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BigDogsHunt
05-16-2008, 06:34 PM
I, being raised Christian - Roman Catholic, have often pondered various items covered within Biblical text.

One item that I often questioned; and now openly raise in this forum for discussion has to do with the old testament and the "10 Commandments" from God.

Being that Moses' mission and task was to free God's chosen people from the slavery and bonds of Egypt, why is it that none of the 10 Commandments addressed "enslaving" ones brother as being against God's law?

Certainly, I understand #1 being expressed as there shall be no other God but I. Its logical to start there and set the bounds of what all other commandments would address by obeying God's laws.

But wouldnt it been logical for a top 5 nominee to be: Thou shalt love and respect thy Brother and never enslave him to your selfish desires.

Clearly it could have fit right between Honor thy mother and father and Thou shalt not murder.

If indeed the issue of Salvery would have been addressed how I wonder our Country's history would have been different.

Without attempting to be to silly, I always thought of this scene and had to laugh....was it listed on the other 5 Commandments???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L940yIeVZzE


thoughts?

cwsox
05-17-2008, 12:12 PM
Interesting question.

A place to start is the ten commandments their own selves - what are they? No one knows, in terms of what are they? The Scriptures (Exodus 20) fail to number them. Thus the Jewish listing of the ten commandments is a different list than that followed by the Roman Catholics/Lutherans is a different list than that followed by Anglicans/Protestants in general.

If you want to see the differences, http://www.biblicalheritage.org/Bible%20Studies/10%20Commandments.htm
and what they call "Catholic" is actually Roman Catholic/Lutheran.

For what it is worth, I follow the Roman Catholic/Lutheran listing. Any list could be understood to be the decalogue (ten words) but no one knows so no one can claim they know. You just have to choose the listing that makes sense to you.

You question: why not forbid slavery - why not indeed. The culture of the Covenant at Siani accepted slavery, so it never occurred to the community gathered at Siani to do that. In fact the codes that derive from that covenant legislate slavery.

People can argue about the implications of that. You are right, it should have been done, as we see it, looking back. History would have been so much better, perhaps. Whether it would have followed is another question - I mean when has human society ever accepted the prohibition on killing/murder, or not using God's name in vain, or respecting one's parent, or coveting?

We are left to ponder then what it means. And I would argue that the commandments are about justice. Only three (Roman Catholic/Lutheran numbering) are about our relationship with God. 70% of the commandments are about our relations to other people.

And they are, as I see it, about justice. It is not prudery (or an attempt at legislating) that says you shall not commit adultery, it is about living in a faithful, just relationship with the person with whom you have entered into a marriage covenant. You shall not kill is not about keeping order in society, it is, you shall act with justice towards others and not deprive them of their lives. And you shall not steal follows that same line. The commandments on coveting are about justice - you shall not commit acts on injustice that interfere with the relations that others have with the people in their lives, nor with that which is theres. The commandment on parents is not that parents are always right, far from it, and no Biblical story suggests that - but it is that we ought to treat with justice those who in their own physical act gave of themselves what brought us into our own life. Thus I may think my father is a silly fool but I don't trip him on the halls of the nursing home - and even more - I do not despise him in my mind even when I think he is totally wrong because I owe him that respect, that sense of justice for having his role in my conception which made me.

So with 7 commandments about justice with others, we can then infer that slavery is an act of injustice and is wrong. Thus we understand today (although traffic in human beings is one of the leading forms of illegal traffic in the world today).

Interesting as we discuss the rights of gays to marry - the commandments say nothing to that. They teach that any covenantal relationship is to be one of justice - and non-convenantal relationships as well.

Whatever, that was a digression.

If a prohibition on slavery had been in the ten commandments - if it were in Mel Brooks' other five - would it have made a difference? Has it kept us from killing each other, or kept us from capital punishment? Has th prohibition on stealing, or adultery - or more to the point, the commands for right and just relationships with others - done anything about those things?

Indeed it is not what God may have commanded or did not command (as the Siani community understood it) that is the cause or fact in human conduct - it is human refusal to abide in just and right relationships in spite of what God (if there is a God) (if there is a God as witnessed to in Scripture) (if we accept Scripture as authoritative) says.

