originally designed to be, of universal obligation and force: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil
Matt. v. 17.
In accordance with this fundamental law of the nation, God proceeded to provide in their civil institutions for the operation of a regular system of domestic slavery.
Under these institutions, a Hebrew might lose his liberty and become a domestic slave, in six different ways.
(See A. Clarke
, on Ex. XXI.)
1. In extreme poverty, he might sell his liberty.
Lev. XXV. 39: “If thy brother be waxed poor and be sold unto thee
2. A father might sell his child.
Ex. XXI. 7: “If a man sell his daughter to be a maid-servant
3. Insolvent debtors became the slaves of their creditors.
IV. 1 : “My husband is dead, and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondsmen
4. A thief, if he had not money to pay the fine laid on him by the law, was to be sold for his profit whom he had robbed.
Ex. XXII. 3: “If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for the theft
5. A Hebrew was liable to be taken in war, and sold for a slave.
2 Chron. XII. 8.
6. A Hebrew slave who had been ransomed from a Gentile by a Hebrew, might be sold