Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/23

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late trial of Robinson were bought, yet we have no floating visions of "chattels personal," man auctions, or coffles.

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 slated without particulars. In this case, the whole process is laid open. (1.) The persons "bought," sold themselves, and of their own accord. (2.) Obtaining permanently the services of persons, or even a portion of them, is called "buying" those persons. 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.

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." 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 the Hithpael conjugation, which is generally reflexive in its force, and, like the middle voice in Greek, represents what an indi-