You shall not kill. Yet how many defend capital punishment (God said you shall not kill but God didn't mean it...) or self defense (God said you shall not kill but God didn't mean it...) which Jesus in Matthew and Luke specifically applies to insulting other people as an act of injustice (Jesus said you shall not kill and shall not insult others but Jesus didn't mean it...). Would a prohibition on slavery made the slightest difference?

So the question is not what God said or didn't say.

The ten commandments are not about "laws" (just for example, coveting) that we ought to have in our society.

The responsibility lies with us.

How do we live with justice to others?

For a believer such as myself, God has said what needs to be said and God is still speaking. And we go our own ways.

It is like Styron's question on the Holocaust: people look at the murder of the 6 million and say, where was God? But the real question is, when looking at the murder of the 6 million, where was man?

We should not lay responsibility on God for what we do or do not do.

Miamian
05-17-2008, 03:06 PM
Every week Jews read a portion (parasha) from the Torah. Coincidentally this week's parasha, Behar, talks mostly about slavery and the rules behind it. There was one part in the parasha which states that an Israelite inherits the children of a gentile slave. That troubled me deeply and one of the Gaba'im (a sort of synagogue official), who is also a Rabbi discussed it with me.

Slavery in itself is not prohibited because at the time it was accepted worldwide. Entire economies depended on it. To prohibit it outright would have caused upheaval that could wrecked societies. However, the Torah introduces concepts of slavery that at the time were revolutionary. In short, it sets out rules that prohibit abusing slaves. At the time that the Torah was handed down at Sinai, slaves were just as much property as any inanimate object. Since the Torah became Law, slaves were much better off with Jews than others. I realize that in our western eyes, freedom is better than anything, but again you have to look at the time when this was happening.

The Gabai also explained that the Written Torah was the start, and that the Oral Torah continued. You have then have prophets and sages that set down further rules, providing the base for abolishing slavery.

Just more thing about killing: remember that the Ten Commandments were written in Hebrew, not English. In Hebrew, that Commandment states "lo tirtsach" which means "you shall not murder." It's from the verb lirtsoach, to murder. The verb to kill "l'harog" is not used and there is a big difference between killing and murder.

BigDogsHunt
05-18-2008, 08:03 PM
Wow, all interesting information. Which is why I asked. Thanks.

I still find this concept unique and troubling on a certain level as to the omission of Slavery. I see how ancient history treated/viewed slavery and ability to possess another human as payment or debt, etc.

thanks for the feedback.

Joker2thief
05-19-2008, 08:52 AM
Every week Jews read a portion (parasha) from the Torah. Coincidentally this week's parasha, Behar, talks mostly about slavery and the rules behind it. There was one part in the parasha which states that an Israelite inherits the children of a gentile slave. That troubled me deeply and one of the Gaba'im (a sort of synagogue official), who is also a Rabbi discussed it with me.

Slavery in itself is not prohibited because at the time it was accepted worldwide. Entire economies depended on it. To prohibit it outright would have caused upheaval that could wrecked societies. However, the Torah introduces concepts of slavery that at the time were revolutionary. In short, it sets out rules that prohibit abusing slaves. At the time that the Torah was handed down at Sinai, slaves were just as much property as any inanimate object. Since the Torah became Law, slaves were much better off with Jews than others. I realize that in our western eyes, freedom is better than anything, but again you have to look at the time when this was happening.

The Gabai also explained that the Written Torah was the start, and that the Oral Torah continued. You have then have prophets and sages that set down further rules, providing the base for abolishing slavery.

Just more thing about killing: remember that the Ten Commandments were written in Hebrew, not English. In Hebrew, that Commandment states "lo tirtsach" which means "you shall not murder." It's from the verb lirtsoach, to murder. The verb to kill "l'harog" is not used and there is a big difference between killing and murder.

So it was a marketing ploy?
Why would a God make his decision on the enslavement of one group over another because of economic implications?Especially after he just released his chosen people from bondage?

Miamian
05-19-2008, 11:37 AM
So it was a marketing ploy?
Why would a God make his decision on the enslavement of one group over another because of economic implications?Especially after he just released his chosen people from bondage?Obviously, you didn't read what I wrote. First of all, there would have been tremendous upheaval if slavery were abolished outright. The type of attitude that says "whatever just do it" without considering the consequences can make those consequences even more dire.

