servant

servant

A term used to refer to both slaves and hired attendants. In both the OT and the NT, “servant” is a frequent translation of terms (Heb. ebed, Gk. doulos) the literal meaning of which is “slave.” English readers, therefore, must bear in mind that the institution of slavery often lies behind the translation “servant.” In the OT, a servant is a person who belongs to another and so has no legal rights. Nonetheless, the servant does share in Israel’s cultic life with regard to circumcision (Gen 17:12), the Sabbath (Exod 20:10), sacrifice (Deut 12:18), and the Passover (Exod 12:44). But the term is also used to express humble self-designation (2Kgs 8:13) and, in a religious sense, the righteous were called servants of the Lord (Exod 32:13; Deut 34:5; Judg 2:8; 1Sam 3:9; 2Sam 7:5; 1Kgs 3:7; Job 1:8). The most striking usage occurs in the four “servant songs” found in Isaiah (Isa 42:1-4; Isa 49:1-6; Isa 50:4-9; Isa 52:13-53:1). In the NT servants frequently appear as characters in parables (Matt 18:23-35; Matt 21:33-44). For Jesus the concept of “servanthood” becomes a way of expressing humankind’s relationship to God (Matt 6:24; Matt 10:24; Matt 24:45-46; Luke 17:10). Jesus presents himself as a servant (Mark 10:45; cf. John 13:1-20), and Matthew (Matt 12:18-21) quotes from the first servant song (Isa 42:1-4) to describe Jesus. Likewise, Paul, quoting from an early Christian hymn, says that although Jesus was in the form of God, he “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7; NRSV: “slave”). On the basis of his own example, then, Jesus encourages his disciples to be servants to each other (Mark 10:44; John 13:14). Obedient to this exhortation, Christians refer to themselves as “servants of God” (1Pet 2:16) and “servants of Christ” (1Cor 7:22; Eph 6:6; NRSV: “slaves”).

Gen 17:12

12Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old, including the slave born in your house and the one bought wit ... View more

Exod 20:10

10But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or ... View more

Deut 12:18

18these you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God at the place that the Lord your God will choose, you together with your son and your daughter, your m ... View more

Exod 12:44

44but any slave who has been purchased may eat of it after he has been circumcised;

2Kgs 8:13

13Hazael said, “What is your servant, who is a mere dog, that he should do this great thing?” Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you are to be king ov ... View more

Exod 32:13

13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars o ... View more

Deut 34:5

5Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord's command.

Judg 2:8

8Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred ten years.

1Sam 3:9

9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in ... View more

2Sam 7:5

5Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in?

1Kgs 3:7

7And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.

Job 1:8

8The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away fr ... View more

Isa 42:1-4

The Servant, a Light to the Nations
1Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth ... View more

Isa 49:1-6

The Servant's Mission
1Listen to me, O coastlands,
pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother's wo ... View more

Isa 50:4-9

The Servant's Humiliation and Vindication
4The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by m ... View more

Isa 52:13-53:1

The Suffering Servant
13See, my servant shall prosper;
he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high.14Just as there were many who were astonished a ... View more

Matt 18:23-35

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.24When h ... View more

Matt 21:33-44

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants
33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and ... View more

Matt 6:24

Serving Two Masters
24“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. Yo ... View more

Matt 10:24

24“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master;

Matt 24:45-46

The Faithful or the Unfaithful Slave
45“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves th ... View more

Luke 17:10

10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’ ”

Mark 10:45

45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

John 13:1-20

Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
1Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Hav ... View more

Matt 12:18-21

18“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gen ... View more

Isa 42:1-4

The Servant, a Light to the Nations
1Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth ... View more

Phil 2:7

7but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,

Mark 10:44

44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.

John 13:14

14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

1Pet 2:16

16As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil.

1Cor 7:22

22For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ.

Eph 6:6

6not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

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