I'll tell you how I got there. First go to the original language define the words there. Then you can determine if slavery, the popular interpretation, is meant or if it's something else. Also I'll add archaeologists support my view, not the slavery view.
OK, let's look at what the word might mean by looking only at the English translations. I will allow you to pace any meaning you like on the word slave for now but what do the texts say? 1. Exodus 21:20-21
20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.
21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.
Now, if anyone treat anyone at all like this, are we talking bout a servant as the translation says? We are talking about a slave here - person who does not count for anything.
2. Leviticus 25:44-46
44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
Look here - servants, slaves, whatever, they become property that can be sold or bequeathed. So we can beat the c--p out of one's servants and then sell them! Heck, this doesn't sound so good for the people concerned.
3. Exodus 21:7-11
7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.
10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.
So, daughters get sold into slavery - could help- a poor dad I suppose - and can easily get stuck as slaves for every; with the beatings etc.
4. Luke 12:47-48
47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Jesus still enforces the idea of slavery - even to making sure servants / slaves are beaten. Jesus could easily have sorted this out - tellling the people to stop having slaves and to treat each other with respect but, no, slavery continues.
OK, Harbinger, there's a few texts for you to look at. Despite how you decide to translate the Hebrew, the fact is that the fact of the poor 'servants' is much the same beating and life in servitude and misery. basically like the slaves in the USA; or worse.
Comments, Harbinger? Does 'deep study' help at all?