The Memory of Slavery as a Source of Justice and Solidarity: Exegesis of Deuteronomy 5:15, 15:15, 16:12, 24:18, 22

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Facundo Mela


The slavery endured in Egypt is a tradition that runs through the entire Scripture. Among its numerous mentions, the book of Deuteronomy presents five texts with a similar wording: 'remember that you were a slave in [the land of ] Egypt' (Deuteronomy 5:15, 15:15, 16:12, 24:18, and 24:22), inviting to recall the oppression and act in favor of the poor, as God did. In this work, firstly, these five formulas are analyzed using various instances of the historical-critical method. Then, in the second part, an exegetical exercise is carried out, highlighting how the memory of slavery in Egypt becomes an exhortation to care for the poor, allowing them to celebrate the Sabbath and Pentecost, freeing Hebrew slaves, and taking care of the needy. In a world where human trafficking, slavery, inhumane working conditions, hunger, and other forms of oppression persist, this study seeks to contribute to the reflection on how a painful memory can be transformed into a liberating praxis.

Hebrew Bible Deuteronomy Slavery Egypt Liberation Praxis Poor Festivals


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Article Details

Author Biography

Facundo Mela, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

Licenciado en Teología con especialización en Sagrada Escritura (Universidad Católica Argentina). Docente de la Escuela Bíblica “Nuestra Señora de Sión” (Buenos Aires). Correo electrónico: