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. 25:39-55; Deut. 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. 22:3). 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. 12:44-45; compare Lev. 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. 21:4). 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. 1:10).
Christian bondservants are declared to be the Lord’s “freemen” (1 Cor. 7:22), and words of encouragement are addressed to them.
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 22:27); 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 12:37).
2. παῖς, “a child,” irrespective of age, and hence used for servant (Matt. 8:6,8,13; Matt. 14:2; Luke 7:7; Luke 12:45; Luke 15:26; Acts 4:25). The word is applied to Christ (Matt. 12:18; Acts 3:13, 26—translated “Son;” Acts 4:27, 30—translated “child;” and to Israel and to David in Luke 1:54,69.
3. οἰκέτης “household servant” (Luke 16:13; Acts 10:7; Rom. 14:4; 1 Pet. 2:18).
4. ὑπηάτης, “one under authority,” an official servant (Matt. 26:58; Mark 14:54,65; John 18:36). Also translated “minister” and “officer.”
5. θεράπων, “retainer, servant” (Heb. 3:5).
6. μισθωτός, μίσθιος, “hired servant” (Mark 1:20; Luke 15:17,19; compare Matt. 20). The word is translated “hireling” in John 10:12-13. See DEACON, and SLAVE.

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

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).