The ethics and legislation relating to servitude and slavery
Servitude in the Ancient Near East
Servitude in the Ancient Near East operated on a spectrum of greater or lesser obligation to another person, and greater or lesser personal protections. Everyone in the Ancient Near East was considered to be the servant of someone, with the key difference being the extent to which you were independent and protected from the imposition of another’s will. Continue reading “Ethics in the Law of Moses: slavery”
How is animal sacrifice compatible with animal welfare?
A reader of the previous article in this series raised the issue of animal sacrifice, which was commanded by the Law of Moses and carried out on a large scale by Israel. How is animal sacrifice compatible with animal welfare? Continue reading “Ethics in the Law of Moses: Animal welfare & animal sacrifice”
Care for the environment enshrined in the Law
The early Hebrews maintained an unparalleled degree of ecological sustainability, since the Law of Moses regulated fruit crops, prohibited certain mixed crops, and required the non-cultivation of the land in the seventh year, enabling the land to recover from human activity. Continue reading “Ethics in the Law of Moses: Environmental Welfare”
“Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast.”
Many passages in the Bible are typically understood as teaching an explicit ethic of care and concern for animals and the environment, including the commandment that young birds may be taken from their mother, but their mother must be left alone (Deuteronomy 22:6-7), an ox or sheep not to be slaughtered on the same day as their young (Leviticus 22:8), animals used commercially are not to be overburdened or exploited (Exodus 23:5, Deuteronomy 25:4), and the statement that a righteous man takes care of his animals (Proverbs 12:10).
There was no tolerance for animal cruelty or animals being killed for entertainment. Continue reading “Ethics in the Law of Moses: animal welfare”