Rev. Theodore D. Weld Welcome to the book by Rev. Theodore D. Weld, The Bible Against Slavery (1837).
To go at once to the "Table of Contents," click here.
Before the 1861-1865 War, a number of Christian abolitionists opposed slavery. They included Rev. George B. Cheever, Rev. Beriah Green, Harriet B. Stowe, Rev. John G. Fee, Rev. Stephen S. Foster, Deacon James Birney, Rev. William W. Patton, Rev. Parker Pillsbury, etc. Nowadays, their Bible-based reasons are generally unknown.
This series of websites educates by making texts of their writings accessible. Whether or not you agree with their position, it is at least a good idea to know what it was!
This site in the series reprints this 1837 book by abolitionist Rev. Theodore D. Weld (1803-1895).
Rev. Weld rebuts pro-slavery “eisegesis” (imposing a predetermined meaning on words) as opposed to “exegesis” (deducing word meaning from context) with respect to the Bible. Pro-slavers did “eisegesis,” i.e., imposed their pre-determined 'minds-made-up-in-advance' pro-slavery views on the Bible.
Rev. Weld later published details of slave conditions in 1839.
Rev. Weld's book assumes the reader is familiar with Biblical Israel. Ancient Israel was an agricultural society. Background data is at pp 72, 88, 122, 124, 125, and 132.
“The economy envisaged for . . . Israel by the laws of the Pentateuch [God] was purely agricultural. The Holy Land [Palestine] was to be divided according to [extended family] areas and each family . . . was to receive its portion . . . . To such an extent was [agriculture] regarded as the essential occupation of the [Hebrews] in biblical times that the term 'Canaanite' was regarded as synonymous with 'trader' [businessman, merchant] (Zech. 14:21; Hos. 12:8),” says the entry for “AGRICULTURE” in Dr. R. J. Zwi Werblowsky and Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1965), p 17.
Biblical Israel had about 8 - 12,000 square miles (5,120,000 - 7,680,000 acres). This acreage was divided, distributed (Joshua 13-22) by the governing authorities among about 600,000 families (Numbers 2:32, 26:51). Each "farmette" or "homestead" averaged at most 12.8 acres.
Each family received a family-sized acreage. The classless society was inherently equality-oriented (Exodus 16:18, 2 Corinthians 8:14-15 [sustenance], Leviticus 25:10 [land restoration], Acts 2:44-45, 4:32 [all in common]). This was pursuant to divine intent [Genesis 1:28, Matthew 20:1-15,   Micah 4:4,   3 John 2].   The Bible economic system is not amenable to slavery. Thus nobody would reasonably abandon their own land! to become a mere servant, employee, with the negative connotations thereof (Exodus 21:6).   Nor would anyone even want employees, no need! no value!
Numerous guaranteed (commanded) vacations took place about 46% of the year (as religious holidays, p 44, plus family time days off, p 134). Debt cancellation was mandatory every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:1-11). Charging interest (usury) on loans was banned by law (Exodus 22:25). Prosperity for all was systemically established per divine intent (3 John 2 and Micah 4:4). The result was wealth for all so great that silver was spurned (like stones!), as gold was had in such significant abundance (1 Kings 10:21 and 27 and 2 Chronicles 1:15). Thus, neither motivation, authorization, opportunity, nor financial necessity existed, for slavery (a state of war).
Biblical Israel was governed by the Bible Society-Management Laws. Those laws had significant social / life-lifestyle ramifications, and were designed to keep Israel in that agrarian equality-oriented prosperous state of affairs, as agriculturalists,
  • not generally to be in cities, the concentrated sin areas, pp 140 and 143
  • not generally in other non-egalitarian occupations, especially not as a merchant engaged in business activity (Nehemiah 13:20-21, Zechariah 14:21, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46, Acts 19:23-28, and Revelation 18:11-20)
  • adhering to the “original grant" concept, p 28. Compare with Matthew 20:1-16 (equal pay), Matthew 25:15-28 and Luke 19:1-20 (producing proportionate to one's abilities), all in context of Micah 4:4 (equal property grants for all)
  • New Testament expansion of these principles, Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:32, 34-35, Matthew 5:21-48, and Revelation 18:11-24
  • thereby avoiding committing the sin of Sodom (oppressing the poor, Ezekiel 16:49, Hosea 11:8, and Hosea 11:9, as analyzed).
    This agrarian system institutionalizing divine purpose (3 John 2 and Micah 4:4) had numerous benefits. It provided health and prosperity for all. It prevented typical societal evils such as recurring unemployment, economic cycles of recessions and depressions. It prevented crime, big business, homelessness, institutionalized banking, economic disparities, the employee/jobs system whereby a "boss" takes a disproportionate rather than equal share of the value created, long-term debt, foreclosures, and results such as high divorce rate and family breakdown, etc. Israel was to be the model nation for others to imitate, Deuteronomy 4:6-8, so all peoples would have the benefit of good laws, vs the abuses, sorrows, instability, and pitfalls of politician laws, 1 Samuel 8:11-17 and Hosea 8:4.
    The New Testament system is even stricter, (a) establishing the spirit of the law as well as the letter, see examples in Matthew 5:31-48, and (b) a different lifestyle, involving comprehensive sharing, see, e.g., Acts 2:44-45 and 4:34-35, even further precluding anyone's enslavement.
    Essential to understanding these concepts and background is the trait of teachability, p 134.
    This 1837 book was later reprinted in 1864, during the Civil War.
  • The Bible Against Slavery,
    Rev. Theodore D. Weld
    (New York: American
    Anti-Slavery Society, 1837)


    THE events of the last year [1863]—the President's Proclamation of Emancipation to Three Millions—the actual freeing of hundreds of thousands by the advance of our armies—the turning of sixty thousand slaves into soldiers—the [Confederate] rebellion grown desperate and raving in the frenzy that precedes collapse—these, with thick-coming events, already revealing the sole, sure basis of reconstruction, all combine to confront us anew with the question of slavery, its fundamental discussion and final adjustment; summoning all to such work for the hour as befits freemen and Christians.

    To discharge, in part, their own responsibilities imposed by the crisis, the Board of Publication of the United Presbyterian Church reprint this [1837] work.

    The argument was published twenty-seven years ago, in the [1837] Anti-Slavery Quarterly Magazine. It was afterward stereotyped [type-set] and passed through four editions, the last in 1838. Soon after that the [printing press] plates were destroyed, and for twenty years it has been out of print.


    When first published, many copies were sent through the post-office into the Slave States. Most of these were publicly burned at their places of delivery.

    A copy that escaped the flames in Charleston, South Carolina, fell into the hands of Rev. Wm. H. Brisbane, a slaveholding Baptist clergyman and editor in that city. He sat down to confute the argument, but before his first number [writing] was ready for the types [type-setting], he found that the faith [anti-slavery doctrines] he scouted [opposed] had become his own [i.e., he was converted, he repented of having been pro-slavery]. He left his native state, made his slaves free, settled them in Ohio, and published an able work [in fact, several], vindicating the Bible from pro-slavery perversions.

    The present [1864] edition of this valuable work has been prepared for the press by the author [Rev. Theodore Weld], who has made some slight changes and abbreviations where such could be made witbout obscuring the sense, so that we are confident this [1864 revised] edition will be found more perfect than any of its [1837-1838] predecessors. In hopes that through the blessing of God it may exert some influence in freeing our beloved land from the blight of slavery, and ushering in that happy day now dawning when every yoke shall be broken, and the oppressed go free, we have concluded to issue the present edition [i.e., immediately after the Emancipation Proclamation].

    PITTSBURG, PA., January, 1864.


    Definition of Slavery14
    The Moral Law Against Slavery20
    "Thou shalt not steal"20
    "Thou shalt not covet"21
    Manstealing--Examination of Ex. xxi.1622
    Separation of man from brutes and things28
    Import of "buy" and "bought with money"31
    Servants sold themselves38
    Rights and privileges secured by law to servants40
    Servants were voluntary47
    Runaway servants not to be delivered to their masters49
    Servants Were Paid Wages62
    Masters Not "Owners"73
    Servants not subjected to the uses of property73
    Servants expressly distinguished from property76
    Examination of Gen. xii. 5--"The souls that they have gotten," etc.78
    Social equality of Servants and Masters80

    Condition of the Gibeonites as subjects of the Hebrew Commonwealth84
    Egyptian bondage contrasted with American slavery86
    Condition of American slaves91
    Ill fed91
    Ill clothed91
    Over worked91
    Their dwellings unfit for human beings91
    Moral condition—"Heathens"91
    "FOR HE IS HIS MONEY," &C.—EXAMINATION OF EX. xxi. 20, 2198
    EXAMINATION OF LEV. xxv. 44-46104
    "Both thy BONDMEN, &c., shall be of the heathen,"104
    " Of them shall ye BUY,"107
    "They shall be your bondmen FOREVER,"108
    "Ye shall take them as an INHERITANCE," &c. 111
    Difference between hired and bought servants115
    Bought servants the most favored and honored class116
    Israelites and strangers belonged to both classes121
    Israelites, servants to the strangers122
    Reasons for the release of the Israelitish servants in the seventh year122
    Reasons for assigning the strangers to a longer service123

    Reasons for calling them the servants124
    Different kinds of service assigned to the Israelites and strangers124
    Political disabilities of the strangers131


    SLAVERY seeks refuge in the Bible only in its last extremity. It seizes the horns of the altar in desperation, rushing from the terror of the avenger's arm. Like other unclean spirits, it "hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest its deeds should be reproved." [John 3:20.]

    Goaded to frenzy in its conflicts with conscience and common sense, denied all quarter, and hunted from every covert, it vaults at last into the sacred inclosure and courses up and down the Bible, "seeking rest, and finding none." [Matthew 12:43].

    THE LAW OF LOVE, glowing on every page, flashes through it anguish and despair. It shrinks from the hated light, and howls under the consuming touch, as demons recoiled from the Son of God, and shrieked, "Torment us not." [Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28; cf. 1 John 4:18.]

    At last, it [slavery] slinks away under the types of the Mosaic system, and seeks to burrow out of sight among their shadows. Vain hope! Its asylum is its sepulchre; its city of refuge, the city of destruction. It flies from light into the sun; from heat into devouring fire; and from the voice of God into the thickest of His thunders.



    If we would know whether the Bible sanctions slavery, we must first determine what slavery is. An element is one thing; a relation, another; an appendage, another. Relations and appendages presuppose other things to which tbey belong. To regard them as the things themselves, or as constituent parts of them, leads to endless confusion. Political disabilities are often confounded with slavery; so are many relations and tenures indispensable to the social state. We will specify some of these.

    1. PRIVATION OF SUFFRAGE. Then minors are slaves.

    2. INELIGIBILITY TO OFFICE. Then females are slaves.

    3. TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. Then citizens in the District of Columbia are slaves.

    4. PRIVATION OF ONE'S OATH IN LAW. Then in some States atheists are slaves.

    5. PRIVATION OF TRIAL BY JURY. Then all in Russia are slaves.

    6. BEING REQUIRED TO SUPPORT A PARTICULAR RELIGION. Then the people of England are slaves.

    7. APPRENTICESHIP. The rights and duties of master [employer-trainer] and apprentice [employee-student] are correlative. The claim of each upon the other results from his obligation to the other. Apprenticeship is based on the principle of equivalent for value received. The rights of the apprentice are secured, equally with those of the master. Indeed, while the law is just to the latter, it is benevolent to


    the former; its main design being rather to benefit the apprentice than the master. To the master it secures a mere compensation—to the apprentice a compensation and a virtual gratuity, he being the greater gainer. The law recognizes the right of the apprentice to a reward for his labor, prescribes the wages, and enforces the payment. The master's claim covers only the services of the apprentice. The apprentice's claim covers equally the services of the master. Neither can hold the other as property; but each holds property in the services of the other, and BOTH EQUALLY.

    8. FILIAL SUBORDINATION AND PARENTAL CLAIMS. Both are nature's dictates, and elements of the social state, the natural affections which blend parent and child in one, excite each to discbarge those offices incidental to the relation, and are a shield for mutual protection. The parent's legal claim to the child's services is a slight return for his care, toil, and outlays for support and education. This provision is, with the mass, indispensable to the family state. The child, in helping his parents, helps himself—increases a common stock, in which he has a share; while his services do but acknowledge a debt that money cannot cancel.

    9. CLAIMS OF GOVERNMENTS ON SUBJECTS. Governments owe their subjects protection; subjects owe just governments allegiance and support. The obligations of both are reciprocal, and the benefits, mutual.

    10. BONDAGE FOR CRIME. Must innocence be punished because guilt suffers penalties? True, the criminal works for the government without pay; and well he may. He owes the government. A century's work would not pay its drafts on him. He will die a public


    defaulter. Because laws make men pay their debts, shall those be forced who owe nothing? The law makes no criminal, PROPERTY. It restrains his liberty, and makes him pay a fraction of his debt to the government; but it does not make him a chattel. Test it. To own property is to own its product. Are chiidren, born of convicts, government property? Besides, can property be guilty? Can chattels deserve punishment?

    11. RESTRAINTS UPON FREEDOM. Children are restrained by parents, pnpils by teachers, patients by physicians, corporations by charters, and legislatures by constitutions. Embargoes, tariffs, quarantine, and all other laws keep men from doing as they please. Restraints are the web of civilized society, warp and woof. Are they slavery? then a government of LAW is the climax of slavery!

    12. INVOLUNTARY OR COMPULSORY SERVICE. A juryman is empanelled against his will, and sit he must. A sheriff orders his posse; bystanders must turn in. Men are compelled to remove nuisances, pay fines and taxes, support tbeir families, and "turn to the right as the law directs." Are they therefore slaves? To confound slavery with involuntary service is absurd. Slavery is a condition. The slave's feelings toward it cannot alter its nature. Whether he desire or detest it, the condition is the same. The slave's willingness to be a slave is no palliation of the slaveholder's guilt. Suppose he should believe himself a chattel, and consent to be treated as one, would that make him a chattel or make those guiltless who hold him as such? I may be sick of life, and I tell


    the assassin so that [he] stabs me; is he any the less a murderer? Does my consent to his crime atone for it? my partnership in his guilt blot out his part of it?

    Ed. Note: Precedents show Weld to be right; such "consent" is not legally valid, see references.

    The slave's willingness to be a slave, so far from lessening the guilt of his "owner," aggravates it. If slavery bas so palsied his mind that he looks upon himself as a chattel, and consents to be one, to hold him as such confirms his delusion, and reasserts the impious falsehood. Such feelings and convictions of the slave would increase tenfold the guilt of his master, in refusing to recognize him as a MAN, and thus to break the sorcery that cheats him out of his birthright—the consciousness of his worth and destiny.

    Many of the foregoing conditions are appendages of slavery, but no one, nor all of tbem together, constitute its intrinsic element.

    ENSLAVING MEN IS REDUCING THEM TO ARTICLES OF PROPERTY—making them chattels—converting persons into things—turning immortality into merchandise. A slave is one held in this condition. In law "he owns nothing, and can acquire nothing." His right to himself is abrogated.

    If he say my hands, my body, my mind, MYself, they are figures of speech. To use himself for his own good is a crime. To keep what he earns is [according to demonized slavers] stealing. To take his body into his own keeping is [according to slavers] insurrection.

    In a word, the profit of his master is made the END of his being, and he, a mere meansany of its [his/her] rights is oppression; to take away the foundation of its rights is slavery. In other words, whatever sinks


    man from an END to a mere means, just so far makes him a slave. MAN, sunk to a thing! the intrinsic element, the principle of slavery; MEN, bartered, leased, mortgaged, bequeathed, invoiced, shipped as cargoes, stored as goods, taken on executions, and knocked off at public outcry! Their rights, another's conveniences; their interests, wares on sale; their happiness, a household utensil; their personal ownership, a serviceable article or a plaything, as best suits the humor of the hour; their deathless nature, conscience, social affections, sympathies, hopes—marketable commodities!

    We repeat it, THE REDUCTION OF PERS0NS TO THINGS! Not robbing a man of privileges, but of himself; not loading him with burdens, but making him a beast of burden; not restraining liberty, but subverting it; not curtailing rights, but abolishing them; not inflicting personal cruelty, but annihilating personality; not exacting involuntary labor, but sinking man into an implement of labor; not abridging human comforts, but abrogating hnman nature; not depriving an animal of immunities, but despoiling a rational being of attributes—uncreating a MAN to make room for a thing!

    That this is American slavery is shown by the laws of slave States. Judge Stroud, in his "Sketch of the Laws relating to Slavery," says, "The cardinal principle of slavery, that the slave is not to be ranked among sentient beings, bat among things, obtains as undoubted law in all of these [the "slave] States."

    Ed. Note: Full Citation: A Sketch of the Laws Relating to Slavery in the Several States of the United States of America, by George M. Stroud (1795-1875) (Philadelphia: Kimber and Sharpless, 1827)

    The law of South Carolina says, "Slaves shall be deemed, held, taken, reputed, and adjudged in law to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and


    possessors, and their executors, administrators, and assigns, to ALL INTENTS, CONSTRUCTIONS, AND PURPOSES "WHATSOEVER."—Brev. Dig., 229.

    In Louisiana, "A slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs; the master may sell him, dispose of his person, his industry, and his labor; he can do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire anything, but what must belong to his master."—Civ. Code, Art. 35.

    This is American slavery. The eternal [divine] distinction between a person and thing, blotted out—the crowning distinction of all others—alike the source, the test, and the measure of their value—the rational, immortal principle, consecrated by God to universal homage in a baptism of glory and honor, by the gift of his Son, his Spirit, his Word, his presence, providence, and power; his shield, and staff, and sheltering wing; his opening heavens, and angels ministering, and chariots of fire, and songs of morning stars, and a great voice in heaven proclaiming eternal sanctions, and confirming the word with signs following.

    Having stated the [demonized] principle of American slavery, we ask, DOES THE BIBLE SANCTION SUCH A PRINCIPLE?*   "To the law and the testimony!" [Isaiah 8:20].
    * The Bible record of actions [history] is no comment on their moral character. It vouches for them as facts [that happened], not as virtues [to imitate]. It records withont rebuke, Noah's drunkenness, Lot's incest, and the lies of Jacob and his mother—not only single acts, but usages [customs, traditions], such as polygamy and concubinage, are entered on the record without censure. Is that silent entry God's endorsement? Because the Bible does not stamp on every crime its name and nnmber, and write against it, this is a crime—does that wash out its guilt, and bleach it into a virtue?



    Two of the ten commandments deal death to slavery. "THOU SHALT NOT STEAL," or, "Thou shalt not take from another what belongs to him." All a man's powers are God's gift to HIM. Each is a part of himself. All else that belongs to man is acquired by the use of these powers [God-granted rights]. The interest belongs to him, because the principal does; the product is his, because he is the producer. Ownership of anything is ownership of its use. The right to use according to will is itself ownership.

    The eigbth commandment presupposes the right of every man to his powers [bodily and mental abilities], and their product. Slavery robs of both.

    A man's right to himself is his only absolute right-his right to anything else is relative to this, is derived from it, and held only by virtue of it.

    SELF-RIGHT[self-ownership] is the foundation right-the post in the middle, to which all other rights are fastened. Slaveholders, when asserting their RIGHT to their slaves, always assume their own right to themselves.

    The slaveholder knows it to be a self-evident proposition, that a man belongs to himself-that the right is intrinsic and absolute. In making oui his own title, he [the slaver] makes out the title of every huœan being.

    As being a man is itself the title, all men have a common title deed. If one man's title is valid, all are valid. If one is worthless, all are. To deny the validity of the slave's title is to deny the validity of his own; and yet in making a man a slave, the slaveholder asserts the validity of his own title, while he seizes him as his property who has the


    same title to himself. Further, in making him a slave, he does not merely disfranchise of humanity one individual, but UNIVERSAL MAN. He destroys the foundations. He annihilâtes all rights. He attacks not only the human race, but all rational being, and rushes upon [attacks] JEHOVAH. For rights are rights; God's are no more—man's are no less.

    The eighth commandment forbids the taking of any part of that which belongs to another. Slavery takes the whole. Does the Bible which prohibits the taking of any thing, sanction the taking of every thing? Does it thunder against the man who robs his neighbor of a cent, yet commission him to rob his neighbor of himself?

    Slaveholding is the highest [worst] possible violation of the eighth commandment.

    Ed. Note: Rev. John Wesley had said likewise.

    To take from a man his earnings, is theft. But to take the earner is a compound, life-long theft—supreme robbery that vaults up the climax at a leap—the dread, terrific, giant robbery, that towers among other robberies a solitary horror.

    The eighth commandment forbids the taking away, and the tenth adds, "Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbor's;" thus guarding every man's right to himself and his property, by making not only the actual taking away a sin, but even that state of mind which tempts to it. Who ever made human bcings slaves, without coveting them? Why take their time, labor, liberty, right of self-improvement, their right to acquire property, to worship according to conscience, to search the Scriptures, to live with their familles, and their right to their own bodies, if they do not desire them? They COVET them for purposes of gain, convenience, lust of domin-


    ion, of sensual gratification, of pride and ostentation. THEY BREAK THE TENTH COMMANDMENT, and pluck down upon their heads the plagues that are written in the book. Ten commandments constitute the brief compend of human duty. Two of these brand slavery as sin.


    The giving of the law at Sinai immediately preceded the promulgation of that body of laws called the "Mosaic System." Over the gateway of that system, dread words were written by the finger of God—"HE THAT STEALETH A MAN AND SELLETH HIM, OR IF HE BE FOUND IN HIS HAND, HE SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH."* Ex. XXI. 16.

    The oppression of the Israelites in Egypt proclaims the reason for such a law at sach a time. They had just been emancipated. The tragedies of their house of bondage peopled their memories with thronging horrors. They had just witnessed God's testimony against oppression in the plagues of Egypt—the burning blains on man and beast; the dust quick-
    * A writer in the American Quarterly Review, commenting on this passage, thus blasphemes: "On this passage an impression has gone abroad that slave-owners are necessarily menstealers; how hastily any one will perceive who consults the passage in tts connection. Being found in the chapter whicn anthorizes this species of property among the Hebrews, it must of course relate to its full protection from the danger of being enticed away from its rightful owner."—Am. Quart. Review for Jane, 1833. Article "Negro Slavery."


    ened into loathsome life, and swarming upon every living thing; the streets, the palaces, the temples, and every house heaped up with the carcases of things abhorred; the kneading trougbs and ovens, the secret chambers and the couches, reeking and dissolving with the putrid death; the pestilence walking in darkness at noonday, the devouring locusts, and hail mingled with fire, the first-born death-struck, and the waters blood; and last of all, that dread high band that whelmed the monarch and his hosts, and strewed their corpses on the sea.

    All tbis their eyes had looked upon; earth's proudest city, wasted and tbunder-scarred, lying in desolation, and the doom of oppressors traced on her ruins in the hand-writing of God, glaring in letters of fire mingled with blood—a blackened monument of wrath to the utmost against the stealers of men.

    No wonder that God, in a code of laws prepared for such a people at such a time, should uprear on its foreground a blazing beacon to flash terrer on slaveholders. "He that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death." Ex. xxi. 16. Deut. xxiv. 7.*   God's cherubim and flaming sword guarding the entrance to the Mosaic system!
    * [Rabbi Solomon] Jarchi [1040-1105], who wrote several hundred years ago, and was the most eminent of the Jewish Commentators, in his comment on this stealing and making merchandise of men, gives the meaning, thus: "Using a man against his will, as a servant lawfnlly purchased; yea, though he should use his services ever so little, only to the value of a farthing, or use but his arm to lean on to support him, if he be forced so to act as a servant, the person compelling him but once to do so, shall die as a thief, whether he has sold him or not."


    The word Ganabh here rendered stealeth, means, the taking of what belongs to another, whether by violence or fraud; the same word is used in the eighth commandment, and prohibits both robbery and tbeft.

    The crime specified is that of depriving SOMEBODY of the ownership of a man. Is this somebody a master? and is the crime that of depriving a master of his servant? Then it "would bave been "he that stealeth" a servant, not "he that stealeth a man." If the crime had been the taking of an individual from another, then the term used would have been expressive of that relation, and most especially if it was the relation of property to a proprietor!

    The crime is stated in a threefold form—man stealing, selling, and holding. All are put on a level, and whelmed under one penalty—DEATH*   This somebody deprived of the ownership of a man, is the man himself, robbed of personal ownership. Joseph said, "Indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews." Gen. xl. 15. How stolen? His brethren sold him as an article of merchandise.

    Contrast this [above-cited death] penalty for man-stealing with that for property-stealing, Ex. xxii. 1, 4. If a man had stolen an ox and killed or sold it, he was to restore five oxen; if he had neither sold nor killed it, two oxen. But in the case of stealing a man [any human], the first act drew down the utmost power of punishment. The fact that the penalty for man-stealing was death, and the penalty for property-stealing the mere restoration of double, shows that the
    * "Those are men-stealers who abduct, keep, sell, or buy slaves or freemen."—[Hugo] GROTIUS [1583-1645] [Homiinum fures, qui servos vel liberes abducunt, retinent, vendunt, vel emunt].


    two cases were adjudicated on opposite prmciples. The man stolen might be diseased or past labor; consequently, instead of being profitable to the thief, he would be a tax [loss]; yet death was still the penalty, though not a cent's worth of property-value was taken.

    The penalty for stealing property was a mere property-penalty. However large the theft, the payment of double wiped out the score. It might have a greater money value than a thousand men, yet death was not the penalty, nor even stripes, but double of the same kind. Why was not the rule uniform? When a man was stolen, why was not the thief required to restore double of the same kind—two men, or if he had sold him, five men? Do you say that the man-thief might not have them? So the ox-thief might not bave two oxen, or if he had killed it, five.

    But if God permitted men to hold men as property, as well as oxen, the man-thief could get men with whom to pay the penalty, as well as the ox-thief oxen.

    Further, when property was stolen, the legal penalty was a compensation to the person injured. But when a man was stolen, no property compensation was offered. To tender money would have been to repeat the outrage with intolerable aggravations. Compute the value of a MAN in money! Throw dust into the scale against immortality! The law recoiled against such supreme insult and impiety. To have permitted the man-thief to expiate his crime by restoring double would have been making the repetition of crime its atonement. But the infliction of death for man-stealing exacted the utmost possibility of reparation. It wrung from the guilty wretch [slaver] as he gave up the ghost [was killed],


    a testimony in death-groans, to the infinite dignity of man—a proclamation to the universe, voiced in mortal agony, "MAN IS INVIOLABLE!"—a confession shrieked at the grave's mouth—"I die accursed [for attempting/committing slavery] and God is just!"

    If God permitted man [people] to hold man [other people] as property, why did he punish for stealing that kind of property infinitely more than for stealing any other kind of property? Why punish with death for stealing a very little of that sort of property, and make a mere fine the penalty for stealing a thousand times as much of any other property—especially if, by his own act, God had annihilated [abolished] the difference between man [people] and property, by putting him on a level with it?

    The guilt of a crime depends much upon the nature and condition of the victim. To steal is a crime, whoever the thief, or whatever the plunder. To steal bread from a full man is theft; to steal it from a starving man is both theft and murder. If I steal my neighbor's property, the crime consists not in altering the nature of the article, but in taking as mine what is his.

    But wben I take my neighbor himself, and first make him property, and then my property, the latter act, which was the sole crime [sin] in the former case, dwindles to nothing. The sin in stealing a man is not the transfer from its owner to anotber of that which is property, but the turning of personality [human-ness] into property. The attributes of man [human-ness] remain, but the rights and immunities which grow out of them are annihilated [destroyed].

    It is the first law of reason to regard things and beings as they are; and the sum of religion, to feel and act toward them according to tbeir value.


    Knowingly to treat them otherwise is sin; and the degree of violence done to their nature, relations, and value, measures its guilt. When things are sundered which God has indissolubly joined, or confounded in one, which he has separated by infinite extremes; when sacred and eternal distinctions are derided and set at nought, then sin reddens to its "scarlet dye."

    The sin specified is that of doing violence to the nature of a man. In the verse preceding, and in that which follows, the same principle is laid down. Verse 15, "He that smiteth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death."   Verse 17, "He that curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death."

    If a Jew smote his neighbor, the law smote him in return; but if the blow were given to a parent, the law struck the smiter dead. The parental relation is the centre of human society. To violate that, is to violate all. Whoever tramples on that, shows that no relation has any sacredness in his eyes—that he is unfit to move among human relations who violates one so sacred and tender. Therefore the Mosaic law uplifted his corpse, and brandisbed the ghastly terror around the parental relation to guard it from inroad.

    Why is there such a difference in penalties, for the same act? Answer.

  • 1. The relation violated was obvious—the distinction self-evident, dictated by a law of nature.

  • 2. The act was a violence done to constitutional susceptibilities.

  • 3. The parental relation is the focal point of the social system. "Honor thy father and thy mother," stands at the head of those commands which prescribe the duties of man to man.
  • In this case, death was to be inflicted not for smiting a man,


    but a parent. In the next verse [Ex. 21:16], "He that stealeth a man," &c., the SAME PRINCIPLE is wrought out in still stronger relief. The crime [sin] to be punished with death was not the taking of property from its owner, but violence to an immortal nature, the blotting out a sacred distinction—making MEN "chattels" [blurring the distinction between people/humans and chattels/things].

    With [great care] incessant pains the Bible exalts the distinction between persons and things. "In the beginning" God proclaimed it to the universe as it rose into being. Creation stood up at the instant of its birth to do it homage. It [the universe] paused in adoration while God ushered forth its crowning work. Why that dread pause and that creating arm held back in mid career, and that high conference in the godhead?

    “Let us make man in OUR IMAGE, after OUR LIKENESS, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.” [Genesis 1:26].

    Ed. Note: This is the “original grant” concept, reaffirmed in Psalm 8:6-8 and Hebrews 2:6-8. A concept unfamiliar to most modern readers, this concept was then widely known. The Divinity granted people equality of rule, rule over nature, but not rule over other people. For background on the “original grant,” see, e.g.,
  • Rev. James Rankin, Letters (1823), p 100
  • James Birney, Bulwarks (1840), p 29
  • Lysander Spooner, Slavery (1845), p 14
  • Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Forlorn Hope (1847), p 8
  • Rev. John Fee, Non-Fellowship (1849), p 6
  • Rev. John G. Fee, Sinfulness of Slavery (1851), p 10
  • Rev. John Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), p 116
  • Sen. Charles Sumner, Barbarism (1860), p 132
  • Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Acts (1883), p 365.
  • Matthew 19:8 (the duty in the New Covenant Era / Dispensation, to follow the Divinity's original intent)
  • the Selden - Luther analysis.
  • Then, while every living thing, with land, and sea, and firmament, and marshalled worlds, waited to swell [participate in] the [happy] shout [praise] of [the Job 38:7] morning stars—then “God created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE; IN THE IMAGE OF GOD created he him.” [Gen. 1:27.] This solves the problem, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD CREATED HE HIM.

    This distinction is often repeated. In Gen. i. 26-28, it is expressed in various forms. In Gen. v. 1, we find it again, “IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD MADE HE HIM.” In Gen. ix. 6, again. After giving license to shed the blood of “every moving thing that liveth,” it is added,

    Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for IN THE IMAGE OF GOD MADE HE MAN.”

    As though it had been said, “All these creatures are your property, designed for your use—they have the likeness of earth,


    their spirits go downward; but MAN has my own likeness: IN THE IMAGE OF GOD made I man; an intelligent, immortal agent, invited to all that I can give and he can be.” So in Lev. xxiv. 17, 18, 21,

    “He that killeth any MAN shall surely be put to death; and he that killeth a beast shall make it good, beast for beast; and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.”

    So in Ps. viii. 5, 6, is an enumeration of particulars, each separating infinitely MEN from brutes and things!

  • 1. “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.” Slavery drags him down among brutes.

  • 2. “And hast crowned him with glory and honor.” Slavery tears off his crown, and puts on a yoke.

  • 3. “Thou madest him to have dominion* OVER the works of thy hands.” Slavery breaks his sceptre, and casts him down among those
  • ________________________
    * In Gen. i. 28, God says to man, “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth,” thus vesting in every human heing the right of ownership over the earth, its prodncts and animal life, and in each human being the same right.

    By so doing God prohibited the exercise of ownership by man over man; for the grant to all men of equal ownership, forestalled the exercise of ownership over each other, as whoever is the owner of a man, is the owner of his right of property—in other words, when one man becomes the property of another his rights become such too, his [God-given] right of property is transferred to his “owner,” and thus as far as himself is concerned, is annihilated [destroyed].

    Finally, by originally investing all men with dominion or ownership over property, God proclaimed the right of all to exercise it, and pronounced every man who takes it away a robber of the highest grade [worst sort]. Such is every slaveholder.


    works—yea, beneath them.

