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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus by American Anti-Slavery Society

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servant had just arrived at Zuph, and _both_ of them, at Samuel's
solicitation, accompany him as invited guests. "And Samuel took Saul and
his SERVANT, and brought THEM into the PARLOR (!) and made THEM sit in
the CHIEFEST SEATS among those that were bidden." A _servant_ invited by
the chief judge, ruler, and prophet in Israel, to dine publicly with a
select party, in company with his master, who was at the same time
anointed King of Israel! and this servant introduced by Samuel into the
PARLOR, and assigned, with his master, to the _chiefest seat_ at the
table! This was "_one_ of the servants" of Kish, Saul's father; not the
steward or the chief of them--not at all a _picked_ man, but "_one_ of
the servants;" _any_ one that could be most easily spared, as no
endowments specially rare would be likely to find scope in looking after
asses. David seems to have been for a time in all respects a servant in
Saul's family. He "_stood before him_." "And Saul sent to Jesse, saying,
let David, I pray thee, _stand before me_." He was Saul's personal
servant, went on his errands, played on the harp for his amusement, bore
his armor for him, and when he wished to visit his parents, asked
permission of Jonathan, Saul's son. Saul also calls him "my servant." 1
Sam. xvi. 21-23; xviii. 5; xx. 5, 6; xxii. 8. Yet David sat with the
king at meat, married his daughter, and lived on terms of the closest
intimacy with the heir apparent of the throne. Abimelech, who was first
elected king of Shechem, and afterwards reigned over all Israel, _was
the son of a_ MAID-SERVANT. His mother's family seems to have been of
much note in the city of Shechem, where her brothers manifestly held
great sway. Judg. ix. 1-6, 18. Jarha, an Egyptian, the servant of
Sheshan, married his daughter. Tobiah, "the servant" and an Ammonite
married the daughter of Shecaniah one of the chief men among the Jews in
Jerusalem and was the intimate associate of Sanballat the governor of
the Samaritans. We find Elah, the King of Israel, at a festive
entertainment, in the house of Arza, his steward, or head servant, with
whom he seems to have been on terms of familiarity. 1 Kings xvi. 8, 9.
See also the intercourse between Gideon and his servants. Judg. vi. 27,
and vii. 10, 11. The Levite of Mount Ephraim and his servant. Judg. xx.
3, 9, 11, 13, 19, 21, 22. King Saul and his servant Doeg, one of his
herdmen. 1 Sam. xx. 1, 7; xxii. 9, 18, 22. King David and Ziba, the
servant of Mephibosheth. 2 Sam. xvi. 1-4. Jonathan and his servant. 1
Sam. xiv. 1-14. Elisha and his servant, Gehazi. 2 Kings iv. v. vi. Also
between Joram king of Israel and the servant of Elisha. 2 Kings viii. 4,
5, and between Naaman "the Captain of the host of the king of Syria" and
the same person. 2 Kings v. 21-23. The fact stated under a previous head
that servants were always invited guests at public and social festivals,
is in perfect keeping with the foregoing exemplifications of the
prevalent estimation in which servants were held by the Israelites.

Probably no one of the Old Testament patriarchs had more servants than
Job; "This man was the greatest man of all the men of the east." Job, i.
3. We are not left in the dark as to the condition of his servants.
After asserting his integrity, his strict justice, honesty, and equity,
in his dealings with his fellow men, and declaring "I delivered the
poor," "I was eyes to the blind and feet was I to the lame," "I was a
father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not I searched out," * *
* he says "If I did despise the cause of my man-servant or my
maid-servant when they CONTENDED with me * * * then let mine arm fall
from the shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone." Job.
xxix. 12, 15, 16; xxxi. 13, 22. The language employed in this passage is
the phraseology applied in judicial proceedings to those who implead one
another, and whether it be understood literally or figuratively, shows
that whatever difference existed between Job and his servants in other
respects, so far as _rights_ are concerned, they were on equal ground
with him, and that in the matter of daily intercourse, there was not the
least restraint on their _free speech_ in calling in question all his
transactions with them, and that the relations and claims of both
parties were adjudicated on the principles of equity and reciprocal
right. "If I _despised_ the cause of my man-servant," &c. In other
words, if I treated it lightly, as though servants were not men, had not
rights, and had not a claim for just dues and just estimation as human
beings. "When they _contended_ with me," that is, when they plead their
rights, claimed what was due to them, or questioned the justice of any
of my dealings with them.

In the context Job virtually affirms as the ground of his just and
equitable treatment of his servants, that they had the same rights as he
had, and were, as human beings, entitled to equal consideration with
himself. By what language could he more forcibly utter his conviction of
the oneness of their common origin and of the identity of their common
nature, necessities, attribute and rights? As soon as he has said, "If I
did despise the cause of my man-servant," &c., he follows it up with
"What then shall I do when God raiseth up? and when he visiteth, what
shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb, make _him_? and
did not one fashion us in the womb." In the next verse Job glories in
the fact that he has not "_withheld from the poor their desire_." Is it
the "desire" of the poor to be _compelled_ by the rich to work for them,
and without _pay_?

III. THE CASE OF THE GIBEONITES. The condition of the inhabitants of
Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim, under the Hebrew
commonwealth, is quoted in triumph by the advocates of slavery; and
truly they are right welcome to all the crumbs that can be gleaned from
it. Milton's devils made desperate snatches at fruit that turned to
ashes on their lips. The spirit of slavery raves under tormenting
gnawings, and casts about in blind phrenzy for something to ease, or
even to mock them. But for this, it would never have clutched at the
Gibeonites, for even the incantations of the demon cauldron could not
extract from their case enough to tantalize starvation's self. But to
the question. What was the condition of the Gibeonites under the
Israelites? 1. _It was voluntary_. Their own proposition to Joshua was
to become servants. Josh. ix. 8, 11. It was accepted, but the kind of
service which they should perform, was not specified until their gross
imposition came to light; they were then assigned to menial offices in
the Tabernacle. 2. _They were not domestic servants in the families of
the Israelites_. They still resided in their own cities, cultivated
their own fields, tended their flocks and herds, and exercised the
functions of a _distinct_, though not independent community. They were
subject to the Jewish nation as _tributaries_. So far from being
distributed among the Israelites and their internal organization as a
distinct people abolished, they remained a separate, and, in some
respects, an independent community for many centuries. When attacked by
the Amorites, they applied to the Israelites as confederates for aid--it
was rendered, their enemies routed, and themselves left unmolested in
their cities. Josh. x. 6-18. Long afterwards, Saul slew some of them,
and God sent upon Israel a three years' famine for it. David inquired of
the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you, and wherewith shall I make the
atonement?" At their demand, he delivered up to them seven of Saul's
descendants. 2 Sam. xxi. 1-9. The whole transaction was a formal
recognition of the Gibeonites as a distinct people. There is no
intimation that they served either families or individuals of the
Israelites, but only the "house of God," or the Tabernacle. This was
established first at Gilgal, a days' journey from their cities; and then
at Shiloh, nearly two days' journey from them; where it continued about
350 years. During this period the Gibeonites inhabited their ancient
cities and territory. Only a few, comparatively, could have been absent
at any one time in attendance on the Tabernacle. Wherever allusion is
made to them in the history, the main body are spoken of as _at home_.
It is preposterous to suppose that all the inhabitants of these four
cities could find employment at the Tabernacle. One of them "was a great
city, as one of the royal cities;" so large, that a confederacy of five
kings, apparently the most powerful in the land, was deemed necessary
for its destruction. It is probable that the men were divided into
classes, ministering in rotation--each class a few days or weeks at a
time. As the priests whose assistants they were, served by courses in
rotation a week at a time; it is not improbable that their periods of
service were so arranged as to correspond. This service was their
_national tribute_ to the Israelites, for the privilege of residence and
protection under their government. No service seems to have been
required of the _females_. As these Gibeonites were Canaanites, and as
they had greatly exasperated the Israelites by impudent imposition and
lying, we might assuredly expect that they would reduce _them_ to the
condition of chattels, if there was _any_ case in which God permitted
them to do so.

IV. EGYPTIAN BONDAGE ANALYZED. Throughout the Mosaic system, God warns
the Israelites against holding their servants in such a condition as
they were held in by the Egyptians. How often are they pointed back to
the grindings of their prison-house! What motives to the exercise of
justice and kindness towards their servants, are held out to their fears
in threatened judgments; to their hopes in promised good; and to all
within them that could feel, by those oft repeated words of tenderness
and terror! "For ye were bondmen in the land of Egypt"--waking anew the
memory of tears and anguish, and of the wrath that avenged them. But
what was the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt? Of what rights were
they plundered and what did they retain?

1. _They were not dispersed among the families of Egypt,[A] but formed a
separate community_. Gen. xlvi. 34. Ex. viii. 22, 24; ix. 26; x. 23; xi.
7; iv. 29; ii. 9; xvi. 22; xvii. 5; vi. 14. 2. _They had the exclusive
possession of the land of Goshen,[B] "the best part of the land" of
Egypt_. Gen. xlv. 18; xlvii. 6, 11, 27; Ex. viii. 22; ix. 26; xii. 4.
Goshen must have been at a considerable distance from those parts of
Egypt inhabited by the Egyptians; so far at least as to prevent their
contact with the Israelites, since the reason assigned for locating them
in Goshen was, that shepherds were "an abomination to the Egyptians;"
besides, their employments would naturally lead them out of the settled
parts of Egypt to find a free range of pasturage for their immense
flocks and herds. 3. _They lived in permanent dwellings_. These were
_houses_, not _tents_. In Ex. xii. 7, 22, the two side _posts_, and the
upper door _posts_, and the lintel of the houses are mentioned. Each
family seems to have occupied a house _by itself_. Acts vii. 20. Ex.
xii. 4--and judging from the regulation about the eating of the
Passover, they could hardly have been small ones, Ex. xii. 4; probably
contained separate apartments, as the entertainment of sojourners seems
to have been a common usage. Ex. iii. 23; and also places for
concealment. Ex. ii. 2, 3; Acts vii. 20. They appear to have been well
apparelled. Ex. xii. 11. 4. _They owned "flocks and herds," and "very
much cattle_." Ex. xii. 4, 6, 32, 37, 38. From the fact that "_every
man_" was commanded to kill either a lamb or a kid, one year old, for
the Passover, before the people left Egypt, we infer that even the
poorest of the Israelites owned a flock either of sheep or goats.
Further, the immense multitude of their flocks and herds may be judged
of from the expostulation of Moses with Jehovah. Num. xii. 21, 22. "The
people among whom I am are six hundred thousand footmen, and thou hast
said I will give them flesh that they may eat a whole month; shall the
flocks and the herds be slain for them to _suffice_ them." As these six
hundred thousand were only the _men_ "from twenty years old and upward,
that were able to go forth to war," Ex. i. 45, 46; the whole number of
the Israelites could not have been less than three millions and a half.
Flocks and herds to "suffice" all these for food, might surely be called
"very much cattle." 5. _They had their own form of government_, and
preserved their tribe and family divisions, and their internal
organization throughout, though still a province of Egypt, and
_tributary_ to it. Ex. ii. 1; xii. 19, 21; vi. 14, 25; v. 19; iii. 16,
18. 6. _They had in a considerable measure, the disposal of their own
time._ Ex. iii. 16, 18; xii. 6; ii. 9; and iv. 27, 29-31. _They seem to
have practised the fine arts_. Ex. xxxii. 4; xxxv. 22, 35. 7. _They were
all armed_. Ex. xxxii. 27. 8. _They held their possessions
independently, and the Egyptians seem to have regarded them as
inviolable_. No intimation is given that the Egyptians dispossessed them
of their habitations, or took away their flocks, or herds, or crops, or
implements of agriculture, or any article of property. 9. _All the
females seem to have known something of domestic refinements_. They were
familiar with instruments of music, and skilled in the working of fine
fabrics. Ex. xv. 20; xxxv. 25, 26; and both males and females were able
to read and write. Deut. xi. 18-20; xvii. 19; xxvii. 3. 10. _Service
seems to have been exacted from none but adult males_. Nothing is said
from which the bond service of females could be inferred; the hiding of
Moses three months by his mother, and the payment of wages to her by
Pharaoh's daughter, go against such a supposition. Ex. ii. 29. 11.
_Their food was abundant and of great variety_. So far from being fed
upon a fixed allowance of a single article, and hastily prepared, "they
sat by the flesh-pots," and "did eat bread to the full." Ex. xvi. 3; and
their bread was prepared with leaven. Ex. xii. 15, 39. They ate "the
fish freely, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the
onions, and the garlic." Num. xi. 4, 5; xx. 5. Probably but a small
portion of the people were in the service of the Egyptians at any one
time. The extent and variety of their own possessions, together with
such a cultivation of their crops as would provide them with bread, and
such care of their immense flocks and herds, as would secure their
profitable increase, must have kept at home the main body of the nation.
During the plague of darkness, God informs us that "ALL the children of
Israel had light in their dwellings." We infer that they were _there_ to
enjoy it. See also Ex. ix. 26. It seems improbable that the making of
brick, the only service named during the latter part of their sojourn in
Egypt, could have furnished permanent employment for the bulk of the
nation. See also Ex. iv. 29-31. Besides, when Eastern nations employed
tributaries, it was as now, in the use of the levy, requiring them to
furnish a given quota, drafted off periodically, so that comparatively
but a small portion of the nation would be absent _at any one time_. The
adult males of the Israelites were probably divided into companies,
which relieved each other at stated intervals of weeks or months. It
might have been during one of these periodical furloughs from service
that Aaron performed the journey to Horeb. Ex. iv. 27. At the least
calculation this journey must have consumed _eight weeks_. Probably
one-fifth part of the proceeds of their labor was required of the
Israelites in common with the Egyptians. Gen. xlvii. 24, 26. Instead of
taking it from their _crops_, (Goshen being better for _pasturage_) they
exacted it of them in brick making; and labor might have been exacted
only from the _poorer_ Israelites, the wealthy being able to pay their
tribute in money. The fact that all the elders of Israel seem to have
controlled their own time, (See Ex. iv. 29; iii. 16; v. 20,) favors the
supposition. Ex. iv. 27, 31. Contrast this bondage of Egypt with
American slavery. Have our slaves "flocks and herds even very much
cattle?" Do they live in commodious houses of their own, "sit by the
flesh-pots," "eat fish freely," and "eat bread to the full"? Do they
live in a separate community, in their distinct tribes, under their own
rulers, in the exclusive occupation of an extensive tract of country for
the culture of their crops, and for rearing immense herds of their own
cattle--and all these held inviolable by their masters? Are our female
slaves free from exactions of labor and liabilities of outrage? or when
employed, are they paid wages, as was the Israelitish woman by the
king's daughter? Have they the disposal of their own time, and the means
for cultivating social refinements, for practising the fine arts, and
ENJOYED ALL THESE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES. True, "all the service wherein
they made them serve was with rigor." But what was this when compared
with the incessant toil of American slaves; the robbery of all their
time and earnings, and even the "power to own any thing, or acquire any
thing?" a "quart of corn a-day," the legal allowance of food![C] their
_only_ clothing for one half the year, "_one_ shirt and _one_ pair of
pantaloons!"[D]_two hours and a half_ only, for rest and refreshment in
the twenty-four![E]--their dwellings, _hovels_, unfit for human
residence, with but one apartment, where both sexes and all ages herd
promiscuously at night, like the beasts of the field.[F] Add to this,
the ignorance, and degradation;[G] the daily sunderings of kindred, the
revelries of lust, the lacerations and baptisms of blood, sanctioned by
law, and patronized by public sentiment. What was the bondage of Egypt
when compared with this? And yet for her oppression of the poor, God
smote her with plagues, and trampled her as the mire, till she passed
away in his wrath, and the place that knew her in her pride, knew her no
more. Ah! "I have seen the afflictions of my people, and I have heard
their groanings, and am come down to deliver them." HE DID COME, and
Egypt sank a ruinous heap, and her blood closed over her. If such was
God's retribution for the oppression of heathen Egypt, of how much sorer
punishment shall a Christian people be thought worthy, who cloak with
religion a system, in comparison with which the bondage of Egypt
dwindles to nothing? Let those believe who can, that God commissioned
his people to rob others of _all_ their rights, while he denounced
against them wrath to the uttermost, if they practised the _far lighter_
oppression of Egypt--which robbed its victims of only the least and
cheapest of their rights, and left the females unplundered even of
these. What! Is God divided against himself? When He had just turned
Egypt into a funeral pile; while his curse yet blazed upon her unburied
dead, and his bolts still hissed amidst her slaughter, and the smoke of
her torment went upwards because she had "ROBBED THE POOR," did He
license the VICTIMS of robbery to rob the poor of ALL? As _Lawgiver_,
did he _create_ a system tenfold more grinding than that for which he
had just hurled Pharaoh headlong, and overwhelmed his princes and his
hosts, till "hell was moved to meet them at their coming?"

