SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW)

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Chapter 21

1-6. Care of the Interests of Servants—The Lord desired to guard the interests of servants. He commanded the Israelites to be merciful, and to bear in mind that they themselves had been servants. They were directed to be mindful of the rights of their servants. In no case were they to abuse them. In dealing with them they were not to be exacting, as the Egyptian taskmasters had been with them. They were to exercise tenderness and compassion in the treatment of their servants. God desired them to put themselves in the place of the servants, and deal with them as they would wish others to deal with them under the same circumstances. 1BC 1106.5

Because of poverty, some were sold into bondage by their parents. Others who were sentenced for crimes by the judges were sold into bondage. The Lord specified that even these were not to be held as bond-servants for more than seven years. At the end of that time every servant was given his freedom, or, if he chose, he was allowed to remain with his master. Thus God guarded the interests of the lowly and the oppressed. Thus He enjoined a noble spirit of generosity, and encouraged all to cultivate a love for liberty, because the Lord had made them free. Any one who refused liberty when it was his privilege to have it, was marked. This was not a badge of honor to him, but a mark of disgrace. Thus God encouraged the cultivation of a high and noble spirit, rather than a spirit of bondage and slavery. 1BC 1106.6

God desires Christians to respect the liberty that He has in so marvelous a manner given them. In Christ is vested the ownership of every man. Man should not be another man's property. God has bought mankind. One man's mind, one man's power, should not rule and control another's conscience. In the sight of God wealth and position do not exalt one man above another. Men are free to choose the service of God, to love the Lord, and to keep all His commandments (Manuscript 126, 1901). 1BC 1106.7