This post is a continuation of Does God approve of Slavery: Facts.
Let’s assume verses like Leviticus 25:44-46 don’t exist. Verses where God is explicitly giving permission to the Hebrew nation that it is okay to own slaves. What could we infer from the Bible then?
God rains ten plagues on Egypt killing countless people in order to free his people from the bonds of slavery. God even specifically targets children to be murdered in their beds while they sleep for his grand finale. God is very serious about how he feels about freeing his people from slavery.
Finally free form the bonds of slavery, God could have had his people issue forth out of Egypt abolishing slavery wherever it was found as they conquered Canaan like a dragon-riding, Targaryen queen. God’s people could have shown the ancient world a different way, a better way. God could have really set his chosen people apart from the world around them how does a benevolent God miss that opportunity?
Some people argue that God was limited by the culture of the time. Abolishing Slavery would be too radical of an concept, except for the fact that God is constantly telling the Israelites not to be like the nations around them, particularly when it comes to worshiping him (Ezekiel 20:32, Joshua 23:6-7, Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Leviticus 18:1-5, Jeremiah 10:1-5)
To rub salt in the wound four times God tells the Israelites not to oppress and to otherwise be kind to the sojourners living among them because they were once sojourners (temporary inhabitants) in the land of Egypt (I suppose that is one way of looking at 430 years of slavery). But not a single mention of “don’t own slaves, because you were once slaves in Egypt” (Exodus 22:21, Exodus 23:9, Deuteronomy 10:19, Leviticus 19:34).
Moving on to God’s big list of don’ts, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t covet, don’t work on the Sabbath, and so on. Was there no room left over for “don’t own a person?” I mean don’t covet made the list, it seems to me like he was stretching to hit an even ten. Think about it if the Ten Commandments are the top ten things I should/shouldn’t do, it is worse for me to covet my neighbor’s ox then it is for me to actually physically own my neighbor. God once had a man stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36), but if I beat a slave I own with a stick, so long as he lives and doesn’t lose an eye or a tooth I didn’t do anything wrong, because he is my money (Exodus 21:20-21).
God even hands down completely absurd laws. “Don’t mar the edges of your beard” gets more of a shout out then “don’t own another human being” (Leviticus 19:27). What the hell difference does the shape of a man’s beard make while he is raping some poor girl, probably a teenager, if even that old, after he just killed her father and her mother and her aunts and her uncles and her brothers and any sisters who were married, and then transported her from her homeland for his own sexual gratification, even if he already has two or three wives. That’s fine, but oh no! Don’t touch the edges of your beard, or eat shellfish, or touch a pigskin, or wear a polyester blend shirt, or any of the other asinine laws that God was so busy coming up with he forgot to mention slavery was a bad idea.
So, in light of all that, even if God did not in fact explicitly one could buy slave slaves, even if God didn’t explicitly state you could sell your daughter into slavery, even if God didn’t explicitly command the capture of virgins to be slaves. God thought it was important make sure the Israelites separated themselves from the culture of tha nations around them, but it was not important to have the Israelites separate themselves in terms of owning slaves. God thought it was important to make asinine law after asinine law, but not important to make one law forbidding slavery.
Given God’s omniscience this is a deliberate omission, and I think we can infer a whole lot about God from it. His lack of condemnation is beyond deafening.