[Footnote C: See law of North Carolina, Haywood's Manual 524-5. To show
that slaveholders are not better than their laws. We give a few
testimonies. Rev. Thomas Clay, of Georgia, (a slaveholder,) in an
address before the Georgia presbytery, in 1834, speaking of the slave's
allowance of food, says:--"The quantity allowed by custom is a _peck of
corn a week._" The Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser of May 30,
1788, says, "a _single peck of corn a week, or the like measure of
rice_, is the ordinary quantity of provision for a _hard-working_ slave;
to which a small quantity of meat is occasionally, though _rarely_,

The Gradual Emancipation Society of North Carolina, in their Report for
1836, signed Moses Swaim, President, and William Swaim, Secretary, says,
in describing the condition of slaves in the Eastern part of that State,
"The master puts the unfortunate wretches upon short allowances,
scarcely sufficient for their sustenance, so that a _great part_ of them
go _half naked_ and _half starved_ much of the time." See Minutes of the
American Convention, convened in Baltimore, Oct. 25, 1826.

Rev. John Rankin, a native of Tennessee, and for many years a preacher
in slave states, says of the food of slaves, "It _often_ happens that
what will _barely keep them alive_, is all that a cruel avarice will
allow them. Hence, in some instances, their allowance has been reduced
to a _single pint of corn each_, during the day and night. And some have
no better allowance than a small portion of cotton seed; while perhaps
they are not permitted to taste meat so much as once in the course of
seven years. _Thousands of them are pressed with the gnawings of cruel
hunger during their whole lives._" Rankin's Letters on Slavery, pp. 57,

Hon. Robert J. Turnbull, of Charleston, S.C., a slaveholder, says, "The
subsistence of the slaves consists, from March until August, of corn
ground into grits, or meal, made into what is called _hominy_, or baked
into corn bread. The other six months, they are fed upon the sweet
potatoe. Meat, when given, is only by way of _indulgence or favor_."
_See "Refutation of the Calumnies circulated against the Southern and
Western States," by a South Carolinian. Charleston_, 1822.

Asa A. Stone, a theological student, residing at Natchez, Mississippi,
wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Evangelist in 1835, in
which he says, "On almost every plantation, the hands suffer more or
less from hunger at some seasons of almost every year. There is always a
_good deal of suffering_ from hunger. On many plantations, and
particularly in Louisiana, the slaves are in a condition of _almost
utter famishment_ during a great portion of the year."

At the commencement of his letter, Mr. S. says, "Intending, as I do,
that my statements shall be relied on, and knowing that, should you
think fit to publish this communication, they will come to this country,
where their correctness may be tested by comparison with real life, I
make them with the utmost care and precaution."

President Edwards, the younger, in a sermon preached half a century ago,
at New Haven, Conn., says, speaking of the allowance of food given to
slaves--"They are supplied with barely enough to keep them from

In the debate on the Missouri question in the U.S. Congress, 1819-20,
the admission of Missouri to the Union, as a slave state, was urged,
among other grounds as a measure of humanity to the slaves of the south.
Mr. Smyth, a member of Congress, from Virginia, and a large slaveholder,
said, "The plan of our opponents seems to be to confine the slave
population to the southern states, to the countries where sugar, cotton,
and tobacco are cultivated. But, sir, by confining the slaves to a part
of the country where crops are raised for exportation, and the bread and
meat are purchased, _you doom them to scarcity and hunger_. Is it not
obvious that the way to render their situation more comfortable is to
allow them to be taken where there is not the same motive to force the
slave to INCESSANT TOIL that there is in the country where cotton,
sugar, and tobacco are raised for exportation. It is proposed to hem in
the blacks _where they are_ HARD WORKED and ILL FED, that they may be
rendered unproductive and the race be prevented from increasing. * *
* The proposed measure would be EXTREME CRUELTY to the blacks. * * *
You would * * * doom them to SCARCITY and HARD LABOR."--[Speech of
Mr. Smyth, of Va., Jan. 28, 1820.]--See National Intelligencer. ]

[Footnote D: See law of Louisiana, Martin's Digest, 6, 10. Mr. Bouldin,
a Virginia slaveholder, in a speech in Congress, Feb. 16, 1835, (see
National Intelligencer of that date,) said "_he knew_ that many negroes
had died from exposure to weather." Mr. B. adds, "they are clad in a
flimsy fabric that will turn neither wind nor water." Rev. John Rankin
says, in his Letters on slavery, page 57, "In every slaveholding state,
_many slaves suffer extremely_, both while they labor and while they
sleep, _for want of clothing_ to keep them warm. Often they are driven
through frost and snow without either stocking or shoe, until the path
they tread is died with their blood. And when they return to their
miserable huts at night, they find not there the means of comfortable
rest; but _on the cold ground they must lie without covering, and shiver
while they slumber_." ]

[Footnote E: See law of Louisiana, act of July 7, 1806, Martin's Digest,
6, 10-12. The law of South Carolina permits the master to _compel_ his
slaves to work fifteen hours in the twenty-four, in summer, and fourteen
in the winter--which would be in winter, from daybreak in the morning
until _four hours_ after sunset!--See 2 Brevard's Digest, 243. The
preamble of this law commences thus: "Whereas, _many_ owners of slaves
_do confine them so closely to hard labor that they have not sufficient
time for natural rest:_ be it therefore enacted," &c. In a work entitled
"Travels in Louisiana in 1802," translated from the French, by John
Davis, is the following testimony under this head:--

"The labor of Slaves in Louisiana is _not_ severe, unless it be at the
rolling of sugars, an interval of from two to three months, then they
work _both night and day_. Abridged of their sleep, they scarce retire
to rest during the whole period." See page 81. On the 87th page of the
same work, the writer says, _"Both in summer and winter_ the slaves must
be _in the field_ by the _first dawn of day."_ And yet he says, "the
labor of the slave is _not severe_, except at the rolling of sugars!"
The work abounds in eulogies of slavery.

In the "History of South Carolina and Georgia," vol. 1, p. 120, is the
following: "_So laborious_ is the task of raising, beating, and cleaning
rice, that had it been possible to obtain European servants in
sufficient numbers, _thousands and tens of thousands_ MUST HAVE

In an article on the agriculture of Louisiana, published in the second
number of the "Western Review" is the following:--"The work is admitted
to be severe for the hands, (slaves) requiring, when the process of
making sugar is commenced, TO BE PRESSED NIGHT AND DAY."

Mr. Philemon Bliss, of Ohio, in his letters from Florida, in 1835, says,
"The negroes commence labor by daylight in the morning, and excepting
the plowboys, who must feed and rest their horses, do not leave the
field till dark in the evening."

Mr. Stone, in his letter from Natchez, an extract of which was given
above, says, "It is a general rule on all regular plantations, that the
slaves rise in season in the morning, to _be in the field as soon as it
is light enough for them to see to work_, and remain there until it is
_so dark that they cannot see_. This is the case at all seasons of the

President Edwards, in the sermon already extracted from, says, "The
slaves are kept at hard labor from _five o'clock in the morning till
nine at night_, excepting time to eat twice during the day."

Hon. R.J. Turnbull, a South Carolina slaveholder, already quoted,
speaking of the harvesting of cotton, says: _"All the pregnant women_
even, on the plantation, and weak and _sickly_ negroes incapable of
other labor, are then _in requisition_." * * * See "Refutation of the
Calumnies circulated against the Southern and Western States," by a
South Carolinian. ]

[Footnote F: A late number of the "Western Medical Reformer" contains a
dissertation by a Kentucky physician, on _Cachexia Africana_, or African
consumption, in which the writer says--

"This form of disease deserves more attention from the medical
profession than it has heretofore elicited. Among the causes may be
named the mode and manner in which the negroes live. They are _crowded_
together in a _small hut_, sometimes having an imperfect, and sometimes
no floor--and seldom raised from the ground, illy ventilated, and
surrounded with filth. Their diet and clothing, are also causes which
might be enumerated as exciting agents. They live on a coarse, crude and
unwholesome diet, and are imperfectly clothed, both summer and winter;
sleeping upon filthy and frequently damp beds."

Hon. R.J. Turnbull, of South Carolina, whose testimony on another point
has been given above, says of the slaves, that they live in "_clay
cabins_, with clay chimneys," &c. Mr. Clay, a Georgia slaveholder, from
whom an extract has been given already, says, speaking of the dwellings
of the slaves, "Too many individuals of both sexes are crowded into one
house, and the proper separation of apartments _cannot_ be observed.
That the slaves are insensible to the evils arising from it, does not in
the least lessen the unhappy consequences." Clay's Address before the
Presbytery of Georgia.--P. 13. ]

[Footnote G: Rev. C.C. Jones, late of Georgia, now Professor in the
Theological Seminary at Columbia, South Carolina, made a report before
the presbytery of Georgia, in 1833, on the moral condition of the slave
population, which report was published under the direction of the
presbytery. In that report Mr. Jones says, "They, the slaves, are shut
out from our sympathies and efforts as immortal beings, and are educated
and disciplined as creatures of profit, and of profit only, for this
world." In a sermon preached by Mr. Jones, before two associations of
planters, in Georgia, in 1831, speaking of the slaves he says, "They are
a nation of HEATHEN in our very midst." "What have we done for our poor
negroes? With shame we must confess that we have done NOTHING!" "How can
you pray for Christ's kingdom to come while you are neglecting a people
perishing for lack of vision around your very doors." "We withhold the
Bible from our servants and keep them in ignorance of it, while we
_will_ not use the means to have it read and explained to them." Jones'
Sermon, pp. 7, 9.

An official report of the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina and
Georgia, adopted at its session in Columbia, S.C., and published in the
Charleston Observer of March 22, 1834, speaking of the slaves, says,
"There are over _two millions_ of _human beings_, in the condition of
HEATHEN, and, in some respects, _in a worse condition_!" * * * "From
long continued and close observation, we believe that their moral and
religious condition is such, as that they may justly be considered the
_heathen_ of this Christian country, and will _bear comparison with
heathen in any country in the world_." * * * "The negroes are destitute
of the privileges of the gospel, and _ever will be under the present
state of things."_ Report, &c., p. 4.

A writer in the Church Advocate, published in Lexington, Ky., says, "The
poor negroes are left in the ways of spiritual darkness, no efforts are
being made for their enlightenment, no seed is being sown, nothing but a
moral wilderness is seen, over which the soul sickens--the heart of
Christian sympathy bleeds. Here nothing is presented but a moral waste,
as _extensive as our influence_, as appalling as the valley of death."

The following is an extract of a letter from Bishop Andrew of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, to Messrs. Garrit and Maffit, editors of the
"Western Methodist," then published at Nashville, Tennessee.

