Slavery in the Bible

Posted: December 26, 2010 in Arguments, Bible Related
Tags: , , , , , ,

There are many aspects of the Bible that are misconceived. Of these misconceptions, slavery in the Bible is a popular one that skeptics, critics and even I for a time believed was condoned by the Bible, perhaps even promoted. It’s really not that complicated when you think about it: Slavery is bad. The Bible does not prohibit slavery. Therefore the bible is bad for not prohibiting slavery, which is a bad thing. But are these claims really valid? How can Christians claim to stand for peace, equality and love when the same Bible we preach from condones acts of slavery? The subject of slavery in the Bible is one of many subjects I believe Christians tend to overlook and never truly strive to understand, while critics ruthlessly use such subjects to drive people away from Biblical teaching. But before we discuss slavery in the Bible, it’s important to first ask ourselves what slavery is in the first place. 

 

When you hear the word “slavery” what are the first images that pop into your mind? Do you think of black slaves and white slave owners? Do you think of plantations in the south? Do you think of ships sailing from Africa westward across the Atlantic with human cargo? Do you think of innocent African men, women and children worked unethically and punished severely. If you do, you’re not alone. Most Americans immediately picture slavery this way; as a racial slavery in the past, that was abolished long ago. You cannot be penalized for thinking this way, because as Americans we are taught about this type of slavery over and over again due to its significance in our nation’s history.

There are two things that must be addressed though: not all slavery is racial, and slavery still exists today in many parts in the world. Slavery today takes many different shapes and forms. According to the United Nations, annually over 250,000 children are kidnapped and trained as children soldiers; 700,000 men, women and children are trafficked and sold as migrant labor slaves; and over 1 million females (mostly children) are trafficked as sex slaves.[1] At any given moment, it is estimated that there are about 12 million people serving around the world as slaves against their will.[2] Others speculate the number is closer to 27 million![3] We can even look back to the 8th century when the “Black” Moors enslaved the “white” Europeans when they conquered Spain and Portugal for 400 years. Also in the 8th century Norse Raiders of Scandinavia enslaved many Europeans. Africans have been enslaving other Africans for hundreds of years, some of which still goes on to this very day in Sudan and Darfur.[4] We must not confine our presupposed concept of slavery to just an abolished past racial slavery, but open ourselves to understand that there are many different types of slavery that have been around for thousands of years that still continue to this day all around the world. With that understood we must ask ourselves what kinds of slavery does the bible talk about?

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). As is any situation where an ancient language is translated into a more modern language there can be words that have multiple different meanings. The following words are used in the Bible’s original scripture:

v     Ebed (Hebrew); can mean slave, servant or bondservant.

v     Abad (Hebrew); can mean serve, work or labor.

v     Shiphchah (Hebrew); can mean maid, maidservant, or slave-girl.

v     Amah (Hebrew); can mean maid servant or female slave.

v     Doulos (Greek); can mean servant, slave or bondservant.

v     Sundoulos (Greek): can mean fellow servant, slave.

v     Paidiske (Greek): can mean bondwoman, maid and female slave.[5]

There were basically two types of slavery described in the bible: A servant or bondservant that was paid a wage, and an enslaved individual that receives no pay.

            So what does the Bible say about slavery? To do that I’ll address Bible verses many critics point out, like Ephesians 6:5, which states for slaves to serve their masters with respect, fear and sincerity. The first thing we should point out is the scripture’s use of “doulos” which can be used referencing a servant or bondservant. More importantly, one should not fail to look at this verse in context. If you read Ephesians 6:5-9, you’ll read that in the next verses Paul instructs the masters to treat their slaves “likewise,” with respect and sincerity, or in other words, as equals. Colossians 4:1 also instructs followers to be fair and just to their servants, “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven” (NIV).

            Deuteronomy 15:12-15 is another example of regulations of slavery, and it references an important facet of slavery that many people don’t understand. Verse 12 references men and women who sell themselves into slavery. It is important to understand that in these ancient times it was not uncommon for people to sell themselves into slavery when times were hard or they were in debt. By becoming a slave they could be ensured shelter and food for not only themselves, but their family as well. And often times slaves would come to an agreement with their masters on a predetermined amount of time of which they would be a slave, and once this predetermined amount of time had passed, or all debt was paid, they would no longer be a slave.

