How Europeans turned Biblical Servitude into Capitalist Slavery

The white man in America practiced his own cruel form of bondage and captivity and called it slavery. An act that was never documented in the Bible as being done by any other nation.

Dec 26, 2022 - 13:11
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How Europeans turned Biblical Servitude into Capitalist Slavery

When the topic of American slavery is spoken of, people tend to think of the master/slave relationship of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and of white men with whips beating Africans into subjugation and forced labor, raping Black women at their pleasure, and buying and selling people like livestock. Unfortunately, this was a reality.

Another unfortunate reality is that white men felt justified in practicing this evil form of American slavery using biblical concepts; supposing that terms like master and servant found in the Bible meant that God condoned such relationships. However, the word slave is only mentioned in the Bible two times, (Jeremiah 2:14 and Revelation 18:13), the first refers to a someone born bound to a certain land, and the second as a captive of the evil nation of Babylon, but neither referred to capitalizing off of the brutal treatment of other human beings.

The concept of masters and servants spoken of in the Bible represented the practice of either servitude to a higher authority, such as the disciples toward Christ as their master, or regarding paying off a debt for debt peonage, serving under nationalized captivity to another nation, or paying homage to the captors. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that people in bondage were beaten with whips, murdered by the millions, raped, burned alive or hung from trees.

The white man in America practiced his own cruel form of bondage and captivity and called it slavery. An act that was never documented in the Bible as being done by any other nation. They even changed the wording of the Bible (something the book of Revelation says not to do, Revelation 22:18, 19). They replaced the word servant with the word slave in new versions of the Bible as a deception.

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” (Ephesians 6:5 of the NIV). The King James version says servant, not slave. This was done within recent times (1973) by white men in America, not by ancient scribes.

The Egyptians forced the Hebrews to serve with vigor and hard bondage but nowhere is it documented that they were beaten, raped, and murdered at the Egyptian’s pleasure. The Israelites served the Babylonians also, but they served under tribute and customary demands, not as field hands and house slaves.

From the context of the Bible, servitude was a humane system based on debt, captivity or homage, and often punishment for nations that became idolators. Nevertheless, God never condoned bondage as a reward to the captors, but as punishment for transgressors, and He always commanded and warned the captors that the bondmen, bondwomen and servants were not to be ruled by vigor or cruelty (Leviticus 25:46).

Terminology is another misunderstanding. Captives were often referred to in the Bible as bondmen and bondwomen or servants, and in the harshest sense people were sold to others or inherited by families as servants, not slaves, and they were bought and sold based on debt, not on a profit system like that of American Capitalist slavery, thus people were debtors and tributaries, not property.

Other reasons of servitude were if individuals were found to be too poor and could not take care of themselves or if they were refugees of foreign lands seeking asylum or simply vagabonds of the earth. And there were always opportunities for freedom built into the terms of servitude. Rarely were generations of families born into the same servitude as the original servants.

God never encouraged servitude and He never encouraged or condoned murder, rape, thievery, or any other sin that was forbidden, except against nations who were rebellious or idolators. It was common practice that heathen nations suffered the consequences of rebellion as would any individual who suffers the consequences of their own sins. 

Yet, neither did the nations who were the captors escape punishment. In fact, God promised to judge the nations that held captives in bondage. "And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place" (Acts 7.7).

Furthermore, the relationship between the master and servant in Biblical times (specifically during the New Testament times when Paul spoke of it in 1 Timothy 6:1-3 and 1 Peter 2:18,) can be equated to the subjection to any authority of today. It is not based on ownership of another human being, but on the mentality of working for or serving someone else and acknowledging the higher authority of social leaders. The terminology of the times then, does not validate the cruelty of the American slave owner. Only an uneducated person would equate the two for their own juvenile pleasure.

"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage" (2 Peter 2:19).