Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/25

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1. They were admitted into covenant with God. Deut. xxix. 10—13.

2. They were invited guests at all the national and family festivals. Ex. xii. 43—44; Deut xii. 12, 18, xvi. 10—16.

3. They were statedly instructed in morality and religion. Deut xxxi. 10—13; Josh. viii. 33—35; 2 Chron. xvii. 8—9.

4. They were released from their regular labor nearly one half of the whole time. During which they had their entire support, and the same instruction that was provided for the other members of the Hebrew community.

(a.) The Law secured to them the whole of every seventh year; Lev. xxv. 3—6; thus giving to those who were servants during the entire period between the jubilees, eight whole years, including the jubilee year, of unbroken rest.

(b.) Every seventh day. This in forty-two years, the eight being subtracted from the fifty, would amount to just six years.

(c.) The three annual festivals. The Passover, which commenced on the 15th of the 1st month, and lasted seven days, Deut. xvi. 3, 8. The Pentecost, or Feast of Weeks, which began on the 6th day of the 3d month, and lasted seven days. Lev. xvi. 10, 11. The Feast of Tabernacles, which commenced on the 15th of the 7th month, and lasted eight days. Deut. xvi. 13, 15; Lev. xxiii. 34—39. As all met in one place, much time would be spent on the journey. Cumbered caravans move slowly. After their arrival, a day or two would be requisite for divers preparations before the celebration, besides some time at the close of it, in preparations for return. If we assign three weeks to each festival—including the time spent on the journeys, and the delays before and after the celebration, together with the festival week, it will be a small allowance for the cessation of their regular labor. As there were three festivals in the year, the main body of the servants would be absent from their stated employments at least nine weeks annually, which would amount in forty-two years, subtracting the sabbaths, to six years and eighty-four days.

(d.) The new moons. The Jewish year had twelve; Josephus says that the Jews always kept two days for the new moon. See Calmet on the Jewish Calendar, and Horne's Introduction; also 1 Sam. XX. 18, 19, 27. This in forty-two years, would be two years 280 days.