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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 1 of 4 by American Anti-Slavery Society

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cardinal principle of slavery. The apprentice, during three-fourths of
his time, was forced to labor, and robbed of his earnings; just so far
forth he was a _mere means_, a slave. True in other respects slavery was
abolished in the British West Indies August, 1834. Its bloodiest
features were blotted _out_--but the meanest and most despicable of
all--forcing the poor to work for the rich without pay three fourths of
their time, with a legal officer to flog them if they demurred at the
outrage, was one of the provisions of the "Emancipation Act!" For the
glories of that luminary, abolitionists thanked God, while they mourned
that it rose behind clouds and shone through an eclipse. [West India
apprenticeship is now (August 1838) abolished. On the first of the
present month, every slave in every British island and colony stood up a
freeman!--Note to fourth edition.] ]

That this is American slavery, is shown by the laws of slave states.
Judge Stroud, in his "Sketch of the Laws relating to Slavery," says,
"The cardinal principle of slavery, that the slave is not to be ranked
among sentient beings, but among _things_--obtains as undoubted law in
all of these [the slave] states." The law of South Carolina says,
"Slaves shall be deemed, held, taken, reputed, and adjudged in law to be
chattels personal in the hands of their owners and possessors, and their
executors, administrators, and assigns, to ALL INTENTS, CONSTRUCTIONS,
AND PURPOSES WHATSOEVER." _Brev. Dig._, 229. In Louisiana, "A slave is
one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs; the master may
sell him, dispose of his person, his industry, and his labor; he can do
nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire any thing, but what must belong to
his master."--_Civ. Code_, Art. 35.

This is American slavery. The eternal distinction between a person and a
thing, trampled under foot--the crowning distinction of all
others--alike the source, the test, and the measure of their value--the
rational, immortal principle, consecrated by God to universal homage in
a baptism of glory and honor, by the gift of his Son, his Spirit, his
word, his presence, providence, and power; his shield, and staff, and
sheltering wing; his opening heavens, and angels ministering, and
chariots of fire, and songs of morning stars, and a great voice in
heaven proclaiming eternal sanctions, and confirming the word with signs

Having stated the _principle_ of American slavery, we ask, DOES THE
BIBLE SANCTION SUCH A PRINCIPLE?[A] "To the _law_ and the testimony?"

[Footnote A: The Bible record of actions is no comment on their moral
character. It vouches for them as _facts_, not as _virtues_. It records
without rebuke, Noah's drunkenness, Lot's incest, and the lies of Jacob
and his mother--not only single acts, but _usages_, such as polygamy and
concubinage, are entered on the record without censure. Is that _silent
entry_ God's _endorsement?_ Because the Bible in its catalogue of human
actions, does not stamp on every crime its name and number, and write
against it, _this is a crime_--does that wash out its guilt, and bleach
it into a virtue?]


Just after the Israelites were emancipated from their bondage in Egypt,
while they stood before Sinai to receive the law, as the trumpet waxed
louder, and the mount quaked and blazed, God spake the ten commandments
from the midst of clouds and thunderings. Two of those commandments deal
death to slavery. "THOU SHALT NOT STEAL," or, "thou shalt not take from
another what _belongs_ to him." All man's powers are God's gift to HIM.
Each of them is a part of himself, and all of them together constitute
himself. All else that belongs to man, is acquired by the _use_ of these
powers. The interest belongs to him, because the principal does; the
product is his, because he is the producer. Ownership of any thing, is
ownership of its _use_. The right to use according to will, is _itself_
ownership. The eighth commandment presupposes and assumes the right of
every man to his powers, and their product. Slavery robs of both. A
man's right to himself, is the only right absolutely original and
intrinsic--his right to anything else is merely _relative_ to this, is
derived from it, and held only by virtue of it. SELF-RIGHT is the
_foundation right_--the _post in the middle_, to which all other rights
are fastened. Slaveholders, when talking about their RIGHT to their
slaves, always assume their own right to themselves. What slave-holder
ever undertook to prove his right to himself? He knows it to be a
self-evident proposition, that _a man belongs to himself_--that the
right is intrinsic and absolute. In making out his own title, he makes
out the title of every human being. As the fact of being _a man_ is
itself the title, the whole human family have one common title deed. If
one man's title is valid, all are valid. If one is worthless, all are.
To deny the validity of the _slave's_ title is to deny the validity of
_his own_; and yet in the act of making a man a slave, the slaveholder
_asserts_ the validity of his own title, while he seizes him as his
property who has the _same_ title. Further, in making him a slave, he
does not merely disfranchise of humanity _one_ individual, but UNIVERSAL
MAN. He destroys the foundations. He annihilates _all rights_. He
attacks not only the human race, but _universal being_, and rushes upon
JEHOVAH. For rights are _rights_; God's are no more--man's are no less.

The eighth commandment forbids the taking of _any part_ of that which
belongs to another. Slavery takes the _whole_. Does the same Bible which
prohibits the taking of _any_ thing from him, sanction the taking of
_every_ thing! Does it thunder wrath against the man who robs his
neighbor of a _cent_, yet commission him to rob his neighbour of
_himself?_ Slaveholding is the highest possible violation of the eight
commandment. To take from a man his earnings, is theft. But to take the
_earner_, is a compound, life-long theft--supreme robbery that vaults up
the climax at a leap--the dread, terrific, giant robbery, that towers
among other robberies a solitary horror. The eight commandment forbids
the taking away, and the tenth adds, "Thou shalt not _covet_ any thing
that is thy neighbor's;" thus guarding every man's right to himself and
property, by making not only the actual taking away a sin, but even that
state of mind which would _tempt_ to it. Who ever made human beings
slaves, without _coveting_ them? Why take from them their time, labor,
liberty, right of self-preservation and improvement, their right to
acquire property, to worship according to conscience, to search the
Scriptures, to live with their families, and their right to their own
bodies, if they do not _desire_ them? They COVET them for purposes of
gain, convenience, lust of dominion, of sensual gratification, of pride
and ostentation. THEY BREAK THE TENTH COMMANDMENT, and pluck down upon
their heads the plagues that are written in the book. _Ten_ commandments
constitute the brief compend of human duty. _Two_ of these brand slavery
as sin.


The giving of the law at Sinai, immediately preceded the promulgation of
that body of laws called the "Mosaic system." Over the gateway of that
system, fearful words were written by the finger of God--"HE THAT
SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH[A]." Ex. xxi. 16.

[Footnote A: A writer in the American Quarterly Review, commenting on
this passage, thus blasphemes. "On this passage an impression has gone
abroad that slave-owners are necessarily menstealers; how hastily, any
one will perceive who consults the passage in its connection. Being
found in the chapter which authorizes this species of property among the
Hebrews, it must of course relate to _its full protection from the
danger of being enticed away from its rightful owner."_--Am. Quart.
Review for June, 1833. Article "Negro slavery."]

The oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, and the wonders wrought for
their deliverance, proclaim the reason for such a law at such a time.
They had just been emancipated. The tragedies of their house of bondage
were the realities of yesterday, and peopled their memories with
thronging horrors. They had just witnessed God's testimony against
oppression in the plagues of Egypt--the burning blains on man and beast;
the dust quickened into loathsome life, and swarming upon every living
thing; the streets, the palaces, the temples, and every house heaped up
with the carcases of things abhorred; the kneading troughs and ovens,
the secret chambers and the couches, reeking and dissolving with the
putrid death; the pestilence walking in darkness at noonday, the
devouring locusts, and hail mingled with fire, the first-born
death-struck, and the waters blood; and last of all, that dread high
hand and stretched-out arm, that whelmed the monarch and his hosts, and
strewed their corpses on the sea. All this their eyes had looked upon;
earth's proudest city, wasted and thunder-scarred, lying in desolation,
and the doom of oppressors traced on her ruins in the hand-writing of
God, glaring in letters of fire mingled with blood--a blackened monument
of wrath to the uttermost against the stealers of men. No wonder that
God, in a code of laws prepared for such a people at such a time, should
uprear on its foreground a blazing beacon to flash terror on
slaveholders. "_He that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be
found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death."_ Ex. xxi. 16. Deut.
xxiv, 7[A]. God's cherubim and flaming sword guarding the entrance to
the Mosaic system!

[Footnote A: Jarchi, the most eminent of the Jewish Commentators, who
wrote seven hundred years ago, in his comment on this stealing and
making merchandize of men, gives the meaning thus:--"Using a man against
his will, as a servant lawfully purchased; yea, though he should use his
services ever so little, only to the value of a farthing, or use but his
arm to lean on to support him, _if he be forced so to act as a servant_,
the person compelling him but once to do so, shall die as a thief,
whether he has sold him or not."]

The word _Ganabh_ here rendered _stealeth,_ means, the taking of what
belongs to another, whether by violence or fraud; the same word is used
in the eight commandment, and prohibits both robbery and theft.

The crime specified, is that of depriving SOMEBODY of the ownership of a
man. Is this somebody a master? and is the crime that of depriving a
master of his servant? Then it would have been "he that stealeth" a
_servant_, not "he that stealeth a _man_." If the crime had been the
taking of an individual from _another_, then the _term_ used would have
been expressive of that relation, and most especially if it was the
relation of property and _proprietor!_

The crime is stated in a three-fold form--man _stealing_, _selling_, and
_holding_. All are put on a level, and whelmed under one
penalty--DEATH[A]. This _somebody_ deprived of the ownership of a man,
is the _man himself_, robbed of personal ownership. Joseph said, "Indeed
I was _stolen_ away out of the land of the Hebrews." Gen. xl. 15. How
_stolen?_ His brethren sold him as an article of merchandize. Contrast
this penalty for _man_-stealing with that for _property_-stealing, Ex.
xxii. 14. If a man had stolen an _ox_ and killed or sold it, he was to
restore five oxen; if he had neither sold nor killed it, two oxen. But
in the case of stealing a _man_, the _first_ act drew down the utmost
power of punishment; however often repeated or aggravated the crime,
human penalty could do no more. The fact that the penalty for
_man_-stealing was death, and the penalty for _property_-stealing, the
mere restoration of double, shows that the two cases were adjudicated on
totally different principles. The man stolen might be diseased or
totally past labor, consequently instead of being profitable to the
thief, he would be a tax upon him, yet death was still the penalty,
though not a cent's worth of _property-value_ was taken. The penalty for
stealing property was a mere property-penalty. However large the theft,
the payment of double wiped out the score. It might have a greater money
value than a thousand men, yet death was not the penalty, nor maiming,
nor braiding, nor even stripes, but double _of the same kind_. Why was
not the rule uniform? When a _man_ was stolen why was not the thief
required to restore double of the same kind--two men, or if he had sold
him, five men? Do you say that the man-thief might not _have_ them? So
the ox-thief might not have two oxen, or if he had killed it, five. But
if God permitted men to hold _men_ as property, equally with oxen, the
man-thief, could get men with whom to pay the penalty, as well as the
ox-thief, oxen. Further, when property was stolen, the legal penalty was
a compensation to the person injured. But when a _man_ was stolen, no
property compensation was offered. To tender money as an equivalent,
would have been to repeat the outrage with intolerable aggravations.
Compute the value of a MAN in _money!_ Throw dust into the scale against
immortality! The law recoiled from such supreme insult and impiety. To
have permitted the man-thief to expiate his crime by restoring double,
would have been making the repetition of crime its atonement. But the
infliction of death for man-stealing exacted the utmost possibility of
reparation. It wrung from the guilty wretch as he gave up the ghost, the
testimony of blood, and death-groans, to the infinite dignity and worth
of man,--a proclamation to the universe, voiced in mortal agony, "MAN IS
INVIOLABLE."--a confession shrieked in phrenzy at the grave's mouth--"I
die accursed, and God is just."

[Footnote A: "Those are _men-stealers_ who abduct, _keep_, sell, or buy
slaves or freemen." GROTIUS.]

