From BiblePortal Wikipedia

King James Dictionary [1]

SERV'ITUDE, n. L. servitudo or servitus. See Serve.

1. The condition of a slave the state of involuntary subjection to a master slavery bondage. Such is the state of slaves in America. A large portion of the human race is in servitude. 2. The state of a servant. Less common and less proper. 3. The condition of a conquered country. 4. A state of slavish dependence. Some persons may be in love with splendid servitude. 5. Servants, collectively. Not in use.

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(1): ( n.) The state of voluntary or compulsory subjection to a master; the condition of being bound to service; the condition of a slave; slavery; bondage; hence, a state of slavish dependence.

(2): ( n.) Servants, collectively.

(3): ( n.) A right whereby one thing is subject to another thing or person for use or convenience, contrary to the common right.

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

 Genesis 47:21 2 Chronicles 10:4 Nehemiah 5:18 Jeremiah 28:14 Lamentations 1:3

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [4]

( עֲבֹדָה ). The servants of the Israelites were slaves, and usually foreigners ( 1 Chronicles 2:34), who vet were required to be circumcised (comp.  Genesis 17:23;  Genesis 17:27). Servants of both sexes were acquired (comp. Mishna, Kiddushin, 1, 2 sq.), sometimes as prisoners of war, whose lives were spared (comp.  Numbers 31:26 sq.), sometimes by purchase in peace (these were called Miknath Keseph, "purchased,"  Judith 4:10; comp. Livy, 41, 6; see  Genesis 17:23;  Exodus 21:7;  Exodus 22:2;  Leviticus 25:44; and on their purchase in Abyssinia now, see Russegger, Reis. 1, 156). But foreign servants who had escaped could neither be enslaved nor given up to their masters ( Deuteronomy 23:15 sq.). The children of slaves were of course the property of the master (comp.  Genesis 17:23;  Exodus 21:4). These were generally considered most faithful (Horace, Ephesians 2, 2, 6 ). At the legal valuation, perhaps an average, thirty silver shekels were given for a servant ( Exodus 21:32), while a free Israelite was valued at fifty ( Leviticus 27:3 sq.). On the price of remarkable servants in Egypt under the Ptolemies, see Josephus ( Ant. 12, 4, 9). A moderate price for a Jewish slave was one hundred and twenty drachms ( Ibid. 12, 2, 3). An Israelite could become by purchase the property of another ( Exodus 21:2;  Deuteronomy 15:12) if he was compelled by poverty to sell himself ( Leviticus 25:39), but he could not, according to the law, be treated as a slave, and in any case he obtained his freedom again, without ransom, after six years of service, or in the year of jubilee ( Exodus 21:2 sq.  Leviticus 25:39-40 sq.), if he were not ransomed earlier ( Leviticus 25:48 sq.). Perhaps the case was different with him who was sold for theft ( Exodus 22:3). Even this sale was always to an Israelite.(Josephus, Ant. 16, 1, l), though whether to the injured man or to the highest bidder is doubtful ( Ibid. 4, 8, 27). It seems that hard creditors could sell insolvent debtors or their families ( Isaiah 1:1;  Nehemiah 5:5;  Matthew 18:25), but perhaps not legally, as sometimes among the Greeks (Becker, Charik. 2, 32). Parents were permitted to sell daughters ( Exodus 21:7), but the law showed much favor to such servants ( Exodus 21:8 sq.), for, though there is difficulty in the statements, it is plain that they were protected against violence (see Hengstenberg, Pentat. 2, 438 sq., whom Kurtz, Mos. Opfer, p. 216, contradicts without reason). It is plain that servants could not have been dispensed with among a people where almost every man was an agriculturist, and where there were few of a lower class to work for hire (yet comp.  Leviticus 19:13;  Deuteronomy 24:14;  Job 7:2; also Josephus, Ant. 4, 8, 38); and, indeed, the ancestors of the Israelites, the nomadic patriarchs, had numbered slaves among their valuable possessions ( Genesis 12:16;  Genesis 24:35;  Genesis 30:43;  Genesis 32:5).

