an awl through the ear

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Sun Jul 9 18:26:00 PDT 2000

frances bolton wrote:

> > If you admit that you are a slave of Christ,
>> purchased and owned by Him, bound by His law, and
>> committed to His discipleship for life...
>That's kind of sexy/nasty, in the same way those
>bloody naked Jesuses are. mkes me wonder about the
>roots and strange pleasures of christian self-denial
>and focus on sinfulness.

I was, um, impressed by this too, and did a google search for "slave of christ." After ignoring "of" as a common word, it returned 86,000 hits.

<>, complete with Sears organ accompaniment, reports:

>The original writings of the Bible uses the word "SLAVE", and not "SERVANT".
>The King James version and many other translations translated the
>word "SLAVE" as "SERVANT." Strong's Concordance at 1401 gives the
>definition as a slave (lit. Or fig., invol. Or vol.; frequently
>therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency); -
>bond (-man), servant. . The disciples understood the meaning of the
>word slave because there were provisions in the Mosaic law for
>treatment of SLAVES.
>We must not look at this word "SLAVE" in the way we know of slavery,
>such as the treatment of SLAVES prior to the Civil War.
>The apostles called themselves SLAVES of JESUS CHRIST. Romans 1:1
>"From Paul, a bond SLAVE of JESUS CHRIST (the Messiah)..." 2 Peter
>1:1"...a SLAVE and apostle of JESUS CHRIST...". James 1:1 "...a
>SLAVE of God and of the Lord JESUS CHRIST...".
>Now let's look at the definition of the word "SLAVE" according to
>Smith's Bible Dictionary. This will allow us to understand what this
>word meant to the disciples.
>The institution of slavery was recognized, though not established,
>by the Mosaic law with a view to mitigate (moderate) its hardship
>and to secure to every man his ordinary rights.
>I. Hebrew SLAVES. 1. The circumstances under which a Hebrew might be
>reduced to servitude were (1) poverty; (2) the commission of theft;
>and (3) the exercise of paternal authority. In the first case, a man
>who had mortgaged his property, and was unable to support his family
>might sell himself to another Hebrew, with a view both to obtain
>maintenance and perchance a surplus sufficient to redeem his
>property. Lev. 25:25, 39. (2) The commission of theft rendered a
>person liable to servitude whenever restitution could not be made on
>the scale prescribed by the law. Ex. 22:1,3. The thief was bound to
>work out the value of his restitution money in the service of him on
>whom the theft had been committed. (3) The exercise of paternal
>authority was limited to the sale of a daughter of tender age to be
>a maid-servant, with the ulterior view of her becoming the concubine
>of the purchaser. Ex. 21:7. 2. The servitude of a Hebrew might be
>terminated in three ways: (1) by the satisfaction or the remission
>of all claims against him; (2) by the recurrence of the year of
>jubilee, Lev. 25:40; and (3) the expiration of six years from the
>time that his servitude commenced. Ex. 21:2; Deut. 15:12. (4) To the
>above modes of obtaining liberty the rabbinists added, as a fourth,
>the death of the master without leaving a son, there being no power
>of claiming the SLAVE on the part of any heir except a son. If a
>servant did not desire to avail himself of the opportunity of
>leaving his service, he was to signify his intention in a formal
>manner before the judges (or more exactly at the place of judgment),
>and then the master was to take him to the door-post, and to bore
>his ear through with an awl, Ex. 21:6, driving the awl into or "unto
>the door," as stated in Deut. 15:17, and thus fixing the servant to
>it. A servant who had submitted to this operation remained,
>according to the words of the law, a servant "forever." Ex. 21:6.
>These wards are, however, interpreted by the rabbinists as meaning
>until the year of jubilee. 3. The conditions of a Hebrew servant was
>by no means intolerable. His master was admonished to treat him, not
>"as a bond-servant, but as an hired servant and as a sojourner,:
>and, again "not to rule over him with rigor." Lev. 25:30, 10, 43. At
>the termination of his servitude the master was enjoined not to "let
>him go away empty," but to remunerate him liberally out of his
>flock, his floor and his wine-press. Deut. 15:13, 14. In the event
>of a Hebrew becoming the servant of a "stranger," meaning a
>non-Hebrew, the servitude could be terminated only in two ways, viz.
>by the arrival of the year of jubilee, or by the repayment to the
>master of the purchase money paid for the servant, after deducting a
>sum for the value of his services proportioned to the length of his
>servitude. Lev. 25:47-55. A Hebrew woman night enter into voluntary
>servitude on the score of poverty, and in this case she was entitled
>to her freedom after six years service, together with her usual
>gratuity at leaving, just as in the case of a man. Deut. 15:12,13.
>Thus far we have seen little that is objectionable in the condition
>of Hebrew servants. In respect to marriage there were some