If God permitted man to hold man as property, why did he punish for
stealing that kind of property infinitely more than for stealing any
other kind of property? Why punish with death for stealing a very little
of _that_ sort of property, and make a mere fine the penalty for
stealing a thousand times as much, of any other sort of
property--especially if by his own act, God had annihilated the
difference between man and _property_, by putting him on a level with

The guilt of a crime, depends much upon the nature, character, and
condition of the victim. To steal is a crime, whoever the thief, or
whatever the plunder. To steal bread from a full man, is theft; to steal
it from a starving man, is both theft and murder. If I steal my
neighbor's property, the crime consists not in altering the _nature_ of
the article, but in taking as _mine_ what is _his_. But when I take my
neighbor himself, and first make him _property_, and then _my_ property,
the latter act, which was the sole crime in the former case, dwindles to
nothing. The sin in stealing a man, is not the transfer from its owner
to another of that which is already property, but the turning of
_personality_ into _property_. True, the attributes of man remain, but
the rights and immunities which grow out of them are annihilated. It is
the first law both of reason and revelation, to regard things and beings
as they are; and the sum of religion, to feel and act toward them
according to their value. Knowingly to treat them otherwise is sin; and
the degree of violence done to their nature, relations, and value,
measures its guilt. When things are sundered which God has indissolubly
joined, or confounded in one, which he has separated by infinite
extremes; when sacred and eternal distinctions, which he has garnished
with glory, are derided and set at nought, then, if ever, sin reddens to
its "scarlet dye." The sin specified in the passage, is that of doing
violence to the _nature_ of a _man_--to his intrinsic value as a
rational being. In the verse preceding the one under consideration, and
in that which follows, the same principle is laid down. Verse 15, "He
that smiteth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death."
Verse. 17, "He that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be
put to death." If a Jew smote his neighbor, the law merely smote him in
return; but if the blow was given to a _parent_, it struck the smiter
dead. The parental relation is the _centre_ of human society. God guards
it with peculiar care. To violate that, is to violate all. Whoever
tramples on that, shows that _no_ relation has any sacredness in his
eyes--that he is unfit to move among human relations who violates one so
sacred and tender. Therefore, the Mosaic law uplifted his bleeding
corpse, and brandished the ghastly terror around the parental relation
to guard it from impious inroads.

Why such a difference in penalties, for the same act? Answer. 1. The
relation violated was obvious--the distinction between parents and
others self-evident, dictated by a law of nature. 2. The act was
violence to nature--a suicide on constitutional susceptibilities. 3. The
parental relation then, as now, was the focal point of the social
system, and required powerful safe-guards. "_Honor thy father and thy
mother_," stands at the head of those commands which prescribe the
duties of man to man; and throughout the Bible, the parental state is
God's favorite illustration of his own relations to the human family. In
this case, death was to be inflicted not for smiting a _man,_ but a
_parent_--_a distinction_ made sacred by God, and fortified by a bulwark
of defence. In the next verse, "He that stealeth a man," &c., the SAME
PRINCIPLE is wrought out in still stronger relief. The crime to be
punished with death was not the taking of property from its owner, but
violence to an _immortal nature_, the blotting out of a sacred
_distinction_--making MEN "chattels."

The incessant pains taken in the Old Testament to separate human beings
from brutes and things, shows God's regard for this, his own
distinction. "In the beginning" he proclaimed it to the universe as it
rose into being. Creation stood up at the instant of its birth, to do it
homage. It paused in adoration while God ushered forth its crowning
work. Why that dread pause and that creating arm held back in mid career
and that high conference in the godhead? "Let us make man in OUR IMAGE
after OUR LIKENESS, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle and over all the
earth." Then while every living thing, with land, and sea, and
firmament, and marshalled worlds, waited to swell the shout of morning
stars--then God created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE; IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
created he him." This solves the problem, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, CREATED
HE HIM. This distinction is often repeated and always with great
solemnity. In Gen. i. 26-28, it is expressed in various forms. In Gen.
v. 1, we find it again, "IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD MADE HE HIM." In Gen.
ix. 6, again. After giving license to shed the blood of "every moving
thing that liveth," it is added, "_Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man
shall his blood be shed, for_ IN THE IMAGE OF GOD MADE HE MAN." As
though it had been said, "All these creatures are your property,
designed for your use--they have the likeness of earth, and their
spirits go downward; but this other being, MAN, has my own likeness: IN
THE IMAGE OF GOD made I man; an intelligent, moral, immortal agent,
invited to all that I can give and he can be. So in Lev. xxiv. 17, 18,
21, "He that killeth any MAN shall surely be put to death; and he that
killeth a beast shall make it good, beast for beast; and he that killeth
a MAN he shall be put to death." So in Ps. viii. 5, 6, we have an
enumeration of particulars, each separating infinitely MEN from brutes
and things! 1. "_Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels."_
Slavery drags him down among _brutes._ 2. _"And hast crowned him with
glory and honor."_ Slavery tears off his crown, and puts on a _yoke_. 3.
_"Thou madest him to have dominion_[A] OVER _the works of thy hands."_
Slavery breaks his sceptre, and cast him down _among_ those works--yea,
_beneath them_. 4. _"Thou hast put all things under his feet_." Slavery
puts HIM under the feet of an "owner." Who, but an impious scorner, dare
thus strive with his Maker, and mutilate HIS IMAGE, and blaspheme the
Holy One, who saith, _"Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of
these, ye did it unto ME._"

[Footnote A: "Thou madest him to have dominion." In Gen. i. 28, God says
to man, _"Have dominion_ over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of
the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth," thus
vesting in _every_ human being the right of ownership over the earth,
its products and animal life, and in _each_ human being the _same_
right. By so doing God prohibited the exercise of ownership by man over
_man_; for the grant to _all_ men of _equal_ ownership, for ever _shut_
out the possibility of their exercising ownership over _each other_, as
whoever is the owner of a _man_, is the owner of his _right of
property_--in other words, when one man becomes the property of another
his rights become such too, his _right of property_ is transferred to
his "owner," and thus as far as _himself_ is concerned, is annihilated.
Finally, by originally vesting _all_ men with dominion or ownership over
property, God proclaimed the _right of all_ to exercise it, and
pronounced every man who takes it away a robber of the highest grade.
Such is every slaveholder.]

In further prosecuting this inquiry, the Patriarchal and Mosaic systems
will be considered together, as each reflects light upon the other, and
as many regulations of the latter are mere _legal_ forms of Divine
institutions previously existing. As a _system_, the latter alone is of
Divine authority. Whatever were the usages of the patriarchs God has not
made them our exemplars.[B] The question to be settled by us, is not
what were Jewish _customs_, but what were the rules that God gave for
the regulation of those customs.

[Footnote B: Those who insist that the patriarchs held slaves, and sit
with such delight under their shadow, hymning the praises of "those good
old slaveholders and patriarchs," might at small cost greatly augment
their numbers. A single stanza celebrating patriarchal _concubinage_,
winding off with a chorus in honor of patriarchal _drunkenness_, would
be a trumpet-call, summoning from brothels, bush and brake, highway and
hedge, and sheltering fence, a brotherhood of kindred affinities, each
claiming Abraham or Noah as his patron saint, and shouting, "My name is
legion." A myriad choir and thunderous song!]

Before entering upon an analysis of the condition of servants under
these two states of society, we will consider the import of certain
terms which describe the mode of procuring them.


As the Israelites were commanded to "buy" their servants, and as Abraham
had servants "bought with money," it is argued that servants were
articles of property! The sole ground for this belief is _the terms
themselves!_ How much might be saved, if in discussion, the thing to be
proved were always _assumed_! To beg the question in debate, is vast
economy of midnight oil, and a wholesale forestaller of wrinkles and
gray hairs. Instead of protracted investigation into Scripture usage,
painfully collating passages, to settle the meaning of terms, let every
man interpret the oldest book in the world by the usages of his own time
and place, and the work is done. And then instead of one revelation,
they might be multiplied as the drops of the morning, and every man have
an infallible clue to the mind of the Spirit, in the dialect of his own
neighborhood! What a Babel-jargon, to take it for granted that the sense
in which words are _now_ used, is the _inspired_ sense. David says, "I
prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried." What, stop the earth
in its revolution! Two hundred years ago, _prevent_ was used in its
strict Latin sense, to _come before_, or _anticipate_. It is always used
in this sense in the Old and New Testaments. David's expression, in the
English of the nineteenth century, would be "Before the dawning of the
morning I cried." In almost every chapter of the Bible, words are used
in a sense now nearly, or quite obsolete, and sometimes in a sense
totally _opposite_ to their present meaning. A few examples follow: "I
purposed to come to you, but was _let_ (hindered) hitherto." "And the
four _beasts_ (living ones) fell down and worshiped God,"--"Whosoever
shall _offend_ (cause to sin) one of these little ones,"--Go out into
the highways and _compel_ (urge) them to come in,"--Only let your
_conversation_ (habitual conduct) be as becometh the Gospel,"--"The Lord
Jesus Christ who shall judge the _quick_ (living) and the dead,"--They
that seek me _early_ (earnestly) shall find me," So when tribulation or
persecution ariseth _by-and-by_ (immediately) they are offended."
Nothing is more mutable than language. Words, like bodies, are always
throwing off some particles and absorbing others. So long as they are
mere representatives, elected by the whims of universal suffrage, their
meaning will be a perfect volatile, and to cork it up for the next
century is an employment sufficiently silly (to speak within bounds) for
a modern Bible-Dictionary maker. There never was a shallower conceit
than that of establishing the sense attached to a word centuries ago, by
showing what it means _now_. Pity that fashionable mantuamakers were not
a little quicker at taking hints from some Doctors of Divinity. How
easily they might save their pious customers all qualms of conscience
about the weekly shiftings of fashion, by proving that the last
importation of Parisian indecency now "showing off" on promenade, was
the very style of dress in which the modest and pious Sarah kneaded
cakes for the angels. Since such a fashion flaunts along Broadway _now_,
it _must_ have trailed over Canaan four thousand years ago!

The inference that the word buy, used to describe the procuring of
servants, means procuring them as _chattels_, seems based upon the
fallacy, that whatever _costs_ money _is_ money; that whatever or
whoever you pay money _for_, is an article of property, and the fact of
your paying for it, _proves_ it property. 1. The children of Israel were
required to purchase their firstborn from under the obligations of the
priesthood, Num. xviii. 15, 16; iii. 45-51; Ex. xiii. 13; xxxiv. 20.
This custom still exists among the Jews, and the word _buy_ is still
used to describe the transaction. Does this prove that their firstborn
were or are, held as property? They were _bought_ as really as were
_servants_. 2. The Israelites were required to pay money for their own
souls. This is called sometimes a ransom, sometimes an atonement. Were
their souls therefore marketable commodities? 3. When the Israelites set
apart themselves or their children to the Lord by vow, for the
performance of some service, an express statute provided that a _price_
should be set upon the "_persons_," and it prescribed the manner and
_terms_ of the "estimation" or valuation, by the payment of which, the
persons might be _bought off_ from the service vowed. The _price_ for
males from one month old to five years, was five shekels, for females,
three; from five years old to twenty, for males, twenty shekels, for
females, ten; from twenty years old to sixty, for males, fifty shekels,
for females, thirty; above sixty years old, for males, fifteen shekels,
for females, ten, Lev. xxvii. 2-8. What egregious folly to contend that
all these descriptions of persons were goods and chattels because they
were _bought_ and their _prices_ regulated by law! 4. Bible saints
_bought_ their wives. Boaz bought Ruth. "Moreover Ruth the Moabitess,
the wife of Mahlon, have I _purchased_ (bought) to be my wife." Ruth iv.
10.[A] Hosea bought his wife. "So I _bought_ her to me for fifteen
pieces of silver, and for an homer of Barley, and an half homer of
barley." Hosea iii. 2. Jacob bought his wives Rachael and Leah, and not
having money, paid for them in labor--seven years a piece. Gen. xxix.
15-23. Moses probably bought his wife in the same way, and paid for her
by his labor, as the servant of her father.[B] Exod. ii. 21. Shechem,
when negotiating with Jacob and his sons for Dinah, says, "Ask me never
so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto
me." Gen. xxxiv. 11, 12. David purchased Michael, and Othniel, Achsah,
by performing perilous services for the fathers of the damsels. 1 Sam.
xviii. 25-27; Judg. i. 12, 13. That the purchase of wives, either with
money or by service, was the general practice, is plain from such
passages as Ex. xxii. 17, and 1 Sam. xviii. 25. Among the modern Jews
this usage exists, though now a mere form, there being no _real_
purchase. Yet among their marriage ceremonies, is one called "marrying
by the penny." The similarity in the methods of procuring wives and
servants, in the terms employed in describing the transactions, and in
the prices paid for each, are worthy of notice. The highest price of
wives (virgins) and servants was the same. Comp. Deut, xxii. 28, 29, and
Ex. xxii. 17, with Lev. xxvii. 2-8. The _medium_ price of wives and
servants was the same. Comp. Hos. iii. 2, with Ex. xxi. 32. Hosea seems
to have paid one half in money and the other half in grain. Further, the
Israelitish female bought-servants were _wives_, their husbands and
masters being the same persons. Ex. xxi. 8, Judg. xix. 3, 27. If
_buying_ servants proves them property, buying wives proves _them_
property. Why not contend that the _wives_ of the ancient fathers of the
faithful were their "chattels," and used as ready change at a pinch; and
thence deduce the rights of modern husbands? Alas! Patriarchs and
prophets are followed afar off! When will pious husbands live up to
their Bible privileges, and become partakers with Old Testament worthies
in the blessedness of a husband's rightful immunities! Refusing so to
do, is questioning the morality of those "good old slaveholders and
patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

[Footnote A: In the verse preceding, Boaz says, "I have _bought_ all
that was Elimelech's * * * of the hand of Naomi." In the original, the
same word (_kana_) is used in both verses. In the 9th, "a parcel of
land" is "bought," in the 10th a "wife" is "bought." If the Israelites
had been as profound at inferences as our modern Commentators, they
would have put such a fact as this to the rack till they had tortured
out of it a divine warrant for holding their wives as property and
speculating in the article whenever it happened to be scarce.]