These were very numerous ( Genesis 14:14), and, in case of need, served as an army for defense ( Genesis 14:14 sq.). When a daughter of the family married a stranger, a female servant accompanied her to her new home ( Genesis 29:24;  Genesis 29:29). The Mosaic law sought to establish on just principles a permanent relation between master and servant, and conferred many favors on the servants. They not only enjoyed rest from all work every seventh day ( Exodus 20:10); not only was it forbidden to punish a slave so severely that he should die on the spot ( Exodus 21:20), or to mutilate him ( Exodus 20:26 sq.), on penalty, in the former case, of suffering punishment (not death, perhaps, as the rabbins say; comp. Koran, 2, 179); in the latter, of the freedom of the slave (less protection than this was given to the Greek and Roman slaves; see Becker, Charik. 2, 48; R Ö m. Alter. 2, 1, 58 sq.); not only were they to be admitted to certain festivals ( Deuteronomy 12:12;  Deuteronomy 12:18;  Deuteronomy 16:11;  Deuteronomy 16:14, comp. Athen. 14, 639; Buttmann, Myth. 2, 52 sq.), but every slave of Hebrew descent obtained his freedom after six years' servitude ( Exodus 21:2 sq.;  Deuteronomy 15:12; comp. Josephus, Ant. 16, 1, 1; including females,  Deuteronomy 15:12); yet without wife or child, if these had come to him in the house of his master ( Exodus 21:3 sq.); and the year of jubilee emancipated all slaves of Hebrew descent ( Leviticus 25:41;  Jeremiah 34:8 sq.; comp. Josephus, Ant. 3, 12, 3). If a slave would not make use of the legal freedom granted him in the seventh year, but wished to remain in his master's house, then he was led to the judge, and his ear was bored ( Exodus 21:6;  Deuteronomy 15:17. So the Bored Ears among other nations were a proof of servitude as the Arabians [Petron, Satir. 102], the Lydians, Indians, and Persians [Xenoph. Anab. 3, 1, 31; Plutarch, Sympos. 2, 1, 4];. yet comp. Rosenm Ü ller, Morgenl. 2, 70 sq., and on the symbolic customs at manumission by the Romans, see Becker, Rom. Alter 2, 1, 66 sq. Plautus [ Poen. 5, 2, 21] shows that the wearing of earrings was a mark of a slave).

There is no other kind of manumission mentioned in the Old Test. (see Mishna, Maas. Sheni, 5, 14). It was at least allowed to slaves of Israelitish descent to acquire some property ( Leviticus 25:49; comp. Arvieux, 4, 3 sq.); and though, on the whole, the servants were required to labor diligently ( Job 7:2;  Sirach 33:26;  Sirach 33:28), and the masters required attention and obedience in service ( Psalms 123:2), inflicting corporal punishment when necessary ( Proverbs 29:19;  Proverbs 29:21;  Sirach 23:10;  Sirach 33:10), yet the lot of Israelitish servants seems to have been more tolerable than that of those in Rome (Becker, Gallus, 1, 128 sq.) and of the modern slaves in the East; yet the tatter, even among the Turks, are not treated so inhumanely as is often thought (comp. Arvieux, 3, 385; Burckhardt, Reise durch Arabien u. Nubien, p. 232 sq.; Wellsted, 1, 273, Russegger, 2, 2, 524. On the mild treatment of slaves in ancient India, see Von Bohlen, Indien, 2, 157 sq.). Hebrew slaves sometimes married their masters' daughters ( 1 Chronicles 2:35; see Rosenm Ü ller, Morgenl. 3, 253 sq.). It was more usual for the masters to give Israelitish slaves as wives to. their sons, by which they acquired the rights of daughters ( Exodus 21:9; comp.  Genesis 30:3; Chardin, Voyage, 2, 220). The relation of chief servant, or head of the house, in. whom the master reposed full confidence, may have continued in the more important families from patriarchal times ( Genesis 24:2; comp. 15:2; 39:2; and for a modern parallel, Arvieux, 4, 30) and slaves seem even to have been employed to educate the sons of the house ( Παιδαγωγοί ,  Galatians 3:24 sq.; see Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterth. 2, 368).

The common slaves were required to do field and house work ( Luke 17:7 sq.), and, especially the females, to turn the hand mill, and to take off or carry the master's sandals, etc. None but the Essenes, among the Jews, rejected all slavery, as contradicting the natural freedom of men (Philo, Op. 2, 458, etc.; so the Therapeutae, Ibid. 2, 482). It is well known that in war with foreign nations many Jews were sold abroad as slaves ( Joel 3:11;  Amos 1:6;  Amos 1:9;  1 Maccabees 3:41;  2 Maccabees 8:11, comp.  Deuteronomy 28:68). This happened. especially in the wars with Egypt (Josephus, Ant. 12, 2, 3) and Syria, then with Rome; and after the destruction of Jerusalem ninety-seven thousand Jews fell into the power of the victorious enemy (id. War, 6, 9, 2). The Jewish community at Rome consisted, in great measure, of freed slaves. See, in general, Pignoria, De Servis Et Eor. Ap. Vet. Minister. (Patav. 1694, and often); Mos. Maimon. De Servis Et Ancillis (tract. c. vers. et not. Kall, Hafn. 1744); Abicht, De Servor. Hebr. Acquis. Atq. Serv. (Lips. 1704); Alting,. Opp. 5, 222 sq,; Mieg, Constitut. Servi Hebr. Ex Script. Et Rabbin. Collect. (Herborn, 1785); Michaelis, Mos. Rit. 2, 358 sq.; Amn. Bib. Repos. 2d Ser. 11, 302 sq. (See Nethinim); (See Slave).