>peculiarities which, to our ideas, would be regarded as hardships. A
>master might, for instance, give a wife to a Hebrew servant for the
>time of his servitude, the wife being in this case, it must be
>remarked, not only a SLAVE but a non-Hebrew. Should he leave when
>his term had expired, his wife and children would remain the
>absolute property of the master. Ex. 21:4, 5. Again, a father might
>sell his young daughter to a Hebrew, with a view either of marrying
>her himself or of giving her to his son. Ex. 21:7-9. It diminishes
>the apparent harshness of this proceeding if we look on the purchase
>money as in the light of a dowry given, as was not unusual, to the
>parents of the bride; still more, if we accept the rabbinical view
>that the consent of the maid was required before the marriage could
>take place. The position of a maiden thus sold by her father was
>subject to the following regulations: (1) She could not "go out as
>the men-servants do," i.e. she could not leave at the termination of
>six years, or in the year of jubilee, if her master was willing to
>fulfill the object for which he had purchased her. (2) Should he not
>wish to marry her, he should call upon her friends to procure her
>release by the repayment of the purchase money. (3) If he betrothed
>her to his son, he was bound to make such provision for her as he
>would for one of his own daughters. (4) If either he or his son,
>having married her, took a second wife, it should not be to the
>prejudice of the first. (5) If neither of the three first specified
>alternatives took place, the maid was entitled to immediate and
>gratuitous liberty. ex. 21:7-11. The custom of reducing Hebrews to
>servitude appears to have fallen into disuse subsequent to the
>Babylonish captivity. Vast numbers of Hebrews were reduced to
>SLAVERY as war-captives at different periods by the Philistines,
>Syrians, Egyptians and Romans.
>II. Non-Hebrew SLAVES. 1. The majority of non-Hebrew SLAVES were
>war-captives, either of Canaanites who had survived the general
>extermination of their race under Joshua or such as were conquered
>from the other surrounding nations. Num. 31:26 Besides these, many
>were obtained by purchase from foreign SLAVE-dealers, Lev. 25:44,45;
>and others may have been resident foreigners who were reduced to
>this state by either poverty or crime. The children of SLAVES
>remained SLAVES, being the class described as "born in the house,"
>Gen. 14:14; 17;12; Eccles. 2:7, and hence the number was likely to
>increase as time went on. The average value of a SLAVE appears to
>have been thirty shekels. Ex. 21:32. 2. That the SLAVE might be
>manumitted appears from Ex. 21:26,27; Lev. 19:20. 3. The SLAVE is
>described as the "possession" of his master, apparently with a
>special reference to the power which the latter had of disposing of
>him to his heirs, as he would any other article of personal
>property. Lev. 25:45, 46. But, on the other hand, provision was made
>for the protection of his person. Ex. 21:20; Lev. 24:17, 22. A minor
>personal injury, such as the loss of an eye or a tooth, was to be
>recompensed by giving the servant his liberty. Ex. 21:26,27. The
>position of the SLAVE in regard to religious privileges was
>favorable. He was to be circumcised,
>Gen. 17:12, and hence was entitled to partake of the paschal
>sacrifice, Ex. 12:44, as well as of the other religious festivals.
>Deut. 12:12, 18:16:11,14. The occupations of SLAVES were of a menial
>character, as implied in Lev. 25:39, consisting partly in the work
>of the house and partly in personal attendance on the master. It
>will be seen that the whole tendency of the Bible legislation was to
>mitigate SLAVERY, making it little more than hired service, and to
>abolish it.
>We, ourselves, must understand that we are to be "JESUS' SLAVES." 1
>Corinthians 7:22 "For he who as a SLAVE was summoned in [to union
>with] the Lord is a freedman of the Lord, just so he who was free
>when he was called is a bond servant of CHRIST (the Messiah)."
>Matthew 4:10 "You shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt
>thou serve."
>Romans 6:18 "Ye became the servant of righteousness."
>Ephesians 6:6 "..but as servants (SLAVES) of CHRIST, doing the will
>of God heartily and with your whole soul."
>Revelation 2:20 "But I have this against you: that you tolerate the
>woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be
>inspired], and who is teaching and leading astray my servants and
>beguiling them into practicing sexual vice and eating food
>sacrificed to idols." Amplified Bible.
>The Interlinear Bible uses the word slaves instead of servants.
>"Behold, I have a few things against you, that you allow the woman
>Jezebel to teach, she saying herself to be a prophetess, and to
>cause My slaves to go astray, and to commit fornication, and to eat
>idol sacrifices."
>We should have the same understanding that the disciples had of
>being JESUS' SLAVE and that it does not mean that He is harsh and
>cruel, but that He is love and wisdom and understanding because His
>mercy for us endures forever.

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