Slavery is known to have existed as early as the Shang dynasty (1h–12th century BCE) in China…down to the 20th century…slaves were generated in the same ways they were elsewhere, including capture in war, slave raiding, and the sale of insolvent debtors… self-sale into slavery, the sale of women and children (to satisfy debts or because the seller could not feed them), and the sale of the relatives of executed criminals….kidnapping…
Among the Aztecs of Mexico…People got into the institution through self-sale and capture and could buy their way out relatively easily…[but] chattels purchased from the Mayans and others were sacrificed in massive numbers…
In England about 10 percent of the population entered in the Domesday Book in 1086 were slaves, with the proportion reaching as much as 20 percent in some places. Slaves were also prominent in Scandinavia during the Viking era, 800–1050 CE, when slaves for use at home and for sale in the international slave markets were a major object of raids…
Continental Europe—France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, and Russia—all knew slavery. Russia was essentially founded as a by-product of slave raiding by the Vikings passing from Scandinavia to Byzantium in the 9th century, and slavery remained a major institution there until the early 1720s, when the state converted the household slaves into house serfs in order to put them on the tax rolls. House serfs were freed from their lords by an edict of Tsar Alexander II in 1861. Many scholars argue that the Soviets reinstituted a form of state slavery in the Gulag camps that flourished until 1956.
Slavery was much in evidence in the Middle East from the beginning of recorded history…Slaves were present in ancient Egypt and are known to have been murdered to accompany their deceased owners into the afterlife…
Slaves were owned in all Islamic societies…ranging from Arabia…to North Africa in the west and to what is now…Indonesia in the east. Some Islamic states, such as the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate, and the Sokoto caliphate, must be termed slave societies because slaves there were very important numerically as well as a focus of the polities’ energies.
Slaves have been owned in Black Africa throughout recorded history. In many areas there were large-scale slave societies…Approximately 18 million Africans were delivered into the Islamic trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trades between 650 and 1905. In the second half of the 15th century Europeans began to trade along the west coast of Africa, and by 1867 between 7 million and 10 million Africans had been shipped as slaves to the New World…African slave owners demanded primarily women and children for labour and lineage incorporation and tended to kill males because they were troublesome and likely to flee. The transatlantic trade, on the other hand, demanded primarily adult males…
The first known major slave society was that of Athens…Slaves were responsible for the prosperity of Athens and the leisure of the aristocrats, who had time to create the high culture now considered the beginning of Western civilization. The existence of large-scale slavery was also responsible, it seems logical to believe, for the Athenians’ thoughts on freedom that are considered a central part of the Western heritage…
The next major slave society was Roman Italy btween about the 2nd century BCE and the 4th century CE. Initially, Rome was a polity consisting primarily of small farmers. But the process of creating the empire took them away from their farms for extended periods, and the prolonged wars of conquest in Spain and the eastern Mediterranean during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE created a great flood of captives…Roughly 30 percent of the population was enslaved…
Six hundred years later Islam outlawed slavery. It took another 1,200 years for Christian nations to outlaw overt slavery.
But still, slavery exists world-wide..
On September 15, 2016, Urmila Bhoola, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, presented a report on slavery in the modern world, in particular debt bondage…
it takes place…across many sectors of the economy, and is a form of enslavement with deep historical roots…remains one of the most prevalent forms of modern slavery in all regions of the world despite being banned in international law and most domestic jurisdictions.”…
there is a close relationship between debt bondage and various forms of exploitation, “including forced labour, the abuse of migrant workers, trafficking, and the worst forms of child labour.”…
ILO provided a figure in 2012 of 20.9 million people being victims of forced labor of all forms…
1. There are more than 4 million victims of sex trafficking globally.
2. 99% are women and girls.
3. There is no official estimate of sex trafficking victims in the U.S…However, in its 2019 report, the State Department found the top three nations of origin for human trafficking victims were the United States, Mexico and the Philippines.
7. Profits from forced sexual labor are estimated at $99 billion worldwide.
12. Prosecutions of sex trafficking are down in the U.S.
A man I was talking with argued against the righteousness of the God of the Bible because “he allows slavery”. His refusal to even discuss alternate perspectives on references to slavery in the Bible proved that, in reality, he was just seizing on an opportune excuse for rejecting an authority figure.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6;15-17)
This is notoriously true when getting a loan from a loan shark, buying drugs on credit from the local dealer, or becoming an indentured servant to pay for passage to the New World.
