Are non-Jews permanent slaves to Jews in the world to come? I'll post the source text once I find it, or if someone can edit this and post the source for me. I believe it's in the Talmud, but not sure what tractate.

As a ben Noach and self-aware human being, I find this is concerning.

  • 3
    Are you asking if every non-Jew becomes a slave, or if non-Jewish slaves (ie Eved Kenani) remain slaves then?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 1:00
  • Hrm, I'd have to read the section of the tractate. If it's "Eved Kenani" then that just means Canaanite and not all or even most non-Jews, which changes my perpective, yet with more questions. So, I guess this question is still valid, but you raise another question I could post, which is "Are all non-Jews going to be slaves in the world to come" or something.
    – EhevuTov
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 1:09
  • 5
    As a Jew, I too find this concerning.
    – SAH
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 1:19
  • Why "non-Jews/gentiles"? Why not just "non-Jews" or "gentiles" alone? They are the same thing, so it is redundant. Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 1:48
  • 1
    Re: SEO, that's what the tags are for.
    – Seth J
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 15:07

3 Answers 3


Perhaps we need to start by defining what the word eved means in Judaism anyway. It doesn't necessarily mean slavery or servility; in the Bible it is frequently used of royal ministers (and even in one instance - see the answer I linked - King Rehoboam is advised to "be an eved to the people"). Great figures in Jewish history - Moses, Joshua, David - are described as "the eved of G-d," and more generally, the Jewish people collectively are called His avadim.

In all of these cases, the idea is that the person so described is devoted to a higher purpose, and becomes elevated thereby. (The Talmud, Shevuos 47b, comments that "the eved of a king is himself like a king.")

In the era of Moshiach, "the occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d" (Rambam, Laws of Kings 12:5), and in particular, "the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential" (ibid.). So while "the Sages and the prophets did not yearn for the Messianic era in order to have dominion over the entire world, to rule over the gentiles, to be exalted by the nations..." (ibid. 12:4), the point is that the peoples of the world will themselves realize that it is an honor and a privilege to be "servants to the servants of G-d" (a title used by R. Akiva Eiger, one of the great sages of the past couple of centuries) - to do whatever they can to create the optimal conditions for "G-d's avadim" to do their work.

  • To add, one of the standard way of referring to public leaders is "public servants"
    – Menachem
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 14:12

Avodah Zarah 10b quotes Antoninus as wanting to serve Rabbi in olam haba. Rabbi tells him that descendants of Esav who don't think like Esav are not included in "there won't be a remainder to Esav" (Ovadiah 1:18).

  • 1
    That's a good read and it helps me fill in some missing pieces. I can't seem to find the tractate I remember reading. It must be in another text.
    – EhevuTov
    Commented Jun 8, 2012 at 1:52

In the Messianic era the nations will recognize and facilitate Israel's role as a priestly nation. The imagery used by the Bible suggests servitude, "Foreigners will stand and tend your locks and the sons of the stranger will be you plowmen and your vineyard workers. And you will be called 'priests of Hashem"' "ministers of our G-d" will be said of you. You will eat of the wealth of nations and will pride yourselves in their glory." (Isaiah 61:5-6, Artscroll), nevertheless I think that the main point is that the nations will view the Jewish people as their clergy rather than as their masters.

  • 2
    Reminicent of Bnei Yisrael supporting the Kohanim.
    – Seth J
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 15:26

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