From the desk of the Good Reverend:
Was There Slavery in Egypt
In the Hebrew Bible, which some call the Old Testament, it is commonly thought that Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. This is not the case.
- There was no concept of owning another person in ancient Egypt. Slavery is the owning of another person.
- Most important: The Hebrew Bible uses the word “avadim” to describe the status of the Hebrews in Egypt. The word avadim does not mean slave. It means conscript worker, as in someone who is contracted to build a public works project.
- When the Hebrews left Egypt, the Hebrew Bible clearly states that they were leaving Egypt “boldly”. They even stopped at at least one border town and took supplies they needed for the time they would spend in the desert. Basically, they sacked an Egyptian border town. You ever wonder why the Pharaoh of the Bible pursued them after letting them go? This is why. On their way out of Egypt, the Hebrews committed an act of war by raiding along the border.
- Without a military arm, the Hebrew clan would not have been able to take these things, so they were clearly armed when they left Egypt. No “slaves” would be armed when they marched out from where their masters were.
Rev. M. K. Snapp