“I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary.” Philemon 13-14
Paul sent Onesimus, the slave, back to his slave master, Philemon. Later in the letter, Paul would say, “I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask” (v.21). Subtly Paul was asking Philemon to free Onesimus. Paul appeals but doesn’t demand.