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vidual does for himself, and should manifestly have been rendered, "ye shall offer yourselves for sale, and there shall be no purchaser." For a clue to Scripture usage on this point, see 1 Kings xxi. 20, 25“Thou hast sold thyself to work evil. 6. There was none like to Ahab that sold himself to work wickedness."-2 Kings xvii. 17.
They used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil.”—Isa. 1. 1. “For your iniquities have ye sold yourselves.” Isa. lii. 3, “Ye have sold yourselves FOR NOUGAT, and ye shall be redeemed without money.” See also, Jer. xxxiv. 14—Romans vii. 14, vi. 16—John viii. 34, and the case of Joseph and the Egyptians, already quoted. In the purchase of wives, though spoken of rarely, it is generally stated that they were bought of third persons. If servants were bought of third persons, it is strange that no instance of it is on record.
The general object of the laws defining the relations of master and servant, was the good of both parties--more especially the good of the servants. While the master's interests were guarded from injury, those of the servants were promoted. These laws made a merciful provision for the poorer classes, both of the Israelites and Strangers, not laying on burdens, but lightening them--they were a grant of privileges and favors.
1. No servant from the Strangers, could remain in the family of an Israelite, without becoming a proselyte. Compliance with this condition was the price of the privilege.-Gen. xvii. 9—14, 23, 27.
11. Excommunication from the family was a PUNISHMENT.-Gen. xxi. 14. Luke xvi. 2-4.
III. Every Hebrew servant could COMPEL his master to keep him after the six years contract had expired. This shows that the system was framed to advance the interests and gratify the wishes of the servant quite as much as those of the master. If the servant demanded it, the law obliged the master retain him, however little he might need his services. Deut. xv. 12–17. Ex. xxi. 2–6.
iv. The rights and privileges guarantied by law to all servants.
1. They were admitted into covenant with God. Deut. xxix. 10-13.
2. They were invited guests at all the national and family festivals. Ex. xii. 43—44; Deut xii. 12, 18, xvi. 10–16.
3. They were statedly instructed in morality and religion. Deut. xxxi. 10–13; Josh. viii. 33–35; 2 Chron. xvii. 8–9.
4. They were released from their regular labor nearly ONE HALF OF THE WHOLE TIME. During which they had their entire support, and the same instruction that was provided for the other members of the Hebrew community.
(a) The Law secured to them the whole of every seventh year ;. Lev. xxv. 3—6; thus giving to those who were servants during the entire period between the jubilees, eight whole years, including the jubilee year, of unbroken rest.
(b.) Every seventh day. This in forty-two years, the eight being subtracted from the fifty, would amount to just six years.
(c.) The three annual festivals. The Passover, which commenced on the 15th of the 1st month, and lasted seven days, Deut. xvi. 3, 8. The Pentecost, or Feast of Weeks, which began on the 6th day of the 3d month, and lasted seven days. Lev. xvi. 10, 11. The Feast of Tabernacles, which commenced on the 15th of the 7th month, and lasted eight days. Deut. xvi. 13, 15; Lev. xxiii. 34–39. As all met in one place, much time would be spent on the journey. Cumbered caravans move slowly. After their arrival, a day or two would be requisite for divers preparations before the celebration, besides some time at the close of it, in preparations for return. assign three weeks to each festival—including the time spent on the journeys, and the delays before and after the celebration, together with the festival week, it will be a small allowance for the cessation of their regular labor. As there were three festivals in the year, the main body of the servants would be absent from their stated employ: ments at least nine weeks annually, which would amount in forty-two years, subtracting the sabbaths, to six years and eighty-four days.
(d.) The new moons. The Jewish year had twelve ; Josephus says that the Jews always kept two days for the new moon. See Calmet on the Jewish Calendar, and Horne's Introduction; also 1 Sam. xx. 18, 19, 27. This in forty-two years, would be two years 280 days.
(e.) The feast of trumpets. On the first day of the seventh month, and of the civil year. Lev. xxiii. 24, 25.
(f.) The atonement day. On the tenth of the seventh month. Lev. xxiii. 27.
These two feasts would consume not less than sixty-five days not reckoned above.
Thus it appears that those who continued servants during the period between the jubilees, were by law released from their labor, TWENTY-THREE YEARS AND SIXTY-FOUR DAYS, OUT OF FIFTY YEARS, and those who remained a less time, in nearly the same proportion. In this calculation, besides making a donation of all the fractions to the objector, we have left out those numerous local festivals to which frequent allusion is made, Judg. xxi. 19; 1 Sam. ix. etc., and the various family festivals, such as at the weaning of children; at marriages; at sheep shearings; at circumcisions ; at the making of covenants, &c., to which reference is often made, as in 1 Sam. xx. 28, 29. Neither have we included the festivals instituted at a later period of the Jewish history. The feast of Purim, Esth. ix. 28, 29; and of the Dedication, which lasted eight days. John x. 22 ; 1 Mac. iv. 59.