"_Augusta, Jan. 29, 1835._

"The Christians of the South owe a heavy debt to slaves on their
plantations, and the ministers of Christ especially are debtors to the
whole slave population. I fear a cry goes up to heaven on this subject
against us; and how, I ask, shall the scores who have left the ministry
of the Word, that they may make corn and cotton, and buy and sell, and
get gain, meet this cry at the bar of God? and what shall the hundreds
of money-making and money-loving masters, who have grown rich by the
toil and sweat of their slaves, and _left their souls to perish_, say
when they go with them to the judgment of the great day?"

"The Kentucky Union for the moral and religious improvement of the
colored race,"--an association composed of some of the most influential
ministers and laymen of Kentucky, says in a general circular to the
religious public, "To the female character among the black population,
we cannot allude but with feelings of the bitterest shame. A similar
condition of moral pollution, and utter disregard of a pure and virtuous
reputation, is to be found only _without the pale of Christendom_. That
such a state of society should exist in a Christian nation, without
calling forth any particular attention to its existence, though ever
before our eyes and in our families, is a moral phenomenon at once
unaccountable and disgraceful."

Rev. James A. Thome, a native of Kentucky, and still residing there,
said in a speech in New York, May 1834, speaking of licentiousness among
the slaves, "I would not have you fail to understand that this is a
_general_ evil. Sir, what I now say, I say from deliberate conviction of
its truth; that the slave states are Sodoms, and almost every village
family is a brothel. (In this, I refer to the inmates of the kitchen,
and not to the whites.)"

A writer in the "Western Luminary," published in Lexington, Ky., made
the following declaration to the same point in the number of that paper
for May 7, 1835: "There is one topic to which I will allude, which will
serve to establish the heathenism of this population. I allude to the
UNIVERSAL LICENTIOUSNESS which prevails. _Chastity is no virtue among
them_--its violation neither injures female character in their own
estimation, or that of their master or mistress--no instruction is ever
given, _no censure pronounced_. I speak not of the world. I SPEAK OF

Rev. Mr. Converse, long a resident of Virginia, and agent of the
Colonization Society, said, in a sermon before the Vt. C.S.--"Almost
nothing is done to instruct the slaves in the principles and duties of
the Christian religion. * * * The majority are emphatically _heathens_.
* * Pious masters (with some honorable exceptions) are criminally
negligent of giving religious instruction to their slaves. * * * They
can and do instruct their own children, and _perhaps_ their house
servants; while those called "field hands" live, and labor, and die,
without being told by their _pious_ masters (?) that Jesus Christ died
to save sinners."

The page is already so loaded with references that we forbear. For
testimony from the mouths of slaveholders to the terrible lacerations
and other nameless outrages inflicted on the slaves, the reader is
referred to the number of the Anti-Slavery Record for Jan. 1837. ]

We now proceed to examine the various objections which will doubtless be
set in array against all the foregoing conclusions.


The advocates of slavery find themselves at their wit's end in pressing
the Bible into their service. Every movement shows them hard pushed.
Their ever-varying shifts, their forced constructions and blind
guesswork, proclaim both their _cause_ desperate, and themselves.
Meanwhile their invocations for help to "those good old slaveholders and
patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,"[A] sent up without ceasing from
the midst of their convulsions, avail as little as did the screams and
lacerations of the prophets of Baal to bring an answer of fire. The
Bible defences thrown around slavery by the professed ministers of the
Gospel, do so torture common sense, Scripture, and historical facts it
were hard to tell whether absurdity, fatuity, ignorance, or blasphemy,
predominates, in the compound; each strives so lustily for the mastery,
it may be set down a drawn battle. How often has it been bruited that
the color of the negro is the _Cain-mark_, propagated downward. Cain's
posterity started an opposition to the ark, forsooth, and rode out the
flood with flying streamers! How could miracle be more worthily
employed, or better vindicate the ways of God to man than by pointing
such an argument, and filling out for slaveholders a Divine title-deed!

[Footnote A: The Presbytery of Harmony, South Carolina, at their meeting
in Wainsborough, S.C., Oct. 28, 1836, appointed a special committee to
report on slavery. The following resolution is a part of the report
adopted by the Presbytery. "Resolved, That slavery has existed from the
days of those GOOD OLD SLAVEHOLDERS AND PATRIARCHS, Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob, who are now in the kingdom of Heaven."

Abraham receives abundant honor at the hands of slave-holding divines.
Not because he was the "father of the faithful," forsook home and
country for the truth's sake, was the most eminent preacher and
practiser of righteousness in his day; nay, verily, for all this he gets
faint praise; but then he had "SERVANTS BOUGHT WITH MONEY!!!" This is
the finishing touch of his character, and its effect on slaveholders is
electrical. Prose fledges into poetry, cold compliments warm into
praise, eulogy rarifies into panegyric and goes off in rhapsody. In
their ecstasies over Abraham, Isaac's paramount claims to their homage
are lamentably lost sight of. It is quite unaccountable, that in their
manifold oglings over Abraham's "servants bought with money," no
slaveholder is ever caught casting loving side-glances at Gen. xxvii.
29, 37, where Isaac, addressing Jacob, says, "Be _lord_ over thy
brethren and let thy mother's sons _bow down_ to thee." And afterwards,
addressing Esau, he says, speaking of the birth-right immunities
confirmed to Jacob, "Behold I have made him thy _Lord_ and all his

Here is a charter for slaveholding, under the sign manual of that "good
old slaveholder and patriarch, Isaac." Yea, more--a "Divine Warrant" for
a father holding his _children_ as slaves and bequeathing them as
property to his heirs! Better still, it proves that the favorite
practice amongst our slaveholders of bequeathing their _colored_
children to those of a different hue, was a "Divine institution," for
Isaac "_gave_" Esau, who was "_red_ all over," to Jacob, "_as a
servant_." Now gentlemen, "honor to whom honor." Let Isaac no longer be
stinted of the glory that is his due as the great prototype of that
"peculiar domestic institution," of which you are eminent patrons, that
nice discrimination, by which a father, in his will, makes part of his
children _property_, and the rest, their _proprietors_, whenever the
propriety of such a disposition is indicated, as in the case of Jacob
and Esau, by the decisive tokens of COLOR and HAIR, (for, to show that
Esau was Jacob's _rightful_ property after he was "given to him" by
Isaac "for a servant," the difference in _hair_ as well as color, is
expressly stated by inspiration!)

One prominent feature of patriarchal example has been quite overlooked
by slaveholders. We mean the special care of Isaac to inform Jacob that
those "given to him as servants" were "HIS BRETHREN," (twice repeated.)
The deep veneration of slaveholders for every thing patriarchal, clears
them from all suspicion of _designedly_ neglecting this authoritative
precedent, and their admirable zeal to perpetuate patriarchal fashions,
proves this seeming neglect, a mere _oversight_: and is an
all-sufficient guarantee that henceforward they will religiously
illustrate in their own practice, the beauty of this hitherto neglected
patriarchal usage. True, it would be an odd codicil to a will, for a
slaveholder, after bequeathing to _some_ of his children, all his
slaves, to add a supplement, informing them that such and such and such
of them were their _brothers and sisters_. Doubtless it would be at
first a sore trial also, but what _pious_ slaveholder would not be
sustained under it by the reflection that he was humbly following in the
footsteps of his illustrious patriarchal predecessors!

Great reformers must make great sacrifices, and if the world is to be
brought back to the purity of patriarchal times, upon whom will the ends
of the earth come, to whom will all trembling hearts and failing eyes
spontaneously turn as leaders to conduct the forlorn hope through the
wilderness to that promised land, if not to slaveholders, those
disinterested pioneers whose self-denying labors have founded far and
wide the "patriarchal institution" of _concubinage_, and through evil
report and good report, have faithfully stamped their own image and
superscription, in variegated hues, upon the faces of a swarming progeny
from generation to generation. ]

OBJECTION I. "_Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto
his brethren._" Gen. ix. 25.

This prophecy of Noah is the _vade mecum_ of slaveholders, and they
never venture abroad without it; it is a pocket-piece for sudden
occasion, a keepsake to dote over, a charm to spell-bind opposition, and
a magnet to draw to their standard "whatsoever worketh abomination or
maketh a lie." But "cursed be Canaan" is a poor drug to ease a throbbing
conscience--a mocking lullaby to unquiet tossings. Those who justify
negro slavery by the curse on Canaan, _assume_ as usual all the points
in debate. 1. That _slavery_ was prophesied, rather than mere _service_
to others, and _individual_ bondage rather than _national_ subjection
and tribute. 2. That the _prediction_ of crime justifies it; or at least
absolves those whose crimes fulfil it. How piously the Pharaohs might
have quoted the prophecy, "_Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that
is not theirs, and they shall afflict them four hundred years._" And
then, what saints were those that crucified the Lord of glory! 3. That
the Africans are descended from Canaan. Africa was peopled from Egypt
and Ethiopia, which countries were settled by Mizraim and Cush. For the
location and boundaries of Canaan's posterity, see Gen. x. 15-19. So a
prophecy of evil to one people, is quoted to justify its infliction upon
another. Perhaps it may be argued that Canaan includes all Ham's
posterity. If so, the prophecy is yet unfulfilled. The other sons of Ham
settled Egypt and Assyria, and, conjointly with Shem, Persia, and
afterward, to some extent, the Grecian and Roman empires. The history of
these nations gives no verification of the prophecy. Whereas, the
history of Canaan's descendants for more than three thousand years, is a
record of its fulfillment. First, they were put to tribute by the
Israelites; then by the Medes and Persians; then by the Macedonians,
Grecians and Romans, successively; and finally, were subjected by the
Ottoman dynasty, where they yet remain. Thus Canaan has been for ages
the servant mainly of Shem and Japhet, and secondarily of the other sons
of Ham. It may still be objected, that though Canaan alone is _named_,
yet the 22d and 24th verses show the posterity of Ham in general to be
meant. "And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father,
and told his two brethren without." "And Noah awoke from his wine, and
knew what his YOUNGER son had done unto him, and said," &c. It is argued
that this "_younger_ son" cannot be Canaan, as he was the _grandson_ of
Noah, and therefore it must be Ham. We answer, whoever that "_younger
son_" was, Canaan alone was named in the curse. Besides, the Hebrew word
_Ben_, signifies son, grandson, or _any one_ of the posterity of an
individual.[A] "_Know ye Laban, the_ SON (grandson) _of Nahor_?" Gen.
xxix. 5. "_Mephibosheth the_ SON (grandson) _of Saul_." 2 Sam. xix. 24;
2 Sam. ix. 6. "_The driving of Jehu the_ SON (grandson) _of Nimshi_." 2
Kings ix. 20. See also Ruth iv. 17; 2 Sam. xxi. 6; Gen. xxxi. 55. Shall
we forbid the inspired writer to use the same word when speaking of
Noah's grandson? Further, Ham was not the "_younger_ son." The order of
enumeration makes him the _second_ son. If it be said that Bible usage
varies, the order of birth not always being observed in enumerations;
the reply is, that, enumeration in that order, is the _rule_, in any
other order the _exception_. Besides, if a younger member of a family
takes precedence of older ones in the family record, it is a mark of
pre-eminence, either in endowments, or providential instrumentality.
Abraham, though sixty years younger than his eldest brother, stands
first in the family genealogy. Nothing in Ham's history shows him
pre-eminent; besides, the Hebrew word _Hakkatan_ rendered "the
_younger_," means the _little, small_. The same word is used in Isa. lx.
22. "A LITTLE ONE _shall become a thousand_." Isa. xxii. 24. "_All
vessels of_ SMALL _quantity_." Ps. cxv. 13. "_He will bless them that
fear the Lord both_ SMALL _and great_." Ex. xviii, 22. "_But every_
SMALL _matter they shall judge_." It would be a literal rendering of
Gen. ix. 24, if it were translated thus, "when Noah knew what his little
son,"[B] or grandson (_Beno Hakkatan_) "had done unto him, he said
cursed be Canaan," &c. Further, even if the Africans were the
descendants of Canaan, the assumption that their enslavement fulfils
this prophecy, lacks even plausibility, for, only a _fraction_ of the
inhabitants of Africa have at any time been the slaves of other nations.
If the objector say in reply, that a large majority of the Africans have
always been slaves _at home_, we answer: _It is false in point of fact_,
though zealously bruited often to serve a turn; and _if it were true_,
how does it help the argument? The prophecy was, "Cursed be Canaan, a
servant of servants shall he be _unto his_ BRETHREN.," not unto

[Footnote A: So _av_, the Hebrew word for father, signifies any
ancestor, however remote. 2 Chron. xvii. 3; xxviii. 1; xxxiv. 2; Dan. v.

[Footnote B: The French follows the same analogy; _grandson_ being
_petit fils_ (little son.)]

