Page:Appeal to the Christian women of the South (Grimké, 1836).djvu/9

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said "his mercies are over all his works." I will first speak of those which secured the rights of Hebrew servants. This code was headed thus:

1. Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor, but shalt fear thy God.

2. If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years shall he serve, and in the seventh year he shall go out free for nothing. Ex. xxi, 2.[1]

3. If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

4. If his master have given him a wife and she have borne him sons and daughters, the wife and her children shall be his master's, and he shall go out by himself.

5. If the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free; then his master shall bring him unto the Judges, and he shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him forever. Ex. xxi, 5—6.

6. If a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish, he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. And if he smite out his man servant's tooth or his maid servant's tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake. Ex. xxi, 26, 27.

7. On the Sabbath rest was secured to servants by the fourth commandment. Ex. xx, 10.

8. Servants were permitted to unite with their masters three times in every year in celebrating the Passover, the feast of Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles; every male throughout the land was to appear before the Lord at Jerusalem with a gift; here the bond and the free stood on common ground. Deut. xvi.

9. 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. Ex. xxi, 20, 21.

From these laws we learn that Hebrew men servants were bound to serve their masters only six years, unless their attachment to their employers, their wives and children, should induce them to wish to remain in servitude, in which case, in order to prevent the possibility of deception on the part of the master, the servant was first taken before the magistrate, where he openly declared his intention of continuing in his master's service, (probably a public register was kept of such) he was then conducted to the door of the house, (in warm climates doors are thrown open,) and there his ear was publicly bored, and by submitting to this operation he testified his willingness to serve him forever, i. e. during his life, for Jewish Rabbins who must have understood Jewish slavery, (as it is called,) "affirm that servants were set free at the death of their masters and did not descend to their heirs:" or that he was to serve him until the year of Jubilee,

  1. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: 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, shalt thou give unto him. Deut. xv, 13, 14.