[Footnote B: This custom still prevails in some eastern countries. The
Crim Tartars, who are poor, serve an apprenticeship for their wives,
during which they live under the same roof with them and at the close of
it are adopted into the family.]

This use of the word buy, is not peculiar to the Hebrew. In the Syriac,
the common expression for "the espoused," is "the bought." Even so late
as the 16th century, the common record of _marriages_ in the old German
Chronicles was, "A BOUGHT B."

The word translated _buy_, is, like other words, modified by the nature
of the subject to which it is applied. Eve said, "I have _gotten_
(bought) a man from the Lord." She named him Cain, that is _bought_. "He
that heareth reproof, getteth (buyeth) understanding," Prov. xv. 32. So
in Isa. xi. 11. "The Lord shall set his hand again to recover (to _buy_)
the remnant of his people." So Ps. lxxviii. 54. "He brought them to his
mountain which his right hand had _purchased_," (gotten.) Neh. v. 8. "We
of our ability have _redeemed_ (bought) our brethren the Jews, that were
sold unto the heathen." Here "_bought_" is not applied to persons
reduced to servitude, but to those taken _out_ of it. Prov. viii. 22.
"The Lord possessed (bought) me in the beginning of his way." Prov. xix.
8. "He that _getteth_ (buyeth) wisdom loveth his own soul." Finally, to
_buy_ is a _secondary_ meaning of the Hebrew word _kana_.

Even at this day the word _buy_ is used to describe the procuring of
servants, where slavery is abolished. In the British West Indies, where
slaves became apprentices in 1834, they are still, (1837,) "bought."
This is the current word in West India newspapers. Ten years since
servants were "_bought_" in New York, and still are in New Jersey, as
really as in Virginia, yet the different senses in which the word is
used in those states, puts no man in a quandary. Under the system of
legal _indenture_ in Illinois, servants now are "_bought_."[A] Until
recently immigrants to this country were "bought" in great numbers. By
voluntary contract they engaged to work a given time to pay for their
passage. This class of persons, called "redemptioners," consisted at one
time of thousands. Multitudes are "bought" _out_ of slavery by
themselves or others. Under the same roof with the writer is a "servant
bought with money." A few weeks since, she was a slave; when "bought,"
she was a slave no longer. Alas! for our leading politicians if "buying"
men makes them "chattels." The Whigs say, that Calhoun has been "bought"
by the administration; and the other party, that Clay and Webster have
been "bought" by the Bank. The histories of the revolution tell us that
Benedict Arnold was "bought" by British gold, and that Williams,
Paulding, and Van Wert, could not be "bought" by Major Andre. When a
northern clergyman marries a rich southern widow, country gossip thus
hits off the indecency, "The cotton bags _bought_ him." Sir Robert
Walpole said, "Every man has his price, and whoever will pay it, can
_buy_ him," and John Randolph said, "The northern delegation is in the
market; give me money enough, and I can _buy_ them." The temperance
publications tell us that candidates for office _buy_ men with whiskey;
and the oracles of street tattle, that the court, district attorney, and
jury, in the late trial of Robinson were _bought_, yet we have no
floating visions of "chattels personal," man-auctions, or coffles.

[Footnote A: The following statute is now in force in the free state of
Illinois--"No negro, mulatto, or Indian, shall at any time _purchase_
any servant other than of their own complexion: and if any of the
persons aforesaid shall presume to _purchase_ a white servant, such
servant shall immediately become free, and shall be so held, deemed and

In Connecticut, town paupers are "bought" by individuals, who, for a
stipulated sum become responsible to the town for their comfortable
support for one year. If these "bought" persons perform any labor for
those who "buy" them, it is wholly _voluntary_. It is hardly necessary
to add that they are in no sense the "property" of their purchasers.[A]

[Footnote A: "The select-men" of each town annually give notice, that at
such a time and place, they will proceed to _sell_ the poor of said
town. The persons thus "sold" are "bought" by such persons, approved by
the "select-men," as engage to furnish them with sufficient wholesome
food, adequate clothing, shelter, medicine, &c., for such a sum as the
parties may agree upon. The Connecticut papers frequently contain
advertisements like the following: "NOTICE--The poor of the town of
Chatham will be SOLD on the first Monday in April, 1837, at the house of
F. Penfield, Esq., at 9 o'clock in the forenoon,"--[Middletown Sentinel,
Feb. 3, 1837.] ]

The transaction between Joseph and the Egyptians gives a clue to the use
of "buy" and "bought with money." Gen. xlvii. 18-26. The Egyptians
proposed to Joseph to become servants. When the bargain was closed,
Joseph said, "Behold I have _bought you_ this day," and yet it is plain
that neither party regarded the persons _bought_ as articles of
property, but merely as bound to labor on certain conditions, to pay for
their support during the famine. The idea attached by both parties to
"buy us," and "behold I have bought you," was merely that of service
voluntarily offered, and secured by contract, in return, for _value
received_, and not at all that the Egyptians were bereft of their
personal ownership, and made articles of property. And this buying of
_services_ (in this case it was but one-fifth part) is called in
Scripture usage, _buying the persons_. This case claims special notice,
as it is the only one where the whole transaction of buying servants is
detailed--the preliminaries, the process, the mutual acquiescence, and
the permanent relation resulting therefrom. In all other instances, the
mere fact is stated without particulars. In this case, the whole process
is laid open. 1. The persons "bought," _sold themselves_, and of their
own accord. 2. Paying for the permanent _service_ of persons, or even a
portion of it, is called "buying" those persons; just as paying for the
_use_ of land or houses for a number of years in succession is called in
Scripture usage _buying_ them. See Lev. xxv. 28, 33, and xxvii. 24. The
objector, at the outset, takes it for granted, that servants were bought
of _third_ persons; and thence infers that they were articles of
property. Both the alleged fact and the inference are _sheer
assumptions_. No instance is recorded, under the Mosaic system, in which
a _master sold his servant_.

That servants who were "bought," _sold themselves_, is a fair inference
from various passages of Scripture.[A] In Leviticus xxv. 47, the case of
the Israelite, who became the servant of the stranger, the words are,
"If he SELL HIMSELF unto the stranger." Yet the 51st verse informs us
that this servant was "BOUGHT" and that the price of his purchase was
paid to _himself_. The _same word_, and the same _form_ of the word,
which, in verse 47, is rendered _sell himself_, is in verse 39 of the
same chapter, rendered _be sold_; in Deut. xxviii. 68, the same word is
rendered "be sold." "And there ye shall BE SOLD unto your enemies for
bond-men and bond-women and NO MAN SHALL BUY YOU." How could they "_be
sold_" without _being bought_? Our translation makes it nonsense. The
word _Makar_ rendered "_be sold_" is used here in Hithpael conjugation,
which is generally reflexive in its force, and like the middle voice in
Greek, represents what an individual does for himself, and should
manifestly have been rendered "ye shall _offer yourselves_ for sale, and
there shall be no purchaser." For a clue to Scripture usage on this
point, see 1 Kings xxi. 20. 25.--"Thou hast _sold thyself_ to work
evil." "There was none like unto Ahab which did sell _himself_ to work
wickedness."--2 Kings xvii. 17. "They used divination and enchantments,
and _sold themselves_ to do evil."--Isa. l. 1. "For your iniquities have
ye _sold yourselves."_ Isa. lii. 3, "Ye have _sold yourselves_ FOR
NOUGHT, and ye shall be redeemed without money." See also, Jer. xxxiv.
14; Rom. vii. 14, vi. 16; John, viii. 34, and the case of Joseph and the
Egyptians, already quoted. In the purchase of wives, though spoken of
rarely, it is generally stated that they were bought of _third_ persons.
If _servants_ were bought of third persons, it is strange that no
_instance_ of it is on record.

[Footnote A: Those who insist that the servants which the Israelites
were commanded to buy of "the heathen which were round about" them, were
to be bought of _third persons_, virtually charge God with the
inconsistency of recognizing and affirming the right of those very
persons to freedom, upon whom, say they, he pronounced the doom of
slavery. For they tell us, that the sentence of death uttered against
those heathen was commuted into slavery, which punishment God denounced
against them. Now if "the heathen round about" were doomed to slavery,
the _sellers_ were doomed as well as the _sold_. Where, we ask, did the
sellers get their right to sell? God by commanding the Israelites to
BUY, affirmed the right of _somebody_ to _sell_, and that the
_ownership_ of what was sold existed _somewhere_; which _right_ and
ownership he commanded them to _recognize_ and _respect_. We repeat the
question, where did the heathen _sellers_ get their right to sell, since
_they_ were dispossessed of their right to _themselves_ and doomed to
slavery equally with those whom they sold. Did God's decree vest in them
a right to _others_ while it annulled their right to _themselves_? If,
as the objector's argument assumes, one part of "the heathen round
about" were _already_ held as slaves by the other part, _such_ of course
were not _doomed_ to slavery, for they were already slaves. So also, if
those heathen who held them as slaves had a _right_ to hold them, which
right God commanded the Israelites to _buy out_, thus requiring them to
recognize _it_ as a _right_, and on no account to procure its transfer
to themselves without paying to the holders an equivalent, surely, these
_slaveholders_ were not doomed by God to be slaves, for according to the
objector, God had himself affirmed their right _to hold others as
slaves_, and commanded his people to respect it.]

We now proceed to inquire into the _condition_ of servants under the
patriarchal and Mosaic systems.


The leading design of the laws defining the relations of master and
servant, was the good of both parties--more especially the good of the
_servants_. While the master's interests were guarded from injury, those
of the servants were _promoted_. These laws made a merciful provision
for the poorer classes, both of the Israelites and Strangers, not laying
on burdens, but lightening them--they were a grant of _privileges_ and

as establishing between them and their purchasers a bond of affection
and confidence. This is plain from the frequent use of it to illustrate
the love and care of God for his chosen people. Deut. xxxii. 6; Ex. xv.
16; Ps. lxxiv. 2; Prov. viii. 22.

PROSELYTE. Compliance with this condition was the _price of the
privilege_. Gen. xvii. 9-14, 23, 27. In other words, to become a servant
was virtually to become an Israelite.[A] In the light of this fact, look
at the relation sustained by a proselyted servant to his master. Was it
a sentence consigning to _punishment_, or a ticket of admission to

[Footnote A: The rites by which a stranger became a proselyte
transformed him into a Jew. Compare 1 Chron. ii. 17, with 2 Sam. xvii.
25. In Esther viii. 17, it is said "Many of the people of the land
_became Jews_." In the Septuagint, the passage is thus rendered, "Many
of the heathen were circumcised and became Jews." The intimate union and
incorporation of the proselytes with the Hebrews is shown by such
passages as Isa. lvi. 6, 7, 8; Eph. ii. 11, 22; Num. x. 29-32. Calmet,
Art. Proselyte, says "They were admitted to all the prerogatives of the
people of the Lord." Mahommed doubtless borrowed from the laws and
usages of the Jews, his well known regulation for admitting to all civil
and religious privileges, all proselytes of whatever nation or

A PUNISHMENT. When Sarah took umbrage at the conduct of Hagar and
Ishmael, her servants, "She said unto Abraham _cast out_ this bond-woman
and her son." * * And Abraham rose up early in the morning and took
bread and a bottle of water and gave it unto Hagar and the child, and
_sent her away_. Gen. xxi. 10, 14; in Luke xvi. 1-8, our Lord tells us
of the steward or head-servant of a rich man who defrauded his master,
and was, in consequence, excluded from his household. The servant
anticipating such a punishment, says, "I am resolved what to do, that
when I am _put out_ of the stewardship, they may receive me into their
houses." The case of Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, appears to be a
similar one. He was guilty of fraud in procuring a large sum of money
from Naaman, and of deliberate lying to his master, on account of which
Elisha seems to have discarded him. 2 Kings v. 20-27. In this connection
we may add that if a servant neglected the observance of any ceremonial
rite, and was on that account excommunicated from the congregation of
Israel, such excommunication excluded him also from the _family_ of an
Israelite. In other words he could be a _servant_ no longer than he was
an _Israelite_. To forfeit the latter _distinction_ involved the
forfeiture of the former _privilege_--which proves that it _was_ a


When the six years' contract had expired, if the servant _demanded_ it,
the law _obliged_ the master to retain him permanently, however little
he might need his services. Deut. xv. 12-17; Ex. xxi. 2-6. This shows
that the system was framed to advance the interest and gratify the
wishes of the servant quite as much as those of the master.


