Ear Lobes and the Hebrew Slave
The Torah's look-ahead to Christian service

Bet asks: I heard a Pastor recently say that there is a passage in the Old Testament that talks about ear lobes - which will tell whether a person is 'giving' or 'stingy'. Do you know where that passage might be? Stated in original sentence.
Question about A General Question: Meaning of a passage
Motivation - Curiosity: Sincere curiosity
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 67, Saturday, 24-Sep-2011]

then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant.
- Deuteronomy 15:17 [NASB]

There are a lot of obscure passages in the Bible, and it sounds like the preacher dug deep for a sermon that day! A non-believer reading this would probably conclude we are both nuts. Maybe we are, but I think not!

(Aside: Since the sermon Bet heard involved money, i.e., stingy or giving, one must always be careful of the source. Religion is a big seller, and unscrupulous shysters will stop at nothing to extract money from faithful, albeit naive, people. Get to know the preacher first. Check his or her life. Be sure the ministry is true and compliant with biblical principles. Then, only then, give money.)

The ear lobe passage that comes to mind is the awl-piercing one in Deuteronomy 15 (box above) with a parallel passage in Exodus 21. These passages have little to do with money, but concentrate on Hebrew slavery, so connecting them to stinginess or liberality may not be appropriate. Of course, I could be missing the boat completely, and these are not the passages Bet seeks. If this is the case, use a concordance to find your target.

The Hebrew Servant:

The Old Testament lays out, in detail, overall rights of persons. After presenting the Ten Commandments, the Torah records a complex but easily understood set of ordinances called the civil law which interpret and apply each Commandment for practical daily living. These are the foundation of Western law and culture.

Interestingly, the first topic addressed is the Hebrew servant, the lowliest person in the social scale. The Hebrew servant is a person who, for reason of misfortune or thievery, has no other course than to sell himself willingly as a slave. The parallel to New Testament doctrine is evident and inspiring. I will leave it to the reader to make the many connections between the Torah's description of a Hebrew servant and the believer who surrenders himself or herself to Jesus Christ.

If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,' then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.
- Exodus 21:2ff [NASB]

There is a wonderful Jewish work known as the Hertz Chumash, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs edited by Dr. J. H. Hertz. I use this book continually, and I heartily recommend it to every Jew, Christian, and to anyone who reads the Bible.

Of the Hebrew servant, Dr. Hertz comments:

Hebrew servant. Slavery as permitted by the Torah was quite different from Greek and Roman slavery, or even the cruel system in some modern countries down to our own times. In Hebrew law, the save was not a thing, but a human being; he was not the chattel of a master who had unlimited power over him. In the Hebrew language, there is only one word for slave and servant. Brutal treatment of any slave, whether Hebrew or heathen, secured his immediate liberty.

Bore his ear. The drilling of the ear to the door of the house may have symbolized the attaching of the slave to the household, and may have served as permanent evidence that the slave had remained in service of his own free will. [So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17, KJV]

The release of slaves. In the seventh year of service the bondman goes free, and his master is required at the time of the emancipation liberally to supply the new freedman with an equipment that shall enable him to being life again with some confidence for the future. This provision is characteristic of the humaneness and philanthropy of the Torah in regard to the bondman.

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 22:32:20 GMT, unknown: 642718 ABNWzhdVYwg/.
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