  • 4. “Thou hast put all things under his feet.” Slavery puts HIM under the feet of an “owner.”

    Who, but an impious scorner, dare thus mutilate the IMAGE of his Maker, and blaspheme the Holy One, who saitb, “Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye did it unto ME?” [Matthew 25:40].

    In prosecuting tbis inquiry, the Patriarchal and Mosaic systems will be considered together, as each reflects light upon the other, and as many regulations of the latter are mere legal forms of institutions previously existing. Whatever were the usages of the patriarchs, God has not made them our exemplars.*

    The question to be settled by us is not what were Jewish customs, but what were the rules that God gave for their regulation.

    Ed. Note: This is the standard distinction between behavior vs. commandments, Matthew 15:3, 6, 9 and Mark 7:6-9, 13; and customs vs laws.

    Before analyzing the condition of servants under these two states of society, we will consider the import of certain terms which describe the mode of procuring them.
    * Those who insist that the patriarchs held slaves, and sit with such delight under their [alleged] shadow, hymning the praises of “those good old slaveholders and patriarchs,” might at small cost greatly augment their numbers. A single stanza celebrating patriarchal concubinage, winding off with a chorus on honor of patriarchal drunkenness, would be a trumpet-call, summoning from brothel, bush, and brake, highway and hedge, and sheltering fence, a brotherhood of kindred affinities, each claiming Abraham or Noah as his patron saint!



    As the Israelites were commanded to “buy” [hire, pay vs not-pay] their servants, and as Abraham had servants “bought [hired] with money,” it is argued that servants were articles of property! The sole ground for this belief is the terms themselves!

    What a gain [he says sarcastically], if, in discussion, the thing to be proved were always assumed! To beg the question in debate saves the trouble of proving it. Instead of investigation into Scripture usage to settle the meaning of terms, let every man interpret the oldest book in the world by the usages [word-meanings] of his own time [era] and place, and the work is done! Every man would have an infallible clue to the mind of the Spirit, in the dialect of his own neighborhood!

    Suppose we take it for granted that the sense in which words are now used is the inspired sense.

    [Example:] David says, “I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried.” [Psalm 119:147.] What, stop the earth in its revolution [tracks]! Two hundred years ago, prevent was used in its strict Latin sense, to come before, or anticipate. David's expression in the English of the nineteenth century, would be, "Before the dawning of the morning, I cried."

    In the Bible [with vocabulary of from about 1400 B.C.E. - 100 C.E.], many words are used in a sense now nearly, or quite obsolete, and sometimes in a sense totally opposite to their present meanning. A few examples follow: “I purposed to come to you, but was let (hindered) hitherto.”[Romans 1:13]—“And the four beasts (living ones) fell down, and worshipped God.”[Revelation 19:4]—“Whosoever shall offend (cause to sin) one of these little ones.”[Matthew 18:6]—“Go out into the highways, and compel


    (urge) them to come in.”[Luke 14:23]—“Only let your conversation (habitual conduct) be as becometh the Gospel.”[Philippians 1:27]—“The Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick (living) and the dead.”[2 Timothy 4:1]—“They that seek me early (earnestly) shall find me.”[Proverbs 8:17]—“So when tribulation or persecution ariseth by and by (immediately), they are offended." [Matthew 13:21].

    Nothing is more mutable than language. Words, like bodies, are always throwing off particles, and absorbing others. So long as they are mere representatives, elected by universal suffrage, their meaning will be a perfect volatile, and to cork it up, expecting to keep it from evaporation for centuries, is an employment sufficiently silly for slaveholding doctors of divinity.

    Was there ever a shallower conceit than that of establishing the sense [meaning] attached to a word centuries ago, by showing what it means now? Pity that fashionable mantuamakers were not a little quicker at taking hints from some [vile] Doctors of Divinity! How easily they might save their pious customers all qualms of conscience about fashionable exposures, by proving that the last importation of Parisian indecency, now showing off on promenade, was the very style of dress in which the modest Sarah kneaded cakes for the angels!

    Ed. Note: Perhaps alluding to slavers' gratifications as detailed by, e.g., Rev. John Rankin, Letters (1823), p 33.

    The inference, tbat the word buy, used to describe the procuring [hiring] of servants [employees], means procuring them as chattels, assumes that whatever costs moneyis money; that whatever or whoever you pay money for, is an article of property, and the fact of your paying for it proves it property.

  • 1. The children of Israel were required to purchase their first-born from under the obligations of the priesthood, Num. xviii. 15, 16; iii.
  • -32-

    45-51; Ex. xiii. 13; xxxiv. 20. This custom still exists among the Jews, and the word buy is still used to describe the transaction. Does this prove that their first-born were, or are held as property? They were bought as really as were servants.

  • 2. The Israelites were required to pay money for their own souls. [Exodus 30:12-13]. This is called sometimes a ransom, sometimes an atonement. Were their souls therefore marketable commodities?

  • 3. When the Israelites set apart themselves or their children to the Lord by vow, for the performance of some service, an express statute provided that a price should be set upon the "persons," and it prescribed the manner and terms of the "estimation" or valuation, by the payment of which the persons might be bought off from the service vowed. The price for males from one month old to five years was five shekels [shekel = about 5/8 ounce], for females three; from five years old to twenty, for males, twenty shekels, for females ten; from twenty years old to sixty, for males, fifty shekels, for females thirty; about sixty years old, for males, fifteen shekels, for females ten. Lev. xxvii. 2-8. Were these descriptions of persons goods and chattels, because they were bought, and their prices regulated by law?

  • 4. Bible saints bought their wives. Boaz bought Ruth. "Moreover, Ruth, the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased (bought) to be my wife." Ruth iv. 10.*
  • ________________________
    * In the verse preceding, Boaz says, "I have bought all that was Elimelech's * * * of the hand of Naomi." In the original, the same word (kànà) is used in both verses. In the 9th, "a parcel of land" is "bought," in the l0th a


    Hosea bought his wife. “So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer [eight bushels] of barley, and an half homer [four bushels] of barley.” Hosea iii. 2.
  • Jacob bought his wives, Rachel and Leah, and paid for them in labor. Gen. xxix. 15-23.

  • Moses probably bought bis wife in the same way, as tbe servant of her father.*   Exod. ii. 21.

  • Shechem, when negotiating with Jacob and his sons for Dinab, says, “Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me.” Gen. xxxiv. 11, 12.

  • David purchased Michal, and Othniel Achsah, by performing perilous services for the fathers of the damsels. 1 Sam. xviii. 25-27; Judg. i. 12, 13.
  • That the purchase of wives, either with money or by services, was the general practice, is plain from such passages as Ex. xxii. 17, and 1 Sam. xviii. 25. Among tbe modern Jews this usage exists, though now a mere form. Yet among their marriage ceremonies is one called “marrying by the penny.”

    The similarity in the methods of procnring wives and servants, in the terms employed in describing the transactions, and in the prices paid for each is worthy of
    “wife” is “bought.” If the Israelites had been as profound at [alleged] inferences as our modern commentators, they would have put such a fact as this to the rack till they had tortured out of it a divine warrant for holding their wives as property and specalating in the article whenever it happened to be scarce.

    * This custom still prevails in some eastern countries. The Crim Tartars, when poor, serve an apprenticeship for their wives, during which they live under the same roof with them, and at the close of it are adopted into the family.


    notice. The highest price of wives (virgins) and servants was the same. Comp. Deut. xxii. 28, 29, and Ex. xxii. l7, with Lev. xxvii. 2-8 [50 shekels]. The medium price of wives and servants was the same. Comp. Hos. iii. 2, with Ex. xxi. 32 [30 shekels]. Hosea seems to have paid one-half in money [15 shekels] and tbe other half in grain [12 bushels of barley].

    Further, the Israelitish female bought-servants were wives, their husbands and masters being the same persons. Ex. xxi. 8, Judg. xix. 3, 27.

    If buying servants proves them property, buying wives proves them property. Why not [he asks sarcastically] contend that the wives of the ancient fathers of the faithful were their “chattels,” and used as ready change at a pinch; and thence deduce the rights of modern husbands?

    This use of the word buy is not peculiar to the Hebrew. In the Syriac, the common expression for "the espoused" is "the bought." Even so late as the 16th century, the common record of marriages in the old German Chronicles was, "A BOUGHT B."

    The word translated buy is like other words, modified by the nature of the subject to wbich it is applied.

  • Eve said, “I have gotten (bought) a man from the Lord.” She named him Cain, that is, bought. [Genesis 4:1].

  • “He that heareth reproof, getteth (buyeth) understanding.” Prov. xv. 32.

  • So in Isa. xi. 11. “The Lord shall set his hand again to recover (to buy) the remnant of his people.”

  • So Ps. lxxviii. 54. “He brought them to his mountain which his right hand had purchased,” (gotten.)

  • Neh. v. 8. “We of our ability have redeemed (bought) our brethren the Jews, that were sold unto the heathen.” Here “bought” is not applied to persons reduced to servitude, but to those
  • -35-

    taken out of it. Prov. viii. 22. “The Lord possessed (bought) me in the beginning of his way.”

  • Prov. xix. 8. “He that getteth (buyeth) wisdom loveth his own soul.”

    Finally, to buy is a secondary meaning of the Hebrew word kànà.

    Even at this day [1830's], the word buy is used to describe the procuring of servants, where slavery is abolished. In the British West Indies, where slaves became apprentices in 1834, they are still (1837) “bought.” This is the current word in West India newspapers.

    Ten years since servants were “bought” in New York, and still are in New Jersey, as really as in Virginia, yet the different senses in which the word is used in these States put no man in a quandary. Under the system of legal indenture in Illinois, servants now are “bought.”*   Until recently, immigrants to this country were "bought" in great numbers. By voluntary contract they engaged to work a given time to pay for their passage. This class of persons, called "redemptioners," consisted at onc time of thousands.

    Multitudes are "bought" out of slavery by themselves or others. Under the same roof with the writer is a “servant bonght with money.” A few weeks since [ago], she was a slave; when “bought,” she was a slave no longer. Alas! for venal politicians; if “buying” men makes them “chattels.” The histories of the revolu-
    * The following statute is now in force in the free State of IIlinois: “No negro, mulatto, or Indian, shall at any time purchase any servant other than of their own complexion; and if any of the persons aforesaid shall presume to purchase a white servant, such servant shall immediately become free, and shall be so held, deemed and taken.”


    tion tell us that Benedict Arnold was “bought” by British gold, and that Williams, Pauldings, and Van Wert could not be “bought” by Major Andre. When a nortbern clergyman marries a rich southern widow, country gossip thus hits it off, “The cotton bags bought him.” Sir Robert Walpole said, “Every man has his priee, and whoever will pay it can buy him,” and John Randolph said, “The northern delegation is in the market; give me money enough, and I can buy them.” Yet we have no floating visions of “chattels personal,” man-auctions, or coffles.

    In Connecticut, town-paupers are “bought” by those who become responsible to the town for their support. If these “bought” persons labor for those who “buy” them, it is wholly voluntary. They are in no sense the “property” of their purchasers.*

    The transaction between Joseph and the Egyptians gives a clue to the use of “buy” and “bought with money.” Gen. xlvii. 18-26. The Egyptians proposed to Joseph to become servants. “Buy us,” said they. When the bargain was closed, Joseph said,
    * The “select-men” of each town annually give notice, that they will sell the poor of said town. The persons thus “sold” are “bought” by such persons, approved by the “select-men,” as engage to furnish them with sufficient food, clothing, medicine, &c., for such a sum as the parties may agree upon. The Connecticut papers frequently contain advertisements like the following:—

    “NOTICE—The poor of the town of Chatham will be SOLD on the first Monday in April, 1837, at the house of F. Penfield, Esq., at 9 o'clock in the forenoon.”—Middleton Sentinel, Feb. 3, 1837.


    “Behold, I have bought you this day.” Neither party regarded the persons bought as property, but as bound to labor on certain conditions, to pay for their support during the famine. This buying of services (in this case it was but one-fifth part) is called in Scripture usage, buying the persons.

    Ed. Note: The modern term is "hiring."

    This case [of people hiring themselves out] claims special notice, as it is the only one where the whole transaction of buying servants is detailed—the preliminaries, the process, the mutual acquicscence, and the permanent relation resulting therefrom. In all other instances, the fact is stated without particulars. In this, the whole process is laid open.

  • 1. The persons “bought” [hired] sold themselves, and of their own accord [agreed to be hired].

  • 2. Paying for the permanent service of persons, or even a portion of it, is called “buying” those persons; just as paying for the use of land or houses for a number of years is called in Scripture usage, buying them. See Lev. xxv. 28, 33, and xxvii. 24.
  • The [pro-slavery] objecter [to this analysis] takes it for granted [assumes, pretends, falsely asserts without evidence] that servants were bought of third persons; and thence infers that they were articles of property. Both are sheer assumptions. No instance is recorded, under the Mosaic system, in which a master sold his servant.

    That servants who were “bought” sold themselves is a fair inference from various passages of Scripture.*
    * Those who insist that the servants which the Israelites were commanded to buy of “the heathen which were round about,” were to be bought of third persons, charge God with the inconsistency of affirming the right of those persons to freedom, upon whom, say they, he pronounced the doom of slavery. For they tell us that the sentence of death uttered against those heathen was commuted into slavery. Now if


    In Leviticus xxv. 47, the case of the Israelite, who became the servant of the stranger, the words are, “If he SELL HIMSELF unto the stranger.” Yet the 51st verse informs us that this servant was “BOUGHT,” and that the price of his purchase was paid to himself.

    The same word, and the same form of the word, which, in verse 47, is rendered sell himself, is, in verse 39 of the same chapter, rendered be sold; in Deut. xxviii. 68, the same word is rendered “be sold.”

    “And there ye shall BE SOLD unto your enemies for bond-men and bond-women, and NO MAN SHALL BUY YOU.

    How could they "be sold" without being bought? Our [pro-slavery] translation makes it nonsense. The word Màkar rendered “be sold” is used here in the Hithpael conjugation, which is generally reflexive in
    “the heathen round about” were doomed to slavery, the sellers were doomed as well as the sold.

    Where did the sellers get their right to sell? God, by commanding the Israelites to BUY, affirmed the right of somebody to sell, and that the ownership of what was sold existed somewhere; which riqht and ownership he commanded them to recognize.

    Where then did the heathen sellers get their right to sell, since they were doomed to slavery equally with those whom they sold?

    Did God's decree vest in them a right to others while it annulled their right to themselves? If one part of “the heathen round about” were already held as slaves by the other part, such of course were not doomed to slavery, for they were already slaves.

    So also, if those heathen who held them as slaves had a right to hold them, which right God commanded the Israelites to buy out, surely these slaveholders were not doomed hy God to be slaves; for, according to the objector, God had himself affirmed their right to hold others as slaves, and commanded his people to respect it.


    its force, and, like the middle voice in Greek, represents what an individual does for himself, and [so Deut. 28:68] should manifestly have been rendered [translated], "Ye shall offer yourselves for sale, and there shall be no purchaser."

    For a clue to Scripture usage on this point, see

  • 1 Kings xxi. 20, 25: “Thou hast sold thyself to work evil.” “There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness.”

  • 2 Kings xvii. l7: “They used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil.”

  • Isa. 1. 1: “For your iniquities have ye sold yourselves.”

  • Isa. lii. 3: “Ye have sold yourselves FOR NOUGHT, and ye shall be redeemed without money.”
  • See also, Jer. xxxiv. 14; Rom. vii. 14, vi. 16; John, viii. 34, and the case of Joseph and the Egyptians, already quoted.

    In the purchasc of wives, it is generally stated that they were bought of third persons. If servants were bought of third persons, it is strange that no instance of it is on record.

    Ed. Note: See introduction, the Israelite agricultural and land system meant there was no reason for anyone to hire himself out. Marriages would of course be a normal occurrence.

    Let us now inquire into the condition of servants under the patriarchal and Mosaic Systems.


    The design of the laws defining the relations of master [employer] and servant [employee] was the good of both parties—more especially that of the servants [employees]. While the master's [employer's] interests were guarded from injury, those of the servants were promoted. These laws made a merciful provision for the [hypothetical] poorer classes, both of the Israelites and strangers, not laying on burdens, but lifting them—they were a grant of privileges.

    Ed. Note: For background on Israel's wealth and agricultural system, see introduction.


    I. BUYING SERVANTS WAS REGARDED AS A KINDNESS TO THE PERSONS BOUGHT [hired], and as establishing between them and their purchasers [employers] a bond of affection and confidence. This is plain from the frequent use of the custom to illustrate the love and care of God for his people. Deut. xxxii. 6 ; Ex. xv. 16; Ps. lxxiv. 2; Prov. viii. 22.

    II. NO STRANGER COULD JOIN THE FAMILY OF AN ISRAELITE WITHOUT BECOMING A PROSELYTE. Compliance with this condition was the price of the privilege. Gen. xvii. 9-14, 23, 27. In other words, to become a servant was virtually to become an Israelite.*   Was then the relation of a proselyted servant to his master a sentence consigning to punishment, or a ticket of admission to privileges?

    III. EXPULSION FROM THE FAMILY WAS THE DEPRIVATION OF A PRIVILEGE, IF NOT A PUNISHMENT. When Sarah took umbrage at the conduct of Hagar and Ishmael, “She said unto Abraham, Cast out this bond-woman and her son.”
    * * And “Abraham
    * The rites by which a stranger became a proselyte transformed him into a Jew. Compare 1 Chron. ii. 17, with 2 Sam. xvii. 25. In Esther viii. 17, it is said, “Many of the people of the land became Jews.” In the Septuagint, the passage is thus rendered, “Many of the heathen were circumcised and hecame Jews.” The incorporation of the proselytes with the Hebrews is shown by such passages as Isa. lvi. 6, 7, 8; Eph. ii. 11, 22 ; Num. x. 29-32.

    Calmet, Art. Proselyte, says, “They were admitted to all the prerogatives of the people of the Lord.”

    Ed. Note: Reference: Augustin Calmet (1672-1757), Dictionnaire Historique, Critique, Chronologique, Geographique et Litteral de la Bible (Paris: Chez Emery, 1730); transl. Dictionary of the Holy Bible: Historical, Critical, Geographical, and Etymological: With an Ample Chronological Table of the History of the Bible, Jewish Calendar, Tables of the Hebrew Coins, Weights and Measures (Charlestown [Mass.]: Samuel Etheridge, 1812; London: C. Taylor, 1823; Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1832; London: Holdsworth & Ball, 1835), etc.

    Mohommed doubtless borrowed from the laws and usages of the Jews, his well known regulation for admitting proselytes to all civil and religious privileges.


    took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar and the child, and sent her away.” Gen. xxi. 10, 14. In Luke xvi. 1-8, our Lord tells us of the steward or head servant [executive employee] of a rich man who defrauded his master, and was [about to be] excluded from his household. The servant, anticipating such a punishment, says, “I am resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.”

    The case of Gehazi appears to be similar. He was guilty of fraud and of deliberate lying, on account of which Elisha seems to have discarded him. 2 Kings v. 20-27. If a servant neglected any ceremonial rite, and was on that acconnt excommunicated from the congregation of Israel, it excluded him also from the family of an Israelite. In other words, he could be a servant no longer than he was an Israelite. To forfeit the latter distinction involved the forfeiture of the former privilege.

    IV. THE HEBREW SERVANT COULD COMPEL HIS MASTER TO KEEP HIM. When the six years' contract had expired, if the servant demanded it, the law obliged the master to retain him permanently, however little he might need his services. Deut. xv. 12-17; Ex. xxi. 2-6. This shows that the system was framed to advance the interests of the servant.


    VI. THEY WERE GFESTS AT ALL NATIONAL AND FAMILY FESTIVALS. Ex. xii. 43-44; Deut. xii. 12, 18, xvi. 10-16.



    -35; 2 Chron xvii. 8-9, xxxv. 3, and xxxiv. 30; Neh. viii. 7, 8.

    VIII. THEY WERE RELEASED FROM THEIR REGULAR LABOR NEARLY ONE-HALF OF THE WHOLE TIME. During which tbey had their support, and the same instruction that was provided for the other members of the Hebrew community. The law secured to them—

  • 1. 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 rest.

  • 2. Every seventh day. This in forty-two years, the eighth being subtracted from the fifty, would amount to just six years.

  • 3. The three annual festivals. Ex. xxiii. 17;
  • xxxiv. 23. 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 of the 3d month, and lasted seven days. Deut. 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 [the Temple], 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
  • -43-

    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.

    4. 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.

    5. The feast of trumpets. On the first day of the seventh month, and of the civil year. Lev. xxiii. 24, 25.

    6. The atonement day. On the tenth of the seventh month. Lev. xxiii. 27.

    These two feasts would consume not less than sixty-five days not rcckoned above.

    Thus it appears that those who continued servants during the period between the [50-year] jubilees were by law released from their labor, TWENTY-THREE YEARS AND SIXTY-FOUR DAYS OUT OF FIFTY YEARS.

    Ed. Note: The Bible Society Management Laws system, commanding an agrarian lifestyle, thus meant a minimum of over 46% of the time on “vacation.” Moreover, then "the life of a laborer left plenty of leisure," says Prof. Ernest Renan, The Apostles (1866), p 92. "The Mosaic code being essentially moral . . . naturally produced a social Utopia," p 106.   And, in addition:

    In this calculation we have left out those numerous local festivals to which frequent allusion is made, Judg. xxi. 19; 1 Sam. ix. 12, 22, etc., and the various family festivals, such as at the weaning of children; at marriages; at sheep shearings; at circumcisions; at the making of covenants, &c., to which reference is often made, as in 1 Sam. xx. 6, 28, 29.

    Neither have we included the festivals instituted at a later period—the feast of Purim, Esth. ix. 28, 29; and of the Dedication, which lasted eight days. John x. 22; 1 Mac. iv. 59.


    Finally [bottom-line], the Mosaic system secured to servants an amount of time which, if distributed, would be almost ONE-HALF OF THE DAYS IN EACH YEAR. Meanwhile, they were supported, and furnished with opportunities of instruction.

    Ed. Note: Vacation time off was of course for everybody; the Mosaic 50% vacation-time system meant, unlike the modern wage system, with mere weeks vacation per year, approaching six months—about half the time off!!
    Contrary to popular opinion, and the big-business-oriented, modern jobs system of industry and commerce, the Mosaic system was a light and easy one. Matthew 11:30.
    The Bible Agrarian Laws System prevents the oppression, abuses, harassments, lay-offs, recessions, depressions, unemployment, anti-family, family-separating, and multiple other evils of the modern business jobs system. See Leviticus 26:14-43 and Deuteronomy 28:15-68, for more examples of evils resulting from rejecting the Bible's agrarian society-management laws. For example, verse 68 warns of unemployment as a result of abandoning the Bible agrarian laws system.
    Benefits of adhering to the agrarian laws system are listed at Leviticus 26:1-13 and Deuteronomy 28:1-14, e.g., prosperity, food surplus, peace vs war, crime-free, superior health, disease-free, full employment as agrarians, no birth defects, and debt-free. For more details, click here.
    'By their fruits you know them, with the good system preferred and the bad-effects-producing system to be destroyed.' Matthew 7:16-20, Matthew 12:33, Luke 3:9, Luke 6:43-45, Zechariah 14:21, Revelation 18:11-21).
    Many "fruits" of the modern business-oriented lifestyle are evil. Thus the system producing such fruits, is banned, precluded, prevented, by the Bible's agrarian laws system.

    The service of national servants or tributaries was regulated upon the same benevolent principle, and secured to them TWO-THIRDS of the whole year. “A month they were in Lebanon, and two months they were at home.” 1 Kings, v. 13-15. Compared with 2 Chron. 11, I7-l9, viii. 7-2; 1 Kings, ix. 20, 22.

    The regulations for the inhabitants of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kirjah-jearim (afterwards called Nethinims), must have secured to them nearly the whole of their time. If, as is probable, they served in courses corresponding to those of the priests whom they assisted, they were in actual service less than one month annually.


    Proof.—“Judge righteously between every man and his brother, and THE STRANGER THAT IS WITH HIM.” “Ye shall not RESPECT PERSONS in judgment, but ye shall hear the SMALL as well as the great.” Deut. i. 16, 19.

    Also Lev. xix, 15; xxiv. 22. “Ye shall have one manner of law as well for the STRANGER, as for one of your own country.”

    So Num. xv. 29. “Ye shall have ONE LAW for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel and for the STRANGER that sojourneth among them.”

    Deut. xxvii. 19. “Cursed be he that PER-


    VERTETH THE JUDGMENT 0F THE STRANGER.”*   Deut. xxvii. 19.


    “The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself.” Lev. xix. 34.

    “For the Lord your God * * REGARDETH NOT PERSONS. He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and LOVETH THE STRANGER, in giving him food and raiment: LOVE YE THEREFORE THE STRANGER.” Deut. x. 17, 19.

    “Thou shalt neither vex a STRANGER nor oppress him.” Ex. xxii. 21.

    “Thou shalt not oppress a STRANGER, for ye know the heart of a stranger.” Ex. xxiii. 9.

    “If thy brother be waxen poor, thou shalt relieve him, yea, though he be a STRANGER or sojourner, that he may live with thee: take thou no usury of him or increase, but fear thy God.” Lev. xxv. 35, 36.
    * In a work entitled, “Instruction in the Mosaic Religion,” by Professor Johlson, of the Jewish Seminary at Frankfort-on-the-Main, translated into English by Rabbi Leeser, we find the following.-Sec. 165.

    “Question. Does holy writ anywhere make a difference between the Israelite and the other who is no Israelite, in those laws and prohibitions which forbid us the committal of anything against our fellow men?”

    “Answer. Nowhere do we find a trace of such a difference. See Lev. xix. 33-36.

    “God says thou shalt not murder, steal, cheat, &c. In every place the action itself is prohibited as beîng an abomination to God without respect to the persons against whom it is committed.”

    Ed. Note: Bibliographic citation for Johlson's book: Joseph Johlson (1777-1851), transl. by Isaac Leeser, Instruction in the Mosaic Religion (Philadelphia: A. Waldie, 1830; reprinted, 1978; and reprinted, Philadelphia: Jones & Thacher, 1864 and 1867).


    XI. SERVANTS WERE PLACED UPON A LEVEL WITH THEIR MASTERS IN ALL CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS. Num. xv. 15, 16, 29; ix. 14; Deut. i. 16, 17; Lev. xxiv. 22.

    To these may be added that numerous class of passages which represents God as regarding alike the natural rights of all men, and making for all an equal provision. Such as, 2 Chron. xix. 7; Prov. xxiv. 23, xxviii. 21; Job. xxxiv. 19; 2 Sam. xiv. 14; Acts x. 35; Eph. vi. 9.

    Finally—With such watchful jealousy did the Mosaic Institutes guard the rights of servants, as to make the fact of a servant's escape from his master presumptive evidence that his master had oppressed him; they annulled his master's authority over him, gave him license to go wherever he pleased, and commanded all to protect him. Deut. xxiii. 15, 16.


    We argue that they became servants [employees] of their own accord, because,

    1. TO BECOME A SERVANT WAS TO BECOME A PROSELYTE. He was required to abjure idolatry, to enter into covenant with God,*   be circumcised in token of
    * [Moses] Maimonides [1135-1204], a contemporary with [Rabbi Solomon] Jarchi [1040-1105], standing with him at the head of Jewish writers, gives the following testimony on this point:-

    “Whether a servant be born in the power of an Israelite, or whether he be purchased [hired] from the heathen, the master is to bring them both into the covenant.

    “But he that is in the house is entered on the eighth day,


    it, be bound to keep the Sabbath, the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, and to receive instruction in the moral and ceremonial law. Were the servants forced through all these processes? Was the renunciation of idolatry compulsory? Were they dragged into covenant with God? Were they seized and circumeised by main strength? Were they compelled to eat the flesh of the Paschal lamb, while they abhorred the institution of the Passover, spurned the laws that enjoined it, detested its author and its executors, and, instead of rejoicing in the deliverance which it commemorated, bewailed it as a calamity,
    and he that is bought with money, on the day on which his master receives him, unless the slave be unwilling. For if the master receive a grown slave, and he be unwilling, his master is to bear with him, to seek to win him over by instruction, and by love and kindness, for one year. After which, should he refuse so long, it is forbidden to keep him longer than a year. Aud the master must send him back to the strangers from whence he came. For the God of Jacob will not accept any other than the worship of a willing heart."—Maimon., Hilcoth Miloth, Chap. 1, Sec. 8.

    The Jewish Doctors [theologians] assert that the servant from the strangers who at the close of his probationary year, refused to adopt the Jewish religion and was on that account sent back to his own people, received a full compensation for his services, besides the payment of his expenses.

    But that postponement of the circumcision of the foreign servant for a year (or even at all after he had entered the family of an Israelite) of which the Mishnic doctors speak, seems to have been a mere usage [tradition of men]. We find nothing of it in the regulations [laws] of the Mosaic System. Circumcision was manifestly a rite strictly initiatory. Whether it was a rite merely national or spiritual, or both, comes not within the scope of this inquiry.


    and cursed the day of its consummation? Were they driven from all parts of the land three times in the year to the annual festivals? Were they goaded through a round of ceremonies, to them senseless and disgusting mummeries; and drilled into the technics of a creed rank with loathed abominations? Did God authorize his people to make proselytes, by the terror of pains and penalties? by converting men into merchandise? Were proselyte and chattel synonymes in the Divine vocabulary? Was a man to be sunk to a thing before taken into covenant with God?

    II. THE SURRENDER OF FUGITIVE SERVANTS TO THEIR MASTERS WAS PROHIBITED. “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates where it liketh him best; thou shalt not oppress him.” Deut. xxiii. 15, 16.

    As though God had said, “To deliver him up would be to recognize the right of the master to hold him; his fleeing shows his choice, proclaims his wrongs and his title to protection; you shall not force him back, and thus recognize the right of the master to hold him in such a condition as impels him to flee to others for protection.”

    It may be said that this command referred only to the servants of heathen masters in the surrounding nations. We answer: the terms of the command are unlimited.

    Besides the [pro-slavery] objection merely shifts the difficulty. Did God require them to protect the free choice of a single servant from the heathen, and yet authorize the same persons to crush the free choice of thousands from the heathen? Suppose a


    case. A foreign servant escapes to the Israelites; God says, “He shall dwell with thee, in that place which he shall choose.” Now, suppose tbis same servant, instead of coming into Israel of his own accord, had been dragged in by some kidnapper who bought him of his master; would He who forbade such treatment of the stranger, who voluntarily came into the land, sanction the same treatment of the same person, provided in addition to this last outrage, the previous one had been committed of forcing him into the nation against his will?

    To commit violence on the free choice of a foreign servant is, forsooth, a horrible enormity, provided you begin the violence after he has come among you! But if you commit the first act on the other side of the line, by buying him from a third person, and then tear him from home, drag him into the land of Israel, and hold him as a slave—ah! that alters the case, and you may perpetrate the violence now with impunity!

    Would greater favor have been shown to this new comer than to the old residents—those who had been servants in Jewish families perhaps for a generation? Were the Israelites commmanded to exercise towards him, uncircumcised and out of the covenant, a justice and kindness denied to the multitudes who were circumcised, and within the covenant?

    But suppose that the command respected merely the fugitives from the surrounding nations, wbile it left the servants of thc Israelites in a condition against their wills. In that case, they would adopt retaliatory measures, and become so many asylums for Jewish fugitives. As these nations were on every side of them, and in their midst, such a


    proclamation would have been an effectual lure to men held against their will. Besides, the command which protected the servant from the power of his foreign master, protected him equally from that of an Israelite. It was not merely, “Thou shalt not deliver him unto his master,” but “he shall dwell with thee, in that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best.” What was this but a proclamation, that all who chose to live in the land and obey the laws were left to dispose of their services at such a rate, to such persons, and in such places as they pleased?

    Besides, grant that this command prohibited the sending back of foreign servants only, there was no law requiring the return of servants who had escaped from the Israelites. Property lost and cattle escaped they were required to return, but not escaped servants. These verses contain,

  • 1st, a command, "Thou shalt not deliver," &c.;

  • 2d, a declaration of the fugitive's right of free choice;

  • and 3d, a command guarding this right, namely, " Thou shalt not oppress him," as though God had said, "If ye restrain him from exercising his own choice, as to the place and condition of his residence, it is oppression, and shall not be tolerated."*
  • ________________________
    * Perhaps it may be objected that this view of Deut. xxiii. 15, 16, makes nonsense of Ex. xxi. 27, which provides that if a man strikes out his servant's tooth he shall let him go free. Small favor indeed if the servant might set himself free whenever he pleased! Answer—The former passage might remove the servant from the master's authority, without annulling the master's legal claims upon the servant, if he had paid him in advance aud had not received from him an


    III. THE SERVANTS HAD PECULIAR OPPORTUNITIES AND FACILITIES FOR ESCAPE. Three times a year, all the males over twelve years were required to attend the national feasts. They were thus absent from their homes not less than three weeks at each time. As these caravans moved, were there scouts lining the way, to intercept deserters?—a guard at each pass of the mountains, sentinels pacing the hilltops, and light-horse scouring the defiles?