Finally, the Mosaic system secured to servants, an amount of time which, if distributed, would be almost ONE HALF OF THE DAYS IN EACH YEAR. Meanwhile, they were supported, and furnished with opportunities of instruction. If this time were distributed over every day, the servants would have to themselves nearly one half of each day. THIS IS A REGULATION OF THAT MOSAIC SYSTEM WHICH IS
v. The servant was protected by law equally with the other members of the community.
Proof.—" Judge righteously between every man and his neighbor, and THE STRANGER THAT IS WITH HIM.” 66 Ye shall not RESPECT PERSONS in judgment, but ye shall hear the SMALL as well as the great." Deut. i. 16, 17. Also Lev. xxiv. 22. “ Ye shall have one manner of law as well for the STRANGER, as for one of your own country.” So Numb. xv. 29. “ Ye shall have one Law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the chil
dren of Israel and for the STRANGER that sojourneth among them.” Deut. xxvii. 19. 66 Cursed be he that PERVERTETH THE JUDGMENT OF THE STRANGER."
VI. The Mosaic system enjoined the greatest affection and kindness toward servants, foreign as well as Jewish.
Lev. xix. 34. "The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself.” Al. so Deut. x. 17, 19. “ For the Lord
God He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and LOVETH THE STRANGER, in giving him food and raiment, LOVE YE THEREFORE THE STRANGER. So Ex. xxii. 21. " Thou shalt neither vex a STRANGER nor oppress him.” Ex. xxiii. 9. “Thou shalt not oppress a STRANGER, for ye know the heart of a stranger." Lev. xxv. 35, 36. “If thy brother be waxen poor thou shalt relieve him, yea, though he be a STRANGER or a sojourner, that he
live with thee, take thou no usury of him or increase, but fear thy God.” Could this same stranger be taken by one that feared his God, and held as a slave, and robbed of time, earnings, and all his rights !
vir. Servants were placed upon a level with their masters in all civil and religious rights. Num. xv. 15, 16, 29; ix. 14. Deut. i. 16, 17. Lev. xxiv. 22.
III.- DID PERSONS BECOME SERVANTS VOLUNTARILY,
OR WERE THEY MADE SERVANTS AGAINST THEIR WILLS?
We argue that they became servants of their own accord.
1. Because to become a servant in the family of an Israelite, was to abjure idolatry, to enter into covenant with God,* be circumcised in token of it, bound to keep the Sabbath, the Passover, the Pentecost, ‘and the Feast of Tabernacles, and to receive instruction in the moral and ceremonial law. Were the servants forced through all these processes ?
* Maimonides, who wrote in Egypt about seven hundred years ago, a contemporary with Jarchi, and who stands with him at the head of Jewish writers, gives the following testimony on this point :
“Whether a servant be born in the power of an Israelite, or whether he be purchased from the heathen, the master is to bring them both into the covenant.
“But he that is in the house is entered on the eighth day, and he that is bought with money, on the day on which his master receives him, unless the slave be unwilling. For if the master receive a grown slave, and he be unwilling, his master is to bear with him, to seek to win him over by instruction, and by love and kindness, for one year. After which, should he refuse so long, it is forbidden to keep him, longer than a year. And the master must send him back to the strangers from whence he came. For the God of Jacob will not accept any other than the worship of a willing heart.”—Mamon, Hilcoth Miloth, Chap. 1st, Sec. 8th.
Was the renunication of idolatry compulsory? Were they dragged into covenant with God? Were they seized and circumcised by main strength? Were they compelled mechanically to chew, and swallow the flesh of the Paschal lamb, while they abhorred the institution, spurned the laws that enjoined it, detested its author and its executors, and instead of rejoicing in the deliverance which it commemorated, bewailed it as a calamity, and cursed the day of its consummation ? Were they driven from all parts of the land three times in the year to the annual festivals ? Were they drugged with instruction which they nauseated? Goaded through a round of ceremonies, to them senseless and disgusting mummeries; and drilled into the tactics of a creed rank with loathed abominations ? We repeat it, to become a servant, was to become a proselyte. And did God authorize his people to make proselytes, at the point of the sword ? by the terror of pains and penalties? by converting men into merchandise ? Were proselyte and chattel synonymes, in the Divine vocabulary? Must a man be sunk to a thing before taken into covenant with God? Was this the stipulated condition of adoption, and the sole passport to the communion of the saints ?
II. We argue the voluntariness of servants from Deut. xxiii. 15, 16, “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates where it liketh him best ; thou shalt not oppress him.”
As though God had said, “ To deliver him up would be to recog
The ancient Jewish Doctors assert that the servant from the Strangers who at the close of his probationary year, refused to adopt the Jewish religion and was on that account sent back to his own people, received a full compensation for his services, besides the payment of his expenses. But that postponement of the circumcision of the foreign servant for a year (or even at all after he had entered the family of an Israelite) of which the Mishnic doctors speak, seems to have been a mere usage. We find nothing of it in the regulations of the Mosaic system. Circumcision was manifestly a rite strictly initiatory. Whether it was a rite merely national or spiritual, or both, comes not within the scope of this inquiry.