43-44; Deut xii. 12, 18, xvi. 10-16.

10-13; Josh. viii. 33-35; 2 Chron. xvii. 8-9, xxxv. 3, and xxxiv. 30.
Neh. viii. 7, 8.

WHOLE TIME. During which they had their entire support, and the same
instruction that was provided for the other members of the Hebrew
community. The Law secured to them,

1. _Every seventh year;_ Lev. xxv. 3-6; thus giving to those who were
servants during the entire period between the jubilees, _eight whole
years_, (including the jubilee year,) of unbroken rest.

2. _Every seventh day._ This in forty-two years, the eight being
subtracted from the fifty, would amount to just _six years_.

3. _The three annual festivals._ Ex. xxiii. 17, xxxiv. 23. The
_Passover_, which commenced on the 15th of the 1st month, and lasted
seven days, Deut. xvi. 3, 8. The Pentecost, or Feast of Weeks, which
began on the 6th day of the 3d month, and lasted seven days. Deut. xvi.
10, 11. The Feast of Tabernacles, which commenced on the 15th of the 7th
month, and lasted eight days. Deut. xvi. 13, 15; Lev. xxiii. 34-39. As
all met in one place, much time would be spent on the journey. Cumbered
caravans move slowly. After their arrival, a day or two would be
requisite for divers preparations before the celebration, besides some
time at the close of it, in preparations for return. If we assign three
weeks to each festival--including the time spent on the journeys, and
the delays before and after the celebration, together with the _festival
week_, it will be a small allowance for the cessation of their regular
labor. As there were three festivals in the year, the main body of the
servants would be absent from their stated employments at least _nine
weeks annually_, which would amount in forty-two years, subtracting the
sabbaths, to six years and eighty-four days.

4. _The new moons_. The Jewish year had twelve; Josephus says that the
Jews always kept _two_ days for the new moon. See Calmet on the Jewish
Calendar, and Horne's Introduction; also 1 Sam. xx, 18, 19, 27. This, in
forty-two years, would be two years 280 days.

5. _The feast of trumpets_. On the first day of the seventh month, and
of the civil year. Lev. xxiii. 24, 25.

6. _The atonement day_. On the tenth of the seventh month Lev. xxiii.

These two feasts would consume not less than sixty-five days not
reckoned above.

Thus it appears that those who continued servants during the period
between the jubilees, were by law released from their labor,
who remained a less time, in nearly the same proportion. In this
calculation, besides making a donation of all the _fractions_ to the
objector, we have left out those numerous _local_ festivals to which
frequent allusion is made, Judg. xxi. 19; 1 Sam. ix. 12. 22. etc., and
the various _family_ festivals, such as at the weaning of children; at
marriages; at sheep shearings; at circumcisions; at the making of
covenants, &c., to which reference is often made, as in 1 Sam, xx. 6.
28, 29. Neither have we included the festivals instituted at a later
period of the Jewish history--the feast of Purim, Esth. ix. 28, 29; and
of the Dedication, which lasted eight days. John x. 22; 1 Mac. iv. 59.

Finally, the Mosaic system secured to servants, an amount of time which,
if distributed, would be almost ONE HALF OF THE DAYS IN EACH YEAR.
Meanwhile, they were supported, and furnished with opportunities of
instruction. If this time were distributed over _every day_, the
servants would have to themselves nearly _one half of each day_.

The service of those Strangers who were _national_ servants or
tributaries, was regulated upon the same benevolent principle, and
secured to them TWO-THIRDS of the whole year. "A month they were in
Lebanon, and two months they were at home." 1 Kings, v. 13-15. Compared
with 2 Chron. 11. 17-19, viii. 7-9; 1 Kings, ix 20. 22. The regulations
under which the inhabitants of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and
Kirjath-jearim, (afterwards called _Nethinims_) performed service for
the Israelites, must have secured to them nearly the whole of their
time. If, as is probable, they served in courses corresponding to those
of their priests whom they assisted, they were in actual service less
than one month annually.


Proof.--"Judge righteously between every man and his brother and THE
but ye shall hear the SMALL as well as the great." Deut. i. 16, 19. Also
Lev. xix. 15. xxiv. 22. "Ye shall have one manner of law as well for the
STRANGER, as for one of your own country." So Num. xv. 29. "Ye shall
have ONE LAW for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that
is born among the children of Israel and for the STRANGER that
sojourneth among them." Deut. xxvii. 19. "Cursed be he that PERVERTETH

[Footnote A: In a work entitled, "Instruction in the Mosaic Religion" by
Professor Jholson, of the Jewish seminary at Frankfort-on-the-Main,
translated into English by Rabbi Leeser, we find the following.--Sec.
165. "Question. Does holy writ any where make a difference between the
Israelite and the other who is no Israelite, in those laws and
prohibitions which forbid us the _committal of any thing against our
fellow men?_"

"Answer. No where we do find a trace of such a difference. See Lev. xix.

"God says thou shalt not murder, _steal_, cheat, &c. In every place the
action _itself_ is prohibited as being an abomination to God _without
respect to the PERSONS against whom it is committed_." ]


"The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among
you, and thou shalt love him as thyself." Lev. xix. 34. "For the Lord
your God * * REGARDETH NOT PERSONS. He doth execute the judgment of the
fatherless and widow, and LOVETH THE STRANGER, in giving him food and
raiment, LOVE YE THEREFORE THE STRANGER." Deut. x. 17, 19. "Thou shalt
neither vex a STRANGER nor oppress him." Ex. xxii. 21. "Thou shalt not
oppress a STRANGER, for ye know the heart of a stranger." Ex. xxiii. 9.
"If thy brother be waxen poor thou shalt relieve him, yea, though he be
a STRANGER or a sojourner, that he may live with thee, take thou no
usury of him or increase, but fear thy God." Lev. xxv. 35, 36. Could
this same stranger be taken by one that feared his God, and held as a
slave, and robbed of time, earnings, and all his rights?

AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS. Num. xv. 15, 16, 29; ix. 14; Deut. i. 16, 17; Lev.
xxiv. 22. To these may be added that numerous class of passages which
represents God as regarding _alike_ the natural rights of _all_ men, and
making for all an _equal_ provision. Such as, 2 Chron. xix. 7; Prov.
xxiv. 23, xxviii. 21; Job. xxxiv. 19, 2 Sam. xiv. 14; Acts x. 35; Eph.
vi. 9.

Finally--With such watchful jealousy did the Mosaic Institutes guard the
_rights_ of servants, as to make the mere fact of a servant's escape
from his master presumptive evidence that his master had _oppressed_
him; and on that presumption, annulled his master's authority over him,
gave him license to go wherever he pleased, and commanded all to protect
him. Deut. xxiii. 15, 16. As this regulation will be examined under a
subsequent head, where its full discussion more appropriately belongs,
we notice it here merely to point out its bearings on the topic under



We argue that they became servants of _their own accord,_ because,

strangers became a servant, he was required to abjure idolatry, to enter
into covenant with God[A], be circumcised in token of it, be bound to
keep the Sabbath, the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of
Tabernacles, and to receive instruction in the moral and ceremonial law.
Were the servants _forced_ through all these processes? Was the
renunciation of idolatry _compulsory_? Were they _dragged_ into covenant
with God? Were they seized and circumcised by _main strength_? Were they
_compelled_ mechanically to chew and swallow the flesh of the Paschal
lamb, while they abhorred the institution, spurned the laws that
enjoined it, detested its author and its executors, and instead of
rejoicing in the deliverance which it commemorated, bewailed it as a
calamity, and cursed the day of its consummation? Were they _driven_
from all parts of the land three times in the year to the annual
festivals? Were they drugged with instruction which they nauseated? Were
they goaded through a round of ceremonies, to them senseless and
disgusting mummeries; and drilled into the tactics of a creed rank with
loathed abominations? We repeat it, to become a _servant_, was to become
a _proselyte_. Did God authorize his people to make proselytes at the
point of the bayonet? by the terror of pains and penalties? by
converting men into _merchandise?_ Were _proselyte and chattel_
synonymes in the Divine vocabulary? Must a man be sunk to a _thing_
before taken into covenant with God? Was this the stipulated condition
of adoption? the sure and sacred passport to the communion of the

[Footnote A: Maimonides, a contemporary with Jarchi, and who stands with
him at the head of Jewish writers, gives the following testimony on this
point: "Whether a servant be born in the power of an Israelite, or
whether he be purchased from the heathen, the master is to bring them
both into the covenant.

"But he that is in the _house_ is entered on the eighth day, and he that
is bought with money, on the day on which his master receives him,
unless the slave be _unwilling_. For if the master receive a grown
slave, and he be _unwilling_, his master is to bear with him, to seek to
win him over by instruction, and by love and kindness, for one year.
After which, should he _refuse_ so long, it is forbidden to keep him
longer than a year. And the master must send him back to the strangers
from whence he came. For the God of Jacob will not accept any other than
the worship of a _willing_ heart."--Maimon, Hilcoth Miloth, Chap. 1,
Sec. 8.

The ancient Jewish Doctors assert that the servant from the Strangers
who at the close of his probationary year, refused to adopt the Jewish
religion and was on that account sent back to his own people, received a
_full compensation_ for his services, besides the payment of his
expenses. But that _postponement_ of the circumcision of the foreign
servant for a year (_or even at all_ after he had entered the family of
an Israelite) of which the Mishnic doctors speak, seems to have been _a
mere usage_. We find nothing of it in the regulations of the Mosaic
system. Circumcision was manifestly a rite strictly _initiatory_.
Whether it was a rite merely _national_ or _spiritual_, or _both_, comes
not within the scope of this inquiry. ]

"Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped
from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in
that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates where it liketh
him best; thou shalt not oppress him." Deut. xxiii. 15, 16.

As though God had said, "To deliver him up would be to recognize the
_right_ of the master to hold him; his _fleeing_ shows his _choice_,
proclaims his wrongs and his title to protection; you shall not force
him back and thus recognize the _right_ of the master to hold him in
such a condition as induces him to flee to others for protection." It
may be said that this command referred only to the servants of _heathen_
masters in the surrounding nations. We answer: the terms of the command
are unlimited. But the objection, if valid, would merely shift the
pressure of the difficulty to another point. Did God require them to
protect the _free choice_ of a _single_ servant from the heathen, and
yet _authorize_ the same persons, to crush the free choice of
_thousands_ of servants from the heathen? Suppose a case. A _foreign_
servant escapes to the Israelites; God says, "He shall dwell with thee,
in that place which _he shall choose_, in one of thy gates where it
_liketh him_ best." Now, suppose this same servant, instead of coming
into Israel of his own accord, had been _dragged_ in by some kidnapper,
who bought him of his master, and forced him into a condition against
his will; would He who forbade such treatment of the stranger, who
_voluntarily_ came into the land, sanction the same treatment of the
_same person_, provided in addition to this last outrage, the previous
one had been committed of forcing him into the nation against his will?
To commit violence on the free choice of a foreign servant is forsooth a
horrible enormity, provided you _begin_ the violence _after_ he has come
among you. But if you commit the first act on the _other side of the
line_; if you begin the outrage by buying him from a third person
against his will, and then tear him from home, drag him across the line
into the land of Israel, and hold him as a slave--ah! that alters the
case, and you may perpetrate the violence now with impunity! Would
_greater_ favor have been shown to this new comer than to the old
residents--those who had been servants in Jewish families perhaps for a
generation? Were the Israelites commanded to exercise towards _him_,
uncircumcised and out of the covenant, a justice and kindness denied to
the multitudes who _were_ circumcised, and _within_ the covenant? But,
the objector finds small gain to his argument on the supposition that
the covenant respected merely the fugitives from the surrounding
nations, while it left the servants of the Israelites in a condition
against their wills. In that case, the surrounding nations would adopt
retaliatory measures, and become so many asylums for Jewish fugitives.
As these nations were not only on every side of them, but in their
midst, such a proclamation would have been an effectual lure to men
whose condition was a constant counteraction of will. Besides the same
command which protected the servant from the power of his foreign
_master_, protected him equally from the power of an _Israelite_. It was
not, merely "Thou shalt not deliver him unto his _master_," but "he
shall dwell with thee, in that place which _he shall choose_ in one of
thy gates where it liketh _him_ best." Every Israelite was forbidden to
put him in any condition _against his will_. What was this but a
proclamation, that all who _chose_ to live in the land and obey the
laws, were left to their own free will, to dispose of their services at
such a rate, to such persons, and in such places as they pleased?
Besides, grant that this command prohibited the sending back of
_foreign_ servants only, there was no law requiring the return of
servants who had escaped from the _Israelites_. _Property_ lost, and
_cattle_ escaped, they were required to return, but not escaped
_servants_. These verses contain, 1st, a command, "Thou shalt not
deliver," &c., 2d. a declaration of the fugitive's right of _free
choice_, and of God's will that he should exercise it at his own
discretion; and 3d, a command guarding this right, namely, "Thou shalt
not oppress him," as though God had said, "If you restrain him from
exercising his _own choice_, as to the place and condition of his
residence, it is _oppression_, and shall not be tolerated."[A]

[Footnote A: Perhaps it may be objected that this view of Deut. xxiii.
15, 16, makes nonsense of Ex. xxi. 27, which provides that if a man
strikes out his servant's tooth he shall let him go free. Small favor
indeed if the servant might set himself free whenever he pleased!
Answer--The former passage might remove the servant from the master's
_authority_, without annulling the master's legal claims upon the
servant, if he had paid him in advance and had not received from him an
equivalent, and this equally, whether his master were a Jew or a
Gentile. The latter passage, "He shall let him go free _for his tooth's
sake,"_ not only freed the servant from the master's authority, but also
from any pecuniary claim which the master might have on account of
having paid his wages in advance; and this _as a compensation_, for the
loss of a tooth.]