    The Israelites must have [Weld says sarcastically] had some safe contrivance for taking their "slaves" three times in a year to Jerusalem and back.

    When a body of slaves is moved in our republic, they are handcuffed and chained together, to keep tbem from running away, or from beating their drivers' brains out. Was this the Mosaic plan, or an improvement introduced by Samuel, or was it left for the wisdom of Solomon? The usage, doubtless, claims a paternity not less venerable and biblical!

    Perhaps they were lashed upon camels, and transported in bundles, or caged up and trundled on wheels to and fro, and while at the Holy City, "lodged in jail for safe keeping," the Sanhedrim appointing special religious services for their benefit, and their "drivers" officiating at "ORAL instruction."

    Ed. Note: No police and no "jails" were authorized in the Bible legal system. Setting up jails would be itself slavery. Not an allowed act!
    In the ultra rare case of anyone committing an offense, there was proviso for accused persons to flee to "cities of refuge." Numbers 35:6, 11-15, 25-32; Joshua 20:2-3, 21:13, 21, 27, 32, 38. These were the cities of the clergy. Any wicked persons would thus be surrounded by moral leaders! Not, as in the "jail" system, by wicked people and secular guards!
    Crime was prevented by everyone being wealthy, each having own farmette, see introduction. Moreover, the 90% factor in crime, tobacco, did not exist, would have been deemed sinful.
    Establishing jails was banned. Attempting doing so would have been deemed an addition to the Mosaic Law. Additions were prohibited. Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Revelation 22:18.

    Meanwhile what became of the sturdy handmaids left at home? What hindered them from stalking off in a body? Perhaps the
    equivalent, and this equally, whether his master were a Jew or a Gentile. The latter passage, “He shall let him go free for his tooth's sake,” not only freed the servant from the master's authority, but also from any pecuniary claim which the master may have on account of having paid his wages in advance; and this as a compensation for the loss of a tooth.


    Israelitish matrons stood sentry in rotation round the kitchens, while the young ladies scoured the country, as mounted rangers, picking up stragglers by day, and patrolled the streets, keeping a sharp lookout at night!


    Suppose the servants from the heathen had, upon entering Jewish families, refused circumcision; if slaves, how simple the process of emancipation!

    Or, suppose they had refused to attend the annual feasts, or had eaten leavened bread during the Passover, or compounded the ingredients of the anointing oil, or had touched a dead body, a bone, or a grave, or in any way had contracted ceremonial uncleanness, and refused to be cleansed with the “water of separation,” they would have been “cut off from the people;” excommunicated. Ex. xii. 19; xxx. 33; Num. xix. 16.

    V. SERVANTS OF THE PATRIARCHS NECESSARILY VOLUNTARY. Abraham's servants are an illustration. At one time he had three hundred and eighteen young men “born in his house.” His servants of both sexes and all ages were probably MANY THOUSANDS.

    How did [elderly] Abraham and Sarah contrive to hold so many servants against their wills? Probably [Weld says sarcastically] the Patriarch and his wife “took turns” in surrounding them!

    The neighboring tribes, instead of constituting a picket guard to hem in his servants, would have been far more likely to sweep them and him into captivity, as they did Lot and his household. Besides, there was neither a “compact” to send back Abraham's fugi-


    tives, nor a truckling [subservient] police to pounce upon them [in disregard of the Constitution], nor gentlemen-kidnappers, suing for his patronage, boasting their blood-hound scent, and promising to hunt down and deliver up, provided they had a description of the “flesh marks,” and were suitably stimulated by pieces of silver.*

    Abraham seems also to have lacked all the auxiliaries of family government, such as stocks, hand-cuffs, yokes, gags, and tbumb-screws. Yet he faithfully trained “his household to do justice and judgment,” though so destitute of the needful aids.

    Job seems to have had thousands of servants [employees]. See Job. i. 3, 14-19, and xlii. 12. That they stayed with him of their own accord, the fact of their staying shows.

    Ed. Note: Job appears to have been Issachar's son (Genesis 46:13), and lived in the years about 1726 B.C.E. - 1516 B.C.E., i.e., some centuries before the Mosaic Covenant, i.e., prior to Israelites being each given a land-grant as delineated in Joshua, so as to make everyone an independent land-owner.

    Suppose the whole army [all his employees] had filed off before him, how could the patriarch have brought tbem to a halt? With his wife, seven sons, and three daughters, how soon he would have outflanked the fugitives,
    * The following is a standing newspaper advertisement of one of these professional man-catchers, a member of the New York bar, who plies his trade in the commercial emporium, sustained by the complacent greetings of “HONORABLE MEN!”

    “IMPORTANT TO THE SOUTH.—F. H. Pettis, being located in the City of New York, in the practice of law, announces to his friends and the public in general, that he has been engaged as Council and Adviser in General for a party whose business it is in the northern cities to arrest and secure run-away slaves. He has been thus engaged for several years, and invites post-paid communications to him, inclosing a fee of $20 in each case, and a power of attorney minutely descriptive of the party absconded, and if in the northern region, he or she will soon be had.

    “N. B. New York City is estimated to contain 5,000 run-away slaves. “PETTIS.”

    Ed. Note: New York State would have litigation against returning fugitive slaves: People v Lemmon, 5 Sand SCR 681; 7 N Y Super 681 (12 Nov 1852) aff'd 26 Barb 270, 287-289 (Dec 1857) aff'd 20 NY 562 (March 1860).


    and dragged each of them back to his wonted chain and staple.

    Besides, we have his own testimony that he had not “withheld from the poor their desire.” Job. xxxi. 16. Of course he could hardly have forced them to work for him against “their desire.”

    When Isaac sojourned in the country of the Philistines, he "had great store of servants." [Genesis 26:14]. And we have testimony that the Philistines hated and “envied” him. Of course, they would not volunteer to organize patrols to keep his servants from running away, and to drive back all found beyond the limits of his plantation without a “pass?” If Isaac's servants were held against their wills, who held them?

    The servants of the Jews, during the building of the wall of Jerusalem, may be included under this head. That they remained of their own accord we argue from the fact that circumstances made it impossible to compel their service. The Jews were few in number, without resources, defensive fortifications, or munitions of war, and surrounded by a host of foes, scoffing at their feebleness and inviting desertion. Yet the Jews put arms into the hands of their servants, and enrolled them as a night-guard, for the defence of the city. By engaging in this service, when they might all have marched over to the enemy, and been received with shoutings [rejoicing], they testified that their condition [employment] was one of their own choice. Neh. iv. 23.

    VI. NO INSTANCES OF ISRAELITISH MASTERS SELLING SERVANTS. Neither Abraham nor Isaac seems ever to have sold one, though they had “great store of servants.” [Genesis 26:14]. Jacob had a large number of servants [employees].


    Joseph invited him to come into Egypt, and to bring with him all that he had—“thou and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks and thy herds, and ALL THAT THOU HAST.” Gen. xlv. 10. Jacob took his flocks and herds, but no servants. Yet we are told that he “took his journey with all that he had.” Gen. xlvi. i.

    Joseph said to Pharaoh, “My father, and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come.” Gen. xlvii. 1. The servants, doubtless, served under their own contracts, and when Jacob went into Egypt, they chose to stay in their own country.

    The [thecratic, Mosaic] government might [after judication by designated priest(s)] sell [hire out] thieves, until their services had made good the injury, and paid the legal fine. Ex. xxii. 3. But masters seem to have had no power to sell their servants. To give the master a right to sell his servants would annihilate the servant's right of choice in his own disposal.

    But, says the objector, “to give the master a right to buy a servant, equally annihilates the servant's right of choice.” Answer. It is one thing to have a right to buy [hire] a man [by paying him], and quite another thing to have a right to buy him of another man [paying somebody else].

    Young females were bought of their fathers. But their purchase as servants was their betrothal as WIVES. Ex. xxi. 1, 8. “If a man sell his daughter to be a maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men-servants do. If she please not her master WHO HATH BETROTHED HER TO HIMSELF, he shall let her be redeemed.”*  
    * The comment of Maimonides on this passage is as follows: “A Hebrew handmaid might not be sold but to one who



    We infer that all the servants from the strangers were voluntary, since we have direct testimony that some of them were, “Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, OR OF THY STRANGERS that are in thy land within thy gates.” Deut. xxiv. 14.

    We learn from this that some of the servants from the strangers, were procured by the offer of wages to their free choice. Did the Israelites, when they went among the heathen to procure servants, take money in one hand and ropes in the other? Did they ask one man, and drag along another, in spite of his struggle? Knock for admission at one door, and break down the next? Did they go through one village with friendly salutations, offering wages as an inducement to engage in their service—while they prowled through the next, with a kidnapping posse, tearing from their homes all they could get within their clutches?


    We infer that the Hebrew servant was voluntary in COMMENCING his services, bccause he was so IN CONTINUING it. If, at the year of release, it was the servant's choice to remain with his master, the law required his ear to be bored by the judges, and his master was compelled to keep him. [Exodus 21:6].

    Ed. Note: No incident of this ever happening, is recorded. The Bible land system meant everyone was independently wealthy on their own farmette. Nobody is recorded as abandoning their land to go "get a job" to work for somebody else.
    Everyone understood the message, from the ear-hole rule, that wanting to work for somebody else, meant you must have a "hole in your head"! Naturally, nobody ever chose the absurd option, "getting a job."
    Everyone understood, God wants people independent, no "bosses" lording it over them, thus no job discrimination, pay abuses, harassment, pleadings for "time off," pension losses by management ineptness or fraud, etc., etc., the whole litany of abuses of the "job system" vs the "Bible agrarian system."
    The agrarian system with everyone having their own permanent farmette, also meant no unemployment, no poverty, no homelessness, no economic cycles of recession/depression undermining times of prosperity, near-zero rates of alcoholism and crime, etc.

    laid himself under obligations to espouse her to himself or to his son, when she was fit [old enough] to be betrohed.”—Maimonides—Hilcoth—Obedim, Ch. IV. Sec. XI. Jarchi, on the same passage, says, “He is bound to espouse her to be his wife, for the money of her purchase is the money of her espousal.”


    IX. THE MANNER OF PROCURING SERVANTS WAS AN APPEAL TO CHOICE. The Israelites might neither seize them by force, nor frighten them by threats [extortion], nor wheedle them by false pretences [fraud]; but they were to BUY them—that is, they were to [hire, to] recognize the right of the individuals to dispose of their own services, and their right to refuse all offers. Suppose all had refused to become servants, what provision did the Mosaic law make for such an emergency [contingency]? NONE.

    Ed. Note: Again, there is no record this ever happened. See note, p 57, as no motivation for this in the Bible agrarian farmette system.
    See also John 8:33 (denial of ever bondage in Israel).

    X. INCIDENTAL CORROBORATIVES. Various incidental expressions corroborate the idea that servants became such by their own contract. Job xli. 4, is an illustration, “Will he (Leviathan) make a COVENANT with thee? wilt thou take him for a SERVANT forever?”

    So Isa. xiv. 1, 2. “The strangers shall be joined with them (the Israelites), and they shall CLEAVE to the house of Jacob, and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids.”

    The transaction which made the Egyptians the SERVANTS OF PHARAOH was voluntary throughout. See Gen. xlvii. 18-26. “There is not aught left but our bodies and our lands; buy [hire] us;” then “We will be Pharaoh's servants [employees].”

    Ed. Note: This is in essence a government works project such as was done in the U.S.A. in the 1930's Great Depression.

    Our Lord's declaration in Luke xvi. 13, loses its pertinence on the supposition that servants did not become such by their own choice. “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.” Our Lord was a Jew. Wherever he went Jews were around him: whenever he spake, they were his auditors [audience]. His preaching and


    teaching were full of illustrations drawn from their own institutions. In the verse quoted, he illustrates the impossibility of their making choice of God as their portion, and becoming his servants while they choose the world, and are its servants.

    To make this clear, he refers to their own institution of domestic service [employment]. He reminds them of the impossibility of any person being the servant [employee] of two masters, as he will choose the service of the one, and spurn that of the other. “He shall hold to the one and despise (reject) the other.”

    As though our Lord had said, “No one can become the servant of another, when his will revolts from that service, and the conditions of it tend to make him hate the man.”

    Since the fact that the servant spurns one of two masters, makes it impossible for him to serve that one, if he spurned both, he could not serve either.

    So, also, if the fact that an individual did not “hold to” or choose the service of another, proves that he could not become his servant, then the question, whether he should become the servant of another was suspended on his own will. The phraseology of the passage shows that the choice of the servant decided the question. “He will HOLD TO the one”—hence there is no difficulty in the way of his serviug him; but “no servant can serve” a master whom he does not “hold to,” or cleave to. This is the sole ground of the impossibility asserted.

    The last clause of the verse is an application of the principle, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” In what does the impossibility of serving both God and the world consist? Solely in the fact, that the will which chooses the one refuses the other, and the affec-


    tions which “hold to” the one, reject the other. Thus the question, which of the two is to be served, is suspended upon the choice of the individual.

    XI. RICH STRANGERS DID NOT BECOME SERVANTS. Indeed, they bought and held [hired] Jewish servants [employees]. Lev. xxv. 47. Since rich strangers did not become servants, we infer that those who did [if any], became such not because they were strangers, but because they were poor—not because being heathens, they were compelled to become servants, but because on account of their poverty, they chose to thus better their condition.

    Ed. Note: This law (Lev. 25:47) said "if" they wished to do this. No record shows that anyone ever did, in view of Israel being an agrarian society, with everyone wealthy on their own farmette, so no motive to do this.

    XII. INSTANCES OF VOLUNTARY SERVANTS. Mention is often made of persons becoming servants who were manifestly VOLUNTARY. As the Prophet Elisha. 1 Kings xix. 21; 2 Kings iii. 11. Elijah was his master. 2 Kings ii. 5.

    The word translated master, is the same that is so rendered in almost every instance where masters are spoken of.

  • Moses was the servant of Jethro. Ex. iii. 1; iv. 10.

  • Joshua was the servant of Moses. Ex. xxxiii. 11; Num. xi. 28.

  • Jacob was the servant of Laban. Gen. xxix. 18-27.

    See also the case of the Gibeonites who voluntarily became servants, and performed service for the "house of God" throughout the subsequent Jewish history, were incorporated with the Israelites, registered in their genealogies, and of their own accord remained with them, and "clave" to them. Neh. x. 28, 29; xi. 3; Ez. vii. 7.

    Finally, in all the regulations respecting servants no expression is used indicating that servants were made, and held such by force. Add to this the


    absence of all the machinery, appurtenances and incidents of compulsion.

    Yoluntary service is in keeping with regulations which abounded in the Mosaic system, and is sustained by a multitude of analogies. Compulsory service could have harmonized with nothing, and would have been the solitary disturbing force, marring its design, counteracting its tendencies, and confusing and falsifying its types. The directions regulating the performance of service for the public lay great stress on the willingness of those employed. For the spirit of the Mosaic system in this respect, see 1 Chron. xxviii. 21; Ex. xxxv. 5, 21, 22, 29; 1 Chron. xxix. 5, 6, 9, 14, 17; Ex. xxv. 2; Judges v. 2; Lev. xxii. 29; 2 Chron. xxxv. 8; Ezra i. 6; Ex. xxxv.; Neh. xi. 2.*

    The voluntariness of servants is a natural inference from the fact that the Hebrew word ebèdh, uniformly rendered servant, is applied to many classes of persons, all of whom were voluntary and most of them eminently so. It is applied to persons rendering acts of worship about seventy times, whcreas it is applied to servants not more than half that number of times.

    The illustrations drawn from the condition of servants, and the ideas which the term is employed to convey when applied figuratively, would, in most
    * We should naturally infer that the directions which regulated service to individuals would proceed upon the same principle, in this respect, with those regulating service to the public. Otherwise, the Mosaic system would be divided against itself; its principles counteractiug and nullifying each other.


    instances, lose their force, and often become absurdities if the will of the servant resisted his service, and he performed it by compulsion. We give a single example: “To whom YE YIELD YOURSELVES servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey.” Rom. vi. 16. It would be difficult to assert the voluntariness of servants more strongly in a direct proposition than it is here done by implication.


    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 presupposes compensation as a motive. That they were paid for their labor, we argue—

    I. BECAUSE GOD REBUKED THE USING OF SERVICE WITHOVT WAGES. “Wo unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; THAT USETH HIS NETGHBOR'S SERVICE WITHOUT WAGES, AND GIVETH HIM NOT FOR HIS WORK.” Jer. xxii. 13.

    The Hebrew word reà, translated neighbor, means any one with whom we have to do—all descriptions of persons, even enemies while fighting us. See Deut. xxii. 26; Prov. xxv. 8; Ex. xx. 16; Ex. xxi. 14, &c. The doctrine inculcated in this passage is, that every man's labor, being his own property, he is entitled to the profit of it, and that for another to “use” it, without payiug him the value uf it, is “unrighteousness.” The last clause of the verse, “and giveth him not for his work,” reaffirms the same prin-


    ciple, that every man is to be paid for “his work.” In the context, the prophet contrasts the unrighteousness of those who used the labor of others without pay, with the justice practised by their patriarchal ancestor.

    “Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice; and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy. But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for oppression, and for violence to do it.” Jer. xxii. 15, 16, 17.*


    This is verbatim one of the laws of the Mosaic System. Lev. xix. 18. 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 [sarcastically] be a still stronger illustration of the law of love! And if it be doing unto others as we would
    * Paul says: “Masters, give unto your servants that which is JUST and EQUAL.” Col. iv. 1. Thus not only asserting the right of the servant and the duty of the master, but condemning all those relations hetween them which were not founded upon justice and equality of rights. James enforces the same principle. “Behold, the hire of the laborers, who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept hack by fraud, crieth." James v. 4. As though he had said, “wages are the right of laborers; this you refuse to render, and thus defraud them.” See also Mal. iii. 5.


    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 libel in Eph. v. 22:

    “No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it and cherisheth it.”

    III. SERVANTS WERE OFTEN WEALTHY. As persons became servants FROM POVERTY, we argue that they were compensated, since they frequently owned property, and sometimes a large amount. Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, gave David “two hundred loaves of bread, and a hundred bunches of raisins, and a hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.” 2 Sam. xvi. 1. He had twenty servants.

    In Lev. xxv. 47-49, where a servant, reduced to poverty, sold himself, it is declared that he may be redeemed, either by his kindred or by HIMSELF. Having been forced to sell himself [hire himself out] from poverty, he must have acquired considerable property after he became a servant.

    If it had not been common for servants to acquire property, the servant of Elisha would hardly have ventured to take a large sum of money (nearly $3000) from Naaman: 2 Kings v. 22, 23. As it was procured by deceit, he wished to conceal the means used in getting it; but if servants could “own nothing, nor acquire anything," to embark in such an enterprise would have been consummate stupidity. The fact of having in his possession two talents of silver would, of itself, convict him of theft.*   But since it was com-
    * Whoever heard of slaves stealing a large amount of money? When they steal, they are careful to do it on such a small scale, or in the taking of such things as will make


    mon for servants to own property, he might have, invest, or use it without attracting especial attention, and that alone wuld be a motive to the act. His master 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 with it 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 its being a resort of the king. 1 Kings xvi. 9.

    When Jacob became the servant of Laban, it was evidently from poverty; yet Laban said to him, Tell me, “what shall thy wages be?” After Jacob had been his servant for ten years, he proposed to set up for himself; but Laban said,
    detection difficult. No doubt they steal. Why shouldn't they follow in the footsteps of their masters and mistresses? Dull scholars indeed! if, after so mauy lessons from proficients in the art, they should not occasionally try their hand in a small way, the only permanent and general business carried on around them! Ignoble truly! never to imitate the “Honorables” and “Excellencies,” Doctors of Divinity, and Right and Very Reverends! Hear President Jefferson's testimony. In his [1787] Notes on Virginia pp. 207-8, speaking of slaves, he says,

    “That disposition to theft with which they have been branded might be ascribed to their situation [surrounded by white criminals], and not to any special depravity of the moral sense. It is a problem which I give the master to solve, whether the religious precepts [e.g., “thou shalt not steal”] against the violation of property were not framed for HIM as well as for his slave, and whether the slave may not as justifiably take a little from one who has taken ALL from him, as he may slay one who would slay him?”

    Ed. Note: Actually, blacks did not typically follow the low-morals, bad examples of their white masters. Blacks had a near crime-free record, a mere 1/5000 crime rate, said Virginia Governor Giles (cited by Rev. John G. Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual [1851], pp 165-166). The crime profile was "white male smoker," with a 1/322 criminal ratio.


    “Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.” During the twenty years that Jacob was a servant, he always worked for wages, and at his own price. Gen. xxix. 15, 18; xxx. 28-33.

    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 ownersbip of property.

    Again. The Israelites often hired servants from the strangers. Deut. xxiv. 17.

    Since then they give wages to a part of their Canaanitish servants, thus recognizing their right to a reward for their labor, we infer that they did not rob the rest of their earnings.

    If God gave them a license to make the strangers work for them without pay, what fools to pay wages when they could make the strangers work for nothing! Besides, by refusing to avall themselves of this “Divine license,” they despised the blessing, and cast contempt on the giver! But [writing sarcastically] perhaps the Israelites seized all the Canaanites they could lay their hands on, and forced them to work without pay, but not being able to catch enough, were obliged to offer wages in order to eke out the supply!
    * The Nethinims, which name was afterwards given to the Gibeonites on account of their being set apart for the service of the tabernacle, had their own houses and cities, and “dwelt every one in his own possession.” Neh. xi. 3, 21; Ezra ii. 70; 1 Chron. ix. 2.


    The parable in Mat. xviii. 23-34 derives its significance from the fact, that servants could own, owe, and earn property, and it would be made a mediey of contradictions on any other supposition.—

    1. Their lord at a set time proceeded to “take account” and “reckon” with his servants; the phraseology showing that the relations between the parties were tbose of debt and credit.

    2. One of his servants was found to owe him ten thousand talents. From the fact that the servant owed this to his master, we infer that he must have been the owner of that amount, or of its substantial equivalent; that having sustained the responsibilities of legal proprietorship, he was under the liabilities resulting therefrom.

    3. Not having, then, wherewith to pay, he says to his master, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” If the servant were his master's property, his time and earnings were [already] the master's; hence the promise to earu and pay that amount was virtually saying, “I will take money out of your pocket [paychecks] to pay my debt to you.” The promise to pay the debt, on condition that the payment should be postponed, proceeds upon the fact

  • that his time was his own,
  • that he was earning property or in circumstances to earn it,
  • that he was the proprietor of his earnings, and
  • that his master had full knowledge of that fact.

    The supposition that the master was the owner of the servant would annihilate [abolish] all legal claim upon him; and that the servant was the property of his master would absolve him from all obligations of debt, or rather forestall such obligations—for the relations of owner and crediter would annihilate [abolish] each other, as would these of pro-


    perty and debtor. The fact that the same servant was the creditor of one of his fellow-servants, who owed him a considerable sum, and that at last he was imprisoned until he should pay all tbat was due to his master, are additional corroborations.

    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 Abrabam—Gen. xv. 23;

  • Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth [2 Sam 19:29];

  • Jarha, the servant of Sheshan, who married his daughter, and thus became his heir, he having no sons [1 Chron 2:34-35];

  • and the husbandmen who said of their master's son, “This is the HEIR; let us kill him, and the INHERITANCE WILL BE OURS,” [Matt. 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 20:14] are illustrations;

  • also Prov. xxx. 23, “An handmaid (or maid servant) that is heir to her mistress ;”

  • 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 contingencies, they selected both heirs for their property, and husbands for their daughters?

    Ed. Note: Transferring slavers' property to their slaves [descendants] would be "reparations" indeed.

    V. ALL WERE REQUIRED TO PRESENT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES. Deut. xvi. 16, 17; 2 Chron. xv. 9-11; Num. ix. 13, 14. Beside this, “every man,” from twenty years old and above, was required to pay a tax of half a shekel; this is called “offering unto the Lord to make an atonement for their souls.” Ex. xxx. 12-16. See also Ex. xxxiv. 20. Servants must have


    had permanently the means of acquiring property to meet these expenditures.

    VI. SERVANTS WHO WENT OUT AT THE SEVENTH YEAR WERE “FURNISHED LIBERALLY.” Deut. xv. 10-14. “Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy wine press:”*   If it be said that the servants from the strangers did not receive a like bountiful supply, we answer, neither did the most honorable class of Israelitish servants, the free-holders; and for the same reason, they did not go out in the yeventh year, but continued until the Jubilee.

    VII. SERVANTS WERE BOUGHT. In other words [when hired], they received [a lump-sum] compensation in advance.   Having
    * The comment of [Moses] Maimonides [1135-1204] on this passage is as follows: “Thou shalt furnish him liberally,' &c. That is to say, 'Loading, ye shall load him,' likewise every one of his family, with as much as he can take •with him—abundant benefits. And if it be avariciously asked, 'How much must I give him?' I say unto you, not less than thirty shekels—which is the valuation of a servant, as declared in Ex. xxi. 32.”—Maimonides, Hilcoth Obedim, chap. ii. sec. 3.

    But, says the objector, if servants received their pay in advance, and if the Israelites were forbidden to surrender the fugitive to his master, it would operate practically as a motive to servants to make contracts, get their pay in advance, and then run away. We answer, the prohibition, Deut. xxiii. 15, 16, “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master,” &c., sets the servant free from his authority, and, of course, from all those liabilities to injury, to which, as his servant, he was subjected, but not from the obligation of legal contracts. If the servant had received pay in advance, and had not rendered an equivalent for this “value received,” he was not absolved from his obligation to do so [i.e., to repay the fraudulently obtained funds], but [only] from all obligation


    shown that servants sold [hired-out] themselves, except in cases where parents hired out the time of their children till they became of age,*   a mere reference to the fact is all that is required for the purposes of this argument.


    “And if he smite out his man-servant's or his maid-servant's tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.”

    This [non-repayment of the prepaid lump-sum advance pay] regulation is founded upon the right of the servant to the use of all his powers, and consequently, his just claim for remuneration upon him, who should, however unintentionally, deprive him of the least of them. If the servant had a right to his tooth and the use of it, he had a right to the rest of his body and the use of it. If he had a right to the fraction to hold, use, and have pay for, he had a right to the sum total.

    IX. WE FIND MASTERS AT ONE TIME HAVING A LARGE NUMBER OF SERVANTS, AND AFTERWARDS NONE, WITH NO INTIMATION IN ANY CASE THAT THEY WERE SOLD. The wages of servants would enable them to set up in business for themselves. Jacob, after being Laban's servant for twenty-one years, became an independent herdsman, and had many servants. Gen. xxx. 43; xxxii. 16. But all these had left him before he went into Egypt. Gen. xlv. 10, 11; xlvi. 1-7, 32. The case of Ziba, the servant who had twenty servants, has been already mentioned [supra, pp 63].
    to pay his master in that particular way; that is, by working for him as his servant.

    * Among the Israelites, girls became of age at twelve, and boys at thirteen years.


    X. GOD'S TESTIMONY TO THE CHARACTER OF ABRAHAM. Gen. xviii. 19. “For I know him that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep THE WAY OF THE LORD TO DO JUSTICE AND JUDGMENT.” What was “the way of the Lord” respecting wages where service was rendered?

  • “Wo unto him that useth his neighbor's service WITHOUT WAGES!” Jer. xxii. 13.

  • “Masters, give unto your servants that which is JUST AND EQUAL.” Col. iv. 1.

  • “Render unto all their DUES.” Rom. xiii. 7.

  • “The laborer is WORTHY OF HIS HIRE.” Luke x. 7.
  • How did Abraham teach his servants to “do justice” to others? By doing injustice to them?

  • Did he exhort them to “render to all their dues” by keeping back their own?

  • Did he teach them that “the laborer was worthy of his hire” by robbing them of theirs?

  • Did he beget in them a reverence for honesty by pilfering all their time and labor?

  • Did he teach them “not to defraud” others “in any matter” by denying them “what was just and equal?”
  • If each of Abraham's pupils did not under such a catechism become a very Aristides in justice, then illustrious examples, patriarchal digmty, and practical lessons, can make but slow headway against human perverseness!


  • (1.) “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.” Deut. xxv. 4. Here is a general principle applied to a familiar case. The ox representing all workers. Isa. xxx. 24. A particular kind of service, all kinds; and a law


    requiring an abundant provision for the wants of an animal ministering to a man in a certain way—a general principle of treatment covering all times, modes, and instrumentalities of service.

    The object of the law was not mainly to enjoin tenderness towards brutes, but to inculcate the duty of rewarding those who serve us; and if such care be enjoined, by God, for the ample sustenance and enjoyment of a brute, what would be a meet [proper, fair] return for the services of man? MAN with his varied wants, exalted nature, and immortal destiny! Paul says that this principle underlies the statute.

    1 Cor. ix. 9, 10:“For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for OUR sakes? that he tbat ploweth should plow in HOPE, and that he that thresheth in hope should be PARTAKER OF HIS HOPE.”

    In the context, Paul enumerates the four grand divisions of labor among the Jews in illustration of the principle that the laborer is cntitled to a reward. The priests, Levites, and all engaged in sacred things—the military, those who tended flocks and herds, and those who cultivated the soil.

    As the latter [agrarian] employment engaged the great body of the Israelites, he [Paul] amplifies his illustration under that head, and enumerates the five great departments of agricultural labor among the Jews—vine-dressing, plowing, sowing, reaping, and threshing, as the representatives of universal labor. In his epistle to Timothy—1 Tim. v. 18—Paul quotes again this precept of the Mosaie law, and connects with it the declaration of our Lord. Luke x. 7: “The laborer is worthy of his hire”—as


    both inculcating the same doctrine, that he who labors, whatever the employmont, is entitled to a reward. He thus declares the principle of right respecting service, and the rule of duty towards those who serve, to be the same under both dispensations.

  • (2.) “If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him; YEA, THOUGH HE BE A STRANGER or a SOJOURNER, that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase, but fear thy God. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.” Lev. xxv. 35-37. By what pro-slavery legerdemain can this regulation be made to harmonize with the [vile slaver] doctrine of WORK WITHOUT PAY? Did God declare the poor stranger entitled to RELIEF, and yet authorize others to “use his service without wages.”

    Ed. Note: “It is difficult today to comprehend the psychosis of the southern mind. . . .” says Prof. Clement Eaton, The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in the Old South (Duke Univ Press, 1940, and New York: Harper & Row, 1964), p 384.
    Psychosis (insanity) is one of the consequences of sin, says Deut. 28:28. (See related background and details).


    This topic has been somewhat anticipated, but additional considerations remain to be noticed.


  • 1. They were never taken in payment for their masters' debts. Children were sometimes taken (without legal authority) for the debts of a father. 2 Kings iv. 1; Job xxiv. 9; Isa 1. 1; Matt. xviii. 25. Creditors took from debtors properyy of all kinds, to satisfy their demands. In Job xxiv. 3, cattle are taken; Prov. xxii. 27, household furniture; Lev. xxv. 25-28, the productions of the soil; Lev. xxv. 27-30, houses; Ex. xxii.
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    26, 27; Deut. xxiv. 10-13; Matt. v. 40, clothing; but servants were taken in no instance.
  • 2. Servants were never given as pledges. Property of all kinds was pledged [as collateral] for value received; household furniture, clothing, cattle, money, signets, personal ornaments, &c.

  • 3. Servants were not put into the hands of others, or consigned to their keeping. The precept giving directions how to proceed in a case where property that has life is delivered to another “to keep,” and “it die or be hurt or driven away,” enumerates oxen, asses, sheep or “any beast,” but not servants. Ex. xxii. 10.

  • 4. All lost property was to be restored. Oxen, asses, sheep, raiment, and “all lost things,” are specified—servants not. Deut. xxii. 1-3. Besides, the Israelites were forbidden to return the runaway servant. Deut. xxiii. 15.

  • 5. Servants were not sold. When by flagrant misconduct they had forfeitcd their membership in an Israelitish family, they were not sold, but expelled. Luke xvi. 2-4; 2 Kings v. 20, 27; Gen. xxi. 14.

  • 6. Tbe Israelites never received servants as tribute. At different times, all the nations around them were their tributaries. They received property of all kinds in payment of tribute. Gold, silver, brass, iron, precious stones, and vessels, armor, spices, raiment, harness, horses, mules, sheep, goats, &c., are in various places enumerated, but servants never.