OBJECTION II.--"_If a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and
he die under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if
he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his
money._" Ex. xxi. 20, 21. What was the design of this regulation? Was it
to grant masters an indulgence to beat servants with impunity, and an
assurance, that if they beat them to death, the offence should not be
_capital_? This is substantially what commentators tell us. What Deity
do such men worship? Some blood-gorged Moloch, enthroned on human
hecatombs, and snuffing carnage for incense? Did He who thundered from
Sinai's flames, "THOU SHALT NOT KILL," offer a bounty on _murder_?
Whoever analyzes the Mosaic system, will often find a moot court in
session, trying law points, settling definitions, or laying down rules
of evidence. Num. xxxv. 10-22; Deut. xix. 4-6; Lev. xxiv. 19-22; Ex.
xxi. 18, 19, are some of the cases stated, with tests furnished the
judges by which to detect _the intent_, in actions brought before them.
Their ignorance of judicial proceedings, laws of evidence, &c., made
such instructions necessary. The detail gone into, in the verses quoted,
is manifestly to enable them to get at the _motive_ and find out whether
the master _designed_ to kill. 1. "If a man smite his servant with a
_rod_."--The instrument used, gives a clue to the _intent_. See Num.
xxxv. 16-18. A _rod_, not an axe, nor a sword, nor a bludgeon, nor any
other death-weapon--hence, from the _kind_ of instrument, no design to
_kill_ would be inferred; for _intent_ to kill would hardly have taken a
_rod_ for its weapon. But if the servant "_die under his hand_," then
the unfitness of the instrument, is point blank against him; for,
striking with a _rod_ so as to cause death, presupposed very many blows
and great violence, and this kept up till the death-gasp, showed an
_intent to kill_. Hence "He shall _surely_ be punished." But if he
continued a day or two, the _length of time that he lived_, the _kind_
of instrument used, and the master's pecuniary interest in his _life_,
("he is his _money_,") all made a strong case of presumptive evidence,
showing that the master did not _design_ to kill. Further, the word
_nakam_, here rendered _punished_, occurs thirty-five times in the Old
Testament, and in almost every place is translated "_avenge_," in a few,
"_to take vengeance_," or "_to revenge_," and in this instance ALONE,
"_punish_." As it stands in our translation, the pronoun preceding it,
refers to the _master_, whereas it should refer to the _crime_, and the
word rendered _punished_, should have been rendered _avenged_. The
meaning is this: If a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and
he die under his hand, IT (the death) shall surely be avenged, or
literally, _by avenging it shall be avenged_; that is, the _death_ of
the servant shall be _avenged_ by the _death_ of the master. So in the
next verse, "If he continue a day or two," his death is not to be
avenged by the _death_ of the _master_, as in that case the crime was to
be adjudged _manslaughter_, and not _murder_. In the following verse,
another case of personal injury is stated, for which the injurer is to
pay _a sum of money_; and yet our translators employ the same
phraseology in both places! One, an instance of deliberate, wanton,
killing by piecemeal; the other, an accidental, and comparatively slight
injury--of the inflicter, in both cases, they say the same thing! Now,
just the discrimination to be looked for where GOD legislates, is marked
in the original. In the case of the servant wilfully murdered, He says,
"It (the death) shall surely be _avenged_," that is, the life of the
wrong doer shall expiate the crime. The same word is used in the Old
Testament, when the greatest wrongs are redressed, by devoting the
perpetrators to _destruction_. In the case of the unintentional injury,
in the following verse, God says, "He shall surely be _fined_,
(_anash_.) "He shall _pay_ as the judges determine." The simple meaning
of the word _anash_, is to lay a fine. It is used in Deut. xxii. 19:
"They shall _amerce_ him in one hundred shekels," and in 2 Chron. xxxvi.
3: "He condemned (_mulcted_) the land in a hundred talents of silver and
a talent of gold." That _avenging_ the death of the servant, was neither
imprisonment, nor stripes, nor a fine but that it was _taking the
master's life_ we infer, 1. From the _use_ of the word _nakam_. See Gen.
iv. 24; Josh. x. 13; Judg. xv. 7; xvi. 28; 1 Sam. xiv. 24; xviii. 25;
xxv. 31; 2 Sam. iv. 8; Judg. v. 2; 1 Sam. xxv. 26-33. 2. From the
express statute, Lev. xxiv. 17: "He that killeth ANY man shall surely be
put to death." Also, Num. xxxv. 30, 31: "Whoso killeth ANY person, the
murderer shall be put to death. Moreover, ye shall take NO SATISFACTION
for the life of a murderer which is guilty of death, but he shall surely
be put to death." 3. The Targum of Jonathan gives the verse thus, "Death
by the sword shall surely be adjudged." The Targum of Jerusalem,
"Vengeance shall be taken for him to the _uttermost_." Jarchi, the same.
The Samaritan version: "He shall die the death." Again, the clause "for
he is his money," is quoted to prove that the servant is his master's
property, and therefore, if he died, the master was not to be punished.
The assumption is, that the phrase, "HE IS HIS MONEY," proves not only
that the servant is _worth money_ to the master, but that he is an
_article of property_. If the advocates of slavery insist upon taking
this principle of interpretation into the Bible, and turning it loose,
let them stand and draw in self-defence. If they endorse for it at one
point, they must stand sponsors all around the circle. It will be too
late to cry for quarter when its stroke clears the table, and tilts them
among the sweepings beneath. The Bible abounds with such expressions as
the following: "This (bread) _is_ my body;" "all they (the Israelites)
_are_ brass and tin;" this (water) _is_ the blood of the men who went in
jeopardy of their lives;" "the Lord God _is_ a sun;" "the seven good
ears _are_ seven years;" "the tree of the field _is_ man's life;" "God
_is_ a consuming fire;" "he _is_ his money," &c. A passion for the exact
_literalities_ of the Bible is too amiable, not to be gratified in this
case. The words in the original are (_Kaspo-hu_,) "his _silver_ is he."
The objector's principle of interpretation is a philosopher's stone! Its
miracle touch transmutes five feet eight inches of flesh and bones into
_solid silver_! Quite a _permanent_ servant, if not so nimble
withal--reasoning against _"forever_," is forestalled henceforth, and,
Deut. xxiii. 15, quite outwitted. The obvious meaning of the phrase,
"_He is his money_," is, he is _worth money_ to his master, and since,
if the master had killed him, it would have taken money out of his
pocket, the _pecuniary loss_, the _kind of instrument used_, and _the
fact of his living sometime after the injury_, (if the master _meant_ to
kill, he would be likely to _do_ it while about it.) all together make a
strong case of presumptive evidence clearing the master from _intent to
kill_. But let us look at the objector's _inferences_. One is, that as
the master might dispose of his _property_ as he pleased, he was not to
be punished, if he destroyed it. Whether the servant died under the
master's hand, or after a day or two, he was _equally_ his property, and
the objector admits that in the _first_ case the master is to be "surely
punished" for destroying _his own property_! The other inference is,
that since the continuance of a day or two, cleared the master of
_intent to kill_, the loss of the servant would be a sufficient
punishment for inflicting the injury which caused his death. This
inference makes the Mosaic law false to its own principles. A _pecuniary
loss_ was no part of the legal claim, where a person took the _life_ of
another. In such case, the law spurned money, whatever the sum. God
would not cheapen human life, by balancing it with such a weight. "Ye
shall take NO SATISFACTION for the life of a murderer, but he shall
surely be put to death." Num. xxxv. 31. Even in excusable homicide,
where an axe slipped from the helve and killed a man, no sum of money
availed to release from confinement in the city of refuge, until the
death of the High Priest. Num. xxxv. 32. The doctrine that the loss of
the servant would be a penalty _adequate_ to the desert of the master,
admits his _guilt_ and his desert of _some_ punishment, and it
prescribes a kind of punishment, rejected by the law, in all cases where
man took the life of man, whether with or without intent to kill. In
short, the objector annuls an integral part of the system--makes a _new_
law, and coolly metes out such penalty as he thinks fit. Divine
legislation revised and improved! The master who struck out his
servant's tooth, whether intentionally or not, was required to set him
free. The _pecuniary loss_ to the master was the same as though he had
killed him. Look at the two cases. A master beats his servant so that he
dies of his wounds; another accidentally strikes out his servant's
tooth,--_the pecuniary loss of both masters is the same_. If the loss of
the servant's services is punishment sufficient for the crime of killing
him, would God command the same punishment for the accidental knocking
out of a _tooth_? Indeed, unless the injury was done _inadvertently_,
the loss of the servant's services was only a part of the
punishment--mere reparation to the _individual_ for injury done; the
main punishment, that strictly _judicial_, was reparation to the
_community_. To set the servant _free_, and thus proclaim his injury,
his right to redress, and the measure of it--answered not the ends of
_public_ justice. The law made an example of the offender, that "those
that remain might hear and fear." "If a man cause a blemish in his
neighbor, as he hath done, so shall it be done unto him. Breach for
breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Ye shall have one manner of law as
well for the STRANGER as for one of your own country." Lev. xxiv. 19,
20, 22. Finally, if a master smote out _his_ servant's tooth, the law
smote out his tooth--thus redressing the _public_ wrong; and it
cancelled the servant's obligation to the master, thus giving some
compensation for the injury done, and exempting him from perilous
liabilities in future.

OBJECTION III. "_Both thy bondmen and bondmaids which thou shalt have,
shall be of the heathen that are round about you, of them shall ye buy
bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover 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. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children
after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen
forever._" Lev. xxv. 44-46.

The _points_ in these verses, urged as proof, that the Mosaic system
sanctioned slavery, are 1. The word "BONDMEN." 2. "BUY." 3. "INHERITANCE

We will now ascertain what sanction to slavery is derivable from these

1. "BONDMEN." The fact that servants from the heathen are called
"_bondmen_," while others are called "_servants_," is quoted as proof
that the former were slaves. As the caprices of King James' translators
were not inspired, we need stand in no special awe of them. The word
here rendered bondmen is uniformly rendered servants elsewhere. The
Hebrew word "_ebedh_," the plural of which is here translated
"_bondmen_," is often applied to Christ. "Behold my _servant_ (bondman,
slave?) whom I uphold." Isa. xlii. 1. "Behold my _servant_ (Christ)
shall deal prudently." Isa. lii. 13. "And he said it is a light thing
that thou (Christ) shouldst be my _servant_." Isa. xlix. 6. "To a
_servant_ of rulers." Isa. xlix. 7. "By his knowledge shall my righteous
_servant_ (Christ) justify many." Is. liii. 11. "Behold I will bring
forth my _servant_ the BRANCH." Zech. iii. 8. In 1 Kings xii. 6, 7, it
is applied to King Rehoboam. "And they spake unto him, saying if thou
wilt be a _servant_ unto this people, then they will be thy _servants_
forever." In 2 Chron. xii. 7, 8, 9, 13, to the king and all the nation.
The word is used to designate those who perform service for _individuals
or families_, about thirty-five times in the Old Testament. To designate
_tributaries_ about twenty-five times. To designate the _subjects of
government_, about thirty-three times. To designate the worshippers both
of the true God, and of false gods, about seventy times. It is also used
in salutations and courteous addresses nearly one hundred times. In
fine, the word is applied to all persons doing service for others, and
that _merely to designate them as the performers of such service_,
whatever it might be, or whatever the ground on which it might be
rendered. To argue from the fact, of this word being used to designate
domestic servants, that they were made servants by _force_, worked
without pay, and held as articles of property, is such a gross
assumption and absurdity as to make formal refutation ridiculous. We
repeat what has been shown above, that the word rendered bondmen in Lev.
xxv. 44, is used to point out persons rendering service for others,
totally irrespective of the principle on which that service was
rendered; as is manifest from the fact that it is applied
indiscriminately to tributaries, to domestics, to all the subjects of
governments, to magistrates, to all governmental officers, to younger
sons--defining their relation to the first born, who is called _lord_
and _ruler_--to prophets, to kings, and to the Messiah. To argue from
the meaning of the word _ebedh_ as used in the Old Testament, that those
to whom it was applied rendered service against their will, and without
pay, does violence to the scripture use of the term, sets at nought all
rules of interpretation, and outrages common sense. If _any_ inference
as to the meaning of the term is to be drawn from the condition and
relations of the various classes of persons, to whom it is applied, the
only legitimate one would seem to be, that the term designates a person
who renders service to another in return for something of value received
from him. The same remark applies to the Hebrew verb _abadh_, to serve,
answering to the noun _ebedh_ (servant). It is used in the Old Testament
to describe the _serving_ of tributaries, of worshippers, of domestics,
of Levites, of sons to a father, of younger brothers to the elder, of
subjects to a ruler, of hirelings, of soldiers, of public officers to
the government, of a host to his guests, &c. Of these it is used to
describe the serving of _worshippers_ more than forty times, of
_tributaries_, about thirty five, and of servants or domestics, about

If the Israelites not only held slaves, but multitudes of them, if
Abraham had thousands, and if they abounded under the Mosaic system, why
had their language no word that _meant slave_? That language must be
wofully poverty-stricken, which has no signs to represent the most
common and familiar objects and conditions. To represent by the same
word, and without figure, property, and the owner of that property, is a
solecism. Ziba was an "_ebedh_," yet he "_owned_" (!) twenty _ebedhs_!
In our language, we have both _servant_ and _slave_. Why? Because we
have both the _things_, and need _signs_ for them. If the tongue had a
sheath, as swords have scabbards, we should have some _name_ for it: but
our dictionaries give us none. Why? Because there is no such _thing_.
But the objector asks, "Would not the Israelites use their word _ebedh_
if they spoke of the slave of a heathen?" Answer. Their _national_
servants or tributaries, are spoken of frequently, but domestics
servants so rarely, that no necessity existed, even if they were slaves,
for coining a new word. Besides, the fact of their being domestics,
under _heathen laws and usages_, proclaimed their liabilities; their
_locality_ made a _specific_ term unnecessary. But if the Israelites had
not only _servants_, but a multitude of _slaves_, a _word meaning
slave_, would have been indispensible for every day convenience.
Further, the laws of the Mosaic system were so many sentinels on the
outposts to warn off foreign practices. The border ground of Canaan, was
quarantine ground, enforcing the strictest non-intercourse in usages
between the without and the within.

