Answering Fools Part -3 / Maybe you need to do some homework first.


Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture
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From: Prov. 26.4-5 Part 3 – Answering Fools

We are answering a series of tongue-in-cheek questions from an anonymous
writer. Their first query had to do with whether or not one might – based upon
Old Testament Law, purchase (in their example) Mexican or Canadian “slaves.”
And as we saw, they brought some presumptions to the table, and some
misconceptions about how the idea of slavery is handled in the Bible which
needed to be cleared first. The Levitical laws regulated a social construct then,
which had little in common with what we conceive of as slavery in our context.
The second question suffers from the same problems. I quote: “2. I would like
to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21.7. In this day and
age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?” The question as it is put in
fact, cannot possibly fit into the passage the writer cites. If one carefully
consults not only this passage, but its complimentary ones, and the Jewish
literature which explains how these things were carried out, once again a very
different picture emerges. First, it is clear such a “selling” of one’s daughter was
that which took place only in the case of such financial hardship, that the
household could no longer sustain her. Second, such a sale included the idea of
betrothal. Either to the purchaser himself, or, for his son. The idea being that
once she reached the age of marriage – she would indeed become the man’s
wife. Now this betrothal period had a maximum time span of seven years. And
the purchase price is amortized over seven years. So that if he decides to break
the agreement, and set her free, he has to pay her the equivalent of the years
remaining on the contract, so that she is not destitute. He may decide to keep
the bargain by deciding to let her son marry her instead of himself. But if he
does that and the son doesn’t want to marry her, then when he sets her free, he
has to give her the same dowry he would give if his own daughter were getting
married. And in any event, he is NOT allowed to sell her again, even to another
Israelite tribe, but must either make her whole by marrying her, paying her
what is due and setting her free, or having one of her family members redeem
her by paying the appropriate price. So no, no one can give you a “fair price”,
because you aren’t talking about what the Bible is talking about. Not even close.

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