Were the Israelites slaves as we perceive that term today?

Did the Israelites live among the Egyptians (their neighbours) and were they slaves as we understand it today? They must have lived in their own houses to be able to daub blood on the doorposts and lintels, I'm guessing they also had freedom of movement as they were able to ask their Egyptian neighbours for gold/silver. Was this gold/silver an entitlement...as per wages? If so, then surely their neighbours were not responsible for paying them?

Exodus 11:1 - 10

ESV - 1 The Lord said to Moses, "Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely. 2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, that they ask, every man of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, for silver and gold jewelry.

Clarify Share Report Asked December 20 2023 Mini Steve Mills

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The Bible indicates that, when the Israelites first settled in Egypt, they were treated well by the Egyptians because of the favor in which Jacob's son Joseph was held by the Pharaoh who was ruling Egypt, since Joseph had interpreted Pharaoh's dreams in order to allow Egypt to escape the famine that would be coming upon the land. This would explain the Israelites' ability to live in relative prosperity, which would account for their possession of houses.

However, with the passage of time, the Israelites greatly increased in number, and the Egyptians' memory of Joseph's benefit to Egypt faded. As a result, over hundreds of years, the Israelites (as non-Egyptians) came to be regarded by the Egyptians as a threat to them (Exodus 1), and they were subjected to very oppressive conditions, even to the point where a subsequent Pharaoh ordered newborn male Israelite babies to be killed. These conditions continued until God called Moses (who had avoided death as a baby through being found by Pharaoh's daughter and raised as part of Pharaoh's household) to lead the Israelites out of their bondage.

When God subsequently acted to free the Israelites, He afflicted the Egyptians (but not the section of Egypt in which the Israelites lived) with a series of increasingly severe plagues (including events such as locusts, hail, darkness, and turning the Nile River to blood), culminating in the death of the firstborn son in each Egyptian household. The terror caused by these events finally caused the Egyptians to plead with the Israelites to leave Egypt.

In connection with their departure, the Bible also says (Exodus 12:35-36) that the Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the Israelites, so that when the Israelites asked the Egyptians to give them their gold, silver, and clothing, the Egyptians gave the Israelites what they wanted, to the point of the Bible describing the Israelites as "plundering" the Egyptians.

December 20 2023 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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