Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/36

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property he might have it, and invest or use it, without attracting special attention, and that consideration alone would have been a strong motive to the act. His master, while rebuking him for using such means to get the money, not only does not take it from him, but seems to expect that he would invest it in real estate, and cattle, and would procure servants with it. 2 Kings v. 26. We find the servant of Saul having money, and relieving his master in an emergency. 1 Sam. ix. 8. Arza, the servant of Elah, was the owner of a house. That it was somewhat magnificent, would be a natural inference from it's being a resort of the king. 1 Kings xvi. 9. The case of the Gibeonites, who after becoming servants, still occupied their cities, and remained in many respects, a distinct people for centuries; and that of the 150,000 Canaanites, the servants of Solomon, who worked out their "tribute of bond-service" in levies, periodically relieving each other, are additional illustrations of independence in the acquisition and ownership of property.

IV. Heirship.—Servants frequently inherited their master's property; especially if he had no sons, or if they had dishonored the family. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham; Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, Jarha the servant of Sheshan, and the husbandmen who said of their master's son, "this is the heir, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours," are illustrations; also Prov. xvii. 2—"A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren." This passage gives servants precedence as heirs, even over the wives and daughters of their masters. Did masters hold by force, and plunder of earnings, a class of persons, from which, in frequent contingences, they selected both heirs for their property, and husbands for their daughters?

V. All were required to present offerings and sacrifices. Deut. xvi. 15, 17. 2 Chron. xv. 9—11. Numb. ix. 13. Servants must have had permanently, the means of acquiring property to meet these expenditures.

VI. Those Hebrew servants who went out at the seventh year, were provided by law with a large stock of provisions and cattle. Deut. xv. 11—14. "Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy wine press, of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee, thou shalt give him."[1] If

  1. The comment of Maimonides on this passage is as follows—"'Thou shalt fur-