There's also the part about how you treat slaves. In Egypt the slavery was harsh, brutal and slaves were just objects to be used and abused. That's where the change started.

emeraldfin
05-20-2008, 09:49 AM
IMO its not in the ten commandments because the commandments were created by humans, not by God.

Its in humans own interest to inslave and rule over weaker peoples, thats why its not in there.

Joker2thief
05-20-2008, 03:00 PM
Obviously, you didn't read what I wrote. First of all, there would have been tremendous upheaval if slavery were abolished outright. The type of attitude that says "whatever just do it" without considering the consequences can make those consequences even more dire.

There's also the part about how you treat slaves. In Egypt the slavery was harsh, brutal and slaves were just objects to be used and abused. That's where the change started.

So once again I ask you-are you saying God took this into consideration when giving these commandments to Moses? Or are you saying that God did not make these commandments and man made them to suit his own interest?

BigDogsHunt
05-20-2008, 04:58 PM
True, I find it hard that God would weigh "current concepts" "current economic conditions" into his commandments.

Frankly, it shouldnt matter to God what was currently deemed "accepted" practice, or what impact on the economies his commandments would bear by being followed.

It does seem odd that "slavery" is omitted on the virtues we should hold near and dear based on the 10 commandments.

This doesnt seem to make sense.

Dolphan7
05-20-2008, 09:38 PM
Just a side note, I think it is worth mentioning that there are two, and probably several other, types of slavery. When I think of biblical slavery I think of two....the type the Jews faced in Egypt wherein the whole nation it seemed was enslaved without reason. Then there is the bond servant type of slavery wherein we see people becoming slaves to pay off debt. Kinda the type of slavery we are in today in terms of debt, especially credit card debt,.....we owe, so we work to pay off that debt.

I don't think God condones slavery, but I think he knows that it would be inevitable, and lays out how to treat slaves properly as Miamian pointed out.

Good discussion though. Thanks BigDogsHunt for the thread.:up:

Miamian
05-21-2008, 01:45 AM
So once again I ask you-are you saying God took this into consideration when giving these commandments to Moses? Or are you saying that God did not make these commandments and man made them to suit his own interest?Yes, G-d took that into consideration, also knowing that in the future slavery would be abolished. If you read what I wrote it should be clear.

I also included this paragraph:


The Gabai also explained that the Written Torah was the start, and that the Oral Torah continued. You have then have prophets and sages that set down further rules, providing the base for abolishing slavery.

ih8brady
05-21-2008, 03:39 PM
Just a side note, I think it is worth mentioning that there are two, and probably several other, types of slavery. When I think of biblical slavery I think of two....the type the Jews faced in Egypt wherein the whole nation it seemed was enslaved without reason. Then there is the bond servant type of slavery wherein we see people becoming slaves to pay off debt. Kinda the type of slavery we are in today in terms of debt, especially credit card debt,.....we owe, so we work to pay off that debt.

I don't think God condones slavery, but I think he knows that it would be inevitable, and lays out how to treat slaves properly as Miamian pointed out.

Good discussion though. Thanks BigDogsHunt for the thread.:up:


I thought that with God all things are possible? The first commandment alone was radical for its time (rejecting the popular religions of the day for monotheism), so why not be bold and ban slavery as well.

Miamian
05-22-2008, 09:02 AM
I thought that with God all things are possible? The first commandment alone was radical for its time (rejecting the popular religions of the day for monotheism), so why not be bold and ban slavery as well.Just because you may not understand the reason now doesn't mean that there wasn't a purpose.

cwsox
05-22-2008, 07:55 PM
I thought that with God all things are possible? The first commandment alone was radical for its time (rejecting the popular religions of the day for monotheism), so why not be bold and ban slavery as well.

What was the first commandment? Jews, Lutherans/Catholics, and Anglicans/rest of Protestants don't agree on what it is.

Did Moses proclaim monotheism? Or henotheism? Was Moses proclaiming there is only one god, or was Moses saying that YHWH is the God of the people gathered at Sinai and not that there is only one god? Did Moses reject the other religions of the day, or just proclaim the god of the Sinai community?

This is not something simple.

Anyway to point at God and say God should have done this or that misses that humanity has responsibilities here. Don't say God should do something that people should do - especially when they don't listen to God anyway.