            Another verse critics point out is Exodus 21:20, which condones the “beating” of servants. But this verse is not instructing the Israelites to “beat” their slaves, it’s actually stating that IF you choose to punish your servants, and a servant dies from your punishment, the master will be punished for killing his servant. Let us not forget, this is was not the 21st century. If a servant was rebellious they were punished, just as a mother or father would punish a rebellious child. This verse states that you are not to punish your servants too harshly, because if you do and your servant dies, you as the master will be punished.

What about Jesus, did He support the beating of slaves? Many critics say yes, and reference Luke 12:43-48 as their evidence. But what they fail to recognize is that Jesus was speaking in parable as He often did and was prophesized to do in fact. The parable is an obvious analogy to His future 2nd coming. That when He returns if you are found doing good you will be rewarded, but if you’re found doing bad you will be punished. Matthew 25:38-46, among other passages in the Bible, provide similar referencing of the second coming.

            In another example referenced by critics, Leviticus 25:38-46, God reminds the Israelites that they were once slaves in Egypt, and that when they move into the new holy land, they may acquire any slaves or bondservants already in that land. The key point is not that they are forcing slavery onto anyone, but that if there are all ready slaves in neighboring lands that wish to sell themselves to the Israelites, they can buy them. But they are not to force slavery onto anyone unwillingly. The Egyptians once forced the Israelites to be slaves against their will and subjected them to brutal labor. And as we all know, God severely punished the Egyptians with the twelve plagues, Exodus 7-11. So as you can see, some forms of slavery were tolerated and subsequently regulated, while other forms that involved harsh and unfair treatment were not tolerated.

            For many, the Bible’s regulations of conduct between master and slave (or bondservant) is not considered ethical, since the Bible is not prohibiting but instead trying to regulate slavery. But as Reverend Mathew Anderson points out,

“In giving laws to regulate slavery, God is not saying it is a good thing. In fact, by giving laws about it at all, He is plainly stating it is a bad thing. We don’t make laws to limit or regulate good things. After all, you won’t find laws that tell us it is wrong to be too healthy or if water is too clean we have to add pollution to it. Therefore, the fact slavery is included in the regulations of the Old Testament at all assumes that it is a bad thing which needs to be regulated to prevent the damage from being too great.” [6]

            The condemnation of slave traders by the bible should not be overlooked as well. 1 Timothy 1:10 compares slave traders to ungodly lawbreakers and rebels. Exodus 21:16 states that anyone that kidnaps a man to sell them should be put to death. Clearly the bible prohibits slave trading as well.

            So if the Bible prohibits unfair and harsh treatment of slaves and despises slave traders, why would the mostly Christian Europeans enslave Africans for so long in history? Simply put, this is a classic scenario of people twisting the scripture in Bible to fit their own personal agenda. Yes the Bible does not say slavery is bad upfront, but as you read the scripture you can evidently see that slavery was heavily regulated, and masters were instructed to be fair, just and forgiving of their slaves. Clearly, these teachings were not honored by the “Christians” in Europe and America who engaged in slave trade, used slaves against their will, and treated the slaves ruthlessly, all of which is not supported by the Bible.

            This warranted criticism can be traced to as early as the founding of our country. The United States, a country founded by a majority of Christians demanding freedom and liberty and penning statements of all men being created equal, owned slaves. How contradictory is that? However, there is much more to our nation’s history then most know about off hand.

            Many of America’s founding fathers owned slaves, like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. But there were many who did not, such as Benjamin Franklin who believed slavery was “an atrocious debasement of human nature” and “a source of serious evils.”[7] Franklin and Benjamin Rush even went so far as to start the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolishment of Slavery. Even then, those that did own slaves would overtime change their ways, as Washington, Jefferson and Madison did, writing of their struggles and plans to free their own slaves and abolish slavery overall. Washington would begin renting out his land to his slaves, pay them wages, and quietly freed many. Jefferson proposed multiple forms of legislation to end slavery in the state of Virginia, where he is quoted saying “The abolition of domestic slavery is the great object of desire in those colonies where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state.”[8] The First Continental Congress would agree to discontinue the slave trade and began to boycott any other nations that took part in the slave trade. In fact, when the First Continental congress was established it is recorded that their first order of business was drawing up plans to abolish slavery. One by one, state after state began to pass legislation to end the slave trade, and by the time the US Constitution was created, every state (excluding Georgia) had made the importation of slaves illegal.