Three times every year, all the males over twelve years, were required
to attend the national feasts. They were thus absent from their homes
not less than three weeks at each time, making nine weeks annually. As
these caravans moved over the country, were there military scouts lining
the way, to intercept deserters?--a corporal's guard at each pass of the
mountains, sentinels pacing the hilltops, and light-horse scouring the
defiles? The Israelites must have had some safe contrivance for taking
their "_slaves_" three times in a year to Jerusalem and back. When a
body of slaves is moved any distance in our _republic_, they are
handcuffed and chained together, to keep them from running away, or
beating their drivers' brains out. Was this the _Mosaic_ plan, or an
improvement introduced by Samuel, or was it left for the wisdom of
Solomon? The usage, doubtless, claims a paternity not less venerable and
biblical! Perhaps they were lashed upon camels, and transported in
bundles, or caged up and trundled on wheels to and fro, and while at the
Holy City, "lodged in jail for safe keeping," the Sanhedrim appointing
special religious services for their benefit, and their "drivers"
officiating at "ORAL instruction." Meanwhile, what became of the sturdy
_handmaids_ left at home? What hindered them from stalking off in a
body? Perhaps the Israelitish matrons stood sentry in rotation round the
kitchens, while the young ladies scoured the country, as mounted
rangers, picking up stragglers by day, and patrolled the streets,
keeping a sharp look-out at night!


Suppose the servants from the heathen had, upon entering Jewish
families, refused circumcision; if _slaves_, how simple the process of
emancipation! Their _refusal_ did the job. Or, suppose they had refused
to attend the annual feasts, or had eaten leavened bread during the
Passover, or compounded the ingredients of the anointing oil, or had
touched a dead body, a bone, or a grave, or in any way had contracted
ceremonial uncleanness, and refused to be cleansed with the "water of
separation," they would have been "cut off from the people;"
_excommunicated_. Ex. xii. 19; xxx. 33; Num. xix. 16.


Abraham's servants are an illustration. At one time he had three hundred
and eighteen _young men_ "born in his house," and many more _not_ born
in his house. His servants of all ages were probably MANY THOUSANDS. How
did Abraham and Sarah contrive to hold fast so many thousand servants
against their wills? The most natural supposition is that the Patriarch
and his wife "took turns" in surrounding them! The neighboring tribes,
instead of constituting a picket guard to hem in his servants, would
have been far more likely to sweep them and him into captivity, as they
did Lot and his household. Besides, there was neither "constitution" nor
"compact," to send back Abraham's fugitives, nor a truckling police to
pounce upon them, nor gentlemen-kidnappers, suing for his patronage,
volunteering to howl on their track, boasting their blood-hound scent,
and pledging their honour to hunt down and deliver up, provided they had
a description of the "flesh-marks," and were suitably stimulated by
pieces of silver.[A] Abraham seems also to have been sadly deficient in
all the auxiliaries of family government, such as stocks, hand-cuffs,
foot-chains, yokes, gags, and thumb-screws. His destitution of these
patriarchal indispensables is the more afflicting, since he faithfully
trained "his household to do justice and judgment," though so deplorably
destitute of the needful aids.

[Footnote A: The following is a standing newspaper advertisement of one
of these professional man-catchers, a member of the New York bar, who
coolly plies his trade in the commercial emporium, sustained by the
complacent greetings and courtesies of "HONORABLE MEN!" "IMPORTANT TO
THE SOUTH.--F.H. Pettis, native of Orange County, Va., being located in
the city of New York, in the practice of law, announces to his friends
and the public in general, that he has been engaged as Counsel and
Adviser in General for a party whose business it is in the northern
cities to arrest and secure runaway slaves. He has been thus engaged for
several years, and as the act of Congress alone governs now in this
city, in business of this sort, which renders it easy for the recovery
of such property, he invites post paid communications to him, inclosing
a fee of $20 in each case, and a power of Attorney minutely descriptive
of the party absconded, and if in the northern region, he, or she will
soon be had.

"Mr. Pettis will attend promptly to all law business confided to him.

"N.B. New York City is estimated to contain 5,000 Runaway Slaves.


Probably Job had even more servants than Abraham. See Job. i. 3, 14-19,
and xlii. 12. That his thousands of servants staid with him entirely of
their own accord, is proved by the _fact_ of their staying with him.
Suppose they had wished to quit his service, and so the whole army had
filed off before him in full retreat, how could the patriarch have
brought them to halt? Doubtless with his wife, seven sons, and three
daughters for allies, he would have soon out-flanked the fugitive host
and dragged each of them back to his wonted chain and staple.

But the impossibility of Job's servants being held against their wills,
is not the only proof of their voluntary condition. We have his own
explicit testimony that he had not "withheld from the poor their
_desire_." Job. xxxi. 16. Of course he could hardly have made them live
with him, and forced them to work for him against _their desire_.

When Isaac sojourned in the country of the Philistines he "had _great
store_ of servants." And we have his testimony that the Philistines
hated him, added to that of inspiration that they "envied" him. Of
course they would hardly volunteer to organize patroles and committees
of vigilance to keep his servants from running away, and to drive back
all who were found beyond the limits of his plantation without a "pass!"
If the thousands of Isaac's servants were held against their wills, who
held them?

The servants of the Jews, during the building of the wall of Jerusalem,
under Nehemiah, may be included under this head. That they remained with
their masters of their own accord, we argue from the fact, that the
circumstances of the Jews made it impossible for them to _compel_ their
residence and service. They were few in number, without resources,
defensive fortifications, or munitions of war, and surrounded withal by
a host of foes, scoffing at their feebleness and inviting desertion from
their ranks. Yet so far from the Jews attempting in any way to restrain
their servants, or resorting to precautions to prevent escape, they put
arms into their hands, and enrolled them as a night-guard, for the
defence of the city. By cheerfully engaging in this service and in labor
by day, when with entire ease they might all have left their masters,
marched over to the enemy, and been received with shoutings, the
servants testified that their condition was one of _their own choice_,
and that they regarded their own interests as inseparably identified
with those of their masters. Neh. iv. 23.

Abraham nor Isaac seem ever to have sold one, though they had "great
store of servants." Jacob was himself a servant in the family of Laban
twenty-one years. He had afterward a large number of servants. Joseph
invited him to come into Egypt, and to bring all that he had with
him--"thou and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks
and thy herds, and ALL THAT THOU HAST." Gen. xlv. 10. Jacob took his
flocks and herds but _no servants_. Yet we are told that Jacob "took his
journey with _all that he had_." Gen. xlvi. 1. And after his arrival in
Egypt, Joseph said to Pharaoh "my father, and my brethren, and their
flocks, and their herds and _all that they have_, are come." Gen. xlvii.
1. The servants doubtless, served under their _own contracts_, and when
Jacob went into Egypt, they _chose_ to stay in their own country.

The government might sell _thieves_, if they had no property, until
their services had made good the injury, and paid the legal fine. Ex.
xxii. 3. But _masters_ seem to have had no power to sell their
_servants_. To give the master a _right_ to sell his servant, would
annihilate the servant's right of choice in his own disposal; but says
the objector, "to give the master a right to _buy_ a servant, equally
annihilates the servant's _right of choice_." Answer. It is one thing to
have a right to buy a man, and a quite another thing to have a right to
buy him of _another_ man.[A]

[Footnote A: There is no evidence that masters had the power to dispose
of even the _services_ of their servants, as men hire out their laborers
whom they employ by the year; but whether they had or not, affects not
the argument.]

Though servants were not bought of their masters, yet young females were
bought of their _fathers_. But their purchase as _servants_ was their
betrothal as WIVES. Ex. xxi. 7, 8. "If a man sell his daughter to be a
maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men-servants do. If she please
not her master WHO HATH BETROTHED HER TO HIMSELF, he shall let her be

[Footnote B: The comment of Maimonides on this passage is as
follows:--"A Hebrew handmaid might not be sold but to one who laid
himself under obligations, to espouse her to himself or to his son, when
she was fit to be betrothed."--_Maimonides--Hilcoth--Obedim_, Ch. IV.
Sec. XI. Jarchi, on the same passage, says, "He is bound to espouse her
to be his wife, for the _money of her purchase_ is the money of her


We infer that _all_ the servants from the Strangers were voluntary in
becoming such, since we have direct testimony that some of them were so.
"Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether
he be of thy brethren, OR OF THY STRANGERS that are in thy land within
thy gates." Deut. xxiv. 14. We learn from this that some of the
servants, which the Israelites obtained from the strangers were procured
by presenting the inducement of _wages_ to their _free choice_, thus
recognizing their right to sell their services to others, or not, at
their own pleasure. Did the Israelites, when they went among the heathen
to procure servants, take money in one hand and ropes in the other? Did
they _ask_ one man to engage in their service, and _drag_ along with
them the next that they met, in spite of his struggles. Did they knock
for admission at one door and break down the next? Did they go through
one village with friendly salutations and respectful demeanor, and with
the air of those soliciting favors, offer wages to the inhabitants as an
inducement to engage in their service--while they sent on their agents
to prowl through the next, with a kidnapping posse at their heels, to
tear from their homes as many as they could get within their clutches?


We infer that the Hebrew servant was voluntary in COMMENCING his
service, because he was preeminently so IN CONTINUING it. If, at the
year of release, it was the servant's _choice_ to remain with his
master, the law required his ear to be bored by the judges of the land,
thus making it impossible for him to be held against his will. Yea more,
his master was _compelled_ to keep him, however much he might wish to
get rid of him.


The Israelites were commanded to offer them a suitable inducement, and
then leave them to decide. They might neither seize them by _force_, nor
frighten them by _threats_, nor wheedle them by false pretences, nor
_borrow_ them, nor _beg_ them; but they were commanded to BUY
them[A]--that is, they were to recognize the _right_ of the individuals
to _dispose_ of their own services, and their right to _refuse all
offers_, and thus oblige those who made them, _to do their own work_.
Suppose all, with one accord, had _refused_ to become servants, what
provision did the Mosaic law make for such an emergency? NONE.

[Footnote A: The case of thieves, whose services were sold until they
had earned enough to make restitution to the person wronged, and to pay
the legal penalty, _stands by itself_, and has nothing to do with the
condition of servants.]

X. INCIDENTAL CORROBORATIVES. Various incidental expressions corroborate
the idea that servants became such by their own contract. Job. xli. 4,
is an illustration, "Will he (Leviathan) make a COVENANT with thee? wilt
thou take him for a SERVANT forever?" Isa. xiv. 1, 2 is also an
illustration. "The strangers shall be joined with them (the Israelites)
and _they shall_ CLEAVE to the house of Jacob, and the house of Israel
shall possess them in the land of the Lord, for servants and handmaids."

