Maltreatment of Slaves

Bernard S. Jackson

in Wisdom-Laws

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780198269311
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683596 | DOI:
Maltreatment of Slaves

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This chapter discusses the two paragraphs in Exodus dealing with maltreatment of slaves. The apparent difference in the causation tests prompted David Daube to argue that there is another factor at play here. The master has a right to discipline his slave, as in other ancient legal systems. This right is here being regulated, again in a somewhat ‘arbitrary’ fashion. Where such a right to discipline another exists in modern law, one tends to apply two complementary criteria. The ‘arbitrary’ test found in the Mishpatim may well reflect, in a concrete and operational form, such underlying concerns. However, intention here is not an independent criterion: if the slave dies immediately, ‘under the hand’ of the master, then the degree of force is unjustifiable; if, on the other hand, the slave has survived a day or two, then the use of disciplinary force is regarded as justifiable.

Keywords: Exodus; maltreatment; slave; master; causation tests; David Daube; discipline; law; Mishpatim; intention

Chapter.  9162 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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