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Uriah, also, though high in the service of David, and having his house at Jerusalem, was a Hittite. The tributary service was evidently a very different thing from universal personal servitude. In the same way, from the transaction recorded in Ex. 2: 9, we learn that the servitude of the Hebrews in Egypt was not so universal as that all were slaves, or treated as such. Pharaoh's daughter makes a bargain with the mother of Moses, for a nurse's service, and gives her her wages. The woman is free to make such a bargain, and to receive such wages on her own account. There is no master over her, notwithstanding that the tyranny of Pharaoh is so terrible that she dare not acknowledge her own child, lest he be put to death.
The E.codus from Egypt, and the Mixed Multitude.-Law of
The first moral judgment of God concerning the slavery of Egypt, was impressed upon the mind of Abraham in the covenant which God made with him : 6 Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they shall serve them, 517; and they shall afflict them, 2*?; and also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge.” The moral sense of Abraham was sufficiently enlightened to know that not simply because the subjects of oppression were of his seed, was such oppression sinful, but that the bondage, unless inflicted of God as a punishment for sin, was itself sinful. The slavery prevalent in Egypt is here condemned as a crime worthy to be punished.
The first historical description of it, after this prophetic judgment, is in Ex. 1: 11, “ They did set over them taskmasters, to afflict them with their burdens, iniy zoboni, omsao?, overseers of tribute, on purpose for their oppression in their burdens. “ And the Egytians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor, and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, her, hard labor, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; all their service wherein they made them serve was with rigor” (Ex. 1:13,14).
Now therefore behold the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression (y?) wherewith the Egyptians oppress them (Ex. 3:9). The same word is used in Ex. 23: 9, “ Thou shalt not oppress a stranger.” This dreadful bondage was a type of the slavery of sin ; as also the passover, in memory of their deliverance, was a most affecting and powerfully significant type of redemption by the blood of Christ.
Out of this bondage, when God delivered them, they went up
“ about six hundred thousand men, on foot, besides children; and a mixed multitude went up also with them, and flocks and herds, very much cattle” (Ex. 12: 37, 38). The mixed multitude, (=177,) are nowhere definitely described. The question whether they had bond-servants of their own, whom they carried away with them from Egypt, might possibly be settled, could we have a classification of that mixed multitude. On the whole it seems not probable that any Egyptians were under bond-service to them, and their own race were certainly not slaves to one another, though they might be servants. If they had foreign servants, not of their own race, we judge (from the manner of the enumeration in a similar case, namely, the return of the Jews from the captivity in Babylon) it would have been distinctly stated. In Ezra 2: 64, 65 and Neh. 7: 66, 67, as already noted, the number of the whole congregation of Israel is first given, as in Exodus, and then it is added : “ besides their man-servants and their maid-servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven.” The whole number of the people to be cared for and to be fed, are again mentioned by Moses, in Num. 11:21, as six hundred thousand footmen, no reference being made to any others than those named in the first census. The mixed multitude, also, are again referred to, in the same chapter, by themselves : "the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting” (Num. 11: 4), but no reference is found to the servants among them.
In regard to this point, it is impossible to determine absolutely from the law of the passover; because that law looked to the future condition of the congregation, providing for
future emergencies. No uncircumcised stranger might eat of the passover ; but every man's servant, bought for money and circumcised, might eat of it. The uncircumcised foreigner and hired servant might not eat of it; and both the home-born and the stranger were under one and the same law in regard to it (Ex. 12: 43–49. Num. 9: 14). The servant bought for money was bought into the Lord's family; he was, in point of fact, redeemed from bondage into comparative freedom, taken under God's especial care, and from a system of lawless slavery, passed into a system of responsibility to God, both on the part of his master, and on his own part. It was a change of amazing mercy, from hopeless heathenish bondage to the dignity of citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel.
Religious Privileges of Servants. — Law of the Sabbath.