The transaction which made the Egyptians the SERVANTS OF PHARAOH was
voluntary throughout. See Gen. xlvii. 18-26. Of their own accord they
came to Joseph and said, "There is not aught left but our _bodies_ and
our lands; _buy_ us;" then in the 25th verse, "We will be Pharaoh's
servants." To these it may be added, that the sacrifices and offerings
which ALL were required to present, were to be made VOLUNTARILY. Lev. i.
2. 3.

The pertinence and point of our Lord's declaration in Luke xvi. 13, is
destroyed on the supposition that servants did not become such by _their
own choice_. "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate
the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise
the other." Let it be kept in mind, that our Lord was a _Jew_. The lost
sheep of the house of Israel were his flock. Wherever he went, they were
around him: whenever he spake, they were his auditors. His public
preaching and his private teaching and conversation, were full of
references to their own institutions, laws and usages, and of
illustrations drawn from them. In the verse quoted, he illustrates the
impossibility of their making choice of God as their portion, and
becoming his servants, while they chose the world, and were _its_
servants. To make this clear, he refers to one of their own
institutions, that of _domestic service_, with which, in all its
relations, incidents and usages, they were perfectly familiar. He
reminds them of the well-known impossibility of any person being the
servant of two masters, and declares the sole ground of that
impossibility to be, the fact that the servant _chooses_ the service of
the one, and _spurns_ that of the other. "He shall _hold to_ the one and
_despise_ (reject) the other." As though our Lord had said, "No one can
become the servant of another, when his will revolts from his service,
and when the conditions of it tend to make him hate the man." Since the
fact that the servant _spurns_ one of two masters, makes it impossible
for him to serve _that one_, if he spurned _both_ it would make it
impossible for him to serve _either_. So, also, if the fact that an
individual did not "hold to" or choose the service of another, proves
that he could not become his servant, then the question, whether or not
he should become the servant of another was suspended on _his own will_.
Further, the phraseology of the passage shows that the _choice_ of the
servant decided the question. "He will HOLD TO the one,"--hence there is
no difficulty in the way of his serving _him_; but "no servant can
serve" a master whom he does not "_hold to_," or _cleave_ to, whose
service he does not _choose_. This is the sole ground of the
impossibility asserted by our Lord.

The last clause of the verse furnishes an application of the principle
asserted in the former part, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Now in
what does the impossibility of serving both God and the world consist?
Solely in the fact that the will which chooses the one refuses the
other, and the affections which "hold to" the one, reject the other.
Thus the question, Which of the two is to be served, is suspended alone
upon the _choice_ of the individual.

from becoming servants themselves, that they bought and held Jewish
servants. Lev. xxv. 47. Since _rich_ strangers did not become servants
to the Israelites, we infer that those who _did_, became such not
because they were _strangers_, but because they were _poor_,--not
because, on account of their being heathen, they were _compelled by
force_ to become servants, but because, on account of their _poverty_,
they _chose_ to become servants to better their condition.

XII. INSTANCES OF VOLUNTARY SERVANTS. Mention is often made of persons
becoming servants who were manifestly VOLUNTARY. As the Prophet Elisha.
1 Kings xix. 21; 2 Kings iii. 11. Elijah was his _master_. 2 Kings ii.
5. The word translated master, is the same that is so rendered in almost
every instance where masters are spoken of under the Mosaic and
patriarchal systems. Moses was the servant of Jethro. Ex. iii. 1; iv.
10. Joshua was the servant of Moses. Ex. xxxiii. 11. Num. xi. 28. Jacob
was the servant of Laban. Gen. xxix. 18-27. See also the case of the
Gibeonites who _voluntarily_ became servants to the Israelites and
afterwards performed service for the "house of God" throughout the
subsequent Jewish history, were incorporate with the Israelites,
registered in the genealogies, and manifestly of their own accord
remained with them, and "_clave_" to them. Neh. x. 28, 29; xi. 3; Ez.
vii. 7.

Finally, in all the regulations respecting servants and their service,
no form of expression is employed from which it could be inferred, that
servants were made such, and held in that condition by force. Add to
this the entire absence of all the machinery, appurtenances and
incidents of _compulsion_.

Voluntary service on the part of servants would have been in keeping
with regulations which abounded in the Mosaic system and sustained by a
multitude of analogies. Compulsory service on the other hand, could have
harmonized with nothing, and would have been the solitary disturbing
force, marring its design, counteracting its tendencies, and confusing
and falsifying its types. The directions given to regulate the
performance of service for the _public_, lay great stress on the
_willingness_ of those employed to perform it. For the spirit and usages
that obtained under the Mosaic system in this respect, see 1 Chron.
xxviii. 21; Ex. xxxv. 5, 21, 22, 29; 1 Chron. xxix. 5, 6, 9, 14, 17; Ex.
xxv. 2; Judges v. 2; Lev. xxii. 29; 2 Chron. xxxv. 8; Ezra i. 6; Ex.
xxxv; Neh. xi. 2.[A]

[Footnote A: We should naturally infer that the directions which
regulated the rendering of service to individuals, would proceed upon
the same principle in this respect with those which regulated the
rendering of service to the _public_. Otherwise the Mosaic system,
instead of constituting in its different parts a harmonious _whole_,
would be divided against itself; its principles counteracting and
nullifying each other.]

Again, the voluntariness of servants is a natural inference from the
fact that the Hebrew word _ebedh,_ uniformly rendered _servant_, is
applied to a great variety of classes and descriptions of persons under
the patriarchal and Jewish dispensations, _all of whom_ were voluntary
and most of them eminently so. For instance, it is applied to persons
rendering acts of _worship_ about seventy times, whereas it is applied
to _servants_ not more than half that number of times.

To this we may add, that the illustrations drawn from the condition and
service of _servants_ and the ideas which the term servant is employed
to convey when applied figuratively to moral subjects would, in most
instances, lose all their force, and often become absurdities if the
will of the servant _resisted_ his service, and he performed it only by
_compulsion_. Many passages will at once occur to those who are familiar
with the Bible. We give a single example. "_To whom YE YIELD YOURSELVES
servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey._" Rom. vi. 16. It
would hardly be possible to assert the voluntariness of servants more
strongly in a direct proposition than it is here asserted by


As the servants became and continued such of _their own accord_, it
would be no small marvel if they _chose_ to work without pay. Their
becoming servants, pre-supposes _compensation_ as a motive. That they
_were paid_ for their labor, we argue.

that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong;
HIS WORK." Jer. xxii. 13. The Hebrew word _rea_, translated _neighbor_,
means any one with whom we have to do--all descriptions of persons, even
those who prosecute us in lawsuits, and enemies while in the act of
fighting us--"As when a man riseth against his NEIGHBOR and slayeth
him." Deut. xxii. 26. "Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know
not what to do in the end thereof, when thy NEIGHBOR hath put thee to
shame." Prov. xxv. 8. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy
NEIGHBOR." Ex. xx. 16. "If a man come presumptuously upon his NEIGHBOR
to slay him with guile." Ex. xxi. 14, &c. The doctrine plainly
inculcated in this passage is, that every man's labor, or "service,"
being his own property, he is entitled to the profit of it, and that for
another to "use" it without paying him the value of it, is
"unrighteousness." The last clause of the verse "and giveth him not for
his work," reaffirms the same principle, that every man is to be _paid_
for "his work." In the context, the prophet contrasts the
unrighteousness of those who used the labor of others without pay, with
the justice and equity practiced by their patriarchal ancestor toward
the poor. "Did not thy father eat and drink and _do judgment and
justice_, and then it was well with him. He _judged the cause of the
poor and needy_; then it was well with him. But thine eyes and thine
heart are not but for thy _covetousness_, and for to shed innocent
blood, and for _oppression_, and for violence to do it." Jer. xxii. 15,
16. 17.[A]

[Footnote A: Paul lays down the same principle in the form of a precept
"Masters give unto your servants that which is JUST and EQUAL." Col. iv.
1. Thus not only asserting the _right_ of the servant to an equivalent
for his labor, and the duty of the master to render it, but condemning
all those relations between master and servant which were not founded
upon justice and equality of rights. The apostle James enforces the same
principle. "Behold, the hire of the laborers, who have reaped down your
fields, which is of you kept back _by fraud_, crieth." James v. 4. As
though he had said, "wages are the _right_ of laborers; those who work
for you have a just claim on you for _pay_; this you refuse to render,
and thus _defraud_ them by keeping from them what _belongs_ to them."
See also Mal. iii 5.]

THYSELF." Our Savior, in giving this command, quoted _verbatim_ one of
the laws of the Mosaic system. Lev. xix. 18. In the 34th verse of the
same chapter, Moses applies this law to the treatment of strangers, "The
stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you,
and THOU SHALT LOVE HIM AS THYSELF." If it be loving others as
ourselves, to make them work for us without pay; to rob them of food and
clothing also, would be a stronger illustration still of the law of
love! _Super_-disinterested benevolence! And if it be doing unto others
as we would have them do to us, to make them work for _our own_ good
alone, Paul should be called to order for his hard sayings against human
nature, especially for that libellous matter in Eph. v. 29, "No man ever
yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it and cherisheth it."

III. SERVANTS WERE OFTEN WEALTHY. As persons became servants FROM
POVERTY, we argue that they were compensated, since they frequently
owned property, and sometimes a large amount. Ziba, the servant of
Mephibosheth, gave David "Two hundred loaves of bread, and a hundred
bunches of raisins, and a hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of
wine." 2 Sam. xvi. 1. The extent of his possessions can be inferred from
the fact, that though the father of fifteen sons, he had twenty
servants. In Lev. xxv. 47-49, where a servant, reduced to poverty, sold
himself, it is declared that he may be _redeemed,_ either by his
kindred, or by HIMSELF. Having been forced to sell himself from poverty,
he must have acquired considerable property _after_ he became a servant.
If it had not been common for servants to acquire property over which
they had the control, the servant of Elisha would hardly have ventured
to take a large sum of money, (nearly $3000[A]) from Naaman, 2 Kings v.
22, 23. As it was procured by deceit, he wished to conceal the means
used in getting it; but if servants could "own nothing, nor acquire
anything," to embark in such an enterprise would have been consummate
stupidity. The fact of having in his possession two talents of silver,
would of itself convict him of theft.[B] But since it was common for
servants to own property, he might have it, and invest or use it,
without attracting special attention, and that consideration alone would
have been a strong motive to the act. His master, though he rebuked him
for using such means to get the money, not only does not take it from
him, but seems to expect that he would invest it in real estate, and
cattle, and would procure servants with it. 2 Kings v. 26. We find the
servant of Saul having money, and relieving his master in an emergency.
1 Sam. ix. 8. Arza, the servant of Elah, was the _owner of a house_.
That it was somewhat magnificent, would be a natural inference from its
being a resort of the king. 1 Kings xvi. 9. When Jacob became the
servant of Laban, it was evidently from poverty, yet Laban said to him,
Tell me "what shall thy _wages_ be?" After Jacob had been his servant
for ten years, he proposed to set up for himself, but Laban said
"Appoint me thy wages and I will give it," and he paid him his price.
During the twenty years that Jacob was a servant, he always worked for
wages and at his own price. Gen. xxix. 15, 18; xxx. 28-33. The case of
the Gibeonites, who, after becoming servants, still occupied their
cities, and remained in many respects, a distinct people for
centuries;[C] and that of the 150,000 Canaanites, the _servants_ of
Solomon, who worked out their "tribute of bond-service" in levies,
periodically relieving each other, are additional illustrations of
independence in the acquisition and ownership of property.

[Footnote A: Though we have not sufficient data to decide upon the
_relative_ value of that sum, _then_ and now, yet we have enough to
warrant us in saying that two talents of silver, had far more value
_then_ than three thousand dollars have _now_.]

[Footnote B: Whoever heard of the slaves in our southern states stealing
a large amount of money? They _"know how to take care of themselves"_
quite too well for that. When they steal, they are careful to do it on
such a small scale, or in the taking of _such things_ as will make
detection difficult. No doubt they steal now and then, and a gaping
marvel would it be if they did not. Why should they not follow in the
footsteps of their masters and mistresses? Dull scholars indeed! if,
after so many lessons from _proficients_ in the art, who drive the
business by _wholesale_, they should not occasionally copy their
betters, fall into the _fashion_, and try their hand in a small way, at
a practice which is the _only permanent and universal_ business carried
on around them! Ignoble truly! never to feel the stirrings of high
impulse, prompting to imitate the eminent pattern set before them in the
daily vocation of "Honorables" and "Excellencies," and to emulate the
illustrious examples of Doctors of Divinity, and _Right_ and _Very
Reverends!_ Hear President Jefferson's testimony. In his Notes on
Virginia, pp. 207-8, speaking of slaves, he says, "That disposition to
theft with which they have been branded, must be ascribed to their
_situation_, and not to any special depravity of the moral sense. It is
a problem which I give the master to solve, whether the religious
precepts against the violation of property were not framed for HIM as
well as for his slave--and whether the slave may not as justifiably take
a _little_ from one who has taken ALL from him, as he may _slay_ one who
would slay him?"]

