David's servants and brought him tribute money.   (2 Samuel 8:1-2)

 

Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed.  If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts.  Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.  (1 Timothy 6:1-2)

 

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear.  Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.   (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

 

Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man.  Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.   (Numbers 31:7-18)

 

The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it.  "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly.  Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given."   (Luke 12:47-48)

 

Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord.   (Colossians 3:22)

 

By words no servant can be trained; for he understands what is said, but obeys not.   (Proverbs 29:19)

 

If a man pampers his servant from childhood, he will turn out to be stubborn.   (Proverbs 29:21)

 

If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years.  Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom.  If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year.  But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him.  If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master.  But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children.  I would rather not go free.'  If he does this, his master must present him before God.  Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl.  After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.   (Exodus 21:2-6)

 

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.   (Leviticus 25:44-46)

 


When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.   (Exodus 21:7-11)


 

The total of the temple slaves and the descendents of the slaves of Solomon was three hundred and ninety-two.   (Nehemiah 7:60)

 

You smote the slaves together with their princes, and the princes together with their servants.  Their wives you handed over to plunder, and their daughters to captivity; and all the spoils you divided among your favored sons, who burned with zeal for you, and in their abhorrence of the defilement of their kinswoman, called on you for help.   (Judith 9:3-4)

 

When the Israelites grew stronger, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves, but they never did drive them out of the land.  The tribe of Ephraim also failed to drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, and so the Canaanites continued to live there among them.  The tribe of Zebulun also failed to drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron and Nahalol, who continued to live among them. But they forced them to work as slaves.  The tribe of Asher also failed to drive out the residents of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob.  In fact, because they did not drive them out, the Canaanites dominated the land where the people of Asher lived.  The tribe of Naphtali also failed to drive out the residents of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath. Instead, the Canaanites dominated the land where they lived.  Nevertheless, the people of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath were sometimes forced to work as slaves for the people of Naphtali.  As for the tribe of Dan, the Amorites forced them into the hill country and would not let them come down into the plains.  The Amorites were determined to stay in Mount Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim, but when the descendants of Joseph became stronger, they forced the Amorites to work as slaves.   (Judges 1:21-35)

 

God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.  This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.  You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.  Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old, including the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring.  Both the slave born in your house and the one bought with your money must be circumcised.  So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.   (Genesis 17:9-13)

 

So you must submit to Babylon's king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon's yoke!  I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the LORD.  I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it.   (Jeremiah 27:5-8)

 

All the people that remained of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were not of Israel-- that is, their descendants remaining in the land, whom the Israelites had not destroyed--Solomon subjected to forced labor, as they continue to this day.  But Solomon did not enslave the Israelites for his works.  They became soldiers, commanders of his warriors, and commanders of his chariots and his horsemen.  They were also King Solomon's two hundred and fifty overseers who had charge of the people.   (2 Chronicles 8:7-10)

 

 

 

Tags: bible, racism, slavery

Views: 1695

Replies to This Discussion

This is a good list.

 

I was communicating with a self-described fundamentalist (she believes the Bible is the word of God) and I told her that the Bible was used to justify slavery and then racism and now homophobia, so if it's "the word" then why do we keep interpreting it differently? She just said that the Bible doesn't do any of that - she didn't want to hear it.

 

You can share with open-minded people, but there are a lot who are not. The ones who are and continue to be "Christian" often think about the Bible in metaphor and are "liberal Christians" who might really be atheists if they gave it any real thought. But I find many continue with Christianity due to family and traditions they enjoy and maybe aesthetics and support they receive at church or from fellow Christians.

 

It sounds to me like you're trying to use these arguments to convert Christians to atheism. Unitarian Universalist congregations are good places to send open-minded Christian friends who sometimes become athiests or agnostics. Though we don't like it when people think their way is the one and only right way and try to convert people, opportunities during discussions and small group ministries give people a chance to share their beliefs and use the Socratic method to move them away from Biblical dependency.

 

How would you see yourself using this to convert Christians to atheism? Or is that not what you're trying to do?

Joyce,

I guess I don't have a conscious agenda here.  I certainly don't think I can convert christians to atheist. 

