Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/41

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included with his property. Comp. Gen. xx. 43, with Gen. xxxi. 16—18. When he sent messengers to Esau, wishing to impress him with an idea of his state and sway, he bade them tell him not only of his riches, but of his greatness; that Jacob had "oxen, and asses and flocks, and men-servants, and maid-servants." Gen. xxxii. 4, 5. Yet in the present which he sent, there were no servants; though he seems to have sought as much variety as possible. Gen. xxxii. 14, 15; see also Gen. xxxvi. 6, 7; Gen. xxxiv. 23. As flocks and herds were the staples of wealth, a large number of servants presupposed large possessions of cattle, which would require many herdsmen. When servants are spoken of in connection with mere property, the terms used to express the latter do not include the former. The Hebrew word Mikne, is an illustration. It is derived from Kana, to procure, to buy, and its meaning is, a possession, wealth, riches. It occurs more than forty times in the Old Testament, and is applied always to mere property, generally to domestic animals, but never to servants. In some instances, servants are mentioned in distinction from the Mikne. "And Abraham took Sarah his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered; and the souls that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan."—Gen. xii. 5. Many will have it, that these souls were a part of Abraham's substance (notwithstanding the pains here taken to separate them from it)—that they were slaves taken with him in his migration as a part of his family effects. Who but slaveholders, either actually or in heart, would torture into the principle and practice of slavery, such a harmless phrase as "the souls that they had gotten?" Until the slave trade breathed its haze upon the vision of the church, and smote her with palsy and decay, commentators saw no slavery in, "The souls that they had gotten." In the Targum of Onkelos[1] it is rendered, "The souls whom they had brought to obey the law in Haran." In the Targum of Jonathan, "The souls whom they had made proselytes in Haran." In the


  1. The Targums are Chaldee paraphrases of parts of the Old Testament. The Targum of Onkelos is, for the most part, a very accurate and faithful translation of the original, and was probably made at about the commencement of the Chrisiian era. The Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel, bears about the same date. The Targum of Jerusalem was probably about five hundred years later. The Israelites, during their captivity in Babylon, lost, as a body, their own language. These translations into the Chaldee, the language which they acquired in Babylon, were thus called for by the necessity of the case.