Slavery in the Bible
There are 4 types of slavery referenced in the bible:
The Bible identifies different types of slaves including female Hebrew slaves, male Hebrew slaves, non-Hebrew and hereditary slaves. These were subject to different regulations which included treatment.
I.) Types of Slavery
A.)Female Hebrew slaves
1.) There are ambiguous passages concerning whether female Hebrew slaves were to be treated differently from males. Could be sold by their fathers and enslaved for life, but there were some limits to this.
"If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money." (Exodus 21:7-11)
Deuteronomy 15:12-18, however, applies the same standards to female and male slaves, with verse 18 stating, "Your female slave, also, you shall treat in the same way. You must not be reluctant to let your slave go free, since the service they have given you for six years was worth twice a hired man's salary; then also the Lord, your God, will bless you in everything you do."
B.) Male Hebrew Slaves
1.) Could sell themselves into slavery for a six-year period to eliminate their debts, after which they might go free. However, if the male slave had been given a wife and had children with her, they would remain his master's property. They could only stay with their family by becoming permanent slaves (Exodus 21:2-5). Christians, especially those who subscribe to Biblical inerrancy, will commonly emphasis this debt bondage and try to minimize the other forms of race based chattel slavery when attempting to excuse the Bible for enforcing slavery
"If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently." (Exodus 21:2-6)
i.) It is interesting to note that if a slave wishes to remain with his wife and family he must submit to his master for life.
2.) On the other hand Hebrew slaves, and only those Hebrew slaves who entered slavery "voluntarily", got some severance package:
"If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today...Your female slave, also, you shall treat in the same way. You must not be reluctant to let your slave go free, since the service they have given you for six years was worth twice a hired man's salary; then also the Lord, your God, will bless you in everything you do." (Deuteronomy 15:12-18)
C.) Non-Hebrew slaves
1.) Non-Hebrews could (according to Leviticus 25:44) be subjected to slavery in exactly the way that it is usually understood. The slaves could be bought, sold and inherited when their owner died. This, by any standard, is race- or ethnicity-based, and Leviticus 25:44-46 explicitly allows slaves to be bought from foreign nations or foreigners living in Israel. It does say that simply kidnapping Hebrews to enslave them is a crime punishable by death (Deuteronomy 24:7), but there is no such prohibition regarding foreigners. War captives could be made slaves, assuming they had refused to make peace (this applied to women and children — men were simply killed), along with the seizure of all their property (Deuteronomy 20:10-15):
"As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another." (Leviticus 25:44-46)
D.) Hereditary Slaves
1.) The children of slaves were born into slavery and there is no apparent way by which they could obtain their freedom:
"If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone." (Exodus 21:4d)
i.) The children of slaves were born into slavery and there is no apparent way by which they could obtain their freedom.
II.) Treatment of Slaves
A.) Beating slaves
1.) Beating slaves was perfectly allowable regulated under the following rules:
"If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property."(Exodus 21:20-21)
"If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth." (Exodus 21:26-27)
B.) Abduction and the slave trade
1.) Hebrews were not allowed to abduct fellow Hebrews and sell them
"He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:16)
2.) Given that the Hebrews were instructed in Leviticus 25:44 to obtain their slaves from the people around them, it is evident that this injunction to not abduct people referred to Hebrews and not non-Hebrews. Obtaining and selling non-Hebrews was evidently not a problem. Deuteronomy 24:7 specifies that only the abduction of Hebrews to enslave them is a crime.
C.) Escaped slaves
1.) An escaped slave could not be handed over to his master, and would gain full citizenship among Israelites:
"You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him." (Deuteronomy 23:15-16)
i.)However, as the BibleTrack commentary puts it regarding Deuteronomy 23:15:
"Most students of the Old Testament agree that this regulation concerns a slave who has escaped from his master in some foreign land and sought refuge in Israel. We do know that, in addition to slaves captured in battle, debt slavery and voluntary slavery existed in Israel and was protected by law, so it seems unlikely that this law applies to those two categories of slaves. We simply aren't given any detail beyond these two verses."
So, the Bible endorses various types of slavery.
The old testiment is antiquated laws for the nation of Israel prior to 2000 years ago. The nation of is does not currently or specifically use or enforce these old laws of "Moses".
For enforcement of these antiquated laws outside of Israel would basically be out of Jurisdiction. Then.again, those antiquated laws could serve as example laws for other jurisdictions.
Biblical text being called "religious " text is about the establishment and enforcement of government laws. If your are then involved in government establishment or enforcement of government upon people you are then being a religious person.
Please keep your government to yourself.