2. "BUY." The _buying_ of servants, is discussed at length. pp. 17-23.
To that discussion the reader is referred. We will add in this place but
a single consideration. This regulation requiring the Israelites to
_"buy"_ servants of the heathen, prohibited their taking them without
buying. _Buying_ supposes two parties: a _price_ demanded by one and
paid by the other, and consequently, the _consent_ of both buyer and
seller, to the transaction. Of course the command to the Israelites to
_buy_ servants of the heathen, prohibited their getting them unless they
first got _somebody's_ consent to the transaction, and paid to
_somebody_ a fair equivalent. Now, who were these _somebodies_? This at
least is plain, they were not _Israelites_, but heathen. "Of _them_
shall ye buy." Who then were these _somebodies_, whose right was so
paramount, that _their_ consent must be got and the price paid must go
into _their_ pockets? Were they the persons themselves who became
servants, or some _other_ persons. "Some _other_ persons to be sure,"
says the objector, "the countrymen or the neighbors of those who become
servants." Ah! this then is the import of the Divine command to the

"When you go among the heathen round about to get a man to work for you,
I straightly charge you to go first to his _neighbors_, get _their_
consent that you may have him, settle the terms with _them_, and pay to
them a fair equivalent. If it is not _their_ choice to let him go, I
charge you not to take him on your peril. If _they_ consent, and you pay
_them_ the full value of his labor, then you may go and catch the man
and drag him home with you, and make him work for you, and I will bless
you in the work of your hands and you shall eat of the fat of the land.
As to the man himself, his choice is nothing, and you need give him
nothing for his work: but take care and pay his _neighbors_ well for
him, and respect _their_ free choice in taking him, for to deprive a
heathen man by force and without pay of the _use of himself_ is well
pleasing in my sight, but to deprive his heathen neighbors of the use of
him is that abominable thing which my soul hateth."

3. "FOREVER." This is quoted to prove that servants were to serve during
their life time, and their posterity from generation to generation.[A]
No such idea is contained in the passage. The word "forever," instead of
defining the length of _individual_ service, proclaims the permanence of
the regulation laid down in the two verses preceding, namely, that their
_permanent domestics_ should be of the _Strangers_, and not of the
Israelites; it declares the duration of that general provision. As if
God had said, "You shall _always_ get your _permanent_ laborers from the
nations round about you; your servants shall _always_ be of that class
of persons." As it stands in the original, it is plain--"_Forever of
them shall ye serve yourselves_." This is the literal rendering.

[Footnote A: One would think that the explicit testimony of our Lord
should for ever forestall all cavil on this point. "_The servant abideth
not in the house_ FOR EVER, but the Son, abideth ever." John viii. 35.]

That "_forever_" refers to the permanent relations of a _community_,
rather than to the services of _individuals_, is a fair inference from
the form of the expression, "Both thy bondmen, &c., shall be of the
_heathen_. OF THEM shall ye buy." "They shall be your possession." "THEY
shall be your bondmen forever." "But over your brethren the CHILDREN OF
ISRAEL," &c. To say nothing of the uncertainty of _these individuals_
surviving those _after_ whom they are to live, the language used applies
more naturally to a _body_ of people, than to _individual_ servants.
Besides _perpetual_ service cannot be argued from the term _forever_.
The ninth and tenth verses of the same chapter limit it absolutely by
the jubilee. "Then thou shalt cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound
* * throughout ALL your land." "And ye shall proclaim liberty throughout
all the land unto ALL the inhabitants thereof." It may be objected that
"inhabitants" here means _Israelitish_ inhabitants alone. The command
is, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto ALL _the inhabitants
thereof_." Besides, in the sixth verse, there is an enumeration of the
different classes of the inhabitants, in which servants and Strangers
are included; and in all the regulations of the jubilee, and the
sabbatical year, the Strangers are included in the precepts,
prohibitions, and promises. Again: the year of jubilee was ushered in by
the day of atonement. What did these institutions show forth? The day of
atonement prefigured the atonement of Christ, and the year of jubilee,
the gospel jubilee. And did they prefigure an atonement and a jubilee to
_Jews_ only? Were they types of sins remitted, and of salvation
proclaimed to the nation of Israel alone? Is there no redemption for us
Gentiles in these ends of the earth, and is our hope presumption and
impiety? Did that old partition wall survive the shock that made earth
quake, and hid the sun, burst graves and rocks, and rent the temple
veil? and did the Gospel only rear it higher to thunder direr perdition
from its frowning battlements on all without? No! The God of OUR
salvation lives. "Good tidings of great joy shall be to ALL people." One
shout shall swell from all the ransomed, "Thou hast redeemed us unto God
by thy blood out of EVERY kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."

To deny that the blessings of the jubilee extended to the servants from
the _Gentiles_, makes Christianity _Judaism_.[A] It not only eclipses
the glory of the Gospel, but strikes out its sun. The refusal to release
servants at the jubilee falsified and disannulled a grand leading type
of the atonement, and was a libel on the doctrine of Christ's
redemption. But even if _forever_ did refer to _individual_ service, we
have ample precedents for limiting the term by the jubilee. The same
word defines the length of time which _Jewish_ servants served who did
not go out at the end of their six years' term. And all admit that they
went out at the jubilee. Ex. xxi. 2-6; Deut. xv. 12-17. The 23d verse of
the same chapter is quoted to prove that "_forever_" in the 46th verse
extends beyond the jubilee. "The land shall not be sold FOREVER, for the
land is mine"--since it would hardly be used in different senses in the
same general connection. As _forever_, in the 46th verse, respects the
_general arrangement_, and not _individual service_ the objection does
not touch the argument. Besides, in the 46th verse, the word used is
_Olam_, meaning _throughout the period_, whatever that may be. Whereas
in the 23d verse, it is _Tsemithuth_, meaning, a _cutting off_, or _to
be cut off_; and the import of it is, that the owner of an inheritance
shall not forfeit his _proprietorship_ of it; though it may for a time
pass from his control into the hands of his creditors or others, yet the
owner shall be permitted to _redeem_ it, and even if that be not done,
it shall not be "_cut off_," but shall revert to him at the jubilee.

[Footnote A: So far from the Strangers not being released by the
proclamation of liberty on the morning of the jubilee, they were the
only persons who were, as a body, released by it. The rule regulating
the service of Hebrew servants was, "Six years shall he serve, and in
the seventh year he shall go out free." The _free holders_ who had
"fallen into decay," and had in consequence mortgaged their inheritances
to their more prosperous neighbors, and become in some sort their
servants, were released by the jubilee, and again resumed their
inheritances. This was the only class of Jewish servants (and it could
not have been numerous,) which was released by the jubilee; all others
went out at the close of their six years' term.]

for your children after you to inherit them for a POSSESSION. This, as
has been already remarked refers to the _nations_, and not to the
_individual_ servants procured from the senations. The holding of
servants as a _possession_ is discussed at large pp. 47-64. To what is
there advanced we here subjoin a few brief considerations. We have
already shown, that servants could not he held as a _property_
possession, and inheritance; that they became such of their _own
accord_, were paid wages, released from their regular labor nearly _half
the days in each year_, thoroughly _instructed_ and _protected_ in all
their personal, social, and religious rights, equally with their
masters. All remaining, after these ample reservations, would be small
temptation, either to the lust of power or of lucre; a profitable
"possession" and "inheritance," truly! What if our American slaves were
all placed in _just such a condition_! Alas, for that soft, melodious
circumlocution, "OUR PECULIAR species of property!" Verily, emphasis
would be cadence, and euphony and irony meet together! What eager
snatches at mere words, and bald technics, irrespective of connection,
principles of construction, Bible usages, or limitations of meaning by
other passages--and all to eke out such a sense as sanctifies existing
usages, thus making God pander for lust. The words _nahal_ and _nahala_,
inherit and inheritance, by no means necessarily signify _articles of
property_. "The people answered the king and said, "we have none
_inheritance_ in the son of Jesse." 2 Chron. x. 16. Did they mean
gravely to disclaim the holding of their king as an article of
_property_? "Children are an _heritage_ (inheritance) of the Lord." Ps.
cxxvii. 3. "Pardon our iniquity, and take us for thine _inheritance_."
Ex. xxxiv. 9. When God pardons his enemies, and adopts them as children,
does he make them _articles of property_? Are forgiveness, and
chattel-making, synonymes? "_I_ am their _inheritance_." Ezek. xliv. 28.
"I shall give thee the heathen for thine _inheritance_." Ps. ii. 18. See
also Deut. iv. 20; Josh. xiii. 33; Ps. lxxxii. 8; lxxviii. 62, 71; Prov.
xiv. 18.

The question whether the servants were a PROPERTY-"_possession_," has
been already discussed, pp. 47-64, we need add in this place but a word.
As an illustration of the condition of servants from the heathen that
were the "possession" of Israelitish families, and of the way in which
they became servants, the reader is referred to Isa. xiv. 1, 2. "For the
Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them
in their own land; and the strangers will be _joined_ with them, and
_they shall CLEAVE to the house of Jacob_. And the people shall take
them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel shall
_possess_ them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids; and
they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall
rule over the oppressors."

We learn from these verses, 1st. That these servants which were to be
"_possessed_" by the Israelites, were to be "joined with them," i.e.,
become proselytes to their religion. 2d. That they should "CLEAVE to the
house of Jacob," i.e., that they would forsake their own people
voluntarily, attach themselves to the Israelites as servants, and of
their own free choice leave home and friends, to accompany them on their
return, and to take up their permanent abode with them, in the same
manner that Ruth accompanied Naomi from Moab to the land of Israel, and
that the "souls gotten" by Abraham in Padanaram, accompanied him when he
left it and went to Canaan. "And the house of Israel shall _possess_
them for servants," i.e. shall _have_ them for servants.

In the passage under consideration, "they shall be your _possession_,"
the original word translated "possession" is _ahuzza_. The same word is
used in Gen. xlvii. 11. "And Joseph placed his father and his brethren,
and gave them a _possession_ in the land of Egypt." Gen. xlvii. 11. In
what sense was Goshen the _possession_ of the Israelites? Answer, in the
sense of _having it to live in_, not in the sense of having it as
_owners_. In what sense were the Israelites to _possess_ these nations,
and _take them_ as an _inheritance for their children_? Answer, they
possessed them as a permanent source of supply for domestic or household
servants. And this relation to these nations was to go down to posterity
as a standing regulation, having the certainty and regularity of a
descent by inheritance. The sense of the whole regulation may be given
thus: "Thy permanent domestics, which thou shalt have, shall be of the
nations that are round about you, of _them_ shall ye buy male and female
domestics." "Moreover of the children of the foreigners 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 permanent
resource." "And ye shall take them as a _perpetual_ source of supply to
whom your children after you shall resort for servants. ALWAYS, _of
them_ shall ye serve yourselves." The design of the passage is manifest
from its structure. So far from being a permission to purchase slaves,
it was a prohibition to employ Israelites for a certain term and in a
certain grade of service, and to point out the _class_ of persons from
which they were to get their supply of servants, and the _way_ in which
they were to get them.[A]

[Footnote A: Rabbi Leeser, who translated from the German the work
entitled "Instruction in the Mosaic Religion" by Professor Jholson of
the Jewish seminary at Frankfort-on-the-Main, in his comment on these
verses, says, "It must be observed that it was prohibited to SUBJECT _a
Stranger to slavery_. The _buying_ of slaves _alone_ is permitted, but
not stealing them."

Now whatever we call that condition in which servants were, whether
servitude or slavery, and whatever we call the persons in that
condition, whether servants or _slaves_, we have at all events, the
testimony that the Israelites were prohibited to _subject_ a Stranger to
that condition, or in other words, the free choice of the servant was
not to be compelled. ]

OBJECTION IV. "_If thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and
be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a BOND-SERVANT
but as an HIRED-SERVANT, and as a sojourner shall he be with thee, and
shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee_." Lev. xxv. 39, 40.

As only _one_ class is called "_hired_," it is inferred that servants of
the other class were _not paid_ for their labor. That God, while
thundering anathemas against those who "used their neighbor's service
without wages," granted a special indulgence to his chosen people to
force others to work, and rob them of earnings, provided always, in
selecting their victims, they spared "the gentlemen of property and
standing," and pounced only upon the strangers and the common people.
The inference that "_hired_" is synonymous with _paid_, and that those
servants not _called_ "hired," were _not paid_ for their labor, is a
mere assumption. The meaning of the English verb to _hire_, is to
procure for a _temporary_ use at a certain price--to engage a person to
temporary service for wages. That is also the meaning of the Hebrew word
"_saukar_." It is not used when the procurement of _permanent_ service
is spoken of. Now, we ask, would _permanent_ servants, those who
constituted a stationary part of the family, have been designated by the
same term that marks _temporary_ servants? The every-day distinctions in
this matter, are familiar as table-talk. In many families the domestics
perform only the _regular_ work. Whatever is occasional merely, as the
washing of a family, is done by persons hired expressly for the purpose.
The familiar distinction between the two classes, is "servants," and
"hired help," (not _paid_ help.) _Both_ classes are _paid_. One is
permanent, and the other occasional and temporary, and _therefore_ in
this case called "hired."[A] A variety of particulars are recorded
distinguishing, _hired_ from _bought_ servants. 1. Hired servants were
paid daily at the close of their work. Lev. xix. 13; Deut. xxiv. 14, 15;
Job. vii. 2; Matt. xx. 8. "_Bought_" servants were paid in advance, (a
reason for their being called _bought_,) and those that went out at the
seventh year received a _gratuity_. Deut. xv. 12, 13. 2. The "hired"
were paid _in money_, the "bought" received their _gratuity_, at least,
in grain, cattle, and the product of the vintage. Deut. xv. 14. 3. The
"hired" _lived_ in their own families, the "bought" were a part of their
masters' families. 4. The "hired" supported their families out of their
wages; the "bought" and their families were supported by the master
_beside_ their wages. 5. Hired servants were expected to work more
_constantly_, and to have more _working hours_ in the day than the
bought servants. This we infer from the fact, that "a hireling's day,"
was a sort of proverbial phrase, meaning a _full_ day. No subtraction of
time being made from it. So _a hireling's year_ signifies an entire year
without abatement. Job. vii. 1; xiv. 6; Isa. xvi. 14; xxi. 16.