            Fredrick Douglas, a man born into slavery, escaped and became a major spokesman for abolishment of slavery. He stated that the government that created the Constitution “was never, in its essence, anything but an anti-slavery government.”[9] He had also wrote, “Abolish slavery tomorrow, and not a sentence or syllable of the Constitution need be altered.”[10]

John Quincy Adams wrote of the hypocrisy of our founding fathers owning slaves, when he wrote,

“The inconsistency of the institution of slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence was seen and lamented… no charge of insincerity or hypocrisy can be fairly laid to their charge. Never from their lips was heard one syllable of attempt to justify the institution of slavery. They universally considered it as a reproach fastened upon them by the unnatural step-mother country and they saw that before the principles of the Declaration of Independence slavery, in common with every mode of oppression, was destined sooner or later to be banished from the earth.”[11]

            Of course there would be strong opposition for the abolishment of slavery, as plantation owners in the South heavily relied on slave labor. They argued that ending slavery would destroy their economy[12], and even went so far as to draw misconstrued interpretations of Bible verses like the ones mentioned earlier, to add further support for their cause. This stalemate would become one of many issues that eventually lead to the Civil War.

            As religious author J. Steven Lang wrote,

            “Abolitionists opposed slavery in the U.S., but, their opponents pointed out, the Bible does not condemn slavery. It was accepted as part of life in Biblical times, and in the New Testament Paul counseled Christian slaves to work hard and show kindness to their masters. As centuries passed, most Christian nations outlawed slavery, and many Christians led the fight to abolish slavery in America. Abolitionists pointed to Paul’s words in Galatians 3:28: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek… slave nor free… male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’”[13]

                The main driving force behind abolishing slavery had always been one rooted in Biblical principal, that God values all man equally. Christianity (lived out per Biblical principal and Christ’s teachings) was always the most influential factor in motivating men in America to end slavery. Men like John Newton, who used to captain slave ships, converted to Christianity and became a famous hymn writer, and whose writings strongly endorsed ending slavery. Or Samual Sewall, a noted statesman, who wrote America’s first antislavery book, The Selling of Joseph, which made the parallel of slavery in America to the slavery Joseph was sold into in Genesis 37. Or William Wilburforce, a politician deeply devoted to ending slavery who once wrote, “So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [slave] trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”[14]

There were even many controversial Christians who went so far as to attack and kill slave owners and free the slaves, like abolitionist John Brown, or Henry Ward Beecher who shipped rifles to Kansas in crates that said “Bibles” on the outside. These rifles became known as “Beecher’s Bibles.” Though the violence and vengeance of these men is not to be praised, as many argue it contradicts the peaceful and loving teachings of Christ. The main point is that Christian people were the vanguard to ending slavery.

            And who can forget Abraham Lincoln? The President responsible for the ending of slavery was in fact a Christian. His famous words regarding slavery in America were, “A house divide against itself cannot stand.”[15] This line he indicated was derived from Luke 11:17, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls” (NKJV). This was of course referencing the United States being divided and at war with one another. Lincoln would also go on record claiming that Exodus 6:5 was one of the key elements that moved him to write the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 which freed America’s slaves.

            In summary, slaves in the bible, even under old Mosaic Law were treated on a much more humane basis, to the point where you could say almost every single mention of slavery in the Bible is more aptly referencing a servant or bond servant. And in no way suggests the slaves are to be treated as ruthlessly as the racial slavery we all associate slavery to be. The bible did not endorse the slave trade. If someone sold themselves into slavery for a predetermined amount of time or to pay off debt, they were under law to be freed once that time was up or the debt was paid in full. Lastly, it was Christians that spearheaded the abolition of slavery world wide, and to this day Christians work hard to end slavery all over the world through various different ministries. For more info go to http://www.freetheslaves.net.

