44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.
In Leviticus 25, God says that it is perfectly acceptable to buy, own, and inherit slaves as long as they are not children of Israel. While it can be argued that these were different times and that slavery wasn’t very bad back then, the authors of the King James Bible did indeed know that there were bad enough conditions to warrant such rules as “Don’t beat your slaves so hard that they die within a few days.”
It has also been suggested that the slavery mentioned in the King James Bible is not permanent slavery but voluntary indentured servitude. It is even true to say that most Biblical law refers to this form of slavery. However, the indentured servitude of the King James Bible specifically refers to the Israelite slaves. When an Israelite is owned as a slave, they are slaves for six years and are let free in the seventh. Additionally, they often enter into slavery on their own, often due to poverty. However, while the Israelite slaves were afforded the privilege of freedom after six years, this same right was not extended to slaves who are not Israelites.
While it may be true that most of the references to slavery address the voluntary form of slavery, this passage does not. This is referring to the permanent form of slavery characterized by people who aren’t from Israel. This is made obvious when it says that you may own slaves from the heathen about you, not Israelites, and is further exemplified by the statement They shall be your bondmen for ever.
It has been mentioned that the three verses immediately following this passage suggest that your slaves may become rich and be redeemed. Upon reading it in context with all of Leviticus 25, we see that the verses are speaking of non-Israelites who are not slaves becoming rich while a fellow Israelite becomes poor and then sells himself to the non-Israelite. It is suggested that the Israelite slave should be purchased by Israelites so that they can be set free after a certain number of years. In no way do these verses suggest that slaves can become rich while owned by their masters, nor that the non-Israelite slaves will ever be set free.
Even if you still maintain that the form of slavery practiced at the time was not very bad, no matter what the conditions of their servitude were, slaves were still slaves. Modern morality understands human freedom to be of very high value and that it is absolutely immoral for one human being to own another. However, this concept was apparently absent from the mind of God, as he inspired this one.
Upon reading the entire chapter, it appears as if the passage is intended to be the literal word of God as it is spoken to Moses. God additionally suggests that he purchased the Israelites by freeing them from Egypt, in Leviticus 25:55. Apparently, God freed his people only to place them in another pair of shackles.