[Footnote A: To suppose a servant robbed of his earnings because he is
not called a _hired_ servant, is profound induction! If I employ a man
at twelve dollars a month to work my farm, he is my "_hired_" man, but
if _I give him such a portion of the crop_, or in other words, if he
works my farm "_on shares_," every farmer knows that he is no longer
called a "_hired_" man. Yet he works the same farm, in the same way, at
the same times, and with the same teams and tools; and does the same
amount of work in the year, and perhaps clears twenty dollars a month,
instead of twelve. Now as he is no longer called "hired," and as he
still works my farm, suppose my neighbors sagely infer, that since he is
not my "_hired_" laborer, I _rob_ him of his earnings, and with all the
gravity of owls, pronounce their oracular decision, and hoot it abroad.
My neighbors are deep divers! like some theological professors, they go
not only to the bottom but come up covered with the tokens.]

The "bought" servants, were, _as a class, superior to the hired_--were
more trust-worthy, were held in higher estimation, had greater
privileges, and occupied a more elevated station in society. 1. They
were intimately incorporated with the family of the master, were guests
at family festivals, and social solemnities, from which hired servants
were excluded. Lev. xxii. 10, 11; Ex. xii. 43, 45. 2. Their interests
were far more identified with those of their masters' family. They were
often, actually or prospectively, heirs of their masters' estates, as in
the case of Eliezer, of Ziba, and the sons of Bilhah, and Zilpah. When
there were no sons, or when they were unworthy, bought servants were
made heirs. Prov. xvii. 2. We find traces of this usage in the New
Testament. "But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among
themselves saying, this is the _heir_, come let us kill him, _that the
inheritance may be ours_." Luke xx. 14. In no instance does a _hired_
servant inherit his master's estate. 3. Marriages took place between
servants and their master's daughters. "Sheshan had a _servant_, an
Egyptian, whose name was Jarha. And Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha
his servant to wife." 1 Chron. ii. 34, 35. There is no instance of a
_hired_ servant forming such an alliance. 4. Bought servants and their
descendants were treated with the same affection and respect as the
other members of the family.[A] The treatment of Abraham's servants.
Gen. xxiv. and xviii. 1-7; the intercourse between Gideon and Phurah
Judg. vii. 10, 11; Saul and his servant, 1 Sam. ix. 5, 22; Jonathan and
his servant, 1 Sam. xiv. 1-14, and Elisha and Gehazi are illustrations.
The tenderness exercised towards home-born servants or the children of
_handmaids_, and the strength of the tie that bound them to the family,
are employed by the Psalmist to illustrate the regard of God for him,
his care over him, and his own endearing relation to him, when in the
last extremity he prays, "Save the son of thy _handmaid_." Ps. lxxxvi.
16. So also in Ps. cxvi. 16. Oh Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy
servant, and the son of thy _handmaid_. Also, Jer. ii. 14. Is Israel a
servant? Is he a _home-born_?[B] WHY IS HE SPOILED? No such tie seems to
have existed between _hired_ servants and their masters. Their
untrustworthiness was proverbial. John x. 12, 13. They were reckoned at
but half the value of bought servants. Deut. xv. 18. None but the
_lowest class_ of the people engaged as hired servants, and the kinds of
labor assigned to them required little knowledge and skill. No persons
seem to have become hired servants except such as were forced to it from
extreme poverty. The hired servant is called "poor and needy," and the
reason assigned by God why he should be paid as soon as he had finished
his work is, "For _he is poor_, and setteth his heart upon it." Deut.
xxiv. 14, 15. See also, 1 Sam. ii. 5. Various passages show the low
repute and trifling character of the class from which they were hired.
Judg. ix. 4; 1 Sam. ii. 5. The superior condition of bought servants is
manifest in the high trust confided to them, and in their dignity and
authority in the household. In no instance is a _hired_ servant thus
distinguished. The _bought_ servant is manifestly the master's
representative in the family, sometimes with plenipotentiary powers over
adult children, even negotiating marriage for them. Abraham adjured his
servant, not to take a wife for Isaac of the daughters of the
Canaanites. The servant himself selected the individual. Servants
exercised discretionary power in the management of their masters'
estates, "And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master,
_for all the goods of his master were in his hand_." Gen. xxiv. 10. The
reason assigned is not that such was Abraham's direction, but that the
servant had discretionary control. Servants had also discretionary power
in the _disposal of property_. Gen. xxiv. 22, 30, 53. The condition of
Ziba in the house of Mephibosheth, is a case in point. So is Prov. xvii.
2. Distinct traces of this estimation are to be found in the New
Testament, Matt. xxiv. 45; Luke xii. 42, 44. So in the parable of the
talents, the master seems to have set up each of his servants in trade
with a large capital. The unjust steward had large _discretionary_
power, was "accused of wasting his master's goods," and manifestly
regulated with his debtors the _terms_ of settlement. Luke xvi. 4-8.
Such trusts were never reposed in _hired_ servants.

[Footnote A: "For the _purchased servant_ who is an Israelite, or
proselyte, shall fare as his master. The master shall not eat fine
bread, and his servant bread of bran. Nor yet drink old wine, and give
his servant new: nor sleep on soft pillows, and bedding, and his servant
on straw. I say unto you, that he that gets a _purchased_ servant does
well to make him as his friend, or he will prove to his employer as if
he got himself a master."--Maimonides, in Mishna Kiddushim. Chap. 1,
Sec. 2.]

[Footnote B: Our translators in rendering it "Is he a home-born SLAVE,"
were wise beyond what is written.]

The inferior condition of _hired_ servants, is illustrated in the
parable of the prodigal son. When he came to himself, the memory of his
home, and of the abundance enjoyed by even the _lowest_ class of
servants in his father's household, while he was perishing with hunger
among the swine and husks, so filled him with anguish at the contrast,
that he exclaimed, "How many _hired_ servants of my father, have bread
enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger." His proud heart broke.
"I will arise," he cried, "and go to my father;" and then to assure his
father of the depth of his humility, resolved to add; "Make me as one of
thy _hired_ servants." If _hired_ servants were the _superior_ class--to
bespeak the situation, savored little of that sense of unworthiness that
seeks the dust with hidden face, and cries "unclean." Unhumbled nature
_climbs_; or if it falls, clings fast, where first it may. Humility
sinks of its own weight, and in the lowest deep, digs lower. The design
of the parable was to illustrate on the one hand, the joy of God, as he
beholds afar off, the returning sinner "seeking an injured father's
face," who runs to clasp and bless him with an unchiding welcome; and on
the other, the contrition of the penitent, turning homeward with tears
from his wanderings, his stricken spirit breaking with its ill-desert he
sobs aloud, "The lowest place, _the lowest place_, I can abide no
other." Or in those inimitable words, "Father I have sinned against
Heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son;
make me as one of thy HIRED servants." The supposition that _hired_
servants were the _highest_ class, takes from the parable an element of
winning beauty and pathos.

It is manifest to every careful student of the Bible, that _one_ class
of servants, was on terms of equality with the children and other
members of the family. Hence the force of Paul's declaration, Gal. iv.
1, "Now I say unto you, that the heir, so long as he is a child,
DIFFERETH NOTHING FROM A SERVANT, though he be lord of all." If this
were the _hired_ class, the prodigal was a sorry specimen of humility.
Would our Lord have put such language upon the lips of one held up by
himself, as a model of gospel humility, to illustrate its deep sense of
all ill-desert? If this is _humility_, put it on stilts, and set it a
strutting, while pride takes lessons, and blunders in aping it.

Israelites and Strangers belonged indiscriminately to _each_ class of
the servants, the _bought_ and the _hired_. That those in the former
class, whether Jews or Strangers, rose to honors and authority in the
family circle, which were not conferred on _hired_ servants, has been
shown. It should be added, however, that in the enjoyment of privileges,
merely _political_, the hired servants from the _Israelites_, were more
favored than even the bought servants from the _Strangers_. No one from
the Strangers, however wealthy or highly endowed, was eligible to the
highest office, nor could he own the soil. This last disability seems to
have been one reason for the different periods of service required of
the two classes of bought servants. The Israelite was to serve six
years--the Stranger until the jubilee. As the Strangers could not own
the soil, nor houses, except within walled towns, they would naturally
attach themselves to Israelitish families. Those who were wealthy, or
skilled in manufactures, instead of becoming servants would need
servants for their own use, and as inducements for the Strangers to
become servants to the Israelites, were greater than persons of their
own nation could hold out to them, these wealthy Strangers would
naturally procure the poorer Israelites for servants. Lev. xxv. 47. In a
word, such was the political condition of the Strangers, that the Jewish
polity offered a virtual bounty, to such as would become permanent
servants, and thus secure those privileges already enumerated, and for
their children in the second generation a permanent inheritance. Ezek.
xlvii. 21-23. None but the monied aristocracy would be likely to decline
such offers. On the other hand, the Israelites, owning all the soil, and
an inheritance of land being a sacred possession, to hold it free of
incumbrance was with every Israelite, a delicate point, both of family
honor and personal character. 1 Kings xxi. 3. Hence, to forego the
control of one's inheritance, after the division of the paternal domain,
or to be kept out of it after having acceded to it, was a burden
grievous to be borne. To mitigate as much as possible such a calamity,
the law released the Israelitish servant at the end of six[A] years; as,
during that time--if of the first class--the partition of the
patrimonial land might have taken place or, if of the second, enough
money might have been earned to disencumber his estate, and thus he
might assume his station as a lord of the soil. If neither contingency
had occurred, then after another six years the opportunity was again
offered, and so on, until the jubilee. So while strong motives urged the
Israelite to discontinue his service as soon as the exigency had passed
which made him a servant, every consideration impelled the _Stranger_ to
_prolong_ his term of service;[B] and the same kindness which dictated
the law of six years' service for the Israelite, assigned as the general
rule, a much longer period to the Gentile servant, who had every
inducement to protract the term. It should be borne in mind, that adult
Jews ordinarily became servants, only as a temporary expedient to
relieve themselves from embarrassment, and ceased to be such when that
object was effected. The poverty that forced them to it was a calamity,
and their service was either a means of relief, or a measure of
prevention; not pursued as a permanent business, but resorted to on
emergencies--a sort of episode in the main scope of their lives. Whereas
with the Stranger, it was a _permanent employment_, pursued both as a
_means_ of bettering their own condition, and that of their posterity,
and as an _end_ for its own sake, conferring on them privileges, and a
social estimation not otherwise attainable.

[Footnote A: Another reason for protracting the service until the
seventh year, seems to have been the coincidence of that period with
other arrangements, in the Jewish economy. Its pecuniary
responsibilities, social relations, and general internal structure, were
_graduated_ upon a septennial scale. Besides, as those Israelites who
had become servants through poverty, would not sell themselves, till
other expedients to recruit their finances had failed--(Lev. xxv.
35)--their _becoming servants_ proclaimed such a state of their affairs,
as demanded the labor of a _course of years_ fully to reinstate them.]

[Footnote B: The Stranger had the same inducements to prefer a long term
of service that those have who cannot own land, to prefer a long

