Sidor som bilder

Slaves among the Jews, were the Gibeonites, who were made such under the circumstances al ready mentioned. 5th: Under certain circumstances, a Hebrew Slave might become a perpetsual bond-man. It was in cases where a Hebrew servant had married and had children by a servant maid of his master's; and who, on account of his wife and children, refused to leave after the expi. ration of his term of service. In such cases “ Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; He shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door-post, and his master shall bore his car through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever." Exodus, xxi. 6.

II. Hebrew Slaves whose terms of Slavery were limited, in no case could it exceed six

years. Every seventh, which was the Sabbatical year, this class of servants were liberated. One who had been put in Slavery the first year after the Sabbatical year, would have to serve six years. One whose term of servitude commenced the sec. ond, would have to serve five years, &c. If they were sold the fifth year, they could be made to serve one year only. According to CALMET

"A Hebrew might fall into Slavery several ways: (1) If reduced to extreme poverty, he night sell himself. Ley. xxv. 39. (2) A father "might sell his children as Slaves. Exod. xxi. 7. (3) Insolvent debtors might be delivered to their creditors as Slaves. 2 Kings, iv. 1. (4) Thieves not able to make restitution for their thefts, or the value, were sold for the benefit of the sufferers. Exod. xxii. 3. (5) They might be taken prisoners in war. (6) They might be stolen, and afterwards sold for Slaves, as Joseph was sold by his brethren. (7) A Hebrew Slave redeemed írom a Gentile by one of his brethren, might be sold by him to another Israelite."-[Robinson's Calmet Anti-Slavery.

The Hebrew Master had the same right to his Slave, that he had to his lands, his houses, his horses, or to any other species of property: consequently, he could buy, sell, or bequeath his Slaves, or dispose of them in any way that he could any other kind of property. The following passages of Scripture clearly sustain this position:

“If a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his money.

Exod. xx, 20-21. In this passage, the right of property is clearly recognized, connected of course with all the rights belonging to the right of property. The right to dispose of Slaves is clearly implied in the following passage:

66 Thou shalt not make merchandise of her, be.cause thou hast humbled her.” Dieut. xxi. 14.. But the following passage is still more explicit ::

“And if a man sell his daughter to be a maid. servant, she shall not go out as the men-servants: do,” &c. Exod. xxi. 7. It appears likewise from the above


that a Hebrew had not only the right to sell and buy: Slaves, but to punish them, if necessary, in the exercise of his authority. Even if the punishment should result in the death of the Slave, the Master is not punished in the event that the Slave should survive the punishment a few days; and the reason for this exemption is, that the Slave is his master's " money."

Laws were specially enacted to secure the Master in the right of his Slave. In Exod. xx. 17, it is said, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house: thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife: nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant,” &c. In the same chapter, verse 16, it is said : he that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely: be put to death."

The opponents of Slavery have endeavored to use this passage against the right to hold. Slaves, but they have certainly taken a false view of its

6 And

design. No institution, clearly sanctioned by Di. rine authority, contains within itself the principles of its own destruction. Slavery is clearly es. tablished in the Old Testament—it met the Di. vine sanction we cannot, therefore, suppose

that it is wrong, or that it contains principles which would have led to its destruction. The passage

under consideration was evidently designed to protect the Master in his right to this species of property. It was similar to the laws of the Southern States, which denounce a heavy punishment on those who entice away Slaves froin their rightful owners.

The benefits of Slavery among the Jews may be enumerated as follows: The Slave, the Mu ter, the Country, and the World, were all benefited by this institution.

I. THE SLAVE.-Of all the parties concerned, the Slave probably received the most important benefits:

1st. He was benefited in a moral and religious point of view. As before shown, most of the perpetual bond-men among the Jews were purchased of the Heathen nations round about; and of the moral and religious condition of these, we have a striking picture drawn in Leviticus, chap. ters xviii. and xx. These people were guilty of every species of wickedness which the mind can conceive. From idolatry to the lowest and most fil. thy crimes, they indulged without restraint. From this state of moral pollution, without a ray of light to guide their footsteps, they were transferred to the ownership of God's chosen people, under the immediate direction and control of Jehovah himself. From the ownership of Masters ignorant, degraded, and utterly blind in a moral sense, they were placed under the guidance of Masters whose minds and hearts were enlightened and mellowed by true religion, and who walked daily in accordance with the statutes of Heaven.

Slaves among the Jews were admitted to all the rights and privileges of the Jewish Church. Slaves were admitted to the right of circumcision : when it was first instituted. See Gen. xvii. 13, which has already been quoted. In a word, they were admitted to all the privileges of the Church as any other individuals. Hence it is manifest, that the perpetual Slave among the Jews was greatly benefited, in a moral and religions point of view.

2d. He was benefited politically, as well as morally and religiously. Political and domestic Slavery, the most abject, existed among the Heathen tribes round about Canaan. Being uncontrolled

« FöregåendeFortsätt »