Everything about "different types of slavery" and and all the rationalizing is in opposition to God and reality anyway. It is the sin of trying to make "long ago people" different than us and pretend we are better.

Slavery exists today, human trafficking is extremely financially lucrative - today.

In the strictest use of the language, God knows that no one will read this because its not simple, 25 words or less, will ruin their fantasy of what reality is and what is not happening and is happening in the relaity beyond the suburbs:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05/05/080505fa_fact_finnegan

emeraldfin
05-24-2008, 08:55 AM
Anyway to point at God and say God should have done this or that misses that humanity has responsibilities here. Don't say God should do something that people should do - especially when they don't listen to God anyway.


Well, there is one story in the Bible that IMO does'nt potray God in the best of lights and makes Him look pretty contradictary.

In 1 Kings 19, we read about the Prophet Elijah, who challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest to see who is the real God. Two altars are placed on top of Mt Caramel and a sacrifice is placed on both altars. The aim is to see which God will set the sacrifice alight. When the Baal's fail and Yahweh sets alight the sacrifice, Elijah then orders the death of the 450 prophets of Baal.

Now from what I was led to believe was that Prophets are to spread the message of God. So was it right for a messenger of God to order the death of 450 people for practising another religion and in the process encouraging people to break the 5th Commandment?

Now over the years people have tried to defend these type of stories by saying they are allegorical or methaphorical, but if that is the case with this particular story, then what is the hidden message?

Miamian
05-24-2008, 03:16 PM
Well, there is one story in the Bible that IMO does'nt potray God in the best of lights and makes Him look pretty contradictary.

In 1 Kings 19, we read about the Prophet Elijah, who challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest to see who is the real God. Two altars are placed on top of Mt Caramel and a sacrifice is placed on both altars. The aim is to see which God will set the sacrifice alight. When the Baal's fail and Yahweh sets alight the sacrifice, Elijah then orders the death of the 450 prophets of Baal.

Now from what I was led to believe was that Prophets are to spread the message of God. So was it right for a messenger of God to order the death of 450 people for practising another religion and in the process encouraging people to break the 5th Commandment?

Now over the years people have tried to defend these type of stories by saying they are allegorical or methaphorical, but if that is the case with this particular story, then what is the hidden message?I don't see the issue here, capital punishment for egregious sins is pretty commonplace in the Bible.

emeraldfin
05-26-2008, 06:32 AM
Point is, is capital punishment not the breaking of the 5th commandment. The "God" that appeared to Moses and gave him the commandments never stated it was okay to kill people who did'nt follow Judaism, only that you shall not murder.

The issue is that in another post it was stated that it is man's fault that they dis-obey God. My issue here is that with teachings like this in the Holy Bible, is it not Gods own fault that man has fallen away from Him because of the way He is potrayed in the Old Testement.

Dolphan7
05-26-2008, 04:40 PM
Well, there is one story in the Bible that IMO does'nt potray God in the best of lights and makes Him look pretty contradictary.

In 1 Kings 19, we read about the Prophet Elijah, who challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest to see who is the real God. Two altars are placed on top of Mt Caramel and a sacrifice is placed on both altars. The aim is to see which God will set the sacrifice alight. When the Baal's fail and Yahweh sets alight the sacrifice, Elijah then orders the death of the 450 prophets of Baal.

Now from what I was led to believe was that Prophets are to spread the message of God. So was it right for a messenger of God to order the death of 450 people for practising another religion and in the process encouraging people to break the 5th Commandment?

Now over the years people have tried to defend these type of stories by saying they are allegorical or methaphorical, but if that is the case with this particular story, then what is the hidden message?
You are right, the job of a prophet was to spread the message of God. In this case that message was to kill all the false god worshipers.
Prophets of God in the OT were held to very strict rules. Speaking falsely, or being a false prophet, warranted immediate death of such a person. So in this case Elijah was doing God's work/word.

This was a Theocracy. God was the head of that Theocracy. This is no different than the United States declaring war on a nation and sending it's soldiers to kill the enemy.

Again it is important to note the difference between killing and murder. Killing like in when David went up against Goliath. That is war.

Murder is like when this same David has Uriah killed so that David can have the man's wife Bathsheba. That is murder.