Was the slavery in Egypt only state slavery, or was there also private slavery (as in the USA)?

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    Yeah I think the straw decree is the main giveaway. Plus all the midrashim about building on quicksand and whatnot- private taskmasters wouldn’t make their slaves do meaningless work Mar 31 at 3:56

1 Answer 1


In the beginning of Shemot it says that the Jews were afflicted with a heavy tax, which implies a relationships with the state.

It could be that this was the slavery or it could be that if a Jew fell behind on his tax, he would be formally enslaved as a penalty. Either way, a Jew entered slavery through the state.

Pharoah could have sold his slaves to private entities but when Moshe petitions him, Pharoah cancels the straw allotment, which implied some state involvement in their labor.

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