IV.—Were the servants forced to work without pay?
As the servants became and continued such of their own accord, it would be no small marvel if they chose to work without pay. Their becoming servants, pre-supposes compensation as a motive. That they were paid for their labor, we argue,
I. Because God rebuked in thunder, the sin of using the labor of others without wages. "Wo unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work." Jer. xxii. 13. God here testifies that to use the service of others without wages is "unrighteousness," and pronounces his "wo" against the doer of the "wrong." The Hebrew word Reā, translated neighbor, does not mean one man, or class of men, in distinction from others, but any one with whom we have to do—all descriptions of persons, even those who prosecute us in lawsuits, and enemies while in the act of fighting us—"As when a man riseth against his neighbor and slayeth him." Deut. xxii. 26. "Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame." Prov. xxv. 8. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Ex. xx. 16. If any man come presumptuously upon his neighbor to slay him with guile." Ex. xxi. 14, &c.
II. God testifies that in our duty to our fellow men, all the law and the prophets hang upon this command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Our Savior, in giving this command, quoted verbatim one of the laws of the Mosaic system. Lev. xix. 18. In the 34th verse of the same chapter, Moses applies this law to the treatment of Strangers, "The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself." If it be loving others as ourselves, to make them work for us without pay; to rob them of food and clothing also, would be a stronger illustration still of the law of love! Super-disinterested benevolence! And if it be doing unto others as we would have them do to us, to make them work for our own good alone, Paul should be called to order for his hard sayings against human nature, especially for that libellous matter in Eph. v. 29, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it and cherisheth it."