We see from the foregoing, why servants purchased from the heathen, are
called by way of distinction, _the_ servants, (not _bondmen_,) 1. They
followed it as a _permanent business_. 2. Their term of service was
_much longer_ than that of the other class. 3. As a class, they
doubtless greatly outnumbered the Israelitish servants. 4. All the
Strangers that dwelt in the land were _tributaries_, required to pay an
annual tax to the government, either in money, or in public service,
(called a _"tribute of bond-service;"_) in other words, all the
Strangers were _national servants_, to the Israelites, and the same
Hebrew word used to designate _individual_ servants, equally designates
_national_ servants or tributaries. 2 Sam. viii. 2, 6, 14; 2 Chron.
viii. 7-9; Deut, xx. 11; 2 Sam. x. 19; 1 Kings ix. 21, 22; 1 Kings iv.
21; Gen. xxvii. 29. The same word is applied to the Israelites, when
they paid tribute to other nations. 2 Kings xvii. 3.; Judg. iii. 8, 14;
Gen. xlix. 15. Another distinction between the Jewish and Gentile bought
servants, was in their _kinds_ of service. The servants from the
Strangers were properly the _domestics_, or household servants, employed
in all family work, in offices of personal attendance, and in such
mechanical labor, as was required by increasing wants and needed
repairs. The Jewish bought servants seem almost exclusively
_agricultural_. Besides being better fitted for it by previous habits,
agriculture, and the tending of cattle, were regarded by the Israelites
as the most honorable of all occupations. After Saul was elected king,
and escorted to Gibeah, the next report of him is, "_And behold Saul
came after the herd out of the field_." 1 Sam. xi. 5. Elisha "was
plowing with twelve yoke of oxen." 1 Kings xix. 19. King Uzziah "loved
husbandry." 2 Chron. xxvi. 10. Gideon _was "threshing wheat"_ when
called to lead the host against the Midianites. Judg. vi. 11. The
superior honorableness of agriculture is shown, in that it was protected
and supported by the fundamental law of the theocracy--God indicating it
as the chief prop of the government. The Israelites were like permanent
fixtures on their soil, so did they cling to it. To be agriculturists on
their own patrimonial inheritances, was with them the grand claim to
honorable estimation. When Ahab proposed to Naboth that he should sell
him his vineyard, king though he was, he might well have anticipated
from an Israelitish freeholder, just such an indignant burst as that
which his proposal drew forth, "And Naboth said to Ahab, the Lord forbid
it me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee." 1
Kings xxi. 2, 3. Agriculture being pre-eminently a _Jewish_ employment,
to assign a native Israelite to other employments as a business, was to
break up his habits, do violence to cherished predilections, and put him
to a kind of labor in which he had no skill, and which he deemed
degrading.[C] In short, it was in the earlier ages of the Mosaic system,
practically to _unjew_ him, a hardship and a rigor grievous to be borne,
as it annihilated a visible distinction between the descendants of
Abraham and the Strangers. _To guard this and another fundamental
distinction_, God instituted the regulation, "If thy brother that
dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not
compel him to serve as a bond-servant." In other words, thou shalt not
put him to servant's work--to the business, and into the condition of
domestics. In the Persian version it is translated, "Thou shalt not
assign to him the work of _servitude_." In the Septuagint, "He shall not
serve thee with the service of a _domestic_." In the Syriac, "Thou shalt
not employ him after the manner of servants." In the Samaritan, "Thou
shalt not require him to serve in the service of a servant." In the
Targum of Onkelos, "He shall not serve thee with the service of a
household servant." In the Targum of Jonathan, "Thou shalt not cause him
to serve according to the usages of the servitude of servants."[D] The
meaning of the passage is, _thou shalt not assign him to the same grade,
nor put him to the same service, with permanent domestics._ The
remainder of the regulation is--_"But as an hired servant and as a
sojourner shall he be with thee."_ Hired servants were not incorporated
into the families of their masters; they still retained their own family
organization, without the surrender of any domestic privilege, honor, or
authority; and this, even though they resided under the same roof with
their master. The same substantially may be said of the sojourner though
he was not the owner of the land which he cultivated, and of course had
not the control of an inheritance, yet he was not in a condition that
implied subjection to him whose land he tilled, or that demanded the
surrender of any _right_, or exacted from him any homage, or stamped him
with any inferiority; unless, it be supposed that a degree of
inferiority would naturally attach to a state of _dependence_ however
qualified. While bought servants were associated with their master's
families at meals, at the Passover, and at other family festivals, hired
servants and sojourners were not. Ex. xii. 44, 45; Lev. xxii. 10, 11.
Hired servants were not subject to the authority of their masters in any
such sense as the master's wife, children, and bought servants. Hence
the only form of oppressing hired servants spoken of in the Scriptures
as practicable to masters, is that of _keeping back their wages._ To
have taken away such privileges in the case under consideration, would
have been pre-eminent "_rigor_;" for it was not a servant born in the
house of a master, nor a minor, whose minority had been sold by the
father, neither was it one who had not yet acceded to his inheritance,
nor finally, one who had received the _assignment_ of his inheritance,
but was working off from it an incumbrance, before entering upon its
possession and control. But it was that of _the head of a family_, who
had known better days, now reduced to poverty, forced to relinquish the
loved inheritance of his fathers, with the competence and respectful
consideration its possession secured to him, and to be indebted to a
neighbor for shelter, sustenance, and employment. So sad a reverse,
might well claim sympathy; but one consolation cheers him in the house
of his pilgrimage; he is an _Israelite--Abraham is his father_ and now
in his calamity he clings closer than ever, to the distinction conferred
by his birth-right. To rob him of this, were "the unkindest cut of all."
To have assigned him to a grade of service filled only by those whose
permanent business was serving, would have been to "rule over him with"
peculiar "rigor." "Thou shalt not compel him to serve as a
bond-servant," or literally, _thou shalt not serve thyself with him,
with the service of a servant_, guaranties his political privileges, and
a kind and grade of service comporting with his character and relations
as an Israelite. And "as a _hired_ servant, and as a sojourner shall he
be with thee," secures to him his family organization, the respect and
authority due to its head, and the general consideration resulting from
such a station. Being already in possession of his inheritance, and the
head of a household, the law so arranged the conditions of his service
as to _alleviate_ as much as possible the calamity which had reduced him
from independence and authority, to penury and subjection. The import of
the command which concludes this topic in the forty-third verse, ("Thou
shalt not rule over him with rigor,") is manifestly this, you shall not
disregard those differences in previous associations, station,
authority, and political privileges, upon which this regulation is
based; for to hold this class of servants _irrespective_ of these
distinctions, and annihilating them, is to "rule with rigor." The same
command is repeated in the forty-sixth verse, and applied to the
distinction between servants of Jewish, and those of Gentile extraction,
and forbids the overlooking of distinctive Jewish peculiarities, the
disregard of which would be _rigorous_ in the extreme.[E] The
construction commonly put upon the phrase "rule with rigor," and the
inference drawn from it, have an air vastly oracular. It is interpreted
to mean, "you shall not make him a chattel, and strip him of legal
protection, nor force him to work without pay." The inference is like
unto it, viz., since the command forbade such outrages upon the
Israelites, it permitted and commissioned their infliction upon the
Strangers. Such impious and shallow smattering captivates scoffers and
libertines; its flippancy and blasphemy, and the strong scent of its
loose-reined license works like a charm upon them. What boots it to
reason against such rampant affinities! In Ex. i. 13, it is said that
the Egyptians, "made the children of Israel to _serve_ with rigor." This
rigor is affirmed of the _amount of labor_ extorted and the _mode_ of
the exaction. The expression "serve with rigor," is never applied to the
service of servants under the Mosaic system. The phrase, "thou shall not
RULE over him with rigor," does not prohibit unreasonable exactions of
labor, nor inflictions of cruelty. Such were provided against otherwise.
But it forbids confounding the distinctions between a Jew and a
Stranger, by assigning the former to the same grade of service, for the
same term of time and under the same political disabilities as the

[Footnote C: The Babylonish captivity seems to have greatly modified
Jewish usage in this respect. Before that event, their cities were
comparatively small, and few were engaged in mechanical or mercantile
employments. Afterward their cities enlarged apace and trades

[Footnote D: Jarchi's comment on "Thou shalt not compel him to serve as
a bond-servant" is, "The Hebrew servant is not to be required to do any
thing which is accounted degrading--such as all offices of personal
attendance, as loosing his master's shoe-latchet, bringing him water to
wash his hands and feet, waiting on him at table, dressing him, carrying
things to and from the bath. The Hebrew servant is to work with his
master as a son or brother, in the business of his farm, or other labor,
until his legal release."]

[Footnote E: The disabilities of the Strangers, which were distinctions,
based on a different national descent, and important to the preservation
of nation characteristics, and a national worship, did not at all affect
their _social_ estimation. They were regarded according to their
character and worth as _persons_, irrespective of their foreign origin,
employments and political condition.]

We are now prepared to review at a glance, the condition of the
different classes of servants, with the modifications peculiar to each.

In the possession of all fundamental rights, all classes of servants
were on an absolute equality, all were equally protected by law in their
persons, character, property and social relations; all were voluntary,
all were compensated for their labor, and released from it nearly one
half of the days in each year; all were furnished with stated
instruction; none in either class were in any sense articles of
property, all were regarded as _men_, with the rights, interests, hopes
and destinies of _men_. In all these respects, _all_ classes of servants
among the Israelites, formed but ONE CLASS. The _different_ classes, and
the differences in _each_ class, were, 1. _Hired Servants_. This class
consisted both of Israelites and Strangers. Their employments were
different. The _Israelite_ was an agricultural servant. The Stranger was
a _domestic_ and _personal_ servant, and in some instances _mechanical_;
both were occasional and temporary. Both lived in their own families,
their wages were _money_, and they were paid when their work was done.
2. _Bought Servants_, (including those "born in the house.") This class
also, consisted of Israelites and Strangers, the same difference in
their kinds of employment as noticed before. Both were paid in
advance,[A] and neither was temporary. The Israelitish servant, with the
exception of the _freeholder_, completed his term in six years. The
Stranger was a permanent servant, continuing until the jubilee. A marked
distinction obtained also between different classes of _Jewish_ bought
servants. Ordinarily, they were merged in their master's family, and,
like his wife and children, subject to his authority; (and, like them,
protected by law from its abuse.) But the _freeholder_ was an exception;
his family relations and authority remained unaffected, nor was he
subjected as an inferior to the control of his master, though dependent
on him for employment.

[Footnote A: The payment _in advance_, doubtless lessened the price of
the purchase; the servant thus having the use of the money, and the
master assuming all the risks of life, and health for labor; at the
expiration of the six years' contract, the master having suffered no
loss from the risk incurred at the making of it, was obliged by law to
release the servant with a liberal gratuity. The reason assigned for
this is, "he hath been worth a double hired servant unto thee in serving
thee six years," as if it had been said, as you have experienced no loss
from the risks of life, and ability to labor, incurred in the purchase,
and which lessened the price, and as, by being your servant for six
years, he has saved you the time and trouble of looking up and hiring
laborers on emergencies, therefore, "thou shalt furnish him liberally,"
&c. This gratuity at the close of the service shews the _principle_ of
the relation; _equivalent_ for value received. ]

It should be kept in mind, that _both_ classes of servants, the
Israelite and the Stranger, not only enjoyed _equal, natural and
religious rights_, but _all the civil and political privileges_ enjoyed
by those of their own people who were _not_ servants. They also shared
in common with them the political disabilities which appertained to all
Strangers, whether servants of Jewish masters, or masters of Jewish
servants. Further, the disabilities of the servants from the Strangers
were exclusively _political_ and _national_. 1. They, in common with all
Strangers, could not own the soil. 2. They were ineligible to civil
offices. 3. They were assigned to employments less honorable than those
in which Israelitish servants engaged; agriculture being regarded as
fundamental to the existence of the state, other employments were in
less repute, and deemed _unjewish_.

Finally, the Strangers, whether servants or masters, were all protected
equally with the descendants of Abraham. In respect to political
privileges, their condition was much like that of unnaturalized
foreigners in the United States; whatever their wealth or intelligence,
or moral principle, or love for our institutions, they can neither go to
the ballot-box, nor own the soil, nor be eligible to office. Let a
native American, be suddenly bereft of these privileges, and loaded with
the disabilities of an alien, and what to the foreigner would be a light
matter, to _him_, would be the severity of _rigor_. The recent condition
of the Jews and Catholics in England, is another illustration.
Rothschild, the late banker, though the richest private citizen in the
world, and perhaps master of scores of English servants, who sued for
the smallest crumbs of his favor, was, as a subject of the government,
inferior to the lowest among them. Suppose an Englishman of the
Established Church, were by law deprived of power to own the soil, of
eligibility to office and of the electoral franchise, would Englishmen
think it a misapplication of language, if it were said, the government
"rules over him with rigor?" And yet his person, property, reputation,
conscience, all his social relations, the disposal of his time, the
right of locomotion at pleasure, and of natural liberty in all respects,
are just as much protected by law as the Lord Chancellor's.

FINALLY.--As the Mosaic system was a great compound type, rife with
meaning in doctrine and duty; the practical power of the whole, depended
upon the exact observance of those distinctions and relations which
constituted its significancy. Hence, the care to preserve inviolate the
distinction between a _descendant of Abraham_ and a _Stranger_, even
when the Stranger was a proselyte, had gone through the initiatory
ordinances, entered the congregation, and become incorporated with the
Israelites by family alliance. The regulation laid down in Ex. xxi. 2-6,
is an illustration. In this case, the Israelitish servant, whose term
expired in six years, married one of his master's _permanent female
domestics_; but her marriage did not release her master from _his_ part
of the contract for her whole term of service, nor from his legal
obligation to support and educate her children. Neither did it do away
that distinction, which marked her national descent by a specific
_grade_ and _term_ of service, nor impair her obligation to fulfil _her_
part of the contract. Her relations as a permanent domestic grew out of
a distinction guarded with great care throughout the Mosaic system. To
render it void, would have been to divide the system against itself.
This God would not tolerate. Nor, on the other hand, would he permit the
master to throw off the responsibility of instructing her children, nor
the care and expense of their helpless infancy and rearing. He was bound
to support and educate them, and all her children born afterwards during
her term of service. The whole arrangement beautifully illustrates that
wise and tender regard for the interests of all the parties concerned,
which arrays the Mosaic system in robes of glory, and causes it to shine
as the sun in the kingdom of our Father.[B] By this law, the children
had secured to them a mother's tender care. If the husband loved his
wife and children, he could compel his master to keep him, whether he
had any occasion for his services or not. If he did not love them, to be
rid of him was a blessing; and in that case, the regulation would prove
an act for the relief of an afflicted family. It is not by any means to
be inferred, that the release of the servant in the seventh year, either
absolved him from the obligations of marriage, or shut him out from the
society of his family. He could doubtless procure a service at no great
distance from them, and might often do it, to get higher wages, or a
kind of employment better suited to his taste and skill. The great
number of days on which the law released servants from regular labor,
would enable him to spend much more time with his family, than can be
spent by most of the agents of our benevolent societies with _their_
families, or by many merchants, editors, artists, &c., whose daily
business is in New York, while their families reside from ten to one
hundred miles in the country.

[Footnote B: Whoever profoundly studies the Mosaic Institutes with a
teachable and reverential spirit, will feel the truth and power of that
solemn appeal and interrogatory of God to his people Israel, when he had
made an end of setting before them all his statutes and ordinances.
"What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments SO
RIGHTEOUS, as _all_ this law which I set before you this day." Deut. iv.

