Daily Devotion for January 20, 2016
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer of Praise
Blessed are You, Lord our God and God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob, the great, mighty and awesome God, exalted God, who bestows bountiful kindness, who creates all things, who remembers the piety of the Saints, and who, in love, has brought a Redeemer to us, our forefathers and our children, for the sake of His Name.
O Mighty King, You are a helper, a savior and a shield. You resurrect the dead; You are powerful to save us in forgiveness of our sins.
You cause the dew to descend. You cause the wind to blow and the rain to fall.
You sustain the living with loving kindness, support the falling, heal the sick, release the slave; You fulfill Your trust to those who sleep in the dust. Who is like You, mighty Father? And who can be compared to You, King of Peace, who defeats death and restores life, and causes deliverance to spring forth! Who is your equal, Great Comforter, who brings holiness to all who call upon You?
You are holy and Your Name is holy; the angels and all the creatures of heaven and earth praise You daily for all eternity. Blessed are You Lord, the holy God.
Holy Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You.
[Life becomes easier when you accept the apology you never got.]
Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ's name, I pray,
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 22:12 (ESV)
but he overthrows the words of the traitor.
Exodus 21:7-11 (ESV)
Laws About Female Servants
When a man sells his daughter as a handmaid, she shall not go out as the male servants do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.
If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter.
If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.
Notes on the Scripture
We have used the word servant instead of slave today, but neither is accurate. We simply do not have an English word: "servant" is inaccurate, because the servitude might be partially or entirely involuntary, but "slavery" is also inaccurate, because the daughter had rights and expectations.
Marriages were of two kinds, both of them arranged and involving the payment of money by the groom or groom's family to the bride and/or her family. This seems unthinkable in modern Western society, but it was the general rule in history even for the highest-born; marriages of crown princes and princesses in Europe were still strongly influenced by parental permission well into the 20th century.
The primary wife had more status; she could propose or refuse a match and it was her children who would be the heirs. Remember, when Abraham sought to obtain Rebekah as the (first) wife for his son Issac, his first order of business was to charm Rebekah herself. (Genesis 24:22-61)
Men would often took a second wife when their first wife passed childbearing age or died. In some cases, a man might take a subordinate wife (or wives) while the first wife was still fertile. A few, such as Abraham and Jacob, took more than two. The institution was flexible. But today's verses govern the potentially harshest case, a woman bought outright as a servant.
A woman "bought as a handmaid" was sold into servitude without her assent; yet she was not fully a slave, as we think of the term. She could not be sold, nor could her children. She could not be treated as a prostitute; if a male member of the family wanted to have intimate relations with her, he had to treat her as a wife.
n the other hand, a servant woman's bondage could be lifelong, if she was allowed to remain a maiden. If she became a concubine or "wife", however, and was mistreated, she would have a right to break the bond, without regard to how long she had served. So the rules regarding male and female indentured service were very different. Men would go free automatically after six years, whereas women could go free at any time, but only if they were mistreated.
A very odd fact: multiple marriage is not completely forbidden in the New Testament. Indications are that men with multiple wives were church members. One can infer, however, that it was frowned upon, from Paul's statement in his first epistle to Timothy: "Deacons must have only one wife." (1 Timothy 3:12) This would appear to prohibit both divorced men and polygamists from serving as church officials. Also note Paul’s instruction: “Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” (1 Cor. 7:2) This can be construed to forbid taking a second wife (or husband) after one joins the church.