[Footnote C: The Nethinims, which name was afterwards given to the
Gibeonites on account of their being _set apart_ for the service of the
tabernacle, had their own houses and cities and "dwelt every one in his
own possession." Neh. xi. 3. 21; Ezra ii. 70; 1 Chron. ix. 2.]

Again. The Israelites often _hired_ servants from the strangers. Deut.
xxiv. 17.

Since then it is certain that they gave wages to a part of their
Canaanitish servants, thus recognizing their _right_ to a reward for
their labor, we infer that they did not rob the rest of their earnings.

If God gave them a license to make the strangers work for them without
pay--if this was good and acceptable in His sight, and _right and just
in itself_, they must have been great fools to have wasted their money
by paying wages when they could have saved it, by making the strangers
do all their work for nothing! Besides, by refusing to avail themselves
of this "Divine license," they despised the blessing and cast contempt
on the giver! But far be it from us to do the Israelites injustice;
perhaps they seized all the Canaanites they could lay their hands on,
and forced them to work without pay, but not being able to catch enough
to do their work, were obliged to offer wages in order to eke out the

The parable of our Lord, contained in Mat. xviii. 23-34, not only
derives its significance from the fact, that servants can both _own_ and
_owe_ and _earn_ property, over which they had the control, but would be
made a medley of contradictions on any other supposition.--1. Their lord
at a set time proceeded to "take account" and "reckon" with his
servants; the phraseology itself showing that the relations between the
parties, were those of debt and credit. 2. As the reckoning went on, one
of his servants was found to _owe_ him ten thousand talents. From the
fact that the servant _owed_ this to his master, we naturally infer,
that he must have been at some time, and in some way, the responsible
_owner_ of that amount, or of its substantial equivalent. Not that he
had had that amount put into his hands to invest, or disburse, in his
master's name, merely as his _agent_, for in that case no claim of
_debt_ for value received would lie, but, that having sustained the
responsibilities of legal _proprietorship_, he was under the liabilities
resulting therefrom. 3. Not having on hand wherewith to pay, he says to
his master "have patience with me _and I will pay thee all_." If the
servant had been his master's _property_, his time and earnings belonged
to the master as a matter of course, hence the promise to earn and pay
over that amount, was virtually saying to his master, "I will take money
out of your pocket with which to pay my debt to you," thus adding insult
to injury. The promise of the servant to pay the debt on condition that
the time for payment should be postponed, not only proceeds upon the
fact that his time was his own, that he was constantly earning property
or in circumstances that enabled him to earn it, and that he was the
_proprietor_ of his earnings, but that his master had _full knowledge_
of that fact.--In a word, the supposition that the master was the
_owner_ of the servant, would annihilate all legal claim upon him for
value received, and that the servant was the _property_ of the master,
would absolve him from all obligations of debt, or rather would always
_forestall_ such obligations--for the relations of owner and creditor in
such case, would annihilate each other, as would those of _property_ and
_debtor_. The fact that the same servant was the creditor of one of his
fellow servants, who owed him a considerable sum, and that at last he
was imprisoned until he should pay all that was due to his master, are
additional corroborations of the same point.

IV. HEIRSHIP.--Servants frequently inherited their master's property;
especially if he had no sons, or if they had dishonored the family.
Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, Gen. xv. 23; Ziba, the servant of
Mephibosheth; Jarha, the servant of Sheshan, who married his daughter,
and thus became his heir, he having no sons, and the _husbandmen_ who
said of their master's son, "this is the HEIR, let us kill him, and the
INHERITANCE WILL BE OURS," are illustrations; also Prov. xxx. 23, an
_handmaid_ (or _maid-servant_,) that is _heir_ to her mistress; also
Prov. xvii. 2--"A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth
passage gives servants precedence as heirs, even over the wives and
daughters of their masters. Did masters hold by force, and plunder of
earnings, a class of persons, from which, in frequent contingencies,
they selected both heirs for their property, and husbands for their

17; 2 Chron. xv. 9-11; Numb. ix. 13, 14. Beside this, "every man" from
twenty years old and above, was required to pay a tax of half a shekel
at the taking of the census; this is called "an offering unto the Lord
to make an atonement for their souls." Ex. xxx. 12-16. See also Ex.
xxxiv. 20. Servants must have had permanently the means of _acquiring_
property to meet these expenditures.

LIBERALLY." Deut. xv. 10-14. "Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of
thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy wine press, of that
wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee, thou shalt give him."[A]
If it be said that the servants from the Strangers did not receive a
like bountiful supply, we answer, neither did the most honorable class
of _Israelitish_ servants, the free-holders; and for the same reason,
_they did not go out in the seventh year,_ but continued until the
jubilee. If the fact that the Gentile servants did not receive such a
_gratuity_ proves that they were robbed of their _earnings_, it proves
that the most valued class of _Hebrew_ servants were robbed of theirs
also; a conclusion too stubborn for even pro-slavery masticators,
however unscrupulous.

[Footnote A: The comment of Maimonides on this passage is as
follows--"'Thou shalt furnish him liberally,' &c. That is to say,
_'Loading, ye shall load him,'_ likewise every one of his family with as
much as he can take with him--abundant benefits. And if it be
avariciously asked, 'How much must I give him?' I say unto _you, not
less than thirty shekels,_ which is the valuation of a servant, as
declared in Ex. xxi. 32."--Maimonides, Hilcoth Obedim, Chap. ii. Sec.

VII. SERVANTS WERE BOUGHT. In other words, they received compensation in
advance.[A] Having shown, under a previous head, that servants _sold
themselves_, and of course received the compensation for themselves,
except in cases where parents hired out the time of their children till
they became of age,[B] a mere reference to the fact is all that is
required for the purposes of this argument. As all the strangers in the
land were required to pay an annual tribute to the government, the
Israelites might often "buy" them as family servants, by stipulating
with them to pay their annual tribute. This assumption of their
obligations to the government might cover the whole of the servant's
time of service, or a part of it, at the pleasure of the parties.

[Footnote A: But, says the objector, if servants received their pay in
advance, and if the Israelites were forbidden to surrender the fugitive
to his master, it would operate practically as a bounty offered to all
servants who would leave their master's service encouraging them to make
contracts, get their pay in advance and then run away, thus cheating
their masters out of their money as well as their own services.--We
answer, the prohibition, Deut xxiii. 15. 16, "Thou shalt not deliver
unto his master," &c., sets the servant free from his _authority_ and of
course, from all those liabilities of injury, to which _as his servant_,
he was subjected, but not from the obligation of legal contracts. If the
servant had received pay in advance, and had not rendered an equivalent
for this "value received," he was not absolved from his obligation to do
so, but he was absolved from all obligations to pay his master in _that
particular way_, that is, _by working for him as his servant_.]

[Footnote B: Among the Israelites, girls became of age at twelve, and
boys at thirteen years.]

27. "And if he smite out his man-servant's, or his maid-servant's tooth,
he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake." This regulation is
manifestly based upon the _right_ of the servant to the _use_ of himself
and all this powers, faculties and personal conveniences, and
consequently his just claim for remuneration, upon him, who should
however _unintentionally_, deprive him of the use even of the least of
them. If the servant had a right to his _tooth_ and the use _of_ it,
upon the same principle, he had a right to the rest of his body and the
use of it. If he had a right to the _fraction_, and if it was his to
hold, to use, and to have pay for; he had a right to the _sum total_,
and it was his to hold, to use, and to have pay for.

wages of servants would enable them to set up in business for
themselves. Jacob, after being Laban's servant for twenty-one years,
became thus an independent herdsman, and had many servants. Gen. xxx.
43; xxxii. 16. But all these servants had left him before he went down
into Egypt, having doubtless acquired enough to commence business for
themselves. Gen. xlv. 10, 11; xlvi. 1-7, 32. The case of Ziba, the
servant of Mephibosheth, who had twenty servants, has been already

know him that he will command his children and his household after him,
here testifies that Abraham taught his servants "the way of the Lord."
What was the "way of the Lord" respecting the payment of wages where
service was rendered? "Wo unto him that useth this neighbor's service
WITHOUT WAGES!" Jer. xxii. 13. "Masters, give unto your servants that
which is JUST AND EQUAL." Col. iv. 1. "Render unto all their DUES." Rom.
xiii. 7. "The laborer is WORTHY of HIS HIRE." Luke x. 7. How did Abraham
teach his servants to "_do justice_" to others? By doing injustice to
_them_? Did he exhort them to "render to all their dues" by keeping back
_their own_? Did he teach them that "the laborer was worthy of his hire"
by robbing them of _theirs_? Did he beget in them a reverence for
honesty by pilfering all their time and labor? Did he teach them "not to
defraud" others "in any matter" by denying _them_ "what was just and
equal?" If each of Abraham's pupils under such a catechism did not
become a very _Aristides_ in justice, then illustrious examples,
patriarchal dignity, and _practical_ lessons, can make but slow headway
against human perverseness!

Out of many, we select the following: (1.) "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox
when he treadeth out the corn." Deut. xxv. 4. Here is a general
principle applied to a familiar case. The ox representing all domestic
animals. Isa. xxx. 24. A _particular_ kind of service, _all_ kinds; and
a law requiring an abundant provision for the wants of an animal
ministering to man in a _certain_ way,--a general principle of treatment
covering all times, modes, and instrumentalities of service. The object
of the law was; not merely to enjoin tenderness towards brutes, but to
inculcate the duty of rewarding those who serve us; and if such care be
enjoined, by God, both for the ample sustenance and present enjoyment of
_a brute_, what would be a meet return for the services of _man?_--MAN
with his varied wants, exalted nature and immortal destiny! Paul says
expressly, that this principle lies at the bottom of the statute. 1 Cor.
ix. 9, 10, "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle
the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for
oxen? Or saith he it altogether for OUR sakes? that he that ploweth
should plow in HOPE, and that he that thresheth in hope should be
PARTAKER OF HIS HOPE." In the context, Paul innumerates the four grand
divisions of labor among the Jews in illustration of the principle that
the laborer, whatever may be the service he performs, is entitled to a
_reward_. The priests, Levites and all engaged in sacred things--the
military, those who tended flocks and herds, and those who cultivated
the soil. As the latter employment engaged the great body of the
Israelites, the Apostle amplifies his illustration under that head by
much detail--and enumerates the five great departments of agricultural
labor among the Jews--vine-dressing, plowing, sowing, reaping and
threshing, as the representatives of universal labor. In his epistle to
Timothy. 1 Tim. v. 18. Paul quotes again this precept of the Mosaic law,
and connects with it the declaration of our Lord. Luke x. 7. "The
laborer is worthy of his hire,"--as both inculcating the _same_
doctrine, that he who labors, whatever the employment, or whoever the
laborer, is entitled to a reward. The Apostle thus declares the
principle of right respecting the performance of service for others, and
the rule of duty towards those who perform it, to be the same under both
dispensations. (2.) "If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay
with thee, then thou shalt relieve him, YEA THOUGH HE BE A STRANGER or a
SOJOURNER that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or
increase, but fear thy God. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon
usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase." Lev. xxv. 35-37. Now, we
ask, by what process of pro-slavery legerdemain, this regulation can be
made to harmonize with the doctrine of WORK WITHOUT PAY? Did God declare
the poor stranger entitled to RELIEF, and in the same breath, authorize
them to "use his service without wages;" force him to work and ROB HIM


This topic has been unavoidably somewhat anticipated, in the foregoing
discussion, but a variety of additional considerations remain to be