After the law of the Passover, the first indication looking to the condition of servants is in the law of the Sabbath, Ex. 20:10 : “ Thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant nor thy maid-servant, 7798 7779.” This was a provision unheard of in the world, a provision necessary for the religious privileges and freedom of those under servitude, a provision which alone, if there had been no other, would have separated the condition of servants and the system of menial service, among the Hebrews from that among any other people on earth, raising it to a participation in the care and sanction of God, and transfiguring it with social dignity and liberty. Such would be the effect of the Sabbath, fully observed according to its intent and precept, upon the system of labor and the condition of the laboring man, all the world over; for the Sabbath is the master-key to all forms and means of social regeneration, freedom, and happiness. But it was a new thing in the world for the leading, governing gift, privilege, and institution of instruction, refinement, and piety to be conferred upon the poor as well as the rich; upon the serving and laboring classes equally with the ruling; and appointed as directly and on pur
pose for the enjoyment and benefit of the one class as of the other. The work of the transfiguration of the toil and bondage into a system of free and voluntary service, carefully defined, protected, and rewarded, adopted and adorned of God with all the equalizing religious rights flowing from a theocracy to the whole people; this work, thus begun in the appointment of the Sabbath, was carried on, as we shall see, in the same spirit, and with the same purpose, in all additional regulations; till society, in this its normal form, became (as it would have continued, in reality, if the appointed form had been carried out) a fit type of the Christian dispensation to come,” where there is neither Jew nor Greek, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free; but Christ all and in all” (Col. 3: 11 and Gal. 3: 28). Such an institution of free and willing service, guarded by the law as an integral portion of a free and happy State, was preparing and moulding, by divine command, and in form was perfected, as should not need to be put away or unclothed, at Christ's coming, but was fitted to be clothed upon with his Spirit, and sanctioned by his benediction. This was to take the place of slavery, was to put slavery out of existence; and, wherever and whenever the oppressed of other communities should be gathered beneath its operation, was to make freemen of slaves.
There is a striking particularity in one of the repetitions of the law of the Sabbath (Ex. 23:12), where the servile classes specified in the first normal form are omitted, and the purpose of the Sabbath's rest is stated to be “ that the son of thine handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.” Here the expression "son of thine handmaid," is 77, the same as used, in Psalm 116: 16, of David : “I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid.” I am not a servant, but thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid. The son of the handmaid, in Ex. 23: 12, is catalogued in the same class and standing with the free stranger; and the passage is certainly, in some measure, a key to the interpretation of the expressions and mana, Gen. 15: 3; 17: 12, 13; Lev. 23: 11; Eccl. 2: 7 and Jer. 2:14. These expressions, so far from
the sons , יְלִידֵי בַּיִת and the בְּנֵי־בַיִת pendence and minority
indicating slaves, as the assumptions and perverse interpretations of some lexicographers and translators might lead the English reader to suppose, do not necessarily even mean servants, but are a form of expression purposely separate and different from the generic appellation for servants, because they intimated a relation to the master and the family which was not that of servants. The condition of the child did not follow that of the parent; but, after the period of natural de
, , of the house, and the born of the house, or home-born, were their own masters, free to choose for themselves the master whom they would serve, and the terms on which they would serve him. This is susceptible of demonstration beyond possibility of denial in regard to children of Hebrew descent; because, not even the parents could, by law, be kept as servants longer than six years; and of course the children, being Hebrews equally with the parents, and coming under the same law, could no more be so held than the parents themselves. This shows how monstrous is the assumption and perversion of the Lexicons, beginning with the fons et origo of modern interpretation, that of Gesenius, when they deliberately, and without one particle of proof, render these expressions by the Latin word verna, followed by English translators with the word slave. Neither by periphrasis, nor literal signification, can these expressions be so interpreted; never, in any case, in which they are used. And if the literal interpretation had, in every case, been adhered to, sons of the house, and born of the house, instead of the word slave, employed in the Lexicons, or servant, which is mostly used in our translation, no one could have connected the idea of servitude with these expressions, much less the idea of slavery. For example, the literal translation of Eccl. 2:7 is thus: “Iobtained servants and maidens, and there were to me sons of the house," a ninn, a relationship of dependence, certainly, and showing wealth and perpetuity in the family, whose servants were not hirelings merely, but voluntary domestic fixtures, of choice as well as dependence; but not a relationship of compulsory servitude, or slavery, or of servants considered as property. VOL. XIII. No. 49.