“See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil…
- love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply…
- But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods [powerful beings], and serve them…ye shall surely perish,” Deuteronomy 30:15-18)
This is not a threat of punishment by an angry God. This is a warning against the natural outcome of being overcome by powerful evil beings. This is demonstrably true just in the four dimensional arena, what else could we expect in the hyper dimensional?
In fact, the nation of Israel was the only nation in pre-mdern history known to forbid enslavement of its national people. And any nation can only control the conduct of its national people.
The Bible provides the only possible solution.
Someone has to pay the price for freeing others.
“if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant / paying off a debt: But as an hired servant / guaranteed wages, and as a sojourner / temporarily, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee [occurred every 7 years]. And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.”
“if…thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself / receives lump sum payment up front he has to work off unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger’s family: After that he is sold he may be redeemed again…any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God….”
“in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof…and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family…”
“And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. If thy brother…hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.” (Leviticus 25:8-25)
The path to peace is found in individuals living, in reality, the ideal that all humans are equal. This is the essence of the commandment to love, i.e. identify with, unite with, one another. Marriage vows express this as maintaining a relationship for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, by:
- forgiving others’ financial, emotional, social, and immoral acts against us by accepting our losses,
- accepting the limitations on the transgressors’ ability to make atonement / reparations for the losses they have caused us to suffer, especially ephemeral conditions like time, relationships, appreciation, gratitude, and care,
- and elevating our former enemy to the status of friend by making them a social equal.
Redemption is fundamental to a right-eous society, providing for personal freedom, recovery from hardship, and social equity for all subjects of God’s kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven. The hyper dimensional status of becoming a spiritual son of God equalizes the status of every oppressed population in society – slaves to masters, wives to husbands, barbarians to Greeks and Gentiles to Jews.
“there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but The Promised Seed of the Woman / Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossian 3:11-15)
Oh, but the Christians who were fortunate to be born into status, wealth, opportunity, AKA Caucasian colonialists of the United States of America and Europe, don’t want to be equalized with impoverished peoples from colonized lands. For sure we don’t want to be charitable. We want to maintain our privileged lifestyle at their expense.
Call it what you will, extraction of more labor than is recompensed is the currency by which self-indulgence, wealth, status and power is always obtained, individually and socially. Our industrialized societies continue to extort labor, we just simply don’t call these practices “slavery” while exploiting workers in factories and remote countrysides and foreign countries.
This is why redemption of slaves, as well as impoverished and helpless victims of powerful social forces, is a fundamental aspect of godliness.
America’s treatment of White Europe after WWII contrasts sharply with our continued racist practices against Native Americans and African-Americans. America both redeemed their White brothers’ economies and restored their sociopolitical standing as equals.
At the time, leaders in Washington understood that the United States had a powerful strategic interest in helping Western Europe to recover and stand on its own. As Secretary of State George C. Marshall said on June 5, 1947: “Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.”
That’s why the United States worked to rebuild post-war Europe, investing $22 billion — or roughly $182 billion in real 21st-century dollars adjusted for inflation — in economic foreign assistance across 16 war-torn nations from 1946 to 1952. To be sure, America’s post-war commitment to Western Europe demonstrated our nation’s character. Yet it also advanced our economic interests. America’s $182 billion in economic foreign assistance to Europe amounts to far less than the more than $250 billion in goods that the United States now annually exports to those countries…
Between 1946 and 1952, Washington invested $2.2 billion — or $18 billion in real 21st-century dollars adjusted for inflation — in Japan’s reconstruction effort. That amounts to more than one-third of the $65 billion in goods that the United States exported to Japan in 2013. Today, Japan is a mature democracy, the world’s third largest economy and one of America’s most important allies in the Asia-Pacific.
Decades after World War II, foreign assistance programs are still helping Washington to advance America’s core national security interests by promoting economic development and regional stability, while at the same time opening and expanding international markets for U.S. businesses…
Consider sub-Saharan Africa, where frequent energy shortfalls inhibit business activity and commercial growth, making it difficult for children to attend school, companies to create jobs and businesses to buy or produce goods. The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation in May 2014 aimed at expanding electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa…“to support affordable, reliable electricity in sub-Saharan Africa in order to improve economic growth, health and education in Africa, while helping job creation in the United States through greater exports.”
Clearly, America is motivated to invest for profit.
Internally, redeeming our own citizens from poverty and restoring social equality would cost more than enough Americans are willing to divert from personal consumption. Redemption is driven by morality.