CONTINGENCIES OF PROPERTY. 1 _They were never taken in payment for their
masters' debts_. Children were sometimes taken (without legal authority)
for the debts of a father. 2 Kings iv. 1; Job xxiv. 9; Isa. l. 1; Matt.
xviii. 25. Creditors took from debtors property of all kinds, to satisfy
their demands. Job xxiv. 3, cattle are taken; Prov. xxii. 27, household
furniture; Lev. xxv. 25-28, the productions of the soil; Lev. xxv.
27-30, houses; Ex. xxii. 26, 27; Deut. xxiv. 10-13; Matt. v. 40,
clothing; but _servants_ were taken in _no instance_. 2. _Servants were
never given as pledges_. _Property_ of all sorts was pledged for value
received; household furniture, clothing, cattle, money, signets,
personal ornaments, &c., but no servants. 3. _Servants were not put into
the hands of others, or consigned to their keeping_. The precept giving
directions how to proceed in a case where property that has life is
delivered to another "to keep," and "it die or be hurt or driven away,"
enumerates oxen, asses, sheep or "any _beast_," but not "_servants_."
Ex. xxii. 10. 4. _All lost property was to be restored_. Oxen, asses,
sheep, raiment, and "all lost things," are specified--servants _not_.
Deut. xxii 1-3. Besides, the Israelites were forbidden to return the
runaway servant. Deut. xxiii, 15. 5. _Servants were not sold_. When by
flagrant misconduct, unfaithfulness or from whatever cause, they had
justly forfeited their privilege of membership in an Israelitish family,
they were not sold, but _expelled_ from the household. Luke xvi. 2-4; 2
Kings v. 20, 27; Gen. xxi. 14. 6 _The Israelites never received servants
as tribute_. At different times all the nations round about them were
their tributaries and paid them annually large amounts. They received
property of all kinds in payment of tribute. Gold, silver, brass, iron,
precious stone, and vessels, armor, spices, raiment, harness, horses,
mules, sheep, goats, &c., are in various places enumerated, but
_servants_, never. 7. _The Israelites never gave away their servants as
presents_. They made costly presents, of great variety. Lands, houses,
all kinds of domestic animals, beds, merchandize, family utensils,
precious metals, grain, honey, butter, cheese, fruits, oil, wine,
raiment, armor, &c., are among their recorded _gifts_. Giving presents
to superiors and persons of rank, was a standing usage. 1 Sam. x. 27;
xvi. 20; 2 Chron. xvii. 5. Abraham to Abimelech, Gen. xxi. 27; Jacob to
the viceroy of Egypt, Gen. xliii. 11; Joseph to his brethren and father,
Gen. xlv. 22, 23; Benhadad to Elisha, 2 Kings viii. 8, 9; Ahaz to
Tiglath Pilezer, 2 Kings vi. 8; Solomon to the Queen of Sheba, 1 Kings
x. 13; Jeroboam to Ahijah, 1 Kings xiv. 3; Asa to Benhadad, 1 Kings xv.
18, 19. Abigail the wife of Nabal to David, 1 Sam. xxv. 18. David to the
elders of Judah, 1 Sam. xxx. 26. Jehoshaphat to his sons, 2. Chron. xxi.
3. The Israelites to David, 1. Chron. xii. 39, 40. Shobi Machir and
Barzillai to David, 2 Sam. xvii. 28, 29. But no servants were given as
presents, though it was a prevailing fashion in the surrounding nations.
Gen. xii. 16, xx. 14. In the last passage we are told that Abimelech
king of the Philistines "took sheep and oxen and men servants and women
servants and gave them unto Abraham." Not long after this Abraham made
Abimelech a present, the same kind with that which he had received from
him except that he gave him _no servants_. "And Abraham took sheep and
oxen and gave them unto Abimelech." Gen. xxi. 27. It may be objected
that Laban "GAVE" handmaids to his daughters, Jacob's wives. Without
enlarging on the nature of the polygamy then prevalent, suffice it to
say that the handmaids of wives were regarded as wives, though of
inferior dignity and authority. That Jacob so regarded his handmaids, is
proved by his curse upon Reuben, Gen. xlix. 4, and 1 Chron. v. 1; also
by the equality of their children with those of Rachel and Leah. But had
it been otherwise--had Laban given them as _articles of property_, then,
indeed, the example of this "good old slaveholder and patriarch," Saint
Laban, would have been a forecloser to all argument. Ah! we remember his
jealousy for _religion_--his holy indignation when he found that his
"GODS" were stolen! How he mustered his clan, and plunged over the
desert in hot pursuit seven days by forced marches; how he ransacked a
whole caravan, sifting the contents of every tent, little heeding such
small matters as domestic privacy, or female seclusion, for lo! the zeal
of his "IMAGES" had eaten him up! No wonder that slavery, in its
Bible-navigation, drifting dismantled before the free gusts, should scud
under the lee of such a pious worthy to haul up and refit; invoking his
protection, and the benediction, of his "GODS!" Again, it may be
objected that, servants were enumerated in inventories of property. If
that proves _servants_ property, it proves _wives_ property. "Thou shall
not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shall not covet thy neighbor's
WIFE, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his
ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's." Ex. xx. 17. In inventories
of mere property, if servants are included, it is in such a way as to
show that they are not regarded as property. Eccl. ii. 7, 8. But when
the design is to show, not merely the wealth, but the _greatness_ and
_power_ of any one, servants are spoken of, as well as property. In a
word, if _riches_ alone are spoken of, no mention is made of servants;
if _greatness_, servants and property. Gen. xiii. 2, 5. "And Abraham was
very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold." Yet we are told, in the
verse preceding, that he came up out of Egypt "with _all_ that he had."
"And Lot also had flocks, and herds, and tents." In the seventh verse
servants are mentioned, "And there was a strife between the HERDMEN of
Abraham's cattle and the HERDMEN of Lot's cattle." It is said of Isaac.
"And the man waxed _great_, and went forward, and grew until he became
_very great_. For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds,
and _great store of servants_." In immediate connection with this we
find Abimelech the king of the Philistines saying to him. "Thou art much
_mightier_ than we." Shortly after this avowal, Isaac is waited upon by
a deputation consisting of Abimelech, Phicol the chief captain of his
army, and Ahuzzath, who says to him "Let there be now an oath betwixt us
and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee, that thou wilt _do us no
hurt_." Gen. xxvi. 13, 14, 16, 26, 28, 29.--A plain concession of the
_power_ which Isaac had both for aggression and defence in his "great
store of _servants_;" that is, of willing and affectionate adherents to
him as a just and benevolent prince. When Hamor and Shechem speak to the
Hivites of the _riches_ of Abraham and his sons, they say, "Shall not
their _cattle_ and their _substance_ and _every beast of theirs_ be
ours?" Gen. xxxiv. 23. See also Josh. xxii. 8; Gen. xxxiv. 23; Job.
xlii. 12; 2 Chron. xxi. 3; xxxii. 27-29; Job. i. 3-5; Deut. viii. 12-17;
Gen. xxiv. 35; xxvi. 13; xxx. 43. Jacob's wives say to him, "All the
_riches_ which God has taken from our father that is ours and our
children's." Then follows an inventory of property--"All his cattle,"
"all his goods," "the cattle of his getting." His numerous servants are
not included with his property. Comp. Gen. xxx. 43, with Gen. xxxi.
16-18. When Jacob sent messengers to Esau, wishing to impress him with
an idea of his state and sway, he bade them tell him not only of his
RICHES, but of his GREATNESS; that he had "oxen, and asses, and flocks,
and men-servants, and maid-servants." Gen. xxxii. 4, 5. Yet in the
present which he sent, there were no servants; though he manifestly
selected the _most valuable_ kinds of property. Gen. xxxii. 14, 15; see
also Gen. xxxvi. 6, 7; xxxiv. 23. As flocks and herds were the staples
of wealth, a large number of servants presupposed large possessions of
cattle, which would require many herdsmen. When Jacob and his sons went
down into Egypt it is repeatedly asserted that they took _all that they
had_. "Their cattle and their goods which they had gotten in the land of
Canaan," "Their flocks and their herds" are mentioned, but no
_servants_. And as we have besides a full catalogue of the _household_,
we know that he took with him no servants. That Jacob _had_ many
servants before his migration into Egypt, we learn from Gen, xxx. 43;
xxxii. 5, 16, 19. That he was not the _proprietor_ of these servants as
his property is a probable inference from the fact that he did not take
them with him, since we are expressly told that he did take all his
_property_. Gen. xlv. 10; xlvi. 1, 32; xlvii. 1. When servants are
spoken of in connection with _mere property_, the terms used to express
the latter do not include the former. The Hebrew word _mikne_, is an
illustration. It is derived from _kana_, to procure, to buy, and its
meaning is, a _possession, wealth, riches_. It occurs more than forty
times in the Old Testament, and is applied always to _mere property_,
generally to domestic animals, but never to servants. In some instances,
servants are mentioned in distinction from the _mikne_. "And Abraham
took Sarah his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their SUBSTANCE
that they had gathered; and the souls that they had gotten in Haran, and
they went forth to go into the land of Canaan." Gen. xii. 5. Many will
have it, that these _souls_ were a part of Abraham's _substance_
(notwithstanding the pains here taken to separate them from it)--that
they were slaves taken with him in his migration as a part of his family
effects. Who but slaveholders, either actually or in heart, would
torture into the principle and practice of slavery, such a harmless
phrase as "_the souls that they had gotten?_" Until the African slave
trade breathed its haze into the eyes of the church and smote her with
palsy and decay, commentators saw no slavery in, "The souls that they
had gotten." In the Targum of Onkelos[A] it is rendered, "The souls whom
they had brought to obey the law in Haran." In the Targum of Jonathan,
"The souls whom they had made proselytes in Haran." In the Targum of
Jerusalem, "The souls proselyted in Haran." Jarchi, the prince of Jewish
commentators, "The souls whom they had brought under the Divine wings."
Jerome, one of the most learned of the Christian fathers, "The persons
whom they had proselyted." The Persian version, the Vulgate, the Syriac,
the Arabic, and the Samaritan all render it, "All the wealth which they
had gathered, and the souls which they had made in Haran." Menochius, a
commentator who wrote before our present translation of the Bible,
renders it, "Quas de idolatraria converterant." "Those whom they had
converted from idolatry." Paulus Fagius,[B] "Quas instituerant in
religione." "Those whom they had established in religion." Luke Francke,
a German commentator who lived two centuries ago, "Quas legi
subjicerant."--"Those whom they had brought to obey the law." The same
distinction is made between _persons_ and property, in the enumeration
of Esau's household and the inventory of his effects. "And Esau took his
wives and his sons and his daughters, and all the _persons_ of his
house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his _substance_ which
he had got in the land of Canaan, and went into the country from the
face of his brother Jacob. For their _riches_ were more than that they
might dwell together; and the land could not bear them because of their
_cattle_." Gen. xxxvi. 6, 7.

[Footnote A: The Targums are Chaldee paraphrases of parts of the Old
Testament. The Targum of Onkelos is, for the most part, a very accurate
and faithful translation of the original, and was probably made at about
the commencement of the Christian era. The Targum of Jonathan Ben
Uzziel, bears about the same date. The Targum of Jerusalem was probably
about five hundred years later. The Israelites, during their captivity
in Babylon, lost, as a body, their own language. These translations into
the Chaldee, the language which they acquired in Babylon, were thus
called for by the necessity of the case.]

[Footnote B: This eminent Hebrew scholar was invited to England to
superintend the translation of the Bible into English, under the
patronage of Henry the Eighth. He had hardly commenced the work when he
died. This was nearly a century before the date of our present

THAT THEY WERE COMMODITIES, AN ABSURDITY. As the head of a Jewish family
possessed the same power over his wife, children, and grandchildren (if
they were in his family) as over his servants, if the latter were
articles of property, the former were equally such. If there were
nothing else in the Mosaic Institutes or history establishing the social
equality of the servants with their masters and their master's wives and
children, those precepts which required that they should be guests at
all the public feasts, and equal participants in the family and social
rejoicings, would be quite sufficient to settle the question. Deut. xii.
12, 18; xvi. 10, 11, 13, 14. Ex. xii. 43, 44. St. Paul's testimony in
Gal. iv. 1, shows the condition of servants: "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." That the interests of Abraham's servants were
identified with those of their master's family, and that the utmost
confidence was reposed in them, is shown in their being armed. Gen. xiv.
14, 15. When Abraham's servant went to Padanaram, the young Princess
Rebecca did not disdain to say to him. "Drink, MY LORD," as "she hasted
and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink." Laban, the
brother of Rebecca, "ungirded his camels, and brought him water to wash
his feet, and the men's feet that were with him!" In the arrangements of
Jacob's household on his journey from Padanaram to Canaan, we find his
two maid servants treated in the same manner and provided with the same
accommodations as Rachel and Leah. Each of them had a separate tent
appropriated to her use. Gen. xxxi. 33. The social equality of servants
with their masters and other members of their master's families, is an
obvious deduction from Ex. xxi. 7, 10, from which we learn that the sale
of a young Jewish female as a servant, was also _betrothed as a wife_,
either to her master, or to one of his sons. In 1 Sam. ix. is an account
of a festival in the city of Zuph, at which Samuel presided. None but
those bidden, sat down at the feast, and only "about thirty persons"
were invited. Quite a select party!--the elite of the city. Saul and his
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,

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