Servant

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(server). In a broad Bible sense, subject, assistant, person under tribute; in special sense, bondman or slave, by right of purchase, pledge for indebtedness, or indenture; which relationship was carefully guarded by Mosaic law (Lev. 25:39-5539And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: 40But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee: 41And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. 42For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen. 43Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor; but shalt fear thy God. 44Both 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. 45Moreover 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. 46And 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 rigor. 47And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: 48After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: 49Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. 50And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. 51If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. 52And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubilee, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption. 53And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigor over him in thy sight. 54And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, both he, and his children with him. 55For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 25:39‑55); Deut. 15:12-1812And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. 13And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: 14Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. 15And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day. 16And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee; 17Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise. 18It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou sendest him away free from thee; for he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest. (Deuteronomy 15:12‑18)). [SLAVE.]

Concise Bible Dictionary:

1. The words ebed and δοῦλος (those most commonly used for “servant”) convey the idea of bondmen or slaves. Some were bought with money and some were taken in war (compare Ex. 22:33If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. (Exodus 22:3)). Such a servant, if circumcised, might among the Israelites eat of the Passover—as bought he belonged to the family; but a hired servant might not (Ex. 12:44-4544But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. 45A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. (Exodus 12:44‑45); compare Lev. 22:1111But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat. (Leviticus 22:11)). (So Gentiles, though aliens, bought with the blood of Christ, have all the privilege of grace.) Children born of these would also be the property of the master (Ex. 21:44If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. (Exodus 21:4)). This form of servitude, though a result of sin, was recognized by the Mosaic law, and rules were given respecting it, and for the protection of the slaves.
In the New Testament Paul sent back Onesimus, a runaway slave, to his master, who was a Christian, and did not demand his liberation; but he beautifully puts before Philemon that he should possess Onesimus no longer as a slave, but as a brother beloved. The effects of sin were in the world, and God did not introduce Christianity in order to set the world right; but, while shedding light upon everything, and proclaiming grace to all, God’s purpose was “to take out of the nations a people for His name.” Christianity inculcated equal treatment of slaves, as we see in several of the epistles in which masters are addressed: men-stealers are condemned (1 Tim. 1:1010For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Timothy 1:10)).
Paul, James, Peter, and Jude all call themselves “bondmen of the Lord,” and Christians generally are thus designated. The Lord Himself said, “I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:2727For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. (Luke 22:27)); and now in heaven He serves His own as Intercessor and Advocate. He speaks also of a future day when He will gird Himself, make His servants sit down, and will come forth and serve them, thus being a minister to servants! (Luke 12:3737Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (Luke 12:37)).
2. παῖς, “a child,” irrespective of age, and hence used for servant (Matt. 8:6,8,136And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. (Matthew 8:6)
8The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (Matthew 8:8)
13And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (Matthew 8:13)
; Matt. 14:22And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him. (Matthew 14:2); Luke 7:77Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. (Luke 7:7); Luke 12:4545But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; (Luke 12:45); Luke 15:2626And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. (Luke 15:26); Acts 4:2525Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? (Acts 4:25)). The word is applied to Christ (Matt. 12:1818Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles. (Matthew 12:18); Acts 3:13, 2613The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. (Acts 3:13)
26Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:26)
—translated “Son;” Acts 4:27, 3027For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, (Acts 4:27)
30By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. (Acts 4:30)
—translated “child;” and to Israel and to David in Luke 1:54,6954He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; (Luke 1:54)
69And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; (Luke 1:69)
.

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Psalm 123:22Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us. (Psalm 123:2). Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
Servants in the East are not always spoken to when orders are given by the master or mistress. The wishes of the latter are made known by signs; hence it becomes necessary for the servants to watch the hand of the master to ascertain when they are wanted and what is required of them. The clapping of the hands may bring them when in an adjacent room, and a silent motion of the hand may express the master’s wish. Servants are trained to watch for these signs and to obey them. This custom is doubtless the one alluded to in the text; and yet there is force in the suggestion of Harmer, that, in its special application here, the latter part of the verse must not be forgotten. He paraphrases the passage thus: “As a slave, ordered by a master or mistress to be chastised for a fault, turns his or her imploring eyes to that superior, till that motion of the hand appears which puts an end to the bitterness that is felt, so our eyes are put up to thee, our God, till thy hand shall give the signal for putting an end to our sorrows” (Observations, vol. 2, p. 430).