  • 7. The Israelites never gave away their servants. They made costly presents, of great variety. Lands, houses, all kinds of domestic animals, beds, merchandise, family utensils, precious metals, grain, honey, butter, cheese, fruits, oil, wine, raiment, armor, &c., are among their recorded gifts. Giving presents to superiors and per-
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    sons of rank was a standing usage [common custom]. 1 Sam. x. 27; xvi. 20; 2 Chron. xvii. 5.
  • Abraham to Abimelech, Gen. xxi. 27;

  • Jacob to the viceroy of Egypt, Gen. xliii. 11;

  • Joseph to his brethren and father, Gen. xlv. 22, 23;

  • Benhadad to Elisha, 2 Kings viii. 8, 9;

  • Ahaz to Tiglath Pilezer, 2 Kings vi. 8;

  • Solomon to the Queen of Sheba, 1 Kings x. 13;

  • Jeroboam to Ahijah, 1 Kings xiv. 3;

  • Asa to Benhadad, 1 Kings xv. 18, 19;

  • Abigall, the wife of Nabal, to David, 1 Sam. xxv. 18;

  • David to the elders of Judah, 1 Sam. xxx. 26;

  • Jehoshaphat to his sons, 2 Chron. xxi. 3;

  • The Israelites to David, 1 Chron. xii. 39, 40;

  • Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai, to David, 2 Sam. xvii. 28, 29.
  • But no servants were given as presents, though it was a prevailing fashion in the surrounding [heathen] nations. Gen. xii. 16, xx. 14. In the last passage we are told that Abimelech, king of the Philistines, “took sheep, and oxen, and men-servants, and women-servants, and gave them unto Abraham.” Not long after this Abraham made Abimelech a present, but gave him no servants. “And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech.” Gen. xxi. 27.

    It may be objected, that Laban “GAVE” handmaids to his daughters, Jacob's wives. Suffice it to say that the handmaids of wives were regarded as wives, though of inferior dignity and authority. That Jacob so regarded his handmaids is proved by his curse upon Reuben. Gen. xlix. 4, and 1 Chron. v. 1; also by the equality of their children with those of Rachel and Leah. But had it been otherwise—had Laban given them as articles of property—then, indeed, the example of this “good old slaveholder and patriarch,” Saint Laban,


    would have been a forecloser to all argument! Ah! [but] we [abolitionists] remember his jealousy for [his heathen] religion—his holy indignation when he found that his [heathen] “GODS” were stolen! How he mustered his clan, and plunged over the desert in hot pursuit seven days by forced marches; how he ransacked a whole caravan, sifting the contents of every tent, little heeding such small matters as domestic privacy; for, lo! the zeal of his [heathen] “IMAGES” had eaten him up!

    Ed. Note: Because slavers could not find God-fearing patriarchs' examples for slavery, is why they resorted to citing those of the heathen.

    No wonder that slavery, in its Bible-navigation, drifting dismantled before the free gusts, should scud under the lee of such a pious [heathen] worthy, to haul up and refit; invoking his protection and the benediction of his “GODS!”

    Again, it may be objected, that servants were enumerated in inventories of property. If that proves servants property, it proves wives property.

    “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's WIFE, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.” Ex. xx. 17.

    In inventories of mere property, if servants are included, it is in such a way as to show that they are not regarded as property. Eccl. ii. 7, 8. But when the design is to show, not merely the wealth, but the sway of any one, servants are spoken of, as well as property. If riches alone are spoken of, no mention is made of servants; if sway, servants, and property. Gen. xiii. 2, 5. “And Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” Yet we are told, in the verse preceding, that he came up out of Egypt “with all that he had.” “And Lot also had flocks, and herds, and tents.” In the seventh verse servants are mentioned: “And there was a strife between the


    HERDMEN of Abraham's cattle and the HERDMEN of Lot's cattle.” It is said of Isaac,

    “And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great. For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants.” [Genesis 26:13-14.]

    In immediate connection with this, we find Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, saying to him, “Thou art much mightier than we.” Shortly after this avowal, Isaac is waited upon by Abimelech, Phicol, the chief captain of his army, and Ahuzzath, who say, “Let there now be an oath betwixt us and thee, that thou wilt do us no hurt.” Gen. xxvi. 13, 14, 16, 26, 28, 29. [That is] A plain concession of the power which Isaac had in his “great store of servants;” that is, of adherents to him as a just and benevolent prince.

    When Hamor and Shechem speak to the Hivites of the riches of Abraham and his sons, they say, “Shall not their cattle, and their substance, and every beast of theirs be ours?” Gen. xxxiv. 23.

    See also Josh. xxii. 8; Gen. xxxiv. 23; Job. xlii. 12; 2 Chron. xxi. 3; xxxii 27-29; Job. i. 3-5; Deut. viii. 12-17; Gen. xxiv. 35; xxvi. 13; xxx. 43.

    Jacob's wives say to him, “All the riches which God has taken from our father that is ours and our childrens.” Then follows an inventory of property— “All his cattle,” “all his goods,” “the cattle of his getting.” His numerous servants are not included with his property. Comp. Gen. xxx. 43, with Gen. xxxi. 16-18.

    When Jacob 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 he 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 selected the most valuable kinds of property. Gen. xxxii. 14, 15; see also Gen. xxxvi. 6, 7; 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 Jacob and his sons went into Egypt, it is repeatedly asserted that they took all that they had. “Their cattle and their goods which they had gotten in the land of Canaan,”   “their flocks and their herds” are mentioned, but no servants.

    And as we have, besides, a full catalogue of the household, we know that he took with him no servants. That Jacob had many servants before his migration into Egypt, we learn from Gen. xxx. 43; xxxii. 5, 16, 19. That he was not the proprietor [owner] of these servants is a probable inference from the fact that he did not take them with him, since we are told that he did take all his property. Gen. xlv. 10; xlvi. 1, 32; xlvii. 1.

    When servants are spoken of in connection witb property, the terms used to express the latter do not include the former. The Hebrew word mikné is an illustration. It is derived from kânâ, 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 mikné.

    “And Abraham took Sarah, his wife, and Lot, his brother's son, and all their SUBSTANCE that they had gathered; and the souls they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go


    into the land of Canaan.” Gen. xii. 5.

    Many will have it [allege] that these souls [people] were a part of Abraham's substance [property] (notwithstanding the pains here taken to separate them from it)—that they were slaves taken with him 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 [innocuous] phrase as “the souls that they had gotten?” Until the African slave trade breathed its [psychotic and demonized] haze into the eyes of the Church [altering, corrupting it], commentators saw no slavery [meaning] in [words] “the souls that they had gotten.”

    In the Targum of Onkelos*   it [the Genesis 12:5 wording] 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 Targum of Jerusalem, “The souls proselyted in Haran.”

  • [Rabbi Solomon] Jarchi [1040-1105], the prince of Jewish commentators, “The souls whom they had brought under the Divine wings.”
  • Jerome [340 B.C.E. - 420 B.C.E.], one of the most learned of the Christian fathers, “The persons whom they had proselyted.” The Persian version, the Vulgate, the Syriac, the Arabic, and the Samaritan, all render it,
    * 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 Christian 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.


    “All the wealth which they had gathered, and the souls which they had made in Haran.” [Genesis 12:5].
  • Menochius, a commentator who wrote before our present [King James] translation of the Bible, renders it, “Quas de idolatraria converterant.” “Those whom they had converted from idolatry.”

    Ed. Note: Full Citation: Joannes Stephanus Menochius (1532-1607), Commentarii Totius s. Scripturae, Ex Optimis Quibusque Authoribus Collecti (Lugduni: Francisci Comba, 1703)

  • Paulus Fagius,*   “Quas instituerant in religione.” “Those whom they had established in religion. ”

  • Luke Francke, a German commentator who lived two centuries ago, “Quas legi subjicerant.” “Those whom they had brought to obey the law.”
  • The same distinction is made between persons and property, in the enumeration of Esau's household and the inventory of his effects.

    “And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance which he had got in the land of Canaan, and went into the country from the face of his brothcr Jacob. For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land could not bear them because of their [many] cattle.” Gen. xxxvi. 6, 7.

    II. THE CONDITION AND SOCIAL ESTIMATION OF SERVANTS MAKE THE DOCTRINE THAT THEY WERE COMMODITIES, AN ABSURDITY. As the head of a Jewish family possessed the same power over his wife, children, and grandchildren (if in his family) as over
    * This eminent Hebrew scholar was invited to England to superintend the translation of the Bible into English, under the patronage of Henry the Eighth [1509-1547]. He had hardly commenced the work when he died—nearly a century before the date of our present translation.


    his servants, if the latter were articles of property, the former were equally such. If there were nothing else in the Mosaic institutes establishing the social equality of the servants with their masters' wives and children, those precepts which required that they should be guests at all the public feasts, and equal participants in the family and social rejoicings, would be quite sufficient to settle the question. Deut. xii. 12, 18; xvi. 10, 11, 13, 14; Ex. xii. 43, 44.

    Paul's testimony in Gal. iv. 1, shows the condition of servants: "Now I say unto you, that the heir, so long as he is a child, DIFFERETH NOTHING FROM A SERVANT, though he be lord of all."

    That the interests of Abraham's servants were identified with those of their master's family, and that the utmost confidence was reposed in them, is shown in their being armed. Gen. xiv. 14, 15.

    When Abraham's servant went to Padanaram, Rebecca did not disdain to say to him, “Drink, MY LORD,” as “she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.” [Gen. 24:18].

    Laban, the brother of Rebecca, “ungirded his camels, and brought him water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that were with him.” In the arrangements of Jacob's household on his journey from Padanaram to Canaan, we find his two maid-servants provided with the same accommodations as Rachel and Leah. Each of them had a separate tent appropriated to her use. Gen. xxxi. 33.

    The social equality of servants with their masters is an obvious deduction from Ex. xxi. 7, 10, from which we learn that the sale of a young Jewish female as a servant was also her betrothal as a wife, either to her master, or to one of his sons. In 1 Sam.


    ix. is an account of a festival in the city of Zuph, at which Samuel presided. None but those bidden [invited] sat at the feast, and only “about thirty persons” were invited. Quite a select party!—the elite of the city. Saul and his servant, at Samuel's solicitation, accompany him as invited guests.

    “And Samuel took Saul and his SERVANT, and brought THEM into the PARLOR, (!) and made THEM sit in the CHIEFEST SEATS among those tbat were bidden.” [1 Sam. 9:22]

    A servant invited by the chief judge, ruler, and prophet in Israel, to dine with a select party, in company with his master, who was at the same time anointed King of Israel! This was “one of the servants” of Kish, Saul's father [1 Sam. 9:3]; not the steward or the chief of them; any one that could be most easily spared.

    David seems to have been for a time in all respects a servant in Saul's family.

    “And Saul sent to Jesse saying, "Let David, I pray thee, stand before me.”

    He [David] was Saul's personal servant, went on his errands, played on the harp for his amusement, bore his armor for him, and when he wished to visit his parents, asked permission of Jonathan, Saul's son. Saul also calls him "my servant." 1 Sam. xvi. 21-23; xviii. 5; xx. 5, 6; xxii. 8.

    Yet David sat with the king at meat [meals], married his daughter, and lived on terms of the closest intimacy with the heir apparent.

    Abimelech, king of Shechem, who afterwards reigned over all Israel, was the son of a MAID-SERVANT. His mother's family seems to have been of note in the city of Shechem, where her brothers held sway. Judg. ix. 1-6, 18.

    Jarha, an Egyptian, the servant of Sheshan, married his daugbter. [1 Chron. 2:34-35].

    Tobiah, “the servant,” and an Ammonite, married the


    daughter of Shecaniah, one of the chief men in Jerusalem, and was the associate of Sanballat, the governor of the Samaritans. [Cf. Nehemiah 9:17-18 with 4:3, 2:10 and 2:19].

    We find Elah, the King of Israel, at a festive entertainment in the house of Arza, his steward, or head-servant. 1 Kings xvi. 8, 9.

    See also the [social] intercourse between

  • Gideon and his servants. Judg. vi. 27, and vii. 10, 11.

  • The Levite of Mount Ephraim and his servant. Jud. xx. 3, 9, 11, 13, 19, 21, 22.

  • King Saul and his servant Doeg, one of his herdmen. 1 Sam. xx. 1, 7 ; xxii. 9, 18, 22.

  • King David and Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth. 2 Sam. xvi. 1-4.

  • Jonathan and his servant. 1 Sam. xiv. 1-14.

  • Elisha and his servant, Gehazi. 2 Kings iv. v. vi.

  • Also between Joram, King of Israel, and the servant of Elisha. 2 Kings viii. 4, 5, and between Naaman, “the Captain of the host of the king of Syria,” and the same person. 2 Kings v. 21-23.
  • The fact that servants were invited guests at public and social festivals, shows also the [high] estimation in which they were held by the Israelites.

    Job "was the greatest man of all the men of the east." Job i. 3. After asserting his integrity, his justice, and equity, and declaring, “I delivered the poor,” Job adds, “I was eyes to the blind and feet was I to the lame;” “I was a father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not I searched out;” * * * he says, “If I did despise the cause of my man-servant or my maid-servant when they CONTENDED with me * * * then let mine arm fall from the shoulder blade.” Job xxix. 12, 15, 16; xxxi. 13, 22.

    This is the phraseology applied in judicial proccedings to those who implead [sue] one another, and shows that Job and his


    servants, so far as rights are concerned, were equal, that there was no restraint on their free speech in calling in question his transactions with them, and that the claims of both parties were adjudicated ou the principle of reciprocal right.

    “If I did despise the cause of my man-servant,” &c. In other words, if I treated it lightly, as though servants had not a claim for just dues and just estimation as human beings. “When they contended with me,” that is, when they claimed what was due to them, or questioned the justice of my dealings with them.

    In the context, Job virtually affirms that his servants had the same [human, legal, pre-Mosaic] rights that he had, and were entitled to equal consideration with himself. By what language could he more forcibly utter his conviction of the identity of their common nature, necessities, and rights? He adds, “What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?” [Job 31:15].

    In the next verse, Job declares that he has not “withheld from the poor their desire.” [Job 31:16]. Is it the “desire” of the poor to be compelled to work without pay?

    III. THE CASE OF THE GIBEONITES. The condition of the inhabitants of Gibeon, under the Hebrew commonwealth, is quoted in triumph by the [vile] advocates of slavery. Milton's devils made desperate snatches at fruit that turned to ashes on their lips. The spirit of slavery raves under torments [awareness of sinfulness], and casts about for something to ease them. But even the incantations of the demon cauldron could not extract from this case enough to tantalize starvation. What was the


    condition of the Gibeonites under the Israelites?
  • 1. It was voluntary. Their own proposition to Joshua was to become servants. Josh. ix. 8, 11. It was accepted, but the kind of service was not specified until their gross imposition came to light; they were then assigned to menial offices in the Tabernacle.

  • 2. They were not domestic servants in the families of the Israelites. They still resided in their own cities, and exercised the functions of a distinct, though dependent community. They were subject to the Jewihh nation as tributaries.
  • So far from being distributed among the Israelites, they remained a separate community for many centuries. When attacked by the Amorites, they applied to the Israelites for aid—it was rendered, their enemies routed, and themselves left unmolested in their cities. Josh. x. 6-18.

    Long afterwards, Saul slew some of them, and God sent upon Israel a three years' famine [in punishment] for it [that oppression]. David inquired of the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you, and wherewith shall I make tho atonement?” At their demand he delivered up to them seven of Saul's descendants. 2 Sam. xxi. 1-9.

    The whole transaction was a recognition of the Gibeonites as a distinct people. There is no intimation that they served either families or individuals of the Israelites, but only the "house of God," or the Tabernacle. This was established first at Gilgal, a day's journey from their cities; and then at Shiloh, nearly two days journey from them; where it continued about 350 years. During this period, thc Gibeonites inhabited their ancient cities and territory. Only a few could have bcen absent at any time in attendance on the


    Tabernacle. Wherever allusion is made to them, the main body are spoken of as at home. It is preposterous to suppose that all the inhabitants of their four cities could find employment at the Tabernacle. One of them "was a great city, as one of the royal cities;" so large that a confederacy of five kings was deemed necessary for its destruction.

    It is probable that the men were divided into classes, ministering in rotation. As the priests, whose assistants they were, served by courses in rotation a week at a time, it is not improbable that their periods of service were so arranged as to correspond. This service was their national tribute for the privilege of residence and protection under the [Mosaic] government. No service seems to have been required of the females. As these Gibeonites were Canaanites, and as they had greatly exasperated the Israelites by imposition and lying, we might expect that they would reduce them to the condition of chattels, if there was any case in which God permitted them to do so.


    Throughout the Mosaic System, God warns the Israelites not to hold their servants in such a condition as they were held in by the Egyptians. How often are they pointed back to the grindings of their prison-house! What motives to the exercise of justice and kindness towards their servants are held out to their fears in threatened judgments; to their hopes in promised good; and to all within them that could feel, by those oft repeated words of tenderness and terror! "For ye were bondmen in the land of Egypt"—wakening anew the memory of tears and anguish, and of the wrath that avengeth them. But what was the bondage of the


    Israelites in Egypt? Of what rights were they plundered, and what did they retain?

    1. They were not dispersed among the families of Egypt *   but formed a separate community. Gen. xlvi. 34. Ex. viii. 22, 24; ix. 26; x. 23; xi. 7; iv. 29; ii. 9; xvi. 22; xvii. 5; vi. 14.

    2. They had the exclusive possession of the land of Goshen,   "the best part of the land" of Egypt. Gen. xlv. 18; xlvii. 6, 11, 27; Ex. viii. 22; ix. 26; xii. 4. Goshen must have been a considerable distance from tbose parts of Egypt inhabited by the Egyptians; so far, at least, as to prevent their contact with the Israelites, since the reason assigned for locating them in Goshen was, that shepherds were "an abomination to the Egyptians;" besides, their employments would natually lead them out of the settled parts of Egypt to find pasturage for their flocks and herds.

    3. They lived in permanent dwellings. These were houses, not tents. In Ex. xii. 7, 22, the two side posts, and the upper door posts, and the lintel of the houses are mentioned. Each family seems to have occupied a house
    * The Egyptians evidently had domestic servants living in their families; these may have been slaves; allusion is made to them in Ex. ix. 14, 20, 21, and xi. 5.

    The land of Goshen was a large tract of country east of the Pelusian arm of the Nile, and between it and the head of the Red Sea, and the lower border of Palestine. The probable centre of that portion, occupied by the Israelites, could hardly have been less than sixty miles from the city. The border of Goshen nearest to Egypt must have been many miles distant, see "Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt," an able article by Prof. Robinson, in the Biblical Repository for October, 1832.


    by itself. Acts vii. 20; Ex. xii. 4—and judging from the regulation [command] about the eating of the Passover, they could hardly have been small ones, Ex. xii. 4; probably contained separate apartments, as the entertainment of sojourners seems to have been a common usage. Ex. iii. 23; and also places for concealment. Ex. ii. 2, 3; Acts vii. 20. They appear to have been well apparelled. Ex. xii. 11.

    4. They owned "flocks and herds," and "very much cattle." Ex. xii. 4, 6, 32, 37, 38. From the fact that "every man" was commanded before the people left Egypt, to kill either a lamb or a kid, one year old, for the Passover, we infer that even the poorest of the Israelites owned either sheep or goats. Further, the multitude of their flocks and herds may be judged of from the expostulation of Moses with Jehovah. Num. xii. 21, 22.

    "The people among whom I am are six hundred thousand footmen, and thou hast said, I will give them flesh that they may eat a whole month; shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them to suffice them?"

    As these six hundred thousand were only the men "from twenty years old and upward" that were able to go forth to war," Ex. i. 45, 46, the whole number of the Israelites could not have been less than three million and a half. Flocks and herds to "suffice" all these for food might surely be called "very much cattle."

    5. They had their own form of government, and preserved their tribe and family divisions, and their internal organization throughout, though still a province of Egypt, and tributary to it. Ex. ii. 1; xii. 19, 21; vi. 14, 25; v. 19; iii. 16, 18.

    6. They had, to a considerable degree, the disposal


    of their own time. iii. 16, 18; xii. 6; ii. 9; and iv. 27, 29-31. They seem to have practised some of the fine arts. Ex. xxxii. 4; xxxv. 22, 35.

    7. They were all armed. Ex. xxxii. 27.

    8. They held their possessions independently, and the Egyptians seem to have regarded them as inviolable. No intimation is given that the Egyptians dispossessed them of their habitations, or took away their flocks, or herds, or crops, or implements of agriculture, or any article of property.

    9. The females seem to have known something of domestic refinements. They were familiar with instruments of music, and skilled in the working of fine fabrics. Ex. xv. 20; xxxv. 25, 26; and both males and females were able to read and write. Deut. xi. 18-20; xvii. 19; xxvii. 3.

    10. Service seems to have been exacted from none but adult males. Nothing is said from which the bond-service of females could be inferred; the hiding of Moscs three months by his mother, and the payment of wages to her by Pharaoh's daughter, go against such a supposition. Ex. ii. 29.

    11. Their food was abundant, and of great variety. So far from being fed upon a fixed allowance of a single article, and hastily prepared, "they sat by the flesh-pots," and "did eat bread to the full." Ex. xvi. 3; and their bread was prepared with leaven. Ex. xii. 15, 39. They ate "the fish freely, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic." Num. xi. 4, 5; xx. 5. Probably but a small portion of the people were in the service of the Egyptians at any one time. Thc extent and variety of their possessions, together with such cultivation of their crops


    as would provide them with bread, and such care of their flocks and herds as would secure their profitable increase, must have kept at home the main body of the nation. During the plague of darkness, "ALL the children of Israal had light in their dwellings." We infer that they were there to enjoy it. See also Ex. ix. 26. It seems improbable that the making of brick, the only service named during the latter part of their sojourn in Egypt, could have furnished permanent employment for the bulk of the nation. See also Ex. iv. 29-31.

    Besides, when Eastern nations employed tributaries, it was as now, in the use of the levy, requiring them to furnish a given quota, drafted off periodically, so that comparatively but a small portion of the nation would be absent at any one time. The adult males of the Israelites were probably divided into companies, which relieved each other at stated intervals of weeks or months. It might have been during one of these periodical furloughs from service that Aaron performed the journey to Horeb. Ex. iv. 27. At the least calculation, this journey must have consumed eight weeks.

    Probably one-fifth part [20%] of the proceeds of their labor was required of the Israelites, in common with the Egyptians. Gen. xlvii. 24, 26.

    Instead of taking it from their crops (Goshen being better for pasturage), they exacted it of them in brick making; and labor might have been exacted only from the poorer Israelites, the wealthy being able to pay their tribute in money. The fact that all the elders of Israel seem to have controlled their own time (see Ex. iv. 29; iii. 16; v. 20), favors the supposition. Ex. iv. 27, 31.



    trast this bondage of Egypt with American slavery.
  • Have our slaves "flocks and herds, even very much cattle?"

  • Do they live in commodious houses of their own, "sit by the flesh-pots," "eat fish freely," and "eat bread to the full?"

  • Do they live in a separate community, in their distinct tribes, under their own rulers, in the exclusive occupation of an extensive tract of country for the culture of their crops, and for rearing immense herds of their own cattle—and all these held inviolable by their masters?

  • Are our female slaves free from exactions of labor and liabilities of outrage? or, when employed, are they paid wages, as was the Israelitish woman by the king's daughter?

  • Have they the disposal of their own time, and the means of cultivating social refinements, and for personal improvement?

    True, "all the service wherein they [Egyptians] made them [Israelities] serve was with rigor." But what was this when compared with

  • the incessant toil of American slaves;

  • the robbery of all their time and earnings, and even the "power to own anything, or acquire anything?"

  • a "quart of corn a day," the legal allowance of food!*

  • their only clothing for one-half the year, "one shirt and one pair of pantaloons!"  

  • their dwellings, hovels, unfit for human residence, with but one apartment, where both sexes and all ages herd promiscuously at night, like the beasts of the field.
  • Add to this the ignorance and degradation, the daily
    * See law of North Carolina, Haywood's Manual, 524-5.

    See law of Louisiana, Martin's Digest, 6, 10.


    sunderings of kindred, the revelries of lust, the lacerations and baptisms of blood, sanctioned by [demonized] law, and patronized by [depraved] public sentiment.

    What was the bondage of Egypt when compared with this? And yet for her oppression of the poor, God smote her with plagues, and trampled her as the mire, till she passed away in his wrath, and the place that knew her in her pride knew her no more. Ah!

    "I have seen the afflictions of my people, and I have heard their groanings, and am come down to deliver them."

    HE DTD COME, and Egypt sank a ruinous heap, and her blood closed over her. If such was God's retribution for the oppressions of heathen Egypt, of how mnch sorer punishment shall a Christian people be thought worthy, who cloak with religion a system, in comparison with which the bondage of Egypt dwindles to nothing?

    Did God commission his people to rob others of all their rights, while he denounced against them wrath to the uttermost, if they practised the far lighter oppression of Egypt—which rohbed them of only the least of their rights [via a 20% exaction], and left the females unplundered even of these?

    Is God divided against himself? When He had just turned Egypt into a funeral pile; while his curse yet blazed upon her unburied dead, and his bolts still hissed amidst her slaughter, and the smoke of her torment went upward because she had "ROBBED THE POOR," did He license the VICTIMS of robbery to rob the poor of ALL?

    As Lawgiver, did he create a system tenfold more grinding than that for which he had just hurled Pharaoh headlong, and overwhelmed his princes and his hosts, till "hell was moved to meet them at their coming!"

    Ed. Note: "It is difficult today to comprehend the psychosis of the southern mind. . . ." says Prof. Clement Eaton, The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in the Old South (Duke Univ Press, 1940, and New York: Harper & Row, 1964), p 384.
    But, the South, psychotic, demonized, under vile clergy, DID regularly accuse God of this inconsistgency. Southerners regularly pretended God was for slavery, set up a worse form of slavery immediately after punishing Egypt for a mild 20% exaction system!
    See exposés of perverted clergy by Rev. Foster; Rev. Pillsbury; Deacon Birney; and Rev. Patton.
    For background on the Exodus, see Alvan Stewart's Legal Argument For the Deliverance of Persons from Bondage (New York: Finch & Weed, 1845), pp 31-34.


    We now examine various [pro-slavery] objections set in array against these [anti-slavery] conclusions.


    The advocates of slavery are at their wit's end in pressing the Bible into their service. Their ever-varying shifts and forced constructions proclaim both their cause desperate, and themselves. Mean while, their invocations for help to "those good old slaveholders and patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,"* avail
    * The Presbytery of Harmony, South Carolina, at their meeting in Wainsborough, S. C., Oct. 28, 1836, appointed a special committee to report on slavery. The following resolution is a part of the report adopted by the Presbytery.

    "Resolved, That slavery has existed from the days of those GOOD OLD SLAVEHOLDERS AND PATRIARCHS, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are now in the kingdom of Heaven."

    Abraham receives abundant [libelous] honor at the hands of slave-holding divines. Not hecause he was the "father of the faithful," and forsook home and country for the truth's sake, for all this he gets faint praise; but then he had "SERVANTS BOUGHT WITH MONEY!!!" This is the finishing touch of his character. Prose fledges into poetry, eulogy rarifies into panegyric, aud goes off in rhapsody.

    In their ecstasies over Abraham, Isaac's paramount claims are lost sight of. No slaveholder casts loving glances at Gen. xxvii. 29, 37, where Isaac, addressing Jacob, says, "Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee." And afterwards, addressing Esau, he says, speaking of the birth-right immunities confirmed to Jacob, "Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I GIVEN TO HIM FOR SERVANTS."

    Here is a "Divine Warrant" for a father holding his children


    as little as did the screams of Baal's prophets to bring an answer of fire. The Bible defences thrown around slavery by professed ministers of the Gospel do so torture common sense, Scripture, and historical facts, it were hard to tell whether absurdity, fatuity, ignorance or blasphemy predominates, in the compound.

    Ed. Note: Pro-slavery clergymen were NOT Christian. They were heathens and atheists, cold-hearted, demonized, lust-filled individuals, preaching for slavery for personal gratification in brothels. They were excommunicated by 1841.

    How often has it been bruited that the color of the negro is the Cain-mark! Cain's posterity started an opposi-
    as slaves, and bequeathing them to his heirs! Better still [he says sarcastically], it proves that the practice of slaveholders in bequeathing their colored children to those of a diffrrent hue, was a "Divine institution;" for Isaac "gave" Esau, who was "red all over," to Jacob, "as a servant." Now, gentlemen, "honor to whom honor." Let Isaac no longer be stinted of his glory as your great prototype in that nice discrimination, by which a father makes part of his children property, and the rest their proprietors, whenever duty is made plain by the decisive tokens of COLOR and HAIR (for, to show that Esau waa Jacob's rightful property the difference in hair, as well as color, is stated by inspiration).

    One patriarchal example is quite overlooked by slaveholders. Isaac informs Jacob that those "given to him as servants" were "HIS BRETHREN" (twice repeated). True, it would be an odd codicil to a will for a slaveholder, after bequeathing to some of his children all his slaves, to inform them that certain of them were their brothers and sisters. It might be at first a sore trial; but what pious slaveholder would not follow thus in the footsteps of his patriarchal predecessors!

    Great reformers must make great sacrifices; and if the world is to be brought back to the purity of patriarchal times, to whom will all failing eyes turn, if not to slaveholders, who have reproduced the "patriarchal institution" of concubinage, and faithfully stamped their own image in variegated hues, upon a swarming progeny!

    Ed. Note: Slavers committed rape (“amalgamation,” in Southern terminology; the 1860 census showed 588,000 mulatto women. Source: Barbara Goldsmith, Other Powers (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), p 154. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Notes on Virginia (1797), p 298, had provided background. So did Rep. Horace Mann, Slavery and the Slave-Trade (1849), p 19.


    tion to the ark, forsooth, and rode out the flood with flying streamers! How could miracle better vindicate the ways of God to man, than by pointing such an argument, and filling out for slaveholders a Divine title-deed!

    OBJECTION 1. "Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." Gen. ix. 25.

    This prophecy of Noah is the vade mecumof slaveholders, and they never venture abroad without it; it is a pocket-piece for sudden occasion, a keepsake to dote over, a charm to spell-bind opposition, and a magnet to draw to their standard "whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie." Yet "cursed be Canaan" is but a mocking lullaby to unquiet tossings. Those who justify negro slavery by the curse on Canaan assume, as usual, all the points in debate.

  • 1. That slavery was prophesied, rather than mere service to others, and individual bondage rather than national subjection and tribute.

  • 2. That the prediction of crime justifies it; or, at least, absolves those whose crimes fulfil it. How piously the Pharaohs might have quoted the prophecy, "Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they shall afflict them four hundred years!" And then, what saints were those that crucified the Lord of glory!

    Ed. Note: Deuteronomy 17:14 predicted the people would choose a king. When it happened some 400 years later, it was deemed rejecting God (1 Samuel 8:7-10, 19; Hosea 13:9-11). "The fact that God foreknew that they would want a king is not saying that He approved their action . . ."--Halley's Bible Handbook (24th ed, 1965), p 152.

  • 3. That the Africans are descendants from Canaan. Africa was peopled from Egypt and Ethiopia, which were settled by Mizraim and Cush. For the location and boundaries of Canaan's posterity, see Gen. x. 15-19.
  • So a prophecy of evil to one people, is quoted to justify its infliction upon another.

    Perhaps it may be argued that Canaan includes all Ham's posterity. If


    so, the prophecy is yet unfulfilled. The other sons of Ham settled Egypt and Assyria, and, conjointly with Shem, Persia, and to some extent, the Grecian and Roman empires. The history of these nations gives no verification of the prophecy. Whereas, the history of Canaan's descendants, for more than three thousand ycars, is a record of its fulfilment.

    First, they were put to tribute by the Israelites; then by the Medes and Persians; then by the Macedonians, Grecians, and Romans, successively; and finally, by the Ottoman dynasty, under which they yet remain. Thus Canaan has been for ages the servant mainly of Shem and Japhet, and secondarily of the other sons of Ham.

    It may still be objected, that though Canaan alone is named, yet that the 22d and 24th verses show the posterity of Ham in general to be meant.

    “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.”   “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his YOUNGER son had done unto him, and said,” &c. [Genesis 9:22, 24].

    It is argued that this "younger son" cannot be Canaan, as he was the grandson of Noah, and therefore it must be Ham. We answer, whoever that "younger son" was, Canaan alone was named in the prophecy.

    Besides, the Hebrew word Ben signifies son, grandson, or any one of the posterity of an individual.*

  • "Know ye Laban the SON (grandson) of Nahor?" Gen. xxix. 5.

  • "Mephibosheth, the SON (grandson) of
    * So àv, the Hebrew word for father, signifies any ancestor, however remote. 2 Chron. xvii. 3; xxviii. 1; xxxiv. 2, Dan. v. 2.