For many people this still isn’t good enough. If the Bible is so dedicated to preaching God’s love and peace, and teaching all men are equal, then it should straight up prohibit slavery. What we need to realize is that slavery, among many other sensitive subjects in the Bible, has always been a dilemma among men in our sin cursed world all through out history. But the Bible was not written to reform society, but instead to reform our souls with God’s salvation. The Bible attacks all of life’s plagues proactively from the inside out. Think about it: When someone accepts the true salvation of God’s love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace, their soul is reformed. Someone who is truly saved by God’s grace and lives like Christ, will treat others with gracious love. The cure to slavery, and the cure to all the plagues in the world, is curing the heart of men, which is the Bible’s purpose. If you can change a man’s heart and soul, you don’t need to outlaw slavery, because a man of God would never treat another man harshly, against his will, to profit from their inhumane labor. That is the approach the Bible takes to slavery, and all of life’s evils.

[1] http://www.un.org

[2] “Does the Bible condone slavery?” http://www.gotquestions.org

[3] http://www.freetheslaves.net

[4] Paul Taylor and Bodie Hodge, “The New Answers Book 3” Doesn’t the Bible Support Slavery? (Master Books Green Forest: AR 2009) Pg 325.

[5] Ibid Pg 324.

[6] Reverend Mathew Anderson, Ottumwa Iowa, 2/3/2007 as quoted in “The New Answers Book 3” Doesn’t the Bible Support Slavery? (Master Books Green Forest: AR 2009) Pg 327.

[7] As quoted in Matthew Spalding’s PhD, “How to Understand Slavery in America’s Founding,” http://www.history.org, Aug 26, 2002.

[8] Ibid 

[9] Ibid 

[10] Ibid 

[11] Ibid 

[12] Much of the opposition for abolishing slavery did revolve around economic factors. The economy in the south had become so dependant on slave labor that ending slavery would surely crash the economy, and subsequently it would. Though we can all agree that maintaining dehumanizing institutions to secure economic stability is unethical to say the least.

[13] J. Stephen Lang, “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,” (Thomas Nelson Publishing in association with Barnes & Noble, New York: NY 2010) Pg 27.

[14] “William Wilburforce,” http://www.christianhistorytoday.com, Aug 2008.

[15] J. Stephen Lang, “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,” (Thomas Nelson Publishing in association with Barnes & Noble, New York: NY 2010) Pg 28.

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Comments
  1. matthew2262 says:

    “Having for most of my life believed that our acceptance of equality — racial, class, gender — was the result of the overthrow of past superstitions and prejudice by reason, I was perplexed: why had the fight against slavery, and the concern for aboriginal peoples, been so overwhelmingly the province of religious? … Hume, Voltaire, and Kant saw the African — the non-European, generally — as beyond the category of human to which the European belonged; race concerned them (particularly Kant) only to the extent that it could show the superiority of the European. It was not the philosophies of Paris or Edinburgh or East Prussia who fought slavery, but the evangelical Christians and Quakers who drew their inspiration not from philosophy but from “superstitious religion”. It was from the Evangelical Revival that the loudest claims for what we now call racial equality came.”

    Kenny, R., The Lamb Enters the Dreaming, p74, Scribe, 2007. Kenny is a non-Christian historian.

  2. matthew2262 says:

    “The laws concerning slavery in the Old Testament appear to function to moderate a practice that worked as a means of loaning money for Jewish people to another or for handling the problem of prisoners of war. Nowhere was the institution of slavery as such condemned; but then, neither did it have anything like the connotations it grew to have during the days of those who traded human life as if it were a mere commodity for sale… In all cases the institution was closely watched and divine judgment was declared by the prophets and others for all abuses they spotted.” Dr. Walter Kaiser, Old Testament Scholar and former president of Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary.

