labor

labor

A term mentioned in a variety of contexts in the Bible meaning manual labor or great effort. Ancient Near Eastern society knew several types of work and workers: the farmer, shepherd, craftsman, day laborer (Matt 20:1-15), forced labor for the monarchy (1Sam 8:11-17), native slave (Exod 21:2-11), and foreign slave (Deut 21:10-14). Women generally worked in the home and field (Prov 31:10-31). Work is viewed as natural to humans (Gen 2:15), and labor is to be honored and appreciated (Prov 22:29; Prov 10:4; Eccl 5:12). Biblical laws protect the wages of laborers as part of an orderly society (Lev 19:13; Deut 24:14-15). But hard work is also presented as a punishment for sin (Gen 3:17-19) and generally as a wearisome part of the human condition. In the NT Paul speaks most often about labor. He worked as a tentmaker or leather-worker to earn his living while preaching the gospel (Acts 18:3; 1Cor 4:12; 1Thess 2:9) and speaks of work as part of an orderly Christian life (1Thess 4:12; 2Thess 3:10-12).

Matt 20:1-15

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1Sam 8:11-17

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Exod 21:2-11

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Deut 21:10-14

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Prov 31:10-31

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Gen 2:15

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Prov 22:29

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Prov 10:4

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Eccl 5:12

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Lev 19:13

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Deut 24:14-15

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Gen 3:17-19

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Acts 18:3

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1Cor 4:12

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1Thess 2:9

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1Thess 4:12

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2Thess 3:10-12

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