    Saul.” 2 Sam. xix. 24; 2 Sam. ix. 6.

  • The driving of Jehu, the SON (grandson) of Nimshi.” 2 Kings ix. 20.

  • See also Ruth iv. 17; 2 Sam. xxi. 6; Gen. xxxi. 55.

    Further, Ham was not the “younger son.” The order of enumeration makes him the second son. If it be said that Bible usage varies, the order of birth not always being observed; the reply is, that enumeration in that order is the rule [the norm], in any other order the exception. Besides, if a younger member of a family takes precedence of older ones in the family record, it is a mark of pre-eminence, either in endowments or providential instrumentality.

    Abraham, though sixty years younger than his eldest brother, stands first in the family genealogy. Nothing in Ham's history shows him pre-eminent; besides, the Hebrew word hâkkâtân, rendered “the younger” means little, small. The same word is used in

  • Isa. lx. 22. " A LTTTLE ONE shall become a thousand."
  • Isa. xxii. 24. “All vessels of SMALL quantity.”
  • Ps. cxv. 13. “He will bless them that fear the Lord both SMALL and great.”
  • Ex. xviii. 22. “But every SMALL matter they shall judge.”
  • It would be a literal rendering of Gen. ix. 24, if it were translated thus, “When Noah knew what his little son,”*   or grandson (Bëno hâkkâtân) “had done unto him, he said, Cursed be Canaan,” &c.

    Further, even if the Africans were the descendants of Canaan, the assumption that their enslavement fulfils this prophecy lacks even plausibility; for, only a fraction of the inhabitants of Africa have at any time
    * The French follows the same analogy [word useage approach]; grandson being petit fils (little son).


    been the slaves of other nations. If the objector say, in reply, that a majority of the Africans have always been slaves at home, we answer; It is false in point of fact; but if it were true, how does it help the argument? The [Genesis 9:25] prophecy was, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his BRETHREN,” not unto himself!

    OBJECTION II.—“If a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money.” Ex. xxi. 20, 21. What was the design of this regulation! Was it to grant masters an indulgence to beat servants witb impunity, and an assurance that, if they beat them to death, the offence should not be capital? Thia is substantially what proslavery commentators tell ns. What Diety do such men worship? Some blood-gorged Moloch, enthroned on human hecatombs?

    Did He who thundered [in Exodus 20:13] from Sinai, “THOU SHALT NOT KILL,” offer a bounty on murder? Whoever analyzes the Mosaic system will often find a moot court in session, trying law points, settling definitions, or laying down rules of evidence. Num. xxxv. 10-22; Deut. xix. 4-6; Ex. xxi. 18, 19, are some of the cases stated, with tests furnished the judges by which to detect the intent, in actions brought before them. The detail gone into is to enable them to get at the motive, and find out whether the master designed to kill.

  • 1. “If a man smite his servant with a rod.” The instrument used, gives a clue to the intent. See Num. xxxv. 16-18. A rod, not an axe, nor a sword


    nor a bludgeon, nor any other death-weapon, hence, from the kind of instrument, no design to kill would be inferred, for intent to kill would hardly have taken a rod for its weapon.

    But if the servant “die under his hand,” then the unfitness of the instrument is point blank against him; for, striking with a rod so as to cause death presupposes many blows and great violence, and these kept up till the death-gasp, showed an intent to kill. Hence, “he shall surely be punished.” But if he continued a day or two, the length of time that he lived, the kind of instrument used, and the master's pecuniary interest in his life, (“he is his money”), all made a strong case of presumptive evidence, that the master did not design to kill.

    Further the word nàkàm, here rendered [translated as] punished, occurs thirty-five times in the Old Testament, and in almost every place is translated “avenge,” in a few, “to take vengeance,” or “to revenge,” and in this instance ALONE “punish.”

    As it stands in our [1830's era] translation, the pronoun preceding it refers to the master; whereas it should refer to the crime, and the word rendered punished should have been rendered avenged. The meaning is this: If a man smite bis servant or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand, IT (the death) shall surely be avenged, or, literally, by avenging it shall be avenged; that is, the death of the servant shall be avenged by the death of the master. So “If he continue a day or two,” his death is not to be avenged by the death of the master, as in that case the crime was to be adjudged manslaughter, and not murder.

    In the following verse, another case of personal injury is


    stated, for wbich the injurer is to pay a sum of money; and yet our translators employ the same phraseology in both places!
  • One, an instance of deliberate, wanton, killing by piecemeal;
  • the otber, an accidental injury.
    Of the inflictor, in both cases, they say the same tbing!

    Now, just the discrimination [different penalty for different offenses] to be looked for where GOD legislates is marked [evident] in the original [wording].

  • In the case of the servant wilfully murdered, He says, “It (the death) shall surely be avenged”—that is, the life of the wrong-doer shall expiate the crime. The same word is used in the Old Testament, when the greatest wrongs are redressed by devoting the perpetrators to destruction.

  • In the case of the unintentional injury, in the following verse, God says, “he shall surely be fined (ànàsh). He shall pay as the judges determine.”
  • The simple meaning of the word ànâsh is to lay a fine. It is used in Deut. xxii. 19: “They shall amerce him in one hundred shekels,” and in 2 Chron. xxxvi. 3: “He condemned (mulcted) the land in a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.” That avenging the death of the servant was neither imprisonment, nor stripes, nor a fine, but that it was taking the master's life, we infer,
  • 1. From the use of the word nàkàm. See Gen. iv. 24; Josh. x. 13; Judg. xv. 7; xvi. 28; 1 Sam. xiv. 24; xviii. 25; xxv. 31; 2 Sam. iv. 8; Judg. v. 2; 1 Sam. xxv. 26-33.

  • 2. From the express statute, Lev. xxiv. 17: “He that killeth ANY man shall surely be put to death.” Also, Num. xxv. 30, 31: “Whoso killetb ANY person, the murderer shall be put to death. Moreover, ye shall take NO SATISFACTION for the life of a murderer which is guilty of death, but he shall surely
  • -100-

    be put to death.”
  • 3. The Targum of Jonathan gives the verse thus, “Death by the sword shall surely be adjudged.” The Targum of Jerusalem, “Vengeance shall be taken for him to the uttermost.” Jarchi, the same. The Samaritan version: “He shall die the death.”
  • Again, “for he is his money,” is quoted [by pro-slavers] to [falsely] prove that the servant is his master's property, and therefore if he died, the master was not to be punished. The [slaver] assumption is, that the clause proves not only that the servant is worth money to the master, but that he is an article of property.

    If the advocates of slavery will take this principle of interpretation into the Bible, and turn it loose, let them stand and draw in self-defence. If they indorse it at one point, they must stand sponsors all around the circle [consistently]. It will be too late to cry for quarter when its stroke clears the table, and tilts them among the sweepings beneath.

    Ed. Note: Weld refers to the fact that slavers were not being consistent in their claims about Bible-meaning when the Bible uses the word “is.” Slavers knew the Bible often uses “to be” verbs, e.g., the word “is,” methaphorically. But for this verse, slavers were claiming otherwise for the word “is.”

    The Bible abounds with such [metaphoric “is”] expressions as the following:

    “This (bread) is my body;” [Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19]

  • “all they (the Israelites) are brass and tin;” [Ezekiel 22:18]

  • “this (water) is the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives;” [2 Sam 23:17]

  • “the Lord God is a sun;” [Ps. 84:11]

  • “the seven good ears are seven years:” [Gen. 41:26]

  • “the tree of the field is man's life;” [Deut. 20:19]

  • “God is a consuming fire;” [Deut. 4:24; Deut. 9:3; Heb. 12:29]

  • “he is his money” [Ex. 21:21], &c.
  • The words of the original are (Kàspohu), “his silver is he.” The objector's principle of interpretation is a philosopher's stone! It transmutes five feet eight inches of flesh and bones into solid silver! Quite a permanent servant, if not so nimble withal! The obvious meaning of the phrase, "He is his money," is, he is worth money to his master; and


    since, if the master had killed him, it would have taken money out of his pocket, the pecuniary loss, the kind of instrument used, and the fact of his living some time after the injury (if the master meant to kill, he would be likely to do it while about it), altogether make a strong case of presumptive evidence clearing the master from intent to kill.

    But let us look at the [pro-slavery] objector's inferences.

  • One is, that as the master might dispose of his property as he pleased, he was not to be punished, if he destroyed it. Whether the servant died under the master's hand, or after a day or two, he was equally his property; and the objecter admits that, in the first case, the master is to be “surely punished” for destroying his own property.

  • The other inference is, that since the continuance of a day or two cleared the master of intent to kill, the loss of the servant would be a sufficient punishment for inflicting the injury which caused his death.
  • This [latter] inference makes the Mosaic law false to its own principles. A pecuniary loss was no part of the legal claim where a person took the life of another. In such case, the law spurned money, whatever the sum. God would not cheapen human life by balancing it with such a weight. “Ye shall take NO SATISFACTION for the life of a murderer, but he shall surely be put to death.” Num. xxxv. 31.

    Even in excusable homicide, where an axe slipped from the helve and killed a man, no sum of money availed to release from confinement in the city of refuge, until the death of the High Priest. Num. xxxv. 32.

    The doctrine that the loss of the servant would be a penalty adequate to the desert of [the murder by] the master, admits


    his guilt and his desert [deserving] of some punishment, and it prescribes a kind of punishment, rejected by the law, in all cases where man took the life of man, whether with or without intent to kill.

    In short the [pro-slavery] objector annuls an integral part of the system—makes a new law, and coolly metes out such penalty as he thinks fit. The master who struck out his servant's tooth, whether intentionally or not, was required to set him free. The pecuniary loss to the master was the same as though he had killed him.

    Contrast the two cases. A master beats his servant, so that he dies; another accidentally strikes out his servant's tooth; the pecuniary loss of both masters is the same.

    If the loss of the servant's services is punishment sufficient for the crime of killing him, would God command the same punishment for the [mere] accidental knocking out of a tooth? Indeed, unless the injury were done inadvertently, the loss of the servant's services was only a part of the punishment—mere reparation to the individual for injury done; the main punishment, that strictly judicial, was reparation to the community.

    To set the servant free, and thus proclaim his injury, his right to redress, and the measurc of it, answer not the ends of public justice. The law made an example of the offender, that

    “those that remain might hear and fear.” “If a man cause a blemish in his neighbor, as he hath done, so shall it be done unto him. Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Ye shall have one manner of law as well for the STRANGER as for one of your own country.” Lev. xxiv. 19, 20, 22.

    Finally, if a master smote out his servant's tooth, the law smote out his tooth—thus redressing the public wrong; and


    it cancelled the servant's obligation to the master, thus giving some compensation for the injury done, and exempting him from perilous liabilities in future.

    OBJECTION III. “Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land, and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen forever.” Lev. xxv. 44-46.

    The points in these verses, urged as proof that the Mosaic system sanctioned slavery, are,

  • 1. The word “BONDMEN.”

  • 2. “BUY.”


  • 4. “FOREVER.”
  • 1. “BONDMEN.” The fact that servants from the heathen are called “bondmen,” while others are called “servants” is quoted as proof that the former were slaves. As the caprices of King James's translators were not inspired, we need stand in no special awe of them. The word here rendered bondmen is uniformly rendered servants elswhere. The Hebrew word “èbèdh,” the plural of which is here translated “bondmen” is often applied to Christ.

  • “Behold my servant (bondman, slave?) whom I uphold.” Isa. xlii. 1.

  • “Behold my servant (Christ) shall deal prudently.” Isa. lii. 13.

  • “And he said, it is a light thing that thou (Christ) shouldst be my servant.” Isa. xlix. 6.
  • “To a servant of rulers.” Isa. xlix. 7.


  • “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant (Christ) justify many.” Is. liii. 11.
  • “Behold, I will bring forth my servant, the BRANCH.” Zech. iii. 8.

  • In 1 Kings, xii. 6, 7, it is applied to King Rehoboam. “And they spake unto him, saying, if thou wilt be a servant unto this people, then they will be thy servants forever.”

  • In 2 Chron. xii. 7, 8, 9, 13, it is applied to the king and all the nation.
  • The word is used to

  • designate those who perform service for individuals or families, about thirty-five times in the Old Testament.

  • To designate tributaries, about twenty-five times.

  • To designate the subjects of government, about thirty-three times.

  • To designate worshippers both of the true God, and of false gods, about seventy times.

  • It is also used in salutations and courteous addresses nearly one hundred times.
  • In fine, the word is applied to all persons doing service for others, and that merely to designate them as the performers of such service, whatever it might be, or whatever the ground on which it might be rendered.

    To argue from the fact of this word being used to designato domestic servants, that they were made servants by force, worked without pay, and were held as articles of propcrty, is such a gross assumption and absurdity as to make formal refutation ridiculous.

    We repeat that the word rendered bondmen in Lev. xxv. 44, is used to point out persons rendering service irrespective of the principle on which that service was rendered. It is applied indiscriminately to tributaries, to domestics, to all the subjects of governments, to magistrates, to all governmental officers, to younger sons—defining their relation to the


    first-born, who is called lord and ruler—to prophets, to kings, and to the Messiah. To argue, that those to whom the word èbèdh was applied rendered service against their wills and without pay, does violence to the Scripture use of the term, sets at nought all rules of interpretation, and outrages common sense.

    If any inference as to the meaning of the term is to be drawn from the relations of the various classes of persons, to whom it is applied, the legitimate one would seem to be, that the term designates a person who renders service to another in return for value received. The same remark applies to the Hebrew verb âbâdh, to serve. It is used in the Old Testament to describe the serving of tributaries, of worshippers, of domestics, of Levites, of sons to a father, of younger brothers to the elder, of subjects to a ruler, of hirelings, of soldiers, of public officers to the government, of a host to his guests, &c. Of these it is used to describe the serving of worshippers more than forty times, of tributaries, about thirty-five, and of servants or domestics, about ten.

    If the Israelites not only held slaves, but multitudes of them, if Abraham had thousands, and if they abounded under the Mosaic system, why had their language no word that meant slave? That language must be poverty-stricken which has no signs for the most familiar objects and conditions. To represent by the same word property, and the owner of that property, is a solecism. Ziba was an “èbèdh,” yet he “owned” (!) twenty èbèdhs!

    In our [English] language, we have both servant and slave. Why? Because we have both the things, and need signs [words] for them. If the


    tongue had a sheath, as swords have scabbard's, we should have some name for it: but our dictionaries give us none. Why? Because there is no such thing.

    But the [pro-slavery] objector asks, “Would not the Israelites use their word èbèdh, if they spoke of the slave of a heathen?” Answer. Their national servants, or tributaries, are spoken of frequently, but domestic servants so rarely that no necessity existed, even if tbey were slaves, for coining a new word. Besides, the fact of their being domestics, under heathen laws and usages, proclaimed their liabilities; their locality made a specific term unnecessary. But if the Israelites had not only servants, but a multitude of slaves, a word meaning slave would have been indispensable.

    Further, the laws of the Mosaic system were so many sentinels on the outposts to warn off foreign practices. The border ground of Canaan was quarantine ground, enforcing the strictest non-intercourse in usages between the without and the within.

    2. “BUY.” The buying of servants is discussed at length, pp. 17-23. We will add but a single consideration. This regulation, requiring the Israelites to “buy” servants of the heathen, prohibited their taking them without buying. Buying supposes two parties, a price demanded by one and paid by the other, and, consequently, the consent of both buyer and seller to the transaction. Of course, the command to the Israelites to buy servants of the heathen prohibited their getting them, unless they first got somebody's consent to the transaction, and paid to somebody a fair equivalent. Who were these some-


    bodies? Were they the persons themselves who became servants, or some other persons? “Some other persons, to be sure,” says the objecter, “the countrymen or the neighbors of those who became servants.” Ah! [Weld says sarcastically] this, then, is the import of the Divine command to the Israelites:

    “When you go among the heathen to get a man to work for you, I straitly charge you to go first to his neighbors, got their consent, settle the terms with them, and pay them a fair equivalent. Then you may catch the man and drag him home with you; and I will bless you in the work of your hands. As to the man himself, his choice is nothing [ignoreable], and you need give him nothing for his work: but take care and pay his neighbors well for him, and respect their free choice in taking him—for to deprive a heathen man by force, and without pay of the use of himself, is well-pleasing in my sight; but to deprive his heathen neighbors of the use of him is that abominable thing which my soul hateth.”

    3. “FOREVER.” This is quoted to prove that servants were to serve during their lifetime, and their posterity from generation to generation.*   The word “forever,” instead of defining the length of individual service, proclaims the permanence of the regulation laid down in the two verses preceding, namely, that their permanent domestics should be of the strangers, and not of the Israelites [agrarians]; it declares the duration of that general provision. As if God had
    * One would think that the explicit testimony of our Lord should forever forestall all cavil on this point. “The servant abideth not in the house, FOREVER, but the Son, abideth ever.” John viii. 35.

    Ed. Note: To learn why so many U.S. clergy did not get the point, see such writings as that by Rev. Stephen S. Foster, Brotherhood of Thieves (1843).


    said, “You shall always get your permanent laborers [employees] from the nations round about you; your servants shall always be of that class of persons.” As it stands in the original, it is plain—“Forever of them shall ye serve yourselves.” This is the literal rendering [meaning].

    Ed. Note: Why? So that Israelities would remain agrarians.

    That “forever” [in Lev. 25:46] refers to the permanent relations of a community, rather than to the services of individuals, is a fair inference from the form of the expression,

  • “Both thy bondmen, &c., shall be of the heathen. OF THEM shall ye buy.”

  • “THEY shall be your possession.”

  • “THEY shall be your bondmen forever.”

  • “But over your brethren, the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL,” &c.
  • The language used applies more naturally to a body of people, than to individual servants.

    Besides, perpetual service cannot be argued from the term forever. The ninth and tenth verses of the same chapter limit it absolutely [to 50 years maximum] by the [50 year] jubilee.

    “Then thou shalt cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound * * * throughout ALL your land.” “And ye shall proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto ALL the inhabitants thereof.” Leviticus 25:9-10].

    It may be [has been] objected [by the pro-slavery side] that “inhabitants” here means Israelitish inhabitants. In the sixth verse [Lev. 25:6], there is an enumeration of the different classes of the inhabitants, in which servants and strangers are included; and in all the regulations of the jubilee and the sabbatical year, the strangers are included in the precepts, prohibitions, and promises.

    Again: the year of jubilee was ushered in by the day of atonement. [Leviticus 23:27-32]. What did these institutions show forth? The day of atonement prefigured the atonement of Christ and the year of jnbilee, the gospel jubilee. And did they prefigure an atonement


    and a jubilee to Jews only? Were they types of sin remitted, and of salvation proclaimed to Israel alone? Is tbere no redemption for us Gentiles in these ends of the earth, and is our hope presumption and impiety? Did that old partition wall survive the shock [the death of Christ] that made earth quake, and hid the sun, burst graves and rocks, and rent the temple veil? and did the Gospel only rear it higher to thunder direr perdition from its frowning battlements on all without?

    To deny that the blessings of the jubilee extended to the servants from the Gentiles makes Christianity Judaism.*   It not only eclipses the glory of the Gospel, but strikes out its sun. The refusal to release servants at the jubilee falsified and disannulled a grand leading type of the atonement, and was a libel on the doctrine of Christ's redemption.

    But, even if forever did refer to individual service, we have ample precedents for limiting the term by the jubilee. The same word defines the length of time which Jewish servants served who did not go out at the end of
    * So far from the strangers not being released by the proclamation of liberty on the morning of the jubilee, tbey were the only persons who were, as a body, released by it. The rule regulating the service of the Hebrew servant was, “Six years shall he serve, and in the seventh year he shall go out free.” The [agrarian] freeholders who had "fallen into decay," and had in consequence mortgaged their possessions to their more prosperous neighbors, and become in some sort their servants, were released by the jubilee, and again resumed their inheritances. This was the only class of Jewish servants which was released by the jubilee; all others went out at the close of their six years' term.


    their six years' term. And all admit that they went out at the jubilee. Ex. xxi. 2-6; Deut. xv. 12-17. The 23d verse of the same chapter [Leviticus 25] is quoted to prove that “forever” in the 46th verse extends beyond the jubilee. “The land shall not be sold FOREVER, for the land is mine.”

    As forever, in the 46th verse, respects [concerns] the [agrarian society's] general arrangement, and not individual service, the objection does not touch the argument. Besides, in the 46th verse, the word used is Olam, meaning throughout the period, whatever that may be; whereas in the 23d verse it is Tsemithuth, meaning, a cutting off, or to be cut off; and the import of it is, that the owner of an inheritance shall not forfeit his proprietorship of it; though it may for a time pass from his control into the hands of his creditors or others, yet the owner shall be permitted to redeem it, and even if that be not done, it shall not be “cut off,” but shall revert to him at the jubilee.

    4. “INHERITANCE AND POSSESSION.” “Ye shall take them as an INHERITANCE for your children after you, to inherit them. for a POSSESSION.” This refers to the nations, and not to the individual servants procured from these nations. The holding of servants as a possession is discussed at large, pp. 73-93. To what is there advanced, we here subjoin a few considerations. We have already shown that servants could not be held as a property-possession and inheritance; that they became such of tbeir own accord, were paid wages, released from their regular labor nearly half the days in each year, instructed and protected in all their personal, social, and religious rights, equally with their masters. All remaining,


    after these reservations, would be small temptation, either to the lust of power or of lucre. What if our American slaves were all placed in just such a condition!

    Alas, for that melodious circumlocution, “OUR PECULIAR species of property!” Yerily, emphasis would be cadence, and euphony and irony meet together! What eager snatches at mere words and bald technics, irrespective of connection, principles of construction, biblical usage, or limitations of meaning by other passages—and all to eke out such a sense [meaning] as sanctifies existing usages!!

    The words nahal and nahala, inherit and inheritance, by no means necessarily signify articles of property.

  • “The people answered the king and said, We have none inheritance in the son of Jesse.” 2 Chron. x. 16. Did they mean gravely to disclaim the holding of their king as an article of property?

  • “Children are an heritage (inheritance) of the Lord.” Ps. cxxvii. 3.

  • “Pardon onr iniquity, and take us for thine inheritance.” Ex. xxxiv. 9. When God pardons his enemies [sinners], and adopts them as children, does he make them articles of property? Are forgiveness and chattel-making synonymes?

  • I [God] am their inheritance.” Ezek. xliv. 28.

  • “I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.” Ps. ii. 18.
  • See also Deut. iv. 20; Josh. xiii. 33; Ps. lxxxii. 8; lxxviii. 62, 7l; Prov. xiv. 18.

    The question whether the servants were a PROPERTY-“possession” has been already discussed, pp. 73-92; we need add but a word. As an illustration of the condition of servants from the heathen that were the “possession” of Israelitish families, and of the way


    in which they became servants, see Isa. xiv. 1, 2.

    “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers will be joined with them, and they shall CLEAVE to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids; and they shall take them captives whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.”

    We learn from these verses,

  • 1st. That these servants which were to be “possessed” by the Israelites, were to be “joined with them,” i. e., become proselytes to their religion.

  • 2d. That they should “CLEAVE to the house of Jacob,” i, e., that they would forsake their own people voluntarily, attach themselves to the Israelites as servants, and of their own choice accompany them on their return, as Ruth accompanied Naomi from Moab to the land of Israel; and as the “souls gotten” by Abraham in Padanaram, accompanied him when he went to Canaan. “And the house of Israel shall possess them for servants,” i. e., shall have them for servants.

    In the passage under consideration, “they shall be your possession,” the original word translated “possession” is ahuzza. The same word is used in Gen. xlvii. 11. “And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt.” Gen. xlvii. 11. In what sense was Goshen the possession of the Israelites? Answer, in the sense of having it to live in, not in the sense of having it as owners. In what sense were the Israel-


    ites to possess these nations, and take them as an inheritance for their children? Answer, they possessed them as a permanent source of supply for household servants. And tbis relation to these nations was to go down to posterity as a standing regulation, having the certainty and regularity of a descent by inheritance. The sense [intent, meaning] of the whole regulation may be given thus:

  • “Thy permanent domestics, which thou shalt have, shall be of the nations that are round about you; of them shall ye buy [hire] male and female domestics.”

  • “Moreover, of the children of the foreigners that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy [hire], and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land, and they shall be your permanent resource.”

  • “And ye shall take them as a perpetual source of supply to which your children after you shall resort for servants. ALWAYS of them shall ye serve yourselves.”
  • The design [intent, meaning] of the passage is manifest from its structure [to keep Israel agrarian]. So far from being a permission to purchase slaves, it was a prohibition to employ Israelites for a certain term and in a certain grade of service, and to point out the class of persons from whicb they were to get their supply of servants, and the way in which they were to get them.*

    Ed. Note: This continues in operation in Israel even yet, 3500 years later, in the modern era: the large-scale hiring of Palestinians.

    OBJECTION IV. “If thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto [work as an employee for] thee, thou shalt
    * Rabbi Leeser, who translated from the German the work entitled “Instruction in the Mosaic Religion,” by Prof. Johlson, of the Jewish seminary at Frankfort-on-the-Main, in his comment on these verses, says, “It must be observed that it was prohibited to SUBJECT a stranger to slavery. The buying of slaves alone [hiring of employees] is permitted, but not stealing them.”

    Ed. Note: Bibliographic citation for Johlson's book: Joseph Johlson (1777-1851), transl. by Isaac Leeser, Instruction in the Mosaic Religion (Philadelphia: A. Waldie, 1830; reprinted, 1978; and reprinted, Philadelphia: Jones & Thacher, 1864 and 1867).


    not compel him to serve as a BONDSERVANT, but as an HIRED-SERVANT, and as a sojourner shall he be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee.” Lev. xxv. 39, 40.

    As only one class is called “hired,” it is inferred [by slavers] that servants of the other class were not paid for their labor; and that God, while thundering anathemas against those who “used their neighbor's service without wages,” granted a special indulgence to his chosen people to force others to work, and rob them of their earnings.

    The inference that “hired” is synonymous with paid, and that those servants not called “hired” were not paid for their labor, is a mere assumption. The meaning of the verb to hire is to procure temporary service for wages. That is also the meaning of the Hebrew word “ saukar.” It is not used when the procurement of permanent service is spoken of. The every-day distinctions in this matter are well known. In many families, the domestics perform only the regular work.

    Whatever is occasional merely, as the washing of a family, is done by persons hired expressly for that purpose. The familiar distinction between the two classes, is “servants” and “hired help.” Both classes are paid. One is permanent, and the other occasional and temporary, and therefore called “hired.”*   A variety of particulars are recorded distinguishing
    * To suppose a servant robbed of his earnings because he is not called a hired servant [says Weld sarcastically], is profound induction! If I employ a man at twelve dollars a month to work my farm, he is my “hired” man; but if I give him such a portion of the crop, or, in other words, if he works my farm “on shares,” he is no longer called a “hired” man. Yet he works the same


    hired from bought servants.
  • 1. Hired servants were paid daily at the close of their work. Lev. xix. 13; Deut. xxiv. 14, 15; Job vii. 2; Matt. xx. 8. “Bought” servants were paid in advance (a reason for their being called bought), and those that went out at the seventh year received a gratuity. Deut. xv. 12, 13.

  • 2. The "hired" were paid in money, the “bought” received their gratuity, at least, in grain, cattle, and the product of the vintage. Deut. xv. 14.

  • 3. The “hired” lived in their own families, the “bought” were a part of their masters' families.

  • 4. The “hired” supported their families out of their wages; the “bought” and their families were supported by the master besidess their wages.

  • 5. Hired servants were expected to have more working hours in the day than the bought servants. This we infer from the fact, that “a hireling's day” was a sort of proverbial phrase, meaning a full day—no subtraction of time being made from it. So, a hireling's year signifies an entire year without abatement. Job vii. 1; xiv. 6; Isa. xvi. 14 ; xxi. 16.
  • The "bought" servants were, as a class, superior to the hired—were more trustworthy, more prized, had
    farm, in the same way, with the same teams and tools; and does the same amount of work in the year, and perhaps clears twenty dollars a month, instead of twelve. As he is no longer called " hired," and still works my farm, my neighbors sagely infer [says Weld sarcastically], that I rob him of his earnings, and with all the gravity of owls, pronounce their oracular decision, and hoot it abroad. My neighbors are deep divers! like some theological professors, they not only go to the bottom, but come up covered with the tokens.

    greater privileges, and a more elevated station in society.

  • 1. They were intimately incorporated with the family of the master, were guests at family festivals and social solemnities, from which hired servants were excluded. Lev. xxii. 10, 11 ; Ex. xii. 43, 45.

  • 2. Their interests were far more identified with those of their masters' family. They were often, actually or prospectively, heirs of their masters' estates, as in the case of Eliezer, of Ziba, and the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. When there were no sons, or when they were unworthy, bought servants were made heirs. Prov. xvii. 2. We find traces of this usage in the New Testament. “But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, that the inheritmce may be ours.” Luke xx. 14. In no instance does a hired servant inherit his master's estate.

  • 3. Marriages took place between servants and their masters' daughters. “Sheshan had a servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Jarha. And Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha, his servant, to wife.” 1 Chron. ii. 34, 35. There is no instance of a hired servant forming such an alliance.

  • 4. Bought servants and their descendants were treated with marked affection and respect as members of the family.*   The treatment of
  • ________________________
    * For the purchased servant who is an Israelite, or proselyte, shall fare as his master. The master shall not eat fine bread, and his servant bread of bran. Nor yet drink old wine, aud give his servant new; nor sleep on soft pillows, and bedding, and his servant on straw. I say unto you, that he that gets a purchased servant does well to make him as his friend, or he will prove to his employer as if he got


    Abraham's servants. Gen. xxiv. [1-67] and xviii. l-7; the intercourse between Gideon and Phurah, Judg. vii. 10, 11; Saul and his servant, 1 Sam. ix. 5, 22; Jonathan and his servant, 1 Sam. xiv. 1-14, and Elisha and Gehazi are illustrations.

    The tenderness exercised towards home-born servants or the children of handmaids, and the strength of the tie tbat bound them to the family, are employed by the Psalmist to illustrate the regard of God for him and his own endearing relation to him, when in the last extremity he prays, “Save the son of thy handmaid.” Ps. lxxxvi. 16. So also in Ps. cxvi. 16. “Oh Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid.” Also Jer. ii. 14: “Is Israel a servant? Is he a home-born?*   WHY IS HE SPOILED?”

    No such tie seems to have existed between hired servants and their masters. Their untrustworthiness was proverbial. John x. 12, 13. They were reckoned at but half the value of bought servants. Deut. xv. 18.

    None but the lowest class of the people engaged as hired servants, and the kinds of labor assigned to them required little knowledge and skill. No persons seem to have become hired servants, except such as were forced to it from extreme poverty. The hired servant is called “poor and needy,” and the reason assigned by God why he should be paid as soon as he had finished his work is,
    himself a master.”—Maimonides [1135-1204], in Mishna Kiddushim. Chap. 1, Sec. 2.

    * Our translators, in rendering it “Is he a home-born SLAVE,” were wise beyond what was written.


    “For he is poor, and settetb his heart upon it.œ Deut. xxiv. 14, 15. See also, 1 Sam. ii. 5. Various passages show the low repute and inferior character of the class from which they were hired. Judg. ix. 4; 1 Sam. ii. 5. The superior condition of bought servants is manifest in the high trusts confided to them, and in their dignity and authority in the household. In no instance is a hired servant thus distingnished.

    The bought servant is manifestly the master's representative in the family, sometimes with plenipotentiary powers over adult chiidren, even negotiating marriage for them. Abraham abjured his servant not to take a wife for Isaac of the daughters of the Canaanites. The servant himself selected her.

    Servants had discretionary power in the management of their masters' estates: —And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, for all the goods of his master were in his handGen. xxiv. 10. The reason assigned is not that such was Abraham's direction, but that the servant had discretionary control. They had the same power in the disposal of property. Gen. xxiv. 22, 30, 53. The condition of Ziba, in the house of Mephibosheth is a case in point. So is Prov. xvii. 2.

    Distinct traces of this estimation are to be found in the New Testament, Matt. xxiv. 45; Luke xii. 42, 44 . In the parable of the talents, the master seems to have set up each of his servants in trade with a large capital. The unjust steward had large discretionary power, was —accused of wasting his master's goods,œ and manifestly regulated with his debtors the terms of


    settlement. Luke xvi. 4-8. Such trusts were never reposed in hired servants.

    The inferior condition of hired servants is illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son [Luke 15:11-24]. When he came to himself, the memory of his home, and of the abundance enjoyed by even the lowest class of servants in his father's household, while he was perishing with hunger among the swine and husks, so filled him with anguish that he exclaimed, “How many hired servants of my father have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” His proud heart broke. “I will arise,” he cried, “and go to my father;” and then to assure his father of the depth of his humility, resolved to add, “Make me as one of thy hired servants.”

