Comment: After entering the land of Israel, the nation managed for several thousands of years without a king or an acting army. There was a special way to treat women, children, and even slaves. According to law, one could keep a slave for up to six years, after which he had to be freed.
Most importantly, if a master had only one pillow, he had to let the slave use it. Such an attitude defies all logic.
Answer: This means that the life of a slave did not belong to the master. A slave could only be with him for a certain period of time. In a way, a master paid for his work within a strict framework of rules and could demand only a certain amount of effort in return. In everything else this person was not a slave but a partner for him, even a friend who lived with him, someone who the master had to care for.
As it is written: “He who buys a Hebrew slave, it is as though he buys a master for himself.” It means that a slave was not some kind of a “homeless animal” with which the master could do anything he wanted to, unlike the way the slaves or prisoners were treated in other countries.
From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel,” 7/8/19