Hebrew Slavery (the Good Kind)
God called Moses back into the cloud, and he told him, ‘I’ve come up with some more laws, more stringent than the commandments I’ve given you.’
‘That sounds like a good idea,’ agreed Moses.
2 ‘Finally, we’re on the same page!’ cheered the Lord. ‘So, if you buy a Hebrew slave…’
‘Wait, what?’ interrupted Moses.
The Lord sighed and repeated, ‘If you buy a Hebrew slave.’
‘I’m not sold on this whole slavery thing to begin with, but Hebrew slaves? I really didn’t think that we’d be enslaving our own people!’
‘How do you feel about renting?’
‘What do you mean?’ asked Moses sceptically.
‘Well, he can serve you for six years, but you have to set him free in the seventh. Plus, his debt will be written off.’
‘Oh, so he’s working off his debt? I feel better about that. So, we’re not going to have actual slavery where we own people?’
‘Of course not!’ exclaimed the Lord. ‘What kind of god do you think I am?’
Moses coughed awkwardly.
3 ‘Anyway,’ continued God, ‘if he has a wife before you “rent” him, she goes free with him.’
4 ‘Exactly!’ crowed God. ‘You really should have more faith in me. So, if you give him a wife while he’s with you, she remains with you, and her kids do too, of course.’
‘Until the seventh year, and she goes free,’ added Moses.
‘No! You own her. Why would she go free?’
‘But you said we weren’t going to own people!’ objected Moses.
‘Since when were women people?’ scowled God. ‘You think some creature I bodged together from a rib, a beaver, and some melons qualifies as a person?’
‘But Adam was made from dirt… That’s not much better….’
The Lord gave Moses a disapproving look. ‘You have some messed up ideas about women. Next you’ll be giving them the right to vote!’
Moses laughed, ‘Aww, come on! I wouldn’t go that far.’
God chortled, ‘I can see it now: women voting, owning property, and making decisions for themselves.’
‘Stop it, dude! You’re scaring me!’ rebuked Moses. ‘I’m all for joking around, but you’ve gone to a dark place.’
5 ‘Sorry. Anyway, if the guy decides he loves his wife and kids, he has to declare his love for his master. 6 Then he’ll be taken before the judges, his ear will be placed up against a doorpost, and they’ll drive an awl through his ear, and he’ll be tagged as a slave for life.’
‘Heh, heh, you’re joking again, right?’
‘No!’ spat the Lord. ‘Tag that fucker like a cow!’
‘That’s owning people!’ retorted Moses.
‘Erm…’ The Lord thought for a moment, and said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with owning people!’
‘No!’ yelled the Lord. ‘Why can’t you just shut up and do as you’re fucking told?’
Moses bit his lip.
7 ‘Anyway,’ continued the Lord, ‘on to sex slaves.’
‘You fucking what?’
The Lord gave Moses an evil glare and said, ‘Don’t make me get smitey on your arse!’
Moses rolled his eyes and said nothing.
‘If a man sells his daughter into slavery, she doesn’t get to go free as a man would. 8 She has to “please” her master. But if she doesn’t, he can sell her off, just as long as it’s not to one of those disgusting foreigners. 9 If he gives her to his son, she’s his daughter-in-law, and he must treat her as such.’
‘So, basically marriage?’
10 ‘Yeah. And he has to give her the basic stuff like food and clothing and stuff, even if he marries another woman. 11 And if he doesn’t, she can go free.’
‘Well, I have no objections to marriage,’ replied Moses. ‘I remember when I bought my Zipporah. She was so nervous, she tried to escape. We had to send some guys after her to bring her back in shackles. It was adorable.’
Moses and God chuckled together.
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