    If hired servants were the superior class—to bespeak the situation savored little of that sense of unworthiness that seeks the dust with hidden face, and cries “unclean!” Unhumbled nature climbs [exalts itself, is arrogant]; or if it falls, clings fast where first it may. Humility sinks of its own weight, and in the lowest deep digs lower.

    The design of the parable was to illustrate, on the one hand, the joy of God as he beholds afar off the returning sinner, “seeking an injured father's face,” who runs to clasp and bless him with an unchiding welcome; and on the other, the contrition of the penitent, turning homeward with tears from his wanderings, his stricken spirit breaking with its ill-desert he sobs aloud, “The lowest place! I can abide no other!” Or in those inimitable words, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy HIRED servants.” The [pro-slavers'] supposition that hired


    servants were the highest class takes from the parable an element of winning beauty and pathos.

    It is manifest that one class of servants was on terms of equality with the children and other members of the family. Hence the force [power, impact] of Paul's declaration, Gal. iv. 1, “Now I say unto you that the heir, so long as he is a child, DIFFERETH NOTHING FROM A SERVANT, though he be lord of all.”

    If this were the hired class, the prodigal was a sorry specimen of humility. Would our Lord have put such language upon the lips of one held up by himself as a model of humility, to illustrate its deep sense of all ill-desert? If this be humility, put it on stilts, and set it a strutting, while pride takes lessons, and blunders in aping it.

    Israelites and strangers belong indiscriminately to each class of the servants, the bought and the hired. That those in the former class rose in tho family to honors and authority, which were not conferred on hired servants, has been shown.

    It should be added, however, that in the enjoyment of privileges merely political, the hired servants from the Israelites were more favored than the bought servants from the strangers. No one from the strangers was eligible to the highest office, nor could he own the soil. This last disability seems to have been one reason for the different periods of service required of the two classes of bought servants. The Israelite was to serve six years—the stranger until the jubilee.

    As the strangers could not own the soil, nor houses, except within walled towns, they would naturally attach themselves to Israelitish families. Those who were


    wealthy, or skilled in manufactures, instead of becoming servants would have servants for their own use, and as inducements for the strangers to become servants to the Israelites were greater than persons of their own nation could hold out to them, these wealthy strangers would naturally procure the poorer Israelites for servants. Lev. xxv. 47.

    In a word, such was the political condition of the strangers, that the Jewish polity offered a virtual bounty to such as would become permanent servants, and thus secure those privileges already enumerated, and for their children in the second generation a permanent inheritance. Ezek. xlvii. 21-23. None but the wealthy would be likely to decline such offers.

    On the other hand, the [agrarian] Israelites, owning all the soil, and an inheritance of land being a sacred possession, to hold it free of incumbrance was with every Israelite a point both of family honor and personal character. 1 Kings xxi. 3. Hence, to forego the control of one's [agrarian] inheritance, after the division of the paternal domain, or to be kept out of it after having acceded to it, was a burden grievous to be borne. To mitigate as much as possible sucb a calamity, the law released the Israelitish servant at the end of six* years; as, during that time
    * Another reason for protracting the service until the seventh year seems to have been the coincidence of that period with other arrangements in the Jewish economy. Its pecuniary responsibilities, social relations, and general internal structure, were graduated upon a septennial scale. Besides, as those Israelites who had become servants through poverty, would not sell themselves, till other expedients to recruit their finances had failed—(Lev. xxv. 35)—their


    —if of the first class—the partition of the patrimonial land might have taken place; or, if of the second, enough money might have been earned to disencumber his estate, and thus he might assume his station as a lord of the soil. If neither contingency had occurred, then after another six years the opportunity was again offered, and so on, until the jubilee.

    So, while strong motives urged the Israelite to discontinue his service as soon as the exigency had passed which made him a servant, every consideration impelled the stranger to prolong his term of service;*   and the same kindness which dictated the law of six years' service for the Israelite assigned as the general rule, a much longer period to the Gentile servant, who had every inducement to protract the term.

    It should be borne in mind that adult Jews ordinarily became servants, only as a tcmporary expedient to relieve themselves from [financial] embarrassment, aud ceased to be such when that object was effected. The poverty that forced them to it was a calamity, and their service was either a means of relief or a measure of prevention; not pursued as a permanent business, but resorted to on emergencies—a sort of episode in the main scope of their [agrarian land-owning] lives; whereas with the strangers it was a permanent employment, pursued both as a means of bettering their own condition, and that of their pos-
    becoming servants proclaimed such a state of their affairs as demanded the labor of a course of years fully to reinstate them.

    * The stranger had the same inducements to prefer a long term of service that those who cannot own land have to prefer a long lease.


    terity, and as an end for its own sake, conferring on them privileges, and a social estimation not otherwise attainable.

    We see from the foregoing why servants purchased from the heathen are called, by way of distinction, the servants (not bondmen).

  • 1. They followed it as a permanent business.

  • 2. Their term of service was much longer than that of the other class.

  • 3. As a class, they greatly outnumbered the Israelitish servants.

  • 4. All the strangers that dwelt in the land were tributaries, required to pay an annual tax to the government, either in money, or in public service (called a "tribute of bond-service"); in other words, all the strangers were national servants to the Israelites, and the same Hebrew word used to designate individual servants, equally designates national servants. 2 Sam. viii. 2, 6, 14; 2 Chron. viii. 7-9; Deut. xx. 11; 2 Sam. x. 19; 1 Kings ix. 21, 22; 1 Kings iv. 21; Gen. xxvii. 29.
  • The same word is applied to the Israelites, when they paid tribute to other nations. 2 Kings xvii. 3; Judg. iii. 8, 14; Gen. xlix. 15.

    Another distinction between the Jewish and Gentile bought servants was in their kinds of service. The servants from the strangers were properly the domestics, or household servants, employed in all family work, in offices of personal attendance, and in such mechanical labor as was required by increasing wants and needed repairs.

    The Jewish bought servants seem almost exclusively agricultural. Besides being better fitted for it by previous habits, agriculture, and the tending of cattle, were regarded by thc Israelites as the most honorable


    of all occupations.
  • After Saul was elected king, and escorted to Gibeah, the next report of him is, 'And behold Saul came after the herd out of the field.' 1 Sam. xi. 5.

  • Elisha "was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen." 1 Kings xix. 19.

  • King Uzziah "loved husbandry." 2 Chron. xxvi. 10.

  • Gideon was "threshing wheat" when called to lead the host against the Midianites. Judg. vi. 11.
  • The superior honorableness of agriculture is shown in that it was protected and supported by the fundamental law of the theocracy—God thus indicating it as the chief prop of the government.

    The Israelites were permanent fixtures on their soil. To be agriculturists on their own patrimonial inheritances was the grand claim to honorable estimation.

    When Ahab proposed to Naboth to buy his vineyard, king though he was, he might well have anticipated from an Israelitish freeholder, just such an indignant outburst as that which his proposai drew forth! "And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee!" 1 Kings xxi. 2, 3.

    Agriculture being pre-eminently a Jewish employment, to assign an Israelite to other employments as a business was to break up his habits, do violence to cherished predilections, and put him to a kind of labor in which he had no skill, and which he deemed degrading.*

    In short, it was, in the earlier
    * The Babylonish captivity seems to have greatly modified [deteriorated] Jewish usage in this respect. Before that event, their cities were comparatively small, and few were engaged in mechanical or mercantile employments. Afterward their cities enlarged apace and trades multiplied.


    ages of the Mosaic System, practically to unjew him,—a rigor grievous to be borne, as it annihilated a visible distinction between the descendants of Abraham and strangers. To guard this and another fundamental distinction, God instituted the regulation,

    “If thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant.” [Leviticus 25:39].

    In other words, thou shalt not put him to servant's work—to the business and into the condition of domestics.

  • In the Persian version it [Lev. 25:39] is translated, “Thou shalt not assign to him the work of servitude.”

  • In the Septuagint, “He shall not serve thee with the service of a domestic.”

  • In the Syriac, “Thou shalt not employ him after the manner of servants.”

  • In the Samaritan, “Thou shalt not require him to serve in the service of a servant.”

  • In the Targum of Onkelos, “He shall not serve thee with the service of a household servant.”

  • In the Targum of Jonathan, “Thou shalt not cause him to serve according to the usages of the servitude of servants.”*
  • The meaning of the passage is, thou shalt not assign him to the same grade, nor put him to the same service, as that of permanent domestics.
    * [Rabbi Solomon] Jarchi's comment on “Thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant” is, “The Hebrew servant is not to be required to do anything which is accounted degrading—such as all offices of personal attendance, as loosing his master's shoe-latchet, bringing him water to wash his hands and feet, waiting on him at table, dressing him, carrying things to and from the bath. The Hebrew servant is to work with his master as a son or brother, in the business of his farm, or other labor, until his legal release.”

    The remainder of the regulation is, “But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, shall he be with thee.” Hired servants were not incorporated into the families of their masters; they retained their family organization, without the surrender of any domestic privilege, honor, or authority; and this, even though they resided under the same roof with tbeir master.

    The same substantially may be said of the sojourner, though he was not the owner of the land which he cultivated, and, of course, had not the control of an inheritance [of land]; yet he was not in a condition that implied subjection, or that demanded the surrender of any right, or exacted from him any homage, or stamped him with any inferiority; unless it be supposed that a degree of inferiority would naturally attach to a state of dependence, however qualified.

    Ed. Note: In modern language, this refers to distinction between farmers and wage-earners.

    While bought servants were associated with their master's families at meals, at the Passover, and at otber family festivals, hired servants and sojourners were not. Ex. xii. 44, 45; Lev. xxii. 10, 11. They were not subject to the authority of their masters in any such sense as the master's wife, chiidren, and bought-servants. Hence the only form of oppressing hired servants spoken of in the Scriptures as practicable to masters, is that of keeping back their wages.

    To have taken away such privileges in the case under consideration would have been pre-eminent “rigor;” for it was not a servant born in the house of a master, nor a minor, whose minority had been sold by the father, neither was it one who had not yot acceded to his inheritance; nor, finally, one who had received the assignment of his inheritance, but was working off from it an incum-


    brance, before entering upon its possession and control. But it was that of the head of a family who had known better days, forced to relinquish the loved [farm-site] inheritance of his fathers, with the competence and respectful consideration its possession secured to him, and to be indebted to a neighbor for sustenance and employment.

    Still one consolation cheers him in the house of his pilgrimage—he is an Israelite—Abraham is his father; and now in his calamity he clings closer than ever to the distinction conferred by his birth-right. To rob him of this were “the unkindest cut of all.” To have assigned him to a grade of service filled only by those whose permanent business was serving, would have been to “rule over him with” peculiar “rigor.” “Thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant,” or, literally, “Thou shalt not serve thyself with him, with the service of a servant,” guaranties his political privileges, and a kind and grade of service comporting with his character and relations as an Israelite.

    And “as a hired servant, and as a sojourner, shall he be with thee,” secures to him his family organization, the respect due to its head, and the general [respectful] consideration resulting from such a station. Being already in possession of his inheritance, and the head of a household, the law so arranged the conditions of his service as to alleviate the calamity which had reduced him from independence and authority to penury and subjection. The import of the command which concludes this topic in the forty-third verse (“Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor”) is manifestly this: Thou shalt not disregard those differences in previous associations, station,


    authority, and political privileges, upon which this regulation is based, for to hold this class of servants irrespective of these distinctions, and annihilating them, is to “rule with rigor.”

    The same command is repeated in the forty-sixth verse, and applied to the distinction between servants of Jewish and those of Gentile extraction, and forbids the overlooking of distinctive Jewish peculiarities, the disregard of which would be rigorous in the extreme.*

    The construction commonly put upon the phrase, “rule with rigor,” and the inference drawn from it, have an air vastly oracular. It is interpreted to mean, “you shall not make him a chattel, and strip him of legal protection, nor force him to work without wages.”

    The [pro-slavery] inference is like unto it, viz., since the command forbade such outrages upon the Israelites, it permitted and commissioned their infliction upon the strangers! Such a construction [violates the one-law rule, p 45, supra, and] captivates [panders to] scoffers and libertines; its blasphemy, and loose-reined license, work like a charm upon them. What boots it to reason against such rampant affinities [perverted desires, lusts]! In Ex. i. 13, it is said that the Egyptians “made the chiidren of Israel to serve with rigor.” This rigor is affirmed of the amount of labor extorted, and the mode of the exaction. The expression, “serve with rigor,” is never applied to the
    * The disabilities of the strangers, which were distinctions, based on a different national descent, and important to the preservation of national characteristics and a national worship, did not affect their social estimation. They were regarded according to their character and worth as persons, irrespective of their foreign origin, employment, and political condition.


    service of servants under the Mosaic system. The phrase, “Thou shalt not RULE over him with rigor,” does not prohibit unreasonable exactions of labor, nor inflictions of cruelty. Such were provided against otherwise. But it forbids confounding the distinctions between a Jew and a stranger, by assigning the former to the same grade of service for the same term of time, and under the same political disabilities as the latter.

    We are now prepared to review the condition of the different classes of servants, with the modifications peculiar to each class.

    In all findamental rights, all classes of servants were on an absolute equality;

  • all were equally protected by law in their persons, character, property, and social relations;
  • all were voluntary, all were compensated for their labor, and released from it nearly one-half of the days in each year;
  • all were furnished with stated instruction;
  • none in either class were in any sense articles of property;
  • all were regarded as men [human], with the rights, interests, hopes, and destinies of men [humans].
  • In all these respects, all classes of servants among the Israelites formed but ONE CLASS. The different classes, and the differences in each class, were,

  • 1. Hired servants. This class consisted both of Israelites and strangers. Their employments were different. The Israelite was an agricultural servant. The stranger was a domestic and personal servant, and in some instances mechanical; both were occasional and temporary. Both lived in their own families, their wages were money, and they were paid when their work was done.

  • 2. Bought servants (including those “born in the house”). This class, also, consisted of
  • -130-

    Israelites and strangers, with the same difference in their kinds of employment. Both were paid in advance,*   and neither was temporary. The Israelitish servant, with the exception of the freeholder, completed his term in six years. The stranger was a permanent servant, continuing until the jubilee. [Leviticus 25:9-10].

    A marked distinction obtained also between different classes of Jewish bought servants. Ordinarily, they were merged in their master's family, and, like his wife and children, subject to his [Bible-limited] authority; and, like them, protected by [Bible] law from its abuse. But the freeholder was an exception; his family relations and authority remained unaffected, nor was he subjected as an inferior to the control of his master, tbough dependent on him for employment.

    It should be kept in mind that both classes of servants, Israelites and strangers, not only enjoyed equal, natural, and religious rights, but all the
    * The payment in advance douhtless lessened the price; the servant thus having the use of the money, and the master assuming all the risks of life and health for labor; at the expiration of the six years' contract, the master was obliged hy law to release the servant with a liberal gratuity. The reason assigned for this is, “he hath "been worth a double hired servant unto thee in serving thee six years;”—as if it had been said, as you have experienced no loss from the risks of life, and ability to labor, incurred in the purchase, and which lessened the price, and as, by being your servant for six years, he bas saved you the time and trouble of looking up aud hiring laborers on emergencues, theretore, “thou shalt furnish him liberally,” &c. [Deuteronomy 15:14].

    This gratuity at the close of the service shows the principle of the relation; equivalent for value received.


    civil and political privileges enjoyed by those of their own people who were not servants. They also shared in common with them the political disabilities which appertained to all strangers, whether servants of Jewish masters, or masters of Jewish servants.

    Further, the disabilities of the servants from the strangers were exclusively political and national.

  • 1. They could not own the soil.

  • 2. They were ineligible to office.

  • 3. They were assigned to employments less honorable; agriculture being regarded as fundamental to the existence of the state [nation], other employments were in less repute, and deemed unjewish.
  • Finally, the strangers, whether servants or masters, were all protected equally with the descendants of Abraham. In respect to political privileges, their condition was much like that of unnaturalized foreigners in the United States; who, whatever their wealth or intelligence, or moral principle, or love for our institutions, can neither vote, nor own the soil, nor be eligible to office. Let a native American be thus suddenly loaded with the disabilities of an alien, and what to the foreigner would be a light matter, to him would be the severity of rigor.

    The recent condition of the Jews and Catholics in England is another illustration. Rothschild, the late London banker, though the richest private citizen in the world, and perhaps master [employer] of a score of English servants [employees], was, as a subject of the government, inferior to the lowest among them. Suppose an English millionaire were by law deprived of power to own the soil, of eligibility to office, and of the electoral franchise, would he think


    it a misapplication of language, if it were said, the government “rules over him with rigor.” And yet his person, property, reputation, conscience, all his social relations, the disposal of his time, the right of locomotion at pleasure, and of natural liberty in all respects, are as much protected by law as the Lord Chancellor's.

    FINALLY. As the Mosaic System was a great compound type, ripe with meaning in doctrine and duty, the practical power of the whole depended upon the exact observance of those distinctions and relations which constituted its significancy. Hence, the care to preserve inviolate the distinction between a descendant of Abraham and a stranger, even when the stranger was a proselyte, had gone through the initiatory ordinances, entered the congregation, and become incorporated with the Israelites by family alliance.

    The regulation laid down in Ex. xxi. 2-6, is an illustration. In this case, the Israelitish servant, whose term expired in six years, had married one of his master's permanent female domestics; but her marriage did not release her master [employer] from his part of the contract for her whole term of service, nor from his legal obligation to support and educate her children.

    Neither did it do away that distinction which marked her national descent [foreign national origin] by a specific grade and term of service, nor impair her obligation to fulfill her part of the [already-pre-existing] contract. Her relations as a permanent domestic grew out of a distinction guarded with great care throughout the Mosaic system. To render it void would have been to divide the system against itself. This God would not tolerate. Nor, on the


    other hand, would he permit the master to throw off the responsibility of instructing her children, nor the care and expense of their infancy and rearing. He was bound to support and educate them, and all her children born during her term of service. The whole arrangement illustrates tbat tender regard for the interests of all, which marks the Mosaic system.*

    By this law, the children had secured to them a mothers' care. If the husband loved his family he could compel his master to keep him, whether he had occasion for his services or not. If he did not love them, to be rid of him was a blessing; and in that case, the regulation would prove an act for the relief of an afflicted family.

    The release of the servant in the seventh year neither absolved him from the obligations of marriage, nor shut him out from the society of his family. He could probably procure a service at no great distance from them, and might often do it, to get higher wages, or a kind of employment better suited to his taste and skill.

    The great number of days [46% of the time, see p 44, supra] on which the [Bible-agrarian-based society] law released servants [employees] from regular labor would enable him to spend much more time with his family than can be spent by most of the agents of our benevolent societies with their families, or by many [employees] merchants, editors, artists, &c., whose daily business [job] is in a city, while their families reside from five to fifty miles in the country.
    * Whoever studies the Mosaic Institutes with a teachable spirit will feel the [wise] power of that solemn interrogatory of God to Israel, when he had set before them all his statutes and ordinances: “What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and jndgments so RIGHTEOUS as all this [society-management] law which I set before you this day?” Deut. iv. 8.

    Ed. Note: Teachability is essential. Proverbs 18:13,   Matthew 18:4-5, and Mark 9:36 and 10:15.
    These society management laws are detailed in the Ed. Note in Rev. Parker Pillsbury's 1883 Acts book.
    Said Rev. Weld's colleague: “We might rest [base] the demonstration [proof] of a divine inspiration of the Pentateuch [Bible Society Management Laws] in no small degree on the supernatural benevolence and wisdom of those laws,” says Rev. George B. Cheever, D.D., God Against Slavery (Cincinnati: Am. Reform Tract and Book Society, 1857), p 151. "The Mosaic code being essentially moral . . . naturally produced a social Utopia," says Prof. Ernest Renan, The Apostles (1866), p 106.
    See also Psalm 19:7-8 citing positive traits of said Laws.


    We conclude this inquiry by considering one more objection. “The enslavement of the Canaanites by the Israelites was appointed by God as a commutation of the punishment of death denounced against them for their sins.”*   Only one statute was ever given respecting the disposition to be made of the inhabitants of Canaan. If the sentence of death was pronounced against them, and afterwards commuted, when? where? by whom? and in what terms was the commutation, and where is it recorded?

    Grant that all the Canaanites were sentenced to unconditional extermination; how can a right to enslave them be drawn from such premises? The punishment of death is one of the highest recognitions of man's moral nature. It proclaims him rational, accountable, deserving death for having done his utmost to cheapen human life, when the proof of its priceless worth lived in his own nature.

    But to make man a slave cheapens to nothing universal human nature, and, instead of healing a wound, gives a death-stab. What! repair an injury to rational being in the robbery of one of its rights, by not only robbing it of all, but by annihilating their foundation, the distinction between persons and things? To make a man a chattel is not the punishment, but in principle the
    * In the prophecy, Gen. ix. 25, the subjection of the Canaanites as a conquered people rendering tribute to other nations is foretold. The fulfilment of this prediction seems to have commenced in the subjection of the Canaanites to the Israelites as tributaries. If the Israelites had exterminated them, as the [pro-slavery] objecter asserts they were commanded to do, the prediction would have been falsified.


    annihilation of a human being, and, so far as it goes, of all human beings.

    Here a question arises of sufficient importance for a separate dissertation; but it must, for the present, be disposed of in a few paragraphs. WERE THE CANAANITES SENTENCED BY GOD TO INDIVIDUAL AND UNCONDITIONAL EXTERMINATION?

    The directions as to the disposal of the Canaanites are mainly in the following passages: Ex. xxiii. 23-33; xxxiv. 11; Deut. vii. 16-24; ix. 3; xxxi. 3-5. In these verses, the Israelites are commanded to “destroy the Canaanites,” to “drive out,” “consume,” “utterly overthrow,” “put out,” “dispossess them,” &c.

    Did these commands enjoin the universal destruction of the individuals, or merely of the body politic? The word hàràin, to destroy, signifies national as well as individual destruction; the destruction of political existence equally with personal; of governmental organization equally with the lives of the subjects.

    Besides, if we interpret the words destroy, consume, overthrow, &c., to mean personal destruction, what meaning shall we give to the expressions, “drive out before thee,” “cast out before thee,” “expel,” “put out,” “dispossess,” &c., which are used in the same and in parallel passages? In addition to those quoted above, see Josh. iii. 10; xvii. 18; xxii. 5; xxiv. 18; Judg. i. 20, 29-35; vi. 9.

    “I will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” Ex. xxiii. 27.

    Here “all their enemies” were to turn their backs, and “all the people” to be “destroyed.” Does this mean that God would let all their enemies escape, but kill their


    friends, or that he would first kill “all the people,” and THEN make them “turn their backs,” an army of runaway corpses? [!]

    In Josh. xxiv. 8 , God says, speaking of the Amorites, “I destroyed them from before you.” In the 18th verse of the same chapter, it is said, “The Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land.” In Num. xxxii. 39, we are told that “the children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorite which was in it.”

    If these commands required the destruction of all the individuals, the Mosaic law was at war with itself [full of contradictions]; for directions as to the treatment of native residents form a large part of it. See Lev. xix. 34; xxv. 35, 36; xxiv. 22; Ex. xxiii. 9; xxii. 21; Deut. i. 16, 17; x. 17, 19; xxvii. 19.

    We find, also, that provision was made for them in the cities of refuge, Num. xxxv. 15;—the gleanings of the harvest and vintage were theirs. Lev. xix. 9, 10; xxiii. 22;—the blessings of the Sabbath, Ex. xx. 10;—the privilege of offering sacrifices secured, Lev. xxii. 18; and stated religious instruction provided for them, Deut. xxxi. 9, 12.

    How does this same law require the individual extermination of those whose lives and interests it thus protects? These laws were given to the Israelites long before they entered Canaan [at Mt. Sinai]; and they must have inferred from them that a multitude of the inhabitants of the land were to continue in it, under their government.

    Again, Joshua was selected as the leader of Israel to execute [carry out, enforce] God's threatenings upon Canaan. He had no discretionary power. God's commands were his official instructions. Going be-


    yond them would have been usurpation; refusing to carry them out, rebellion and treason. Saul was rejected from being king for disobeying God's commands in a single instance. [1 Samuel 15:23.]

    If God [had] commanded the individual destruction of all the Canaanites, Joshua disobeyed him in every instance. For at his death the Israelites still “dwelt among them,” and each nation is mentioned by name, Judg. i. 27-36; and yet we are told that Joshua “left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses;” and that he “took all that land.” Josh. xi. 15-22. Also, that “there stood not a man of all their enemies before them.” Josh. xxi. 44.

    How can this be if the command to “destroy,” “destroy utterly,” &c., enjoined individual extermination, and the command to drive out, unconditional expulsion from the country rather than their expulsion from the possession or ownership of it, as the lords of the soil?

    That the latter is the true sense to be attached to those terms we argue further, from the fact that the same terms are employed by God to describe the punishment which he would inflict upon the Israelites, if they served other gods. “Ye shall utterly perish,” “be utterly destroyed,” “consumed,” &c., are some of them. See Deut. iv. 26; viii. 19, 20;*   Josh. xxiii.
    * These two verses are so explicit, we quote them entire: “And it shall be if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against vou this day that ye shall surely perish: as the nations which the Lord destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish.” The following passages are, if possible, still more explicit: “The Lord shall send upon thee cursing,


    12, 13-16; 1 Sam. xii. 25. The Israelites did serve other gods, and Jehovah did execute upon them his threatenings; and thus himself interpreted these threatenings. He subverted their government, dispossessed them of their land, divested them of national power, and made them tributaries, but did not exterminate them. He “destroyed them utterly” as an independent body politic, but not as individuals.

    Multitudes of the Canaanites were slain, but not a case can be found in which one was either killed or expelled who acquiesced in the transfer of the territory and its sovereignty from the inhabitants of the land to the Israelites. Witness the case of Rahab
    vexation, and rebuke in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly.” “The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee until he have consumed thee.” “They (the 'sword,' 'blasting,' &c.) shall pursue thee until thou perish.” “From heaven shall it come down upon thee till thou be destroyed.” “All these cnrses shall come upon thee till thou be destroyed.” “He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck until he have destroyed thee.” “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young, * * until he have destroyed thee.”

    All these, with other similar threatenings of destruction, are contained in the twenty-eighth chapter of Deut. See verses 20-25, 45, 48, 51.

    In the same chapter, God declares that, as a punishment for the same transgressions, the Israelites shall “be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth,”—thus showing that the terms employed in the other verses, “destroy,” “perish,” “perish quickly,” “consume,” &c., instead of signifying utter, personal destruction, doubtless meant their destruction as an independent nation.

    In Josh. xxiv. 8, 18, “destroyed” and “drave out,” are used synonymously.


    and her kindred, and that of the Gibeonites.*

    The Canaanites knew of the miracles wrought for the Israelites; and that their land had been transferred to them as a judgment for their sins. Josh. ii. 9-11; ix. 9, 10, 24. Many of them were awed by these wonders, and made no resistance. Others [unrepentant idolaters] came out to battle. These last occupied the fortified cities, were the most inveterate heathen—the aristocracy of idolatry, the kings, the nobility and gentry, the priests, with their crowds of retainers that aided in idolatrous rites, and the military forces, with the chief
    * Perhaps it will be objected, that the preservation of the Gibeonites, and of Rahab and her kindred, was a violation of the command of God. We answer, if it had been, we might expect some such intimation. If God had straitly commanded them to exterminate all the Canaanites, their pledge to save them alive was neither a repeal of the statute, nor absolution for the breach of it. If unconditional destruction was the import of the command, would God have permitted such an act to pass without rebuke? Would he have established such a precedent when Israel had hardly passed the threshold of Canaan, and was then striking the first blow of a half century war? What if they had passed their word to Rahab and the Gibeonites? Was that more binding than God's command? So Saul seems to have passed his word to Agag; yet Samuel hewed him in pieces, because in saving his life Saul had violated God's command. When Saul sought to slay the Gibeonites in “his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah,” God sent upon Israel a three years' famine [in punishment] for it. When David inquired of them what atonement he should make, they say, “The man that devised against us, that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, let seven of his sons be delivered,” &c. 2 Sam. xxi. 1-6.


    profligates of both sexes.

    Many facts corroborate the general position [of no general command to kill all Canaanites]. Witness that command (Deut. xxiii. 15, 16), which not only prohibited the surrender of the fugitive servant to his master, but required the Israelites to receive him with kindness, permit him to dwell where he pleased, and to protect and cherish him. Whenever any servant, even a Canaanite, fled from his master to the Israelites, Jehovah, so far from commanding them to kill him, straitly charged them,

    “He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose—in one of thy gates where it liketh him best—thou shalt not oppress him.” Deut. xxiii. 16.

    The Canaanitish servant, by thus fleeing to the Israelites, submitted himself as a dutiful snbject to their national government, and pledged his allegiance.

    Suppose all the Canaanites had thus snbmitted themselves to the Jewish theocracy, and conformed to the requirements of the Mosaic institutes, would not all have been spared upon the same principle that one was?

    Again, look at the multitudes of tributaries in the midst of Israel, and that, too, after they [Israelites] had “waxed strong,” and the uttermost nations quaked at the terror of their name—the Canaanites, Philistines, and others, who became proselytes—as the Nethenims, Uriah the Hittite—Rahab, who married one of the princes of Judah—Jether, an Ishmaelite, who married Abigail, the sister of David, and was the father of Amasa, the captain of the host [commanding general] of Israel. Comp. 1 Chron. ii. 17, with 2 Sam. xvii. 25.—Ittai—the six hundred Gittites, David's body guard. 2 Sam. xv. 18, 21.

    [Note also] Obededom the Gittite, adopted into the tribe of Levi. Comp. 2 Sam. vi. 10, 11, with 1 Chron. xv


    18, and xxvi. 4, 5—Jaziz and Obil. 1 Chron. xxvii. 30, 31.

    Jephunneh, the Kenezite, Josh. xiv. 6, and father of Caleb, a ruler of the tribe of Judah. Numb. xiii. 2, 6—the Kenites registered in the genealogies of the tribe of Judah, Judg. i. 16; 1 Chron. ii. 55, and the one hundred and fifty thousand Canaanites employed by Solomon in the building of the Temple.*

    Besides, the greatest miracle on record [prolonging daylight] was wrought to save a portion of those very Canaanites, and for the destruction of those who would exterminate them. Josh. x. 12-14.

    Further—the terms employed in the directions regulating the disposal of the Canaanites, such as “drive out,” “put out,” “expel,” “dispossess,” &c., seem used interchangeably with “consume,” “destroy,” “overthrow,” &c., and thus indicate the sense [meaning] in which the latter words are used.

    As an illustration of the meaning generally attacbed to these and similar terms, we refer to the history of the Amalekites. “I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” Ex. xvii. 14. “Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.” Deut. xxv. 19. “Smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep.” 1 Sam. xv. 2, 3. “Saul smote the Amalekites, and he took
    * If the Canaanites were devoted by God to unconditional extermination, to have employed them in the erection of the temple, what was it but the climax of impiety? As well might they pollute its altars with swine's flesh, or make their sons pass through the fire to Moloch.


    Agag, the king of the Amalekites, alive, and UTTERLY DESTROYED ALL THE PEOPLE with the edge of the sword." Verses 7, 8. In verse 20, Saul says, I have brought Agag, the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites."

    In 1 Sam. xxx. 1, 2, we find the Amalekites marching an army into Israel, and sweeping everything before them—and this in about eighteen years after they had all been "UTTERLY DESTROYED!" In 1 Kings ii. 15-17, is another illustration.

    We are informed that Joab remained in Edom six months 'with all Israel, "until he had cut off every male in Edom. In the next verse we learn that Hadad and "certain Edomites" were not slain.

    Deut. xx. 16, 17, will probably be quoted against the preceding view. We argue that the command in these verses did not include all the individuals of the Canaanitish nations, but only the inhabitants of the cities (and even those conditionally), because, only the inhabitants of cities are specified—"of the cities of these people thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth."

    Cities then, as now, were pest-houses of vice; they reeked with abominations little practised in the country. On this account, their influence would be far more perilous to the Israelites than that of the country. Besides, they were the centres of idolatry—there were the temples and altars, and idols, and priests, without number. Even their buildings, streets, and public walks were so many visibilities of idolatry.

    The reason assigned in the 18th verse for exterminating them, strengthens the idea—"that they teach you not to do after all the abominations which they have done unto their gods."


    This would be a reason for exterminating all the nations and individuals around them, as all were idolaters; but God commanded them, in certain cases, to spare the inhabitants. Contact with any of them would be perilons—with the inhabitants of the cities peculiarly, and of the Canaanitish cities pre-eminently so.