    Kaiser, W.C. (1996) Hard Sayings of the Bible, Inter Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. Pp. 150

  3. matthew2262 says:

    “The church never adopted a rule that converts had to give up their slaves. Christians were not under law but under grace. Yet we read in literature of the second century and later of many masters who upon their conversion freed their slaves. The reality stands that it is difficult to call a person a slave during the week and treat them like a brother or sister in church. Sooner or later the implications of the kingdom they experienced in church seeped into the behavior of the masters during the week. Paul did in the end create a revolution, not one from without, but one from within, in which a changed heart produced changed behavior and through that in the end brought about social change. This changed happened wherever the kingdom of God was expressed through the church, so the world could see that faith in Christianity really was a transformation of the whole person.” –Peter H. Davids

    As quoted from, Kaiser, W.C. (1996) Hard Sayings of the Bible, Inter Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. Pp. 644

  4. Good blog, but you failed to mention Exodus 21:2-6. Christians are very fond of claiming the majority of slavery in the Bible is that of indentured servitude, where participants paying off a debt will be released after a predetermined amount of time. However, the woman provided to the Hebrew bond-servant in Exodus 21 “BELONGS” to the master, a.k.a. she is his slave. Exodus does not claim she is a Hebrew woman that is engaging in her six years of servitude to pay off a debt, otherwise she could go free after her time is up! Exactly what would be preventing her from leaving with her husband and all of her children if she was not a permanent slave of her master? After six years the MALE Hebrew servant can go free, but the slaveholder is not going to give up his property just because the male servant has sired children with her.

    The Hebrew servant has one of two options: to give up his wife and children so he can be free or remain with his wife and children and continue being a “slave”. The passage clearly states if the servant says, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free”, then “his master shall pierce his ear with an awl”, thus forever branding him a slave. Although there is a way out of bondage for the Hebrew servant, if he chooses “love” over freedom, then he and his entire family are slaves “FOREVER”. No stipulations are given to the woman, because either she is a woman that does not have rights, she is not a Hebrew and thus the law does not apply to her, or she is the property of her master and is never allowed to go free. Whatever the case may be, the Bible is very clear about what happens to the children born of this union.

    We see that children born to a Hebrew bondservant are not extended the same rights as their father under Mosaic law. The rights of the slave master trumps those of the children born to a member of the Nation of Israel, due to the simple fact of where the bondservant is at the time of his children’s conception. These children are not considered citizens of the Nation, not even by birth! Children born of a bondservant, who at the time is merely paying off a debt, are to suffer as slaves for the rest of their lives.

    Essentially what is taking place is the Torah is providing the slave master with a loophole to breed more slaves. But to make matters worse, the father is blackmailed with the love for his children. If he is cold-hearted, then sure, the servant can go free. But if he does the right thing and stays with his family, then the Torah allows the slave master to profit by gaining an additional male slave. HOW is this moral? How can any moral society or a “benevolent” God turn a blind eye to this level of injustice, let alone make laws to enforce it?!

    • matthew2262 says:

      Hello Discovering Religion, thank you for commenting. After reading your comment here is my rebuttal:

      The female servants in these verses may indeed be perceived as more of life long slaves than servants. But even if this is so, I must question what your perception of slavery was in Israel during this time in history. Please keep in mind it was not the same form of slavery that African Americans experienced in America in the 18th and 19th centuries that most people tend to associate it with. It seems you’ve ignored all the other very moral commandments regarding slavery in the Bible and found the one possibly questionable guideline for female servants and children as evidence that the whole system is corrupt. When in fact, compared to other cultures and civilizations around the world during this time in history, Israel was very moral and had very strict rules for the proper treatment of servants and slaves. Servants and slaves were treated very well in Israel.

      Yes, a servant will stay for life if he “loves his master and his family.” One must ask, what the problem is if the servant loves his master and his family? After all, their place as a servant was not a cruel and inhumane slavery but instead a very regulated and beneficial occupation in which food and shelter was provided for life. Additionally, Hebrew Slaves (and their children) were all set free during the Year of Jubilee. See Leviticus 25:40-41.

      You also have a made a generalization that all female salves are subject to this life long ownership, When in fact, verse 7-11 describe female slaves being freed if treated unfairly, or divorced. Or if a female slave married into the family she was to be treated as a daughter from then on out. More importantly, verses 2-6 are referencing the marriage to a Canannitish woman as written in the original scriptures as noted by the Clark’s Bible Commentary and Gill’s Exposition of the Bible. Additionally Hebrew women were done with their term after six years or even earlier depending on when they hit puberty. As noted by Gill’s Exposition of the Bible and the Geneva Bible Study. Concluding that this system was established to “breed slaves” would be a gross exaggeration.

