Deuteronomy's legal treatment of slavery is more humane than the parallel laws in Exodus, and more practical than those in Leviticus.
Returning to Japhet's appeal to Deuteronomy's sense of reality, I will refer to the release of all slaves in 597. There was a brief emancipation of all slaves in this time of crisis. The Babylonians were at the gates. The slaves were released, apparently to help fight off the enemy. As soon as the crisis was over, the slaves were enslaved again. Jeremiah deplored these developments (Jeremiah 34).
This incident reflects the reality of slavery in the ancient world. Given this reality, given the human propensity to indebtedness, Leviticus looks like an impossible dream. Deuteronomy humanizes the Covenant Code (in Exodus) and works for significant reforms given the realities of its time.
Leviticus says that there is no such thing as an Israelite slave. Deuteronomy understands that there will be slaves and they must be treated well until they will be released. Combining the laws of the Covenant Code with the antipathy for the enslavement of an Israelite in Leviticus, Deuteronomy forged a compromise that was workable for its time.
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