 

What I hope is for people to be informed.  If someone says "The Bible teaches love for one another", they need to understand that the Jesus character actually taught plenty of hate, stating that he would tear families apart; that women must shut up and obey their husbands, that it's OK to beat slaves, and that the laws of the old testament are to stand.  If people are going to claim that the bible is their source for being against abortion, or gay marriage, then they need to practice what they preach. The bible actually doesnt have verses against abortion, but in somce cases does promote baby killing. And the bible examples of marriage are for polygamy, and in some cases incest, and not specifically one man:one woman. But people who are divorced are considered adulterers if they remarry. And the bible states that adulters should be put to death. They should obey the other laws too, eat kosher, men should grow beards, and all should keep the sabbath. If the bible is just allegory, then people should know that there is plenty of cruelty and hate in the bible. If they are fundamentalist, I hope to hell they don't decide they must practice what they preach - they'll start killing people right and left.

When it comes to race, and the sub-category of slavery, I want people to know that the bible promotes things that are against most of the human values of most people today, and especially against people who are not semitic.

It does sound like I want to deconvert people. I think I just want people to know, reason, and think. And let me live by my values, even if they are not living by the guidance of their own holy book (thank dog they are not - life would be truly hell if they did)

And let me live by my values, even if they are not living by the guidance of their own holy book (thank dog they are not - life would be truly hell if they did)
Agreed!
The Bible is very much a product of its environment, not a product of divine inspiration, and as such includes the views of its authors and the practices of their contemporaries. It is not so much that the Bible approves and supports slavery and genocide, but that it fails to denounce it, providing strong evidence that it is not divinely inspired.

Terrence,

 

I agree with you that the bible is a product of it's environments, including the social, political, and 'technological' or lack thereof, has many authors, and underwent compilation, interpretation, and editing over the millenia.

 

The "fails to condemn" slavery issue, I feel is a mild way to state it.  I can't reconcile statements like "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear.  Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)" or "Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse.   (1 Peter 2:18)" with failing to condemn slavery, as opposed to being quite supportive of it.  Other verses above fall into the same category.  On the other hand, bible verses clearly condemn adultery (punish with death), disobedience to your parents (punish with death), same sex sex (male:male) (punish with death), and countless other activities.

 

I also agree that the bible is not divinely inspired, since there is no divine power. But, I think the fact that the bible is in contradiction to modern values, doesn't tell us about divine inspiration (the Yahweh god of the bible is a genuine brute) so much as about how ethics have evolved over the mellenia, often in contradiciton to biblical law.

 

Anyway, glad you read these and I hope it's useful for you.

We are in agreement, ethics have certainly evolved over the millennia, where as the ethics of the Bible are stagnant and thus increasingly disperate. That anyone would consider the Bible as a basis for ethics in contemporary society is disturbing to say the least. The "Tea Party" movement in the USA and "FOX News" are particularly disturbing...
I'm with you on exposing the bible for what it is, a brutal book written by ignorant goat herders who thought the world was flat and the sky was a dome. Lets not mention how many times is has been changed and altered!!! They believed other nations and people were inferior (as all people thought then and many now). Anyone who takes it seriously has either never read it or has mental issues which which affects their social skills.
I'm with you 100%.  I'm baffled at how most people are clueless regarding the stories, ethics, and mythology of the bible, yet consider themselves 'believers'.  The (fictional) diety who they believe in proudly proclaims he is vengeful, cruel, barbaric - while also claiming to be forgiving and loving.  You are right that the vast majority have never read it.  That's one reason to know the bible.

I tell you what.  As a Black woman, and reading the scriptures in the old testatment that condone slavery, works my nerves!!!!! 

 

When, I see Black folks piling into church, holding that Bible with a smile, I feel disappointed.  I live 2 doors down from a Church.  They come out the church after a full morning of praying, and for what?  To go back to the ghetto where they live. 

 

The Pastor told them their riches are in heaven not of this world.

 

The Pastor told them "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away"

etc.

 

The one thing you find in the ghetto more than liquor stores are churches!!!

 

Keep 'em dumbed down.

 

The sheer volume of pro-slavery and pro-ethnocentrism (if not racist) verses is mind-boggling.   Old Testament and New Testament are both pro-slavery.  Makes me want to hit people over the head with bibles and say "look - do you really support this stupid book?  Damn!"

 

Then get a list of sexist verses...  Beyond my scope, but...  (emphasis and colors from the web site where I got these, not mine)

 

Ephesians 5:22 - 25*
 
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing. 

and

1 Corinthians 14:34 - 35*
 
34. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
 


So how many fundamentalist and evangelical churchgoing women are silent in church?

I had a female on my fb talking about the Bible being the word of God.  I posted those same versus and she didn't even respond.  Yeah, as a woman, you are a 2nd class in the Bible, at best.

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