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The Bible draws a distinction between Hebrew slaves and slaves who had not previously been members of the covenant.  The Hebrew slave may only be retained for six years, and then is to be set free, with gifts (Deut. 15:12-15). The slave purchased from heathendom, although immediately circumcised (Exo. 12:44; Lev. 22:11; Gen. 17:12, 13), was not released in the sixth year (Lev. 25:44-46), but the law did guarantee him the right to save money and buy his freedom (Lev. 25:49, 26).

- James Jordan, The Law of the Covenant 76 (1984), at http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/:  HTML, DjVu.