I’ve been reading through the book of Leviticus and have come across a couple of verses that I wouldn’t be able to explain if an atheist where to bring them up. I understand that I’m supposed to look at the context, but even then I don’t just don’t comprehend what God means by them.
The first instance is found in Leviticus 25. God has just introduced the 50 year jubilee to the Israelites where every fifty years the people of Israel are to take a whole year off from work, and all land sold along with Israelites who had to sell themselves into slavery for financial reasons were to be redeemed. Land was returned and Israelite slaves set free. The verses in question here is verses 39-46:
If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God. As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
It sounds like here that here that God allows the Israelites to own heathen slaves but any Israelite slaves are shown favouritism. They are to be treated as brothers while the heathen are treated as property. I don’t know how to reconcile this.
The next instance in the next chapter, Leviticus 26. Here, God tells the Israelite what to expect if 1) they keep their side of the agreed covenant, and 2) if they stray away from God and His ways. The verse here is verse 29, where God promises what will happen if they reject Him:
Yet if in spite of this you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, then I will act with wrathful hostility against you, and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins. Further, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat. I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor you. I will lay waste your cities as well and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your soothing aromas. I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it. You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste. Leviticus 27-33
I don’t understand if God means verse 29 (in bold) is meant to be literal or not.