Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/40

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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 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 patriarch and slaveholder," 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 shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt 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 away, as to show that they are not regarded as property. See Eccl. ii. 7, 8. But when the design is to show, not merely the wealth, but the greatness of any personage, 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. "And Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold." So in the fifth verse, "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." 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 thou hast 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." He had a large number of servants at the time but they are not