      Lastly just because these events occurred does not mean God “turned a blind eye” to it. God created us with free will which we can use to do good or bad. This is the reason there is pain and suffering in the world. God does not turn a blind eye to anything but instead knows and sees all. Let us not forget that Exodus begins with God freeing the Israelites from harsh and violent slavery in Egypt. Over all, when one understand the exact meaning of these verses in context to the time in history and the nature of servants and slaves in Israel it can be understood in full that these laws were in fact very moral, and as I said in my article above, the Bible regulates slavery heavily and creates a change within the hearts of men and women that has lead to the end of slavery all over the world.

      Thank you again for your comment 

      Some References:

      Clark’s Bible Commentary says: “The wife and her children shall be her master’s – It was a law among the Hebrews, that if a Hebrew had children by a Canannitish woman, those children must be considered as Canaanitish only, and might be sold and bought, and serve for ever. The law here refers to such a case only.”

      Gill’s Exposition: “If his master have given him a wife,…. One of his slaves, a Canaanitish woman, on purpose to beget slaves on her, since all born in his house were his own; this is supposed to be after he was come into his house, and into his service:
      and she have born him sons or daughters; as she might have born him several of the one sort, or the other, if she was given to him quickly after his servitude began:
      the wife and her children shall be her master’s: she being his slave, and bought with his money, he had a right unto her, and to the children belonging to her, the birth following the belly; and being born in his house, they were also his. Jarchi here observes, that the Scripture speaks of a Canaanitish woman, for an Hebrew woman went out at the sixth year, and even before the sixth, if she produced the signs, that is, of puberty:
      and he shall go out by himself; without his wife and children: if it be objected to this law, that it is contrary to the law of marriage, which is indissoluble, but by this dissolved; it may be replied, that the servant was not obliged by it to leave his wife, unless he chose it; on complying with certain conditions after mentioned, he might continue with her; besides, she was, according to Jarchi, but his secondary wife, and not only so, the marriage was not lawful, being with a Canaanitish woman, and not agreeable to the Lord; and being also her master’s slave, to whom he had a right, he could retain her if he pleased, having only given her to his servant to beget slaves on for him.”

      The Geneva Bible Study says: “If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her {c} master’s, and he shall go out by himself.
      (c) Till her time of servitude was expired which might be the seventh year or the fiftieth.”

  5. matthew2262 says:

    “Richard Dawkins claimed on ABC’s Q&A last Monday that Christians were missing in action in the fight against slavery. This is clearly wrong. Has he not heard of the Christian abolitionist movement or William Wilberforce? But it’s a revealing error.

    Surely, to argue for atheism, there is no logical need to denigrate past Christian accomplishment.

    It was the anti-slavery argument that all humans were of equal moral worth that won the day, and this was, to all concerned, a Christian argument. To acknowledge the religious heritage of the modern world is to say nothing about religious ”truth”. But while our age may be secular, it is, at the same time, still a deeply Christian one.

    If atheists feel they must rip up everything that came before them, they will destroy the very foundations of that secularism.”

    -Chris Berg

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/the-godless-delusion-20120414-1x0ee.html#ixzz1sPD8J3dD

  6. matthew2262 says:

    “The biblical principal that all of humanity possesses a moral sensitivity paved the way for the abolition of slavery, establishment of women’s rights, protection of children, and pursuit of justice around the world.” -Carol M. Swain Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Law at Vanderbuilt University

    Swain, C. M., (2011) Be The People, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., pp. 36.

  7. matthew2262 says:

    John Wesley, an early methodist preacher, spoke out heavily against slavery. Christian Granville Sharp is considered the Father of the AntiSlavery Movement in Britain. Theologian Jonathan Edwards Jr. was an anti-slavery activist as well.

  8. matthew2262 says:

    David Livingston, a pioneer medical missionary (1813 to 1873) wrote the following about the slavery he saw while exploring Africa:

    “And if my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together.” – Livingstone said in a letter to the editor of the New York Herald

    Stanley Henry M., How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveries in Central Africa, including an account of four months’ residence with Dr. Livingstone. 1871.

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