Our friend and once-frequent commenter Max is back. In a deleted comment on Amoris Laetitia 91, he wrote:
Seems this post and the Pope’s use of those Bible passages qualifies as an example of “proof texting.” This is not to criticize his freedom to do so, but does it not validate the proof texting which is routinely done by his detractors?
For example, if Exodus 34:6 gives us a deep insight into God’s love what then of Exodus 21:7 where God recommends rules for selling a daughter for what can only be sex slavery? Or Exodus 21:5 where God recommends using an awl to cut a slave’s ear open for branding purposes?
Why is Exodus 34:6 more salient than Exodus 21:5? And who determines it?
While this is not germane to the larger discussion on Amoris Laetitia, it is worth exploring a bit.
In the post where Max’s original comment was, we were looking at Pope Francis bolstering the notion of patience as an appropriate virtue to bring to family life and relationships. It’s not an idea original to him. He cited Exodus, Numbers, and Wisdom. He could have mined the Psalms and the Prophets for a good number of other citations. If one turns to those cited passages, they are not just isolated quotes, but also part of longer narratives that suggest God takes a lot of time to get impatient with people.
Max, on the other hand, is looking at passages that address practices of slavery. We know slavery was tolerated in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and even supported until about a century to two ago. Since Exodus 21:5, 7 don’t address patience, they aren’t really germane to the discussion as presented here.
And since a vast majority of human beings oppose slavery, they don’t seem to have any traction today. That means that human beings have sidelined what the Torah says about slavery.