We conclude this inquiry by touching upon an objection, which, though
not formally stated, has been already set aside by the tenor of the
foregoing argument. It is this,--"The slavery of the Canaanites by the
Israelites, was appointed by God as a commutation of the punishment of
death denounced against them for their sins."[A] If the absurdity of a
sentence consigning persons to death, and at the same time to perpetual
slavery, did not sufficiently laugh at itself; it would be small
self-denial, in a case so tempting, to make up the deficiency by a
general contribution. Only _one_ statute was ever given respecting the
disposition to be made of the inhabitants of Canaan. If the sentence of
death was pronounced against them, and afterwards _commuted_, when?
where? by whom? and in what terms was the commutation, and where is it
recorded? Grant, for argument's sake, that all the Canaanites were
sentenced to unconditional extermination; how can a right to _enslave_
them, be drawn from such premises? The punishment of death is one of the
highest recognitions of man's moral nature possible. It proclaims him
rational, accountable, guilty, deserving death for having done his
utmost to cheapen human life, when the proof of its priceless worth
lived in his own nature. But to make him a _slave_, cheapens to nothing
_universal human nature_, and instead of healing a wound, gives a
death-stab. What! repair an injury to rational being in the robbery of
one of its rights, not only by robbing it of all, but by annihilating
their _foundation_, the everlasting distinction between persons and
things? To make a man a chattel, is not the _punishment_, but the
_annihilation_ of a _human_ being, and, so far as it goes, of _all_
human beings. This commutation of the punishment of death, into
perpetual slavery, what a fortunate discovery! Alas! for the honor of
Deity, if commentators had not manned the forlorn hope, and by a timely
movement rescued the Divine character, at the very crisis of its fate,
from the perilous position in which inspiration had carelessly left it!
Here a question arises of sufficient importance for a separate
dissertation; but must for the present be disposed of in a few
UNCONDITIONAL EXTERMINATION? As the limits of this inquiry forbid our
giving all the grounds of dissent from commonly received opinions, the
suggestions made, will be thrown out merely as QUERIES, rather than laid
down as _doctrines_. The directions as to the disposal of the
Canaanites, are mainly in the following passages, Ex. xxiii. 23-33;
xxxiv. 11; Deut. vii. 16-24; ix. 3; xxxi. 3-5. In these verses, the
Israelites are commanded to "destroy the Canaanites," to "drive out,"
"consume," "utterly overthrow," "put out," "dispossess them," &c. Did
these commands enjoin the unconditional and universal destruction of the
_individuals_, or merely of the _body politic_? The word _haram_, to
destroy, signifies _national_, as well as individual destruction; the
destruction of _political_ existence, equally with _personal_; of
governmental organization, equally with the lives of the subjects.
Besides, if we interpret the words destroy, consume, overthrow, &c., to
mean _personal_ destruction, what meaning shall we give to the
expressions, "drive out before thee," "cast out before thee," "expel,"
"put out," "dispossess," &c., which are used in the same and in parallel
passages? In addition to those quoted above, see Josh. iii. 10; xvii.
18; xxiii. 5; xxiv. 18; Judg. i. 20, 29-35; vi. 9. "I will _destroy_ all
the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies
_turn their backs unto thee_." Ex. xxiii. 27. Here "_all their enemies_"
were to _turn their backs_, and "_all the people_" to be "_destroyed_."
Does this mean that God would let all their _enemies_ escape, but kill
their _friends_, or that he would _first_ kill "all the people" and THEN
make them "turn their backs," an army of runaway corpses? In Josh. xxiv.
8, God says, speaking of the Amorites, "I _destroyed_ them from before
you." In the 18th verse of the same chapter, it is said, "The Lord
_drave out_ from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt
in the land." In Num. xxxii. 39, we are told that "the children of
Machir the son of Manasseh, went to Gilead, and took it, and
_dispossessed_ the Amorite which was in it." If these commands required
the destruction of all the _individuals,_ the Mosaic law was at war with
itself, for directions as to the treatment of native residents form a
large part of it. See Lev. xix. 34; xxv. 35, 36; xxiv. 22.; Ex. xxiii.
9; xxii. 21; Deut. i. 16, 17; x. 17, 19; xxvii. 19. We find, also, that
provision was made for them in the cities of refuge, Num. xxxv. 15,--the
gleanings of the harvest and vintage were theirs, Lev. xix. 9, 10;
xxiii. 22;--the blessings of the Sabbath, Ex. xx. 10;--the privilege of
offering sacrifices secured, Lev. xxii. 18; and stated religious
instruction provided for them. Deut. xxxi. 9, 12. Now does this same law
require the _individual extermination_ of those whose lives and
interests it thus protects? These laws were given to the Israelites,
long _before_ they entered Canaan; and they must have inferred from
them, that a multitude of the inhabitants of the land were to _continue
in it_, under their government. Again Joshua was selected as the leader
of Israel to execute God's threatenings upon Canaan. He had no
discretionary power. God's commands were his official instructions.
Going beyond them would have been usurpation; refusing to carry them
out, rebellion and treason. Saul was rejected from being king for
disobeying God's commands in a single instance. Now if God commanded the
individual destruction of all the Canaanites Joshua disobeyed him in
every instance. For at his death, the Israelites still "_dwelt among
them_," and each nation is mentioned by name. Judg. i. 27-36, and yet we
are told that Joshua "left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded
Moses;" and that he "took all that land." Josh. xi. 15-22. Also, that
"there _stood not a man_ of _all_ their enemies before them." Josh. xxi.
44. How can this be if the command to destroy, destroy utterly, &c.,
enjoined _individual_ extermination, and the command to drive out,
unconditional expulsion from the country, rather than their expulsion
from the _possession_ or _ownership_ of it, as the lords of the soil?
That the latter is the true sense to be attached to those terms, we
argue, further from the fact that the same terms are employed by God to
describe the punishment which he would inflict upon the Israelites if
they served other Gods. "Ye shall utterly perish," "be utterly
destroyed," "consumed," &c., are some of them.--See Deut. iv. 20; viii.
19, 20.[B] Josh. xxiii. 12, 13-16; 1. Sam. xii. 25. The Israelites _did_
serve other Gods, and Jehovah _did_ execute upon them his
threatenings--and thus himself _interpreted_ these threatenings. He
subverted their _government_, dispossessed them of their land, divested
them of national power, and made them _tributaries_, but did not
_exterminate_ them. He "destroyed them utterly" as an independent body
politic, but not as individuals. Multitudes of the Canaanites were
slain, but not a case can be found in which one was either killed or
expelled who _acquiesced_ in the transfer of the territory, and its
sovereignty, from the inhabitants of the land to the Israelites. Witness
the case of Rahab and her kindred, and that of the Gibeonites.[C] The
Canaanites knew of the miracles wrought for the Israelites; and that
their land had been transferred to them as a judgment for their sins.
Josh. ii. 9-11; ix. 9, 10, 24. Many of them were awed by these wonders,
and made no resistance. Others defied God and came out to battle. These
last occupied the fortified cities, were the most inveterate
heathen--the aristocracy of idolatry, the kings, the nobility and
gentry, the priests, with their crowds of satellites, and retainers that
aided in idolatrous rites, and the military forces, with the chief
profligates of both sexes. Many facts corroborate the general position.
Witness that command (Deut. xxiii. 15, 16,) which, not only prohibited
the surrender of the fugitive servant to his master, but required the
Israelites to receive him with kindness, permit him to dwell where he
pleased, and to protect and cherish him. Whenever any servant, even a
Canaanite, fled from his master to the Israelites, Jehovah, so far from
commanding them to _kill_ him, straitly charged them, "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."
Deut. xxiii. 16. The Canaanitish servant by thus fleeing to the
Israelites, submitted himself as a dutiful subject to their national
government, and pledged his allegiance. Suppose _all_ the Canaanites had
thus submitted themselves to the Jewish theocracy, and conformed to the
requirements of the Mosaic institutes, would not _all_ have been spared
upon the same principle that _one_ was? Again, look at the multitude of
_tributaries_ in the midst of Israel, and that too, after they had
"waxed strong," and the uttermost nations quaked at the terror of their
name--the Canaanites, Philistines and others, who became proselytes--as
the Nethenims, Uriah the Hittite--Rahab, who married one of the princes
of Judah--Jether, an Ishmaelite, who married Abigail the sister of David
and was the father of Amasa, the captain of the host of Israel. Comp. 1
Chron. ii. 17, with 2 Sam. xvii. 25.--Ittai--the six hundred Gittites,
David's body guard. 2. Sam xv. 18, 21. Obededom the Gittite, adopted
into the tribe of Levi. Comp. 2 Sam. vi. 10, 11, with 1 Chron. xv. 18,
and xxvi. 4, 5--Jaziz, and Obil. 1 Chron, xxvii. 30, 31. Jephunneh the
Kenezite, Josh. xiv. 6, and father of Caleb a ruler of the tribe of
Judah. Numb. xiii. 2, 6--the Kenites registered in the genealogies of
the tribe of Judah, Judg. i. 16; 1 Chron. ii. 55, and the one hundred
and fifty thousand Canaanites, employed by Solomon in the building of
the Temple.[D] Besides, the greatest miracle on record, was wrought to
save a portion of those very Canaanites, and for the destruction of
those who would exterminate them. Josh. x. 12-14. Further--the terms
employed in the directions regulating the disposal of the Canaanites,
such as "drive out," "put out," "cast out," "expel," "dispossess," &c.,
seem used interchangeably with "consume," "destroy," "overthrow," &c.,
and thus indicate the sense in which the latter words are used. As an
illustration of the meaning generally attached to these and similar
terms, we refer to the history of the Amalekites. "I will utterly put
out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." Ex. xvii. 14. "Thou
shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt
not forget it." Deut. xxv. 19. "Smite Amalek and _utterly destroy_ all
that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant
and suckling, ox and sheep." 1 Sam. xv. 2, 3. "Saul smote the
Amalekites, and he took Agag the king of the Amalekites, alive and
UTTERLY DESTROYED ALL THE PEOPLE with the edge of the sword." Verses 7,
8. In verse 20, Saul says, "I have brought Agag, the king of Amalek, and
have _utterly destroyed_ the Amalekites." In 1 Sam. xxx. 1, 2, we find
the Amalekites marching an army into Israel, and sweeping everything
before them--and this in about eighteen years after they had all been
"UTTERLY DESTROYED!" In 1 Kings ii. 15-17, is another illustration. We
are informed that Joab remained in Edom six months with all Israel,
"until he had _cut off every male_" in Edom. In the next verse we learn
that Hadad and "certain Edomites" were not slain. Deut. xx. 16, 17, will
probably be quoted against the preceding view. We argue that the command
in these verses, did not include all the individuals of the Canaanitish
nations, but only the inhabitants of the _cities_, (and even those
conditionally,) because, only the inhabitants of _cities_ are
specified--"of the _cities_ of these people thou shalt save alive
nothing that breatheth." Cities then, as now, were pest-houses of vice,
they reeked with abominations little practised in the country. On this
account, their influence would be far more perilous to the Israelites
than that of the country. Besides, they were the centres of
idolatry--there were the temples and altars, and idols, and priests,
without number. Even their buildings, streets, and public walks were so
many visibilities of idolatry. The reason assigned in the 18th verse for
exterminating them, strengthens the idea--"that they teach you not to do
after all the abominations which they have done unto their gods." This
would be a reason for exterminating all the nations and individuals
_around_ them, as all were idolaters; but God commanded them, in certain
cases, to spare the inhabitants. Contact with _any_ of them would be
perilous--with the inhabitants of the _cities_ peculiarly, and of the
_Canaanitish_ cities pre-eminently so. The 10th and 11th verses contain
the general rule prescribing the method in which cities were to be
summoned to surrender. They were first to receive the offer of peace--if
it was accepted, the inhabitants became _tributaries_--but if they came
out against Israel in battle, the _men_ were to be killed, and the woman
and little ones saved alive. The 15th verse restricts this lenient
treatment to the inhabitants of the cities _afar off_. The 16th directs
as to the disposal of the inhabitants of the Canaanitish cities. They
were to save alive "nothing that breathed." The common mistake has been,
in supposing that the command in the 15th verse refers to the _whole
system of directions preceding,_ commencing with the 10th, whereas it
manifestly refers only to the _inflictions_ specified in the 12th, 13th,
and, 14th, making a distinction between those _Canaanitish_ cities that
_fought_, and the cities _afar off_ that fought--in one case destroying
the males and females, and in the other, the _males_ only. The offer of
peace, and the _conditional preservation_, were as really guarantied to
_Canaanitish_ cities as to others. Their inhabitants were not to be
exterminated unless they came out against Israel in battle. Whatever be
the import of the commands respecting the disposition to be made of the
Canaanites, all admit the fact that the Israelites did _not_ utterly
exterminate them. Now, if entire and unconditional extermination was the
command of God, it was _never_ obeyed by the Israelites, consequently
the truth of God stood pledged to consign _them_ to the same doom which
he had pronounced upon the Canaanites, but which they had refused to
visit upon them. "If ye will not drive out all the inhabitants of the
land from before you, then it shall come to pass that * * _I shall do
unto you as I thought to do unto them_." Num. xxxiii. 55, 56. As the
Israelites were not exterminated, we infer that God did not pronounce
_that_ doom upon them; and as he _did_ pronounce upon them the _same_
doom, whatever it was, which they should _refuse_ to visit upon the
Canaanites, it follows that the doom of unconditional _extermination_
was _not_ pronounced against the Canaanites. But let us settle this
question by the "law and the testimony." "There was not a city that made
peace with the children of Israel save the Hivites, the inhabitants of
Gibeon; all others they took in battle. For it was of the Lord to harden
their hearts, that they should COME OUT AGAINST ISRAEL IN BATTLE, that
he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but
that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses." Josh. xi. 19.
20. That is, if they had _not_ come out against Israel in battle, they
would have had "favor" shown them, and would not have been "_destroyed
utterly_." The great design was to _transfer the territory_ of the
Canaanites to the Israelites, and along with it, _absolute sovereignty
in every respect_; to annihilate their political organizations, civil
polity, and jurisprudence, and their system of religion, with all its
rights and appendages; and to substitute therefor, a pure theocracy,
administered by Jehovah, with the Israelites as His representatives and
agents. In a word the people were to be _denationalized,_ their
political existence annihilated, their idol temples, altars, groves,
images, pictures, and heathen rites destroyed, and themselves put under
tribute. Those who resisted the execution of Jehovah's purpose were to
be killed, while those who quietly submitted to it were to be spared.
All had the choice of these alternatives, either free egress out of the
land;[E] or acquiescence in the decree, with life and residence as
tributaries, under the protection of the government; or resistance to
the execution of the decree, with death. "_And it shall come to pass, if
they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name,
the Lord liveth, as they taught my people to swear by Baal;_ THEN SHALL

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