Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/24

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

22

vidual 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 to Ahab that sold himself to work wickedness."—2 Kings xvii. 17. "They used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil."—Isa. 1. 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—Romans 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.


II.—The leading design of the laws relating to servants, with the rights and privileges secured to them.


The general object 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 favors.

I. No servant from the Strangers, could remain in the family of an Israelite, without becoming a proselyte. Compliance with this condition was the price of the privilege.—Gen. xvii. 9—14, 23, 27.

II. Excommunication from the family was a punishment.—Gen. xxi. 14. Luke xvi. 2—4.

III. Every Hebrew servant could compel his master to keep him after the six years contract had expired. This shows that the system was framed to advance the interests and gratify the wishes of the servant quite as much as those of the master. If the servant demanded it, the law obliged the master to retain him, however little he might need his services. Deut. xv. 12—17. Ex. xxi. 2—6.

IV. The rights and privileges guarantied by law to all servants.