    The 10th and 11th verses contain the general rule prescribing the method in which cities were to be summoned to surrender. They were first to receive the offer of pcace—if it were accepted, the inhabitants became tributaries—but if they came out against Israel in battle, the men were to be killed, and the women and little ones saved alive. The 15th verse rcstricts this lenient treatment to the inhabitants of the cities afar off. The 16th directs as to the disposal of the inhabitants of the Canaanitish cities. They were to save alive "nothing that breathed."

    The common mistake has been, in supposing that the command of the 15th verse refers to the whole system of directions preceding, commencing with the 10th, whereas it manifestly refers only to the inflictions specified in the 12th, 13th, and 14th, making a distinction between those Canaanitish cities that fought, and the cities afar off that fought—in one case, destroying the males and females, and in the other, the males only.

    The offer of peace, and the conditional preservation, wrre as really guarantied to Canaanitish cities as to otherd. Their inhabitants were not to be exterminated, unless they came out against Israel in battle.

    Whatever be the import of the commands respecting the Canaanites, the Israelites did not utterly exterminate them. If entire and unconditional


    extermination was the command of God, it was never obeyed by the Israelites; consequently, the truth of God stood pledged to consign them to the same doom which he had pronounced upon the Canaanites, but which they had refused to visit upon them.
    "If ye will not drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come to pass that * * I shall do unto you as I thought [planned] to do unto them." Num. xxxiii. 55, 56.
    As the Israelites were not exterminated, we infer that God did not pronounce that doom upon them; and as he did pronounce upon them the same doom, whatever it was, which they should [would foreseeably] refuse to visit upon the Canaanites, it follows that the doom of unconditional extermination was not pronounced against the Canaanites. But let us settle this question by the "law and the testimony." [Isaiah 8:20.]
    "There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel save the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon; all others they took in battle. For it was of the Lord to harden their hcarts, that they should COME OUT AGAINST ISRAEL IN BATTLE, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses." Josh. xi. 19, 20.

    That is, if they had not come out against Israel in battle, they would have had "favor" shown them, and would not have been "destroyed utterly." The great design [divine plan] was to transfer the territory of the Canaanites to the Israelites, and along with it, absolute sovereignty in every respect; to annihilate their political organizations, civil polity, and jurisprudence, and their systems of


    religion, with all its rights and appendages; and to substitute therefor, a pure theocracy, administered by Jehovah, with the Israelites as His representatives and agents. In a word, the people were to be denationalized, their political existence annihilated, their idol temples, altars, groves, images, pictures, and heathen rites destroyed, and themselves put under tribute. Those who resisted the execution of Jehovah's purpose were to be killed, while those who submitted to it were to be spared.

    All had the choice of these alternatives, either free egress out of the land; *   or acquiescence in the decree, with life and residence as tributaries, under the protection of the [Mosaic] government; or resistance to the execution of the decree, with death.

    "And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my nome, the Lord liveth, as they taught my people to swear by Baal; THEN SHALL THEY BE BUILT IN THE MIDST OF MY PEOPLE."
    [The original design of the preceding inquiry embraced a much wider range of topics. It was soon found, however, that to fill up the outline would be to
    * Suppose all the Canaanitish nations had abandoned their territory to the tidings of Israel's approach, did God's command require the Israelites to chase them to ends of the earth, and hunt them down, until every Canaanite was destroyed? It is too preposterous for belief; and yet it follows îegitimately from that construction which interprets the terms "consume," "destroy," "destroy utterly," &c. to mean unconditional, individual extermination.


    make a volume Much of the foregoing has therefore been thrown into a mere series of indices, to trains of thought and classes of proof, which, however limited or imperfect, may afford some facilities to those who have little leisure for protracted investigation.]



    THE foregoing work, as may be seen, is confined to an examination of the Old Testament. It was the design of the author at one time to include an inquiry into the teachings of the New Testament on the same subject, and the alleged sanction of slavery in the example and teachings of our Lord and his Apostles; but he [Weld] was deterred from entering upon this, lest what he intended for a tract should swell into a large volume.

    Ed. Note: Others covered the subject. For example, see Rev. John G. Fee, An Anti-Slavery Manual (New York: William Harned, 1851), covered the subject in full.
    See also Edward C. Rogers, Slavery Illegality in All Ages and Nations (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1855), pp 27-33, covering New Testament aspects. Additional links are given therein.

    As some may, however, think the work incomplete without some notice of the teaching of the New Testament, we have subjoined a few extracts from an excellent address issued by the Presbyterian Synod of Kentucky, in 1835.

    After pointing out the enormity of the evils of slavery, the Synod proceeds to say:—

    "We have exhibited fairly, but briefly, the nature and effects of slavery. For the truth of our facts, we refer to your own observations; for the correctness of our reasoning, we appeal to your judgments and consciences. What, then, must we conclude? Is slavery a system which Christians should sanction or even tolerate, if their efforts can avail to abolish it?

    "The reply is often made, 'God's word sanctions slavery, it cannot therefore be sinful. It cannot be our duty to relinquish our power over our sîaves, or the Bible would have enjoined it upon us to do so.'

    "We will not attempt to elaborate argument against this plea for slavery—it needs no such answer. A few observations will suffice to show its utter fallacy.

    "We are told that the apostles gave to Christian masters and Christian servants directions for the regulation of their mutual conduct. True; and these directions will be valuable while the world lasts—for so long, we doubt not, will the


    relation of master [employer] and servant [employee] exist. But how do such directions license holding of slaves? The terms which the apostles use in giving these precepts, are the same terms which they would have used had there been no slaves upon the earth. Many of the masters [employers] of that [heathen] day [era] were indeed slaveholders, and many of the servants were slaves—but should that circumstance have prevented the inspired ambassadors from teaching the duties which devolved upon masters and servants, in every age, and under every form of service?

    "If so, then the fact that rulers at that time were generally tyrants, and the people vassals, should have prevented them [the apostles] from laying down the duties of rulers and people. In the precepts of holy writ, neither political tyranny nor domestic slavery is countenanced, Nay, if masters complied with the apostolic injunction to them, and gave their servants, as they were directed to do, "that which is just and equal," there would be at once an end of all that is properly called slavery.

    "The divine right of kings to tyrannize over their subjects, and the unlawfulness of resistance to their authority on the part of the people, were formerly maintained by the very same kind of scriptural arguments which are now advanced in support of slavery. The arguments drawn from the Bible in favor of despotism, are, indeed, much more plausible than those in favor of slavery. We despise the former—how then should we regard the latter?

    "It has sometimes been said, that the 'New Testament does not condemn slaveholding in express terms.' And the practice has been advocated, because it has [supposedly] not been denounced. If this assertion were true, and if the Bible only virtually denounced it, it would be a sin. No man can righteously continue a practice which God disapproves of, no matter in what form the disapproval is expressed.


    "If a physician, after a minute examination, should tell a patient that his every limb and organ was diseased—if he should enumerate the various parts of his bodily system, the arms, the legs, the head, the stomach, the bowels, &c., and should say of each one of these parts distinctly that it was unsound; could the man depart and say, 'After all, I am not diseased, for the physician has not said, in express terms, that my body is unsound? Has he not received a more clear and express declaration of his entirely diseased condition, than if he had been told, in merely general terms, that his body was unsound? Thus has God condemned slavery. He has specified the parts


    which compose it, and denounced them, one by one, in the most ample and unequivocal form.

    "In the English language we have the term servant, which we apply indiscriminately both to tbose held in voluntary subjection to another [employees, apprentices, etc.], and to those whose subjection is involuntary. We have also the term slave, which is applicable exclusively to those held in involuntary subjection.

    The Greek language had a word corresponding exactly in signification with our word servant; but it had none that answered precisely to our term slave.*

    Ed. Note: The Ancients never had anything so perverted as the South.

    "How then was an apostle, writing in Greek, to condemn our slavery? Could it be done in the way in which some seem [profess] to think it must be done, before they will be convinced of its sinfulness?

    "How can we expect to find in Scripture the words 'slavery is sinful?' when the language in which it is written contained no term which expressed the meaning of our word slavery? Would the advocates of slavery wish us to show that the apostles declare it to be unchristian to hold servants (douloi)? This would have been denouncing, as criminal [sinful], practices far different from slaveholding.

    "But inspiration taught the holy penmen the only correct and efficacious method of conveying their condemnation of this unchristian system. They pronounce of each one of those several things which constitute slavery, that it is sinful—thus clearly and forever denouncing the system, wherever it might appear, and whatever name it might assume.

    "If a writer should take up each part of our federal constitution separately and condemn it article by article, who would have the folly to assert that, after all, he had not expressly condemned the constitution? Who would say that this thorough and entire disapproval of every part of the instrument of confederation must pass for nothing, and is no proof of the writer's hostility to it, because he has never said exactiy in so many words, 'I disapprove of the Constitution of the United States?' We see that he could condemn it most explicitly and thoroughly without even mentioning it by name.

    "Further, human language is so fluctuating that words often, in the lapse of time, change their meaning. The word tyrant expresses now a very different idea from that which it once
    * The words oiketes, andrapodon, are those which most nearly correspond, in the idea wbich they present, with our word slave. But oiketes properly siguifies a domestic; and andrapodon, one taken, and enslaved in war. The inspired writers could not have denouuced our sort of slavery, by using either of these words. If they had forbidden us to hold [hire] oiketai, they would have forbidden us the use [hiring] of all domestics—if they had forbidden us to hold andrapoda, they might have been interpreted as forbidding our use only of such slaves as have been taken and enslaved in war.

    Ed. Note: For background on slaves in war context, see background of Somerset v Stewart (1772), pp 29, 37, and 58-59.

    conveyed. So the term Constitution of the United States, at some future period, from the alterations introduced into our government, may indicate something far different from that which it now indicates.

    “It is true wisdom, then, when we wish to perpetuate our condemnation of a system or institution, to express our sentiments of the various things that constitute the system or institution, and not of the mere name by which it is now known. Thus our sentiments will be guarded from the misconceptions that may arise in the fluctuation of language. So that even if there were words in Greek, specifically set apart to designate the idea of slavery, inspiration would probably still have guided the apostles to their present form of expression in its condemnation.

    “Had they [the apostles] used such language as this, 'slavery is sinful,' some modern apologists for the system might have alleged that our slavery was not such as existed among the Greeks—that slavery here was a different thing from that which the apostles denounced.

    “But the course [writing style] they [the apostles] pursued leaves no room for such a subterfuge.

    “We have received the command, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself,' and we are conscious that we are violating the whole spirit as well as letter of this precept, when, for our own trifling pecuniary gain, we keep a whole race sunk in ignorance and pain.

    “We are commanded to give our servants 'that which is just and equal,' and no sophistry can persuade us that we fulfil this towards those whom we deprive of the reward of their labor. We know that the idea of a bondman receiving a just and equal remuneration for his labor, never enters the minds of slaveholders. The precepts against fraud, oppression, pride, and cruelty, all cut directly through the heart of the slave system.

    “Look back at the constituents and the effects of slavery, and ask yourself, 'Is not every one of these things directly at variance with the plainest commands of the gospel?' The maintenance of this system breaks not one law of the Lord, or two laws—it violates the whole code—it leaves scarcely one precept unbroken.

    “And will any one, then, contend that slavery is not reprobated by God, and, that he may participate in the system, and assist in its perpetuation, without deep criminality [sinfulness]? Forbid it, conscience—forbid it, common sense!

    “Gaming, horse-racing, gladiatorial shows in which men were hired to butcher each other, the selling of children by their parents, which was often practised in ancient days—all these things are condemned by the Scriptures, not by name, but (as slavery is condemned) by denouncing those crimes [sins] of which these acts are modifications and illustrations.

    “These views of the sinfulness of slavery place it beyond all


    doubt, that it is the duty of every individual connected with the system to aid, vigorously and efficiently, in its abolition, and thus free himself from all participation in its criminality [sinfulness].

    “How is this to be done? Certainly not by merely treating our slaves kindiy, and thus mitigating the evils of their condition. You may say you have already, in the case of your own slaves, abolished the worst evils of the system, and that in every way you promote their comfort and welfare.

    “Still duty absolutely requires at least one more step—a guarantee that their future happiness, and that of their children, shall not be at the mercy of another's caprice. And this can be effected only by a legal provision for their release from bondage.

    “It is probable that the Romans were in a better condition under Titus than they would have been had they governed themselves. But the gentleness of his sway only aggravated the horrors of their situation, under his dark and bloody successors. Granting all that any man may urge in favor of his own [personal] kindness to his dependents, still he is, contrary to the laws of nature and of God, retaining them in a condition which is tolerable oniy under the most rare and favorable circumstances—which inevitably works woe and ruin, unless prevented by the singular virtue and generosity of an extraordinary master.

    “Would we be willing that we and our chiidren should be thus held? And remember that the fundamental principle of Christian morality is, that 'what things soever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so to them.' Are we complying with our Saviour's injunction, when w thus leave our fellow beings exposed to all the future miseries, which avarice, caprice, and cruelty may inflict?

    “Yet we profess subjection to Christ's laws—'He that knoweth my will and doeth it,' says the divine Redeemer, 'he it is that loveth me.' The very best condition of a slave for life is like the condition of those unfortunate men that we sometimes read of, who have been unjustly condemned to die—but mercy or policy arresting the execution of the sentence, they have, for a time, been permitted to go at large, yet liable every moment to be remanded to prison and to death.

    “This is the situation of a slave, at his best estate—and who will say that either mercy or justice permits us to retain him in such a situation?

    “It is often urged that slaves are better off than our free negroes. If mankind had considered this plea for continuing to hold slaves a valid one, the whole world would have been still in slavery—for all nations have been at one time or other in some kind of slavery—and all despots urged this plea against their emancipation. Besides, no man ought to


    urge this as his reason for retaining his bondmen, unless he feels conscious that it is his real motive. And we willingly appeal to every man's conscience to say whether his own imagined interest is not his real motive for refusing to adopt any efficient measures for changing the condition of his servants.

    "[The pro-slavery allegation] That our negroes, if emancipated, will be worse off, is, we feel, but the specious pretext for lulling our own pangs of conscience, and answering the argument of the philanthropist. None of us believe that God has so created a whole race, that it is better for them to remain in perpetual bondage. One mode of emancipation may be preferable to another—but any mode is preferable to the perpetuation, through generations to come, of a degrading bondage. History, with a hundred tongues, testifies that, as a general rule, to emancipate is to elevate.

    "And it is vain for any man to argue against such a general law of nature by adducing the occasional departures [exceptions], which have fallen under his own personal observation. We plant ourselves down on the broad and acknowledged principle, that God created all men [people] capable of freedom—if, then, they have become unfit for this condition, it is by our fault they have become so; aud our exertions, if we are willing to do our duty, can easily restore to them that fitness of which we have deprived them.

    "As the conclusion of all that has been advanced, we assert it to be the unquestionable duty of every Christian, to use vigorous and immediate measures for the destruction of the whole system, and for tho removal of all its unhappy effects. Both these objects should be contemplated in his efforts."


  • Background Sites on Rev. Weld

    Writings by Rev. Dr. William Henry Brisbane (1803-1878)
    1. A Dissertation de Sedibus Morborum (1837)
    2. Speech of the Rev. Wm. H. Brisbane, Lately a Slaveholder in South Carolina Containing an Account of the Change in His Views on the Subject of Slavery: Delivered Before the Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society of Cincinnati, Feb. 12, 1840 (Hartford: S. S. Cowles, 1840; & Cincinnati: Samuel A. Alley, 1840)
    3. Dr. Brisbane's Address Delivered at the Anti-Slavery Convention, Assembled in Hamilton, Ohio, July 3rd 1840, to Which is Added the Constitution of the Butler County Anti-Slavery Society (Cincinnati: 1840)
    4. Letter to Baptist Denomination in South Carolina (Cincinnati: Samuel A. Alley, 1840)
    5. Church Abolitionism: or, The Legitimate Tendency of the Doctrines of Modern Abolitionism; Practically Illustrated in the Recent Disruption of the First (late Enon) Baptist Church of Cincinnati (Cincinnati: 1841)
    6. Address of the Peterboro State Convention to the Slaves, and its Vindication (with Gerrit Smith) (Cazenovia, N..: R.L. Myrick, 1842)
    7. The Constitution of the United States Versus Slavery (Philadelphia: Office of the American Citizen, 1846)
    8. Winona, The Brown Maid of the South; a Tale of the South: For the South (Philadelphia: Office of the American Citizen, 1846)
    9. Slaveholding Examined in the Light of the Holy Bible (New York: The American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1847)
    Also note references to his material by Rev. John G. Fee, in An Anti-Slavery Manual, or, The Wrongs of American Slavery Exposed By the Light of the Bible and of Facts, with A Remedy for the Evil (1851), at pp 21, 91, 110, and 117.
    For more on Rev. Dr. Brisbane, see, e.g.,
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (1853), p 244,
  • Rev. Stephen S. Foster, The Brotherhood of Thieves, or, A True Picture of the American Church and Clergy (1843), p 53
  • Prof. Dwight L. Dumond, Antislavery: the Crusade for Freedom in America (Ann Arbor: Univ of Michigan Press (1961), the exiles section.
  • Related Writings by Other Authors
    Bishop Horsley's 1806 Anti-
    Slavery Bible Principles Speech

    Rev. George Bourne's 1833
    An Address to the Presbyterian Church,
    Enforcing the Duty of Excluding All
    Slaveholders from The "Communion of Saints"

    Roman Catholic Anti-Slavery Material
    Rev. T. Weld's 1839 Slavery Conditions
    J. Birney's 1840 The American Churches:
    The Bulwarks of American Slavery

    Rev. J. Fee's 1851
    Anti-Slavery Manual
    Rev. P. Pillsbury's 1883
    Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles
    Rev. Wm. Patton's 1846
    Pro-slavery Interpretations
    of the Bible: Productive of Infidelity

    H. B. Stowe's 1853 Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin

    “The industrial way of life leads to the industrial way of death. From Shiloh to Dachau, from Antietam to Stalingrad, from Hiroshima to Vietnam and Afghanistan, the great specialty of industry and technology has been the mass production of human corpses.”—Edward Abbey
    This is in contrast to the above-cited moral and peaceful agrarian way of life specified for Biblical Israel.
    And see
  • "How the Free Market Killed New Orleans" by Michael Parenti (5 September 2005). In "Hurricane Katrina," "tens of thousands of people had failed to flee because they had nowhere to go and no means of getting there. With hardly any cash at hand or no motor vehicle to call their own, they had to sit tight and hope for the best. In the end, the free market did not work so well for them."
  • "The Two Americas" by Marjorie Cohn (3 September 2005) (more efficient reaction to hurricane by a still significantly agrarian society).
  • "The Year The Levees Broke," by Greg Palast in New Orleans (24 August 2006)
    The Bible-specified economic system / agrarian way of life meant prevention of
  • poverty,
  • homelessness,
  • unemployment,
  • crime,
  • drug abuse,
  • diseases,
  • high interest rates,
  • bankruptcies,
  • high taxes,
  • aristocracy,
  • discrimination,
  • high insurance costs,
  • massive prison-business,
  • campaign contributions corrupting law-makers,
  • economic dislocations, depressions, recessions, etc.
    Contrast agrarianism with business practice: “Negotiation in the extortion setting is commonplace,” says Assistant Prosecutor Eric Kaiser, in People v Patrick Richard, cited by Jameson Cook, “Judge evaluates e-mails,” Macomb Daily, p 3A (7 May 2004).
    “If you know what your kids look like, you're not working enough hours.”—DFGASO.
    Note that "the federal minimum wage [has not] increased as quickly as CEO pay since 1990." Had it increased thusly, "it would today [2004] be $15.71 per hour, more than three times the actual minium wage," says Ralph Nader, The Good Fight (New York: ReganBooks, 2004), Chapter 8, "Increasing Burdens on the Working Class," § 1, "Wages," p 142.
    See also “Termination of the fossil-fuels society," by Jan Lundberg, Culture Change Letter #108 (11 August 2005).
    “The churches have down through history done immense works of charity for the poor, the sick, and the forgotten, but they have failed to recognize the sin of structural social injustice and our responsibility to do something about it.”—Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (Detroit Diocese).
    "Tinker Bell, Pinochet and The Fairy Tale Miracle of Chile”—Greg Palast (10 December 2006) (after pro-business, anti-worker policies damaged the economy, pro-worker policies rescued it)
    Paul Krugman, "The Great Wealth Transfer" (Rollingstone, 22 December 2006) ("The economic pie is getting bigger—how can it be true that most Americans are getting smaller slices? The answer, of course, is that a few people are getting much, much bigger slices. Although wages have stagnated since Bush took office, corporate profits have doubled.")
    “We have got rid of the fetish of the divine right of kings, and that slavery is of divine origin and authority. But the divine right of property has taken its place. The tendency plainly is towards . . . 'a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.'”—President Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893).
    See also

  • “So God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth. They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely, without fear of losing, that [what] they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labour of the poor for as little money as may be.”—Sir Thomas More ( (1478-1535).

  • “Neither the Church of Christ, nor a Christian Commonwealth, ought to tolerate such as prefer private gain to the public weal, or seek it to the hurt of their neighbors.”—Martin Bucer, De Regno Christi (1536)

  • “Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all?”—Samuel Adams (1722-1803), known as the “Father of the American Revolution"

  • “All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.”—Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) US Founding Father. Source: Letter to Robert Morris, 25 December 1783, Ref: Franklin Collected Works, Lemay, ed., 1082.

  • “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”—Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin (1802)

  • Walt Whitman, “The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds'—where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough—a modest living—and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.”—Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

  • “As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”—President Abraham Lincoln, 21 November 1864 (letter to Col. William F. Elkins) — Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY).

  • "Shall we have the Golden Rule for all the people or the rule of cash by a few people?”— Samuel Milton Jones, Toledo Ohio Mayor 1897-1904. And: "Most manufacturers keep about eight of every ten dollars which their employees earn for them." Cited by Brown Univ. Prof. William G. McLoughlin, in "Jones vs. Jones," American Heritage, vol. 12, issue 3, pp 56-59, 84-89 (April 1961).

  • H.G.Wells, The War of the Worlds (1898), Chapter 24 (citing "do-nothing religion, very pious and superior, and submit to persecution [of the people around] and the will of the Lord . . . full of psalms and hymns and piety . . . whenever things are so [bad, oppressive] that a lot of people feel they ought to do something" but instead "make for [gravitate to] a sort of do-nothing religion").

  • Joe Hill, “The Girl Question” (1913) (on worthlessness of religious right clergy as far as defending people against economic exploitation. Note that "Religionists say [claim, profess] they are 'antimaterialist' . . . . But . . . many supposedly spiritual organizations are much dedicated to acquisitive materialism. Their leaders preach 'pie in the sky' to their [gullible] congregations, but themselves live high off the hog here and now. This is especially true of the televangelists who have been presiding over lucrative TV ministries that are often implicated in ethically and legally questionable practices," says Prof. Michael Parenti, Ph.D., Land of Idols: Political Mythology in America (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993), p 46.)

  • George Bernard Shaw, Androcles and the Lion (1913)

  • “Who ordained that the few should have the land (of Britain) as a prerequisite; who made 10,000 people owners of the soil and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth?”—David Lloyd George (1863-1945) British Prime Minister (Background)

  • Upton Sinclair, The Profits of Religion: An Essay in Economic Interpretation (1917) (“attacks institutionalized religion as a 'source of income to parasites, and the natural ally of every form of oppression and exploitation.'” Cites the abusive land system of England.)

  • “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world. No longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”—President T. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921).

  • Prof. Richard Henry Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism: A Historical Study (Lectures, 1922; New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1926) (deterioration of business ethics ever since the abolition of medieval enforcement of Bible laws banning unethical business practices) (Background and Reviews: 1, 2, 3; 4).

  • Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi (“Pan-european" publicist and political figure), in Praktischer Idealismus (“Practical Idealism") (Vienna, 1925) “Today democracy is a facade of plutocracy. Because the peoples will not tolerate naked plutocracy, power is nominally turned over to them, while real power rests in the hands of the plutocrats. In democracies, whether republican or monarchical, the statesmen are marionettes, and the capitalists are the wire pullers: they dictate the political guidelines, they control the voters by buying public opinion, through business and social connections [they control] higher government officials . . . . The plutocracy of today is more powerful than the aristocracy of the past, because nothing stands above it except the state, which is its tool and helper.” (Background)

  • Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry (1927), noting that “the church is in bondage to Big Business and doctrines as laid down by millionaires" (Chapter XXVII, last paragraph, p 364), with the goal "that workmen would turn from agitation to higher things, and work more loyally at the same wages” (Chapter XIII, Section III, p 195) (Details).

  • Prof. Harold Laski (1893-1950), “A State divided into a small number of rich and a large number of poor will always develop a government manipulated by the rich to protect the amenities represented by their property.” (1930)

  • Question: How many classical economists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Answer: As many as it takes to screw up an economy.

  • Woodie Guthrie, "Jesus Christ" (1940 and subsequent)

  • “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”—Edward Dowling (1941)

  • Mark Rosenfelder, Andrés Tapia and Arnie Fishman, "The Bible on the Poor, or, Why God is a Liberal” (1989)

  • "A Shock to the System" with Michael Caine (1990) (movie about corporate life and the desperation driving him to murder wife and boss)

  • Larry Gonick, A Cartoon History of the United States (HarperPerennial, 1991), pp 276-277 (cites the corporate propaganda version, then the alternative view: "One theory is that the boom itself was to blame for the [1929] crash: Facories churned out goods faster than people could buy them. This is called a crisis of oversupply. . . . Calling it oversupply . . . ignores the human element -- just who was supposed to buy, buy, buy? Millions of [Americans] untouched by the boom, eked out a living on the edge of bankruptcy. Anti-union policies ensured that wages couldn't grow as fast as prices or profits. . . . so under-demand might be a better name for the problem.")

  • Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, America: What Went Wrong? (Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1992) (how the rulemakers in Washington and the dealmakers on Wall Street have changed the rules . . .to favor the privileged, the powerful, and the influential--at the expense of everyone else")

  • Nick Sandberg, "Blueprint for Total Control" (2001)

  • Thom Hartmann, Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights (Rodale Books, 4 October 2002)

  • Council on International and Public Affairs, "Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality" (2005)

  • Ralph Nader Biography Film (2005)

  • Earl Gustafson, The Swedish Secret: What the United States Can Learn from Sweden’s Story (Syren Book Co., 7 April 2006)

  • Dmitry Orlov, "Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US" (Energy Bulletin, 4 December 2006)

  • Thom Hartmann, "To Restore Democracy: First Abolish Corporate Personhood" (ICH, 17 February 2007)

  • John Waples and Grant Ringshaw, "US triggers $11bn HSBC fall-out" (London Sunday Times, 4 March 2007)

  • Mike Whitney, "Stock Market Bloodbath and Greenspan’s Retreat" (ICH, 5 March 2007)

  • David Rovics, "The Battle for Ungdomshuset" (7 March 2007).

  • Zach Exley, "A Growing Revolution from the Pulpit" (14 March 2007) ("the only time Jesus speaks of God directly taking someone’s life is the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-22), a story about a man who builds bigger barns to store a surplus harvest instead of sharing it with those in need. He closed the sermon by listing a dozen places around Grand Rapids where congregants could unload their own surplus wealth. In his book Irresistible Revolution . . . Shane Claiborne . . . asks evangelicals why their literal reading of the Bible doesn’t lead them to do what Jesus so clearly told wealthy and middle-class people to do in his day: give up everything to help others.")

  • Anya Kamenetz , "Whose Mortgage Crisis?" (15 March 2007) ("It is high time to block predatory lending of all kinds by reinstating usury laws, limiting interest rates, penalties and fees that creditors can charge.")

  • James Scurlock, Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (Scribner, 2007) ("explains how without credit cards, millions of apparently middle-class Americans would live at the poverty level. ")

  • Joshua Holland, "The Slavery of Debt" (24 March 2007) ("How much poverty and real economic pain is covered up by an endless succession of pay-day loans and EZ-finance rip-offs that eventually just bury people under mountains of debt from which they have little chance of digging themselves out")
    Sue Zeidler, “US mortgage crisis forces homeowners to take refuge in their cars” (The Scotsman, 24 March 2007) (re “victims of the United States' growing mortgage crisis—low-paid workers whose homes have been repossessed amid rising interest rates, a stagnant property market and a lax lending regime.”)
    Michael Parenti, “Myth of UnderDevelopment!" ("The stupendous fortunes that were—and still are being extracted by the European and North American investors should remind us that there are very few really poor nations in what today is commonly called the Third World. Brazil is rich; Indonesia is rich; and so are the Philippines, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, India, and Malaysia. Only the people are poor.”) (For more analyses by Prof. Parenti, click here.)
    William Bowles, “I was nobody” (3 April 2007) (re “those who resisted the rise of capital[ism]. ‘Vagabonds’ for example, were one of the hundreds of categories subject to the death penalty in the 17th century. Not that for capital, it was a walkover; it took the better part of two centuries to destroy pre-capitalist social and economic relations.”)
    Peter Oberois, “Credit card companies raising rates without notice–what is the effect on the economy, stocks and bonds” (India Daily, 29 April 2007) ( “The credit squeeze is on. The credit card companies are raising their rates silently; rates go as high as 29.99% easily without any notice. The Fed is watching helplessly as these loan sharks make the economy collapse.”)
    Justin Raimondo, "America's Coming Dictatorship: The theory and practice of oligarchical "conservatism" (4 May 2007)
    Brian Grow and Keith Epstein, "The Poverty Business: Inside U.S. companies' audacious drive to extract more profits from the nation's working poor" (Business Week, 21 May 2007) (including gouging, charging higher interest rates).
    Joseph Bageant, ‘Deer Hunting With Jesus - Dispatches from America’s Class War’ (Crown Books, 19 June 2007) (Reviews)
    A. Alexander, "The Crime? Helping the Poor While Being Wealthy" (25 August 2007) (Their "philosophy dictates that any of the hard-earned taxpayer dollars returned to, or used to improve the lives of common citizens is a waste of money. However, giving the taxpayer's revenue to the wealthiest Americans and corporations is money well spent. In other words, welfare for the poorest among American society is bad; welfare for the wealthiest among American society and corporations is good.")
    "The average U.S. worker produces $63,885 of wealth per year, more than workers in all other countries." (ILO Study, August 2007)
    Naomi Wolf, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot (Chelsea Green Publishing, 5 September 2007)
    Paul Craig Roberts, Ph.D., "American Economy: R.I.P." (10 September 2007). "Americans are losing their economic future along with their civil liberties and are on the verge of enserfment." And, "offshoring has boosted corporate earnings by lowering labor costs, thereby concentrating income growth in the hands of the owners and managers of capital. According to Forbes magazine, the top 20 earners among private equity and hedge fund managers are earning average yearly compensation of $657,500,000, with four actually earning more than $1 billion annually. The otherwise excessive $36,400,000 average annual pay of the 20 top earners among CEOs of publicly-held companies looks paltry by comparison. The careers and financial prospects of many Americans were destroyed to achieve these lofty earnings for the few."
    William Greider, "Alan Greenspan: The Fraud"(, 20 September 2007) (He "sowed profound and dangerous imbalances in the US economy. That's what happens when government power tips the balance in favor of capital over labor, favoring super-rich over middle class and poor")
    Anne D'Innocenzio, "Living Paycheck to Paycheck Gets Harder"(19 October 2007) ("The calculus of living paycheck to paycheck in America is getting harder. What used to last four days might last half that long now. Pay the gas bill, but skip breakfast. Eat less for lunch so the kids can have a healthy dinner. Across the nation, Americans are increasingly unable to stretch their dollars to the next payday as they juggle higher rent, food and energy bills. It's starting to affect middle-income working families as well as the poor, and has reached the point of affecting day-to-day calculations of merchants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 7-Eleven Inc. and Family Dollar Stores Inc."
    Robert Felix, "US Food Riots Much Closer Than You Think (23 October 2007) ("Up until the 1980s there was a system that stored a lot of grain in elevators around the country. At one time, a whole year's harvest of grain was stored that way. But since taxpayers were paying to store it, certain urban politicians engineered [halt to same]. So now, nothing is stored. We produce what we consume each year and store practically none of it. There is no contingency plan.")
    David R. Francis, "The mystery of the missing $2.9 trillion" (Christian Science Monitor, 29 October 2007) ("the [USA] is by far the world's biggest debtor nation. A quarter century ago, the US was the world's largest creditor nation.")
    "Card Debt a $915 Billion Disaster-in-Waiting" (Money News, 6 November 2007) ("Think the estimated subprime debt load carried by the big international banks is big, at $1 trillion? How about this: Americans now owe nearly as much - a record $915 billion - on their credit cards alone.")
    "US debt tops $9 trillion for first time-Treasury" (Reuters, 7 November 2007) ("The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday publicly held U.S. debt breached $9 trillion this week for the first time ever, just five weeks after Congress had raised the statutory borrowing limit.")
    "Federal Liabilities Now Equal $175,000 for Every American" (8 November 2007) ("Deficit spending and promised benefits for federal entitlement programs have put every man, woman, and child in the United States on the hook for $175,000, says a new report by David Walker, comptroller general of the United States.")
    Melinda Fulmer, "Foreclosures up nearly 100%" (8 November 2007) ("The number of homes entering some stage of foreclosure jumped almost 100% in the third quarter from the same time a year ago and 30% from last quarter.")
    Mike Whitney, "The Long Fall: A Market Without Parachutes" (8 November 2007) ("America is finished, washed up, kaput. Foreign investors and central banks around the world have lost confidence in US markets and are headed for the exits. The dollar is sinking, the country is insolvent, and its leaders are barking mad.”)
    Paul Craig Roberts, Ph.D., "Dollar's Fall Collapses American Empire" (8 November 2007) ("The Romans brought on their own demise, but it took them centuries. Bush has finished America in a mere 7 years.”)
    Joseph E. Stiglitz, “The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush" (Vanity Fair, December 2007) ("The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup.”)
    KNBC, “Poll: One Third Of Respondents Worry About Becoming Homeless" (14 November 2007) (“half of residents surveyed think the lack of affordable housing is a major cause of homelessness.”)
    Patrick J. Buchanan, “The Crash of 2008?” (16 November 2007) ( “the Fed's raising of interest rates would push up the rates on mortgages, credit cards and auto loans, and push millions of marginal folks into bankruptcy and the country into recession”)
    Pascal Molliere, “The great depression of 2008 – the mother of all depressions" (17 November 2007) (“2008 is set to be the darkest ever year in financial history according to Goldman Sachs – a new report claims. The Times reports that the credit crunch is so serious that it may force the US banking system to cut lending by as much as $4,000 billion, prompting a “substantial recession” in the US. As much as $400 billion could be wiped out from the US banking system prompting fears that the knock-on effect could spell an economic catastrophe on both sides of the Atlantic. . . . every $1 dollar in losses, equates to the inability of highly leveraged Wall Street lending by $10, as they typically aim for a so-called capital ratio of 10 per cent. . . . Mr Hatzius’s actual prediction of a $400 billion write-off would reduce lending by $4,000 billion.”)
    Robert Kuttner, “The Future Of The Corporation” (New York Times, 22 Nov 2007) (“Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise.” “Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward a plutocracy.”)
    David Sirota, “Was Ross Perot Right?” (Truthdig, 22 November 2007) (“Perot . . . was predicting that because the [NAFTA] deal included no basic labor standards, it would preserve a huge 'wage differential between the United States and Mexico' that would result in 'the giant sucking sound' of American jobs heading south of the border. Corporations, he said, would 'close the factories in the U.S. [and] move the factories to Mexico [to] take advantage of the cheap labor.' The historical record is clear. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reports, 'Real wages for most Mexicans today are lower than when NAFTA took effect.' Post-NAFTA, companies looking to exploit those low wages relocated factories to Mexico. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the net effect of NAFTA was the elimination of 1 million American jobs. Score one for Perot. . . . Perot said that after NAFTA depressed Mexican wages, many Mexicans 'out of economic necessity' would 'consider illegally immigrating into the U.S.' . . . In short,' he wrote, 'NAFTA has the potential to increase illegal immigration, not decrease it.' Again, the historical record tells the story. . . . NAFTA helped drive millions of Mexicans into poverty.”
    UPI, “Forecast: U.S. dollar could plunge 90 pct” (24 November 2007) (“A financial crisis will likely send the U.S. dollar into a free fall of as much as 90 percent and gold soaring to $2,000 an ounce, a trends researcher said. 'We are going to see economic times the likes of which no living person has seen,' Trends Research Institute Director Gerald Celente said, forecasting a 'Panic of 2008.' . . . The Panic of 2008 will lead to a lower U.S. standard of living, he said. A result will be a drop in holiday spending a year from now, followed by a permanent end of the 'retail holiday frenzy' that has driven the U.S. economy since the 1940s, he said.”
    Benjamin Grabow, "Reading's two-minute drill" (28 November 2007) ("Americans are reading less than ever . . . the average adult is reading for pleasure far less than a generation before. With so many other forms of entertainment available, literature is losing its luster. . . . a proper education is necessary to enjoy a work of literature. But two other key ingredients to prose appreciation are often overlooked: time and quiet. . . Reading must happen in two minute increments or it doesn't happen at all.") (Reason for lack of time to read: abolition of the Biblical time-off /vacation system, supra)
    Gwynne Dyer, Ph.D., “The U.S. dollar's farewell tour” (29 November 2007) (“At the beginning of 2003, one euro bought one U.S. dollar. Eighteen months ago, it bought $1.20. Now it is pushing $1.50, and there is no reason to think that it will stop there.”)
    Peter Chamberlin, “The Planned Collapse of USA” (Online Journal, 9 December 2007) (“The government has known for decades that America is on a countdown to self-destruction. Among the elite it is common knowledge that our 'global economy' must one day collapse from its own dead weight. In 1974 an intensive research project was undertaken by the Stanford Research Institute and the Charles F. Kettering Foundation for the Dept. of Education. Their final report was released as the Changing Images of Man. . . . The research revealed that there were a multitude of crises that were about to intersect in America's near future. Not the least of these converging catastrophes was a rapidly approaching breakdown of both American capitalism and democracy. . . . A system based on usury and putting everyone in the 'poor house' is an economic order that is guaranteed to produce a democratic revolution.”)
    Sean Olender, “MORTGAGE MELTDOWN: Interest rate 'freeze' - the real story is fraud Bankers pay lip service to families while scurrying to avert suits, prison” (San Francisco Chronicle, 9 December 2007) (“The sole goal of the freeze is to prevent owners of mortgage-backed securities, many of them foreigners, from suing U.S. banks and forcing them to buy back worthless mortgage securities at face value - right now almost 10 times their market worth. The ticking time bomb in the U.S. banking system is not resetting subprime mortgage rates. The real problem is the contractual ability of investors in mortgage bonds to require banks to buy back the loans at face value if there was fraud in the origination process. And, to be sure, fraud is everywhere. It's in the loan application documents, and it's in the appraisals. There are e-mails and memos floating around showing that many people in banks, investment banks and appraisal companies - all the way up to senior management - knew about it. . . . At stake is nothing short of the continued existence of the U.S. banking system.”)
    BBC, “UBS posts fresh $10bn write-down” (BBC, 10 December 2007) (“The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has predicted that losses will reach $300bn, while Goldman Sachs is forecasting $400bn.” “It's further evidence of the transfer of financial power from the western economies to the great cash generating economies of Asia, Russia and the Middle East - which are able to dictate the terms on which they prop up our important institutions.”)
    Paul Craig Roberts, Ph.D., “Offshoring Interests and Economic Dogmas Are Destroying the US Dollar” (13 December 2007) (“the evidence is that foreigners are not finding dollar-denominated assets sufficiently attractive. The dollar has declined dramatically during the Bush regime." "The US media has no investigative capability and serves up the lies that serve short-term corporate and political interests. If it were not for the Internet that provides Americans with access to foreign news sources, Americans would live in a world of perfect disinformation. Offshoring interests and economic dogmas have combined to create a false picture of America’s economic position. While the ladders of upward mobility are being dismantled, Americans are being told that they have never had it better.”)
    Paul Krugman, “After The Money's Gone” (IHT, 15 December 2007) (“On Wednesday [12 Dec 2007], the U.S. Federal Reserve announced plans to lend $40 billion to banks. By my count, it's the fourth high-profile attempt to rescue the financial system since things started falling apart about five months ago. Maybe this one will do the trick, but I wouldn't count on it.”)
    Mike Whitney, “Staring into the Abyss: The Collapse Of The Modern Day Banking System" (ICH, 17 December 2007) ("There's no way out. There are bound to be bankruptcies and bank runs. 'Structured finance' has usurped the Fed's authority to create new credit and handed it over to the banks. Now everyone will pay the price.”)
    Penny Hess, “African Americans Bear Brunt of Subprime Crisis: U.S. economy built on slavery and genocide”(ICH, 17 December 2007)
    Lee Van Ham, Reading the Bible Economically (San Diego: Jubilee, 2008)
    Associated Press, “Golden opportunity in uncertain times” (8 January 2008)
    How Banks Track Your Money" ("Every Purchase On A Card Is Tracked To Find Possible Illicit Activity—Like Eliot Spitzer's”)
    Greg Palast: “Eliot's Mess” (“The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked”)
    My Parents Managed to Raise Two Kids on One Salary. That's Impossible Today” (April 2008)
    Angel of Mercy, "The Republican Erosion of America" (26 April 2008) ("Prior to the rise of the radical right some 30 years ago, America was the most innovative, most prosperous, most vital nation on the face of the Earth. [They] took a hearty, robust economy that was the envy of the entire world and ran it into the ground. . . . cheap-labor conservatives conspired, deliberately and with malice aforethought, to lay us low.")
    Richard C. Cook, "The Battle for America Has Begun: Strategic Forecasts" (14 May 2008) ("the U.S. economy is bankrupt . . . suckered . . . into the last thing we need—a major Asian land war that threatens to bring Russia and perhaps China into the fray.")
    David Brooks, “The Great Seduction" (New York Times, 10 June 2008) ("the most rampant decadence today is financial decadence, the trampling of decent norms about how to use and harness money.")
    Sarah Anderson and Sam Pizzigati of Too Much, "Ending Plutocracy: A 12-Step Program," vol. 286 The Nation (Issue #25), pp 30-32 (30 June 2008) (suggestions including altering the tax code to de-incentivize executive excesses, ending the tax penalty on earned income vs unearned income, preventing aristocracy, establishing benchmarks for corporate fairness re employees, and restoring 1950's era tax rates. Example of proposed legislation: Rep. Barbara Lee's "Income Equity Act" (on capping executive pay at 25X lowest paid employee; and the Patriot Corporations of America Act (on capping executive pay at 100X lowest paid employee)).
    Mike Whitney Interview with Michael Hudson, “We're Entering a Two Economy Society: There is No Force Opposing Financial Polarization" (30 June 2008) (“Foreclosures are an age-old problem, so there is a broad repertory of ways to deal with them. In my mind the most effective law is New York State's law of Fraudulent Conveyance. On the books back when New York was a colony, it was retained when New York joined the United States. The problem was that rapacious English creditors sought to grab New York's rich upstate farmland. Their ploy was to lend mortgage money to farmers who pledged their land as collateral. Then they would foreclose — sometimes before the crop was in and farmers simply lacked the liquidity to pay. Other lenders would lend too much for the borrowers to pay back when the loan was suddenly called in — as could be done back then. So New York passed a law ruling that if a creditor made a loan without having a realistic idea of how the debtor was to pay it back, the transaction would be deemed to be fraudulent and the debt would be declared null and void. In the 1980s, companies brought this defense against corporate raiders using junk bonds as their weapon of choice. Targeted companies claimed that they would be forced to downsize radically or even have their assets stripped to the point of bankruptcy.”)
    Adam Curtis, The Century of the Self (2008) and "How politicians and business learned to create and manipulate mass-consumer society" (2 July 2008) ("The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?")
    Mortgage ruling could shock U.S. banking industry” (Reuters, 2 July 2008) (“A lawsuit filed by a Wisconsin couple against their mortgage lender could have major implications for banks should a U.S. appeals court agree that borrowers can cancel their loans en masse when their lenders violate a federal lending disclosure law.”)
    "What Time Is It?: Industrial Civilization Is Coming To An End" (2 July 2008)
    Richard C. Cook, "Status Report on the Collapse of the U.S. Economy" (Global Research, 17 July 2008) ("the producing economy of people who work for a living simply can no longer generate enough purchasing power for people either to pay their debts or allow them to purchase what is being sold in the marketplace. In turn it is the debt burden and the loss of societal purchasing power that are crashing the stock market. Thus the collapse of the financial economy has started to destroy the producing economy as well." And, "the producing economy of working men and women is being crushed by the overall debt burden on households, businesses, and governments that could reach $70 trillion by 2010. The financial system, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is bankrupt, as the debts it is based on cannot be repaid." And, " the victims within the middle and working classes are seeing their livelihoods ruined, jobs taken away, pensions eroded, homes foreclosed on, and are being saddled with ever-increasing debt and forced to work under more and more stress due to rising burdens of taxation, gas and food price inflation . . . .")
    Leonard Doyle, "American Inequality Highlighted by 30-Year Gap In Life Expectancy" (The Independent/UK, Thursday, 17 July 2008) ("A 30-year gap now exists in the average life expectancy between Mississippi, in the Deep South, and Connecticut, in prosperous New England. Huge disparities have also opened up in income, health and education depending on where people live in the US. The American Human Development Index has applied to the US an aid agency approach to measuring well-being - more familiar to observers of the Third World - with shocking results. The US finds itself ranked 42nd in global life expectancy and 34th in survival of infants to age. Suicide and murder are among the top 15 causes of death and although the US is home to just 5 per cent of the global population it accounts for 24 per cent of the world’s prisoners."
    "How to fight foreclosure on your home" ("Using the 'produce the note' strategy is something all homeowners facing foreclosure can do. If you believe you've been treated unfairly, fight back. We have created templates for a legal request, a letter to your lender and a motion to compel to help you through the process.") See also How to Cancel Abusive Loans.
    "Bush admits US economy is collapsing" (25 September 2008) ("government intervention in buying out bankrupt financial institutions is transforming the country into where profits are privatized and losses are socialized. . . .The price of food and oil are going to skyrocket due to hyperinflation. The only way they can possibly pay for all these bailouts is to inflate the money supply. This means hyperinflation in America like you had in Germany in the 1920s. This is what the average American will experience: destitution, poverty, social unrest due to flagrant bank mismanagement - and it could have been avoided. But unfortunately the banks in the USA are run by greedy, insane private marketers and this is the result.”)
    Dean Baker, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer
    Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
    David Cay Johnston, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill)
    "Der Untergang [U.S. Real Estate Downfall"] (18 November 2008)
    " Sponsor an Executive" (Video Satire, 23 December 2008)
    Prof. Michael Parenti, Ph.D., "Is Bush A Failure?" (Video) in context of "Who Owns America (Video)" and "Creating The Poor?" (Video)
    Phillip Bannowsky, "Capitalism Produces Rich Bankers, but Socialism Produces Happiness" (The News Journal [Delaware], 24 May 2009) ("Socialism is better than capitalism. So say 20 percent of Americans, and another 27 percent say they can't say which is better, according to an April 9 Rasmussen poll. . . . Forbes Magazine . . . report this month that the happiest countries tend to be Scandinavian socialist democracies. . . . enjoy entitlements like free college, extensive elder care, and 52-week paid maternity leave.")
    Pam Martens, "Our Economy Is Going to Keep Tanking Until We Stop Shoveling Billions to Rich People (CounterPunch, 2 June 2009) ("we have been a nation ignoring massive wealth transfer and wealth concentration through a rigged Wall Street. As simple and clear as this picture is [politicians] are unwilling to connect the cause and effect of wealth in too few hands to bankruptcies and a tanking economy. Wealth-deprived consumers can't buy the goods and services being produced. This leads to repetitive cycles of layoffs and growing unemployment which leads to more wealth-deprived consumers leading to more overcapacity in production plants, more layoffs, more shrinking purchasing power. The accompanying, and equally dangerous, problem is that concentrated wealth stifles the very innovation that is necessary to create new industries, new jobs and lead us out of the downward economic spiral. Let's think about the individuals who tapped into Wall Street's rigged wealth transfer system and what they have done with their ill-gotten loot: typically, they own three or more homes, fancy cars, multiple country club memberships, airplanes, yachts, and numbered offshore bank accounts. The problem is, they just can't buy enough to compensate for the purchases they have deprived hundreds of thousands of other consumers from being able to make.")
    Thom Hartmann, “Profiling CEOs and Their Sociopathic Paychecks”   (Common, 27 July 2009) (“Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the US . . . Highly paid employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available.”— citing the Wall Street Journal).
    Chris Hedges, "Happiness Consultants Won't Stop a Depression" (, 27 July 2009) ("Corporate employees, like everyone else, are gripped by personal dilemmas, anxieties and troubles. They are not permitted, however, to ask whether the problem is the corporate structure and the corporate state. If they are not happy there is, they are told, something wrong with them. Real debate, real clashes of opinion, are, in the happy world of corporatism, forbidden.") (For background on blaming the victim, click here; and on money-motivation among "professionals" who evade dealing with systemic aspects in favor of blaming the individual, click here.
    Adele M. Stan, "Inside story on town hall riots: right-wing shock troops do corporate America's dirty work" (AlterNet, 10 August 2009)
    Fred Goldstein, Low-Wage Capitalism: Colossus with Feet of Clay: What the New Globalized, High-Tech Imperialism Means for the Class Struggle in the U.S. (World View Forum Pub, September 2009) ("Through an examination of current corporate practices, historical evidence, and Marxist theories, this critique reveals the direct correlation between new technologies, globalization, and the dramatic drop in worker wages worldwide and proposes alternatives for dealing with the crisis. The narrative traces the advances in production, communications, and transportation that have enabled transnational companies—such as Dell Computer, the "Big Three" U.S. auto companies, IBM, Liz Claiborne, and Boeing—to outsource to many diverse suppliers in numerous countries to make a single product. As a result of this global outsourcing, workers are no longer competing with others within their city, state, or country but with those thousands of miles away and have in essence entered into a worldwide wage competition that consistently lowers the wage floor. Compounding the crippling effects of these practices is the near doubling of the global workforce resulting from the collapse of the USSR and Eastern Europe's political systems. Using Karl Marx's law of wages and other findings, the chronicle maintains that these developments will not only continue to drive down wages but lead to a profound revival of working class struggle. This analysis argues that the only way to reverse these trends is to implement various strategies to fight back, especially regarding the labor-community alliance and class-wide strategies for struggle.")
    Naomi Klein, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (27 October 2009) ("the author debunks the idea that capitalism and peace go hand in hand. Instead, she discusses the role of greed in war, hitting on moments from contemporary Iraq to South America in the 1970s [and explains] the ideas and research behind her bestselling book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In this riveting lecture and interview, Klein challenges and exposes the popular myth of the free market economy’s peaceful global victory. Around the world there are people with power who are cashing in on chaos, exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally implement their policies. They are the shock doctors. From Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, this is the chilling tale of how a few are making a killing while more are getting killed.")
    Les Leopold, "The Preposterous Reality: 25 Hedge Fund Managers Are Worth 680,000 Teachers (Who Teach 13 Million Students)" (AlterNet, 10 April 2010)
    Christopher Malone, "The Tea Parties Bring Back Social Darwinism" (AlterNet, 10 April 2010)
    "What Conservatives Mean When They Say "Libertarian" (18 April 2010)
    Tom Gallagher, "The Remarkable Resilience of This Socialism Thing" (1 June 2010) ("Twenty-nine percent of the nation, it seems, has "a positive reaction to the word "socialism" (with 59% in the negative) -- according to the Pew Research Center's latest findings. [And see] the February 16, 2009 Newsweek cover announcing, "'We are all socialists now' . . . someone explained how he held a "positive view of socialism because after all it's what Our Lady [Bible Religion] wants.'"
    Prof. Paul R. Krugman, Ph.D., "Defining Prosperity Down" (New York Times, 1 August 2010) ("our governing elite just doesn't care - that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new normal . . . will soon declare that high unemployment is 'structural,' a permanent part of the economic landscape . . . condemning large numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness.") ("Krugman is giving witness to the terrible dynamic of under-employment and unemployment that the Scriptures indicate will seize control of the world in the 'Latter Days.'")
    David Johnson, "Listening To Conservatives Is Making Us Poor And Poorer" (17 September 2010)
    Michael Snyder,"15 Shocking Facts Show That the Middle Class is Being Wiped Out" (The Economic Collapse, 22 September 2010)
    Harold Meyerson, "Banks crank up foreclosure mills again" (24 October 2010) ("The banks that are repossessing millions of homes with a speed that suggests they're double-parked are the same banks that made billions by swapping paper on millions of homes purchased with mortgages that made no financial sense. Garbage in, garbage out. Hey, it's only people's lives.")
    George Monbiot, "The Tea Party Movement: Deluded and Inspired by Billionaires: By funding numerous rightwing organisations, the mega-rich Koch brothers have duped millions into supporting big business" (The Guardian/UK, Monday, 25 October 2010) ("An Astroturf campaign is a fake grassroots movement: it purports to be a spontaneous uprising of concerned citizens, but in reality it is founded and funded by elite interests. Some Astroturf campaigns have no grassroots component at all. Others catalyse and direct real mobilisations. The Tea Party belongs in the second category. It is mostly composed of passionate, well-meaning people who think they are fighting elite power, unaware that they have been organised by the very interests they believe they are confronting. We now have powerful evidence that the movement was established and has been guided with the help of money from billionaires and big business.")
    Bill Quigley, “Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer” (, Monday, 25 October 2010) (“The rich and their paid false prophets are doing a bang up job deceiving the poor and middle class. They have convinced many that an evil socialism is alive in the land and it is taking their fair share. But the deception cannot last – facts say otherwise. Yes, there is a class war – the war of the rich on the poor and the middle class – and the rich are winning. That war has been going on for years. Look at the facts – facts the rich and their false paid prophets do not want people to know. Let Glen Beck go on about socialists descending on Washington. Allow Rush Limbaugh to rail about 'class warfare for a leftist agenda that will destroy our society.' They are well compensated false prophets for the rich. The truth is that for the several decades the rich in the US have been getting richer and the poor and middle class have been getting poorer.”
    Stewart A. Alexander, "FOOD LINES IN AMERICA" (29 October 2010) ("TODAY'S POOR: Out of sight, out of mind. . . . The difference between today's depression and the depression of the 1930s (i.e., the "Great Depression") is that today's depression is largely out of sight -- and that means OUT OF MIND, at least to those who still hold a job. During the 1930s, the depression was there for everyone to see.")
    Dave Johnson, "Nine Pictures Of The Extreme Income/Wealth Gap" (14 February 2011)   (“Many people don’t understand our country’s problem of concentration of income and wealth because they don’t see it. People just don't understand how much wealth there is at the top now. The wealth at the top is so extreme that it is beyond most people’s ability to comprehend. . . . What do people do with all that money? Good question. After you own a stable of politicians who will cut your taxes, there are still a few more things you can buy. . . . .   Worse Than Egypt     In fact our country's concentration of wealth is worse than Egypt.”
    John Nichols, "How Socialists built America" (The Nation, 13 April 2011)
    Robert Scheer, "The New Corporate World Order" (20 April 2011) ("The debate over Republicans’ insistence on continued tax breaks for the superrich and the corporations they run should come to a screeching halt with the report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal headlined 'Big U.S. Firms Shift Hiring Abroad.'   Those tax breaks over the past decade, leaving some corporations such as General Electric to pay no taxes at all, were supposed to lead to job creation, but just the opposite has occurred.   As the WSJ put it, the multinational companies 'cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show.'”)
    Prof. Robert Reich, "The Truth About the American Economy" (30 May 2011) ("During three decades from 1947 to 1977, the nation implemented what might be called a basic bargain with American workers. Employers paid them enough to buy what they produced. . . . The middle class had the means to buy, and their buying created new jobs. As the economy grew, the national debt shrank as a percentage of it. . . . Americans also enjoyed economic security against the risks of economic life — not only unemployment benefits but also, through Social Security, insurance against disability, loss of a major breadwinner, workplace injury and inability to save enough for retirement. In 1965 came health insurance for the elderly and the poor (Medicare and Medicaid). Economic security proved the handmaiden of prosperity. In requiring Americans to share the costs of adversity it enabled them to share the benefits of peace of mind. . . . [Post 1977] Government could have enforced the basic bargain. But it did the opposite. It slashed public goods and investments — whacking school budgets, increasing the cost of public higher education, reducing job training, cutting public transportation and allowing bridges, ports and highways to corrode. . . . All three coping mechanisms have been exhausted. The fundamental economic challenge ahead is to restore the vast American middle class. . . . we cannot have a growing and vibrant economy without a growing and vibrant middle class.")
    Mike Elk, "The Good News in Wisconsin That the Media Isn’t Covering" (In These Times, 8 June 2011) (on unions re-implementing "the old-school style of unionism with our rank-and-file members . . . to involve people in their unions and make them feel like they run the unions, not their staff representatives")

  • Robert Parry, "How Greed Destroys America: America’s corporate chieftains are living like kings while the middle class stagnates and shrivels" (28 June 2011) ("the threat to a healthy democracy from concentrated wealth had been known to American leaders for generations. A century ago, it was Republican President Theodore Roosevelt who advocated for a progressive income tax and an estate tax."

  • Frank Schaeffer, "How Christian Fundamentalism Helped Empower the Top 1% to Exploit the 99%" (13 October 2011) (" without the fundamentalists and their 'values' issues, many in the lower 99 percent could not have been convinced to vote against their (our) economic self-interest; in other words, vote for Republicans who only serve billionaires. . . . Republicans . . . pander to the Religious Right on the social issues -- abortion, gay rights, prayer in schools, creationism in textbooks, and not so subtly the endorsement of religious schools to help white evangelicals and Roman Catholics avoid integration -- as long as the Religious Right turned a blind eye to the fact that the Republican Party would sell the soul of the country to corporate America, a country-within-a-country where 1 percent of the population have more wealth than the 99 percent."

  • Michael Winterbottom, Mat Whitecross, and Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: Disaster Capitalism in Action (18 October 2011) ("Naomi Klein's . . . book which explores how both natural and man-made disasters are used to force disadvantageous political and economic changes on unwilling governments is brought to the screen in this documentary . . . . Using electroshock treatment as a metaphor -- a harsh jolt to the body and brain that, after being embraced as a healing method, was in turn discovered to cause more harm than good -- THE SHOCK DOCTRINE explores how the United States, with the help of the C.I.A., became enamored of Milton Friedman's interpretation of free-market capitalism and attempted to persuade developing nations of its value. However, since fully unregulated markets tended to create an unbalanced economic climate in which a small number of people became extremely wealthy and vast numbers were plunged into poverty, the United States was only successful at selling free market deregulation to countries in crisis who had no practical choice than to do what the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth demanded. The results led to both widespread privation and violence in Russia, Poland, Chile, South Africa and the Middle East, and THE SHOCK DOCTRINE explains how this happened, where it's still going on, and what can be done to stop it.")

  • Rev. S. R. Shearer, 1 November 2011 ("Many people who claim to be Christians are phonies because they [reject the Bible Society Management Laws, e.g., they] have no compassion for the homeless, the dispossessed, and the poor. . . . phony Christians are the reason why so many unbelievers want nothing to do with the person and work of Jesus Christ.”)

  • "'Near Poor' Struggling Just Above Poverty Startle the Census" (Friday, 18 November 2011) (census data showing "51 million people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line. That number of Americans is 76 percent higher than the official account, published in September. All told, that places 100 million people — one in three Americans — either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it")

  • Rev. S. R. Shearer, "How the GOP and its ally, the Religious Right, have created a Death Cult" (10 February 2012) ("Contemporary conservatism is bent on destroying the social safety net (basic programs such as Social Security and unemployment insurance). . . . As recent data suggests, poverty leads to death and a diminished lifespan. When the ... Republicans stand against food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and other programs for those displaced by the Great Recession, through actions both direct and indirect, they are in fact killing people.")

  • Matt Stoller, "Towards a Creditor State - One in Seven Americans Pursued by Debt Collectors" (Saturday, 3 March 2012) ("Ten years ago, one in fourteen American consumers were pursued by debt collectors. Today it’s one in seven. . . . There are now thousands of people legally jailed because they aren’t paying their bills, ie. debtor’s prisons have returned. Occasionally elites let it slip that this is not an accident, but is their goal – former Comptroller General David Walker has wistfully pined for debtor’s prisons overtly (on CNBC, no less). . . . the percentage of people being tracked down by third party collection agencies suggests we live in a different country than we did just ten years ago.")

  • Rebecca Solnit, "American Dystopia: Welcome to the 2012 Hunger Games: Sending Debt Peonage, Poverty, and Freaky Weather Into the Arena" (1 May 2012) ("The Return of Debt Peonage: In The Hunger Games, kids in poor families take out extra chances in their District lottery -- that is, extra chances to die -- in return for extra food rations; in ours, poor kids enlist in the military to feed their families and maybe escape economic doom. Many are seduced by military recruiters who stalk them in high school with promises as slippery as those the slave trade uses to recruit poor young women for sex work abroad. . . . we’re creating a new generation of debt peonage. . . . 36,000,000 Americans have student debts. These have increased more than fivefold since 1999, creating a debt load that’s approaching a trillion dollars, with students borrowing $96 billion more every year to pay for their educations. Two-thirds of college students find themselves in this trap nowadays. As commentator Malcolm Harris put it in N + 1 magazine: “Since 1978, the price of tuition at U.S. colleges has increased over 900%, 650 points above inflation.'")

  • Christina Rexrode and Bernard Condon, "Typical CEO made $9.6M last year," Macomb Daily (Saturday, 26 May 2012), p A1 ("The head of a typical public company made $9.6 million in 2011 . . . using data from Equilar, an executive pay research firm. That was up more than 6 percent from the previous year, and is the second year in a row increase. The figure is also the highest since the AP began tracking executive compensation in 2006.")

  • Peter Edelman, Prof., Georgetown University Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy, So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America (Spring 2012).

  • James Kirkup, "Occupy protesters were right, says Bank of England official" (Telegraph, 29 Oct 2012) (Occupy exposed that "at the heart of the global financial crisis, were — and are — problems of deep and rising inequality.”)

  • Edward N. Wolff, Economics Prof., New York University, “Study: American Households Hit 43-Year Low In Net Worth” (30 November 2012) (“The median net worth of American households has dropped to a 43-year low as the lower and middle classes appear poorer and less stable than they have been since 1969. . . . between 1983 and 2010, the percentage of households with less than $10,000 in assets (using constant 1995 dollars) rose from 29.7 percent to 37.1 percent. The 'less than $10,000' figure includes the numerous households that have no assets at all, or 'negative assets,'which is otherwise known as 'debt.' Over that same period of time, the wealthiest 1 percent of American households increased their average wealth by 71 percent.”)

  • Erika Eichelberger, "12 Ways the Sequester Will Screw the Poor" (25 February 2013) ("many programs for low-income families are on the chopping block")

  • Mattea Kramer and Jo Comerford, "How America Became a Third World Country 2013-2023" (21 May 2013) ("a grim scene you have: a country investing in war in distant lands as it crumbles here at home")

  • Nick Hanauer, "The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage" (19 June 2013) ("The fundamental law of capitalism is that if workers have no money, businesses have no customers. That’s why the extreme, and widening, wealth gap in our economy presents not just a moral challenge, but an economic one, too. In a capitalist system, rising inequality creates a death spiral of falling demand that ultimately takes everyone down. . . . If the minimum wage had simply tracked U.S. productivity gains since 1968, it would be $21.72 an hour -- three times what it is now.")

  • Prof. Richard Wolff, "How Capitalism's Great Relocation Pauperized America's 'Middle Class'" (The Guardian, Tuesday, 9 July 2013) (citing "capitalism's mix of horrific working conditions, urban slums, environmental degradation, and cyclical instability . . . Workers' struggles [unions] eventually forced capitalists to pay rising wages, enabling higher living standards for large sections of the working classes (so-called 'middle classes'). Capitalists and their economist spokespersons [apologists, shills] later rewrote [falsified] that history to suggest instead that rising wages were blessings intrinsic to the capitalist system" (!).

  • Jennifer Agiesta, Dennis Junius and Debra McCown, "Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work" (AP, 28 July 2013)   ("Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.")

  • Laura Gottesdiener, "The Backyard Shock Doctrine" (2 August 2013) ("Since 2007, the foreclosure crisis has displaced at least 10 million people from more than four million homes across the country. . . . approximately the entire population of Michigan.")

  • "Swiss Showing the World How to Take on Pay Inequality" (5 October 2013) ("In March 2013, Swiss voters overwhelmingly passed one of the world's strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation. . . . Next month, November 24, a separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company's lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote. . . . this one to create a new law guaranteeing all Swiss nationals a basic income of CHF 2,500 a month ($2,756 US)." (See also the equal pay parable, Matthew 20:1-16.)

  • Pres. Jimmy Carter, "Middle Class Today Resembles Past's Poor" (8 October 2013) ("the income gap in the United States has increased to the point where members of the middle class resemble the Americans who lived in poverty when he occupied the White House. . . . Even in one of the wealthiest parts of the world there is a great deal of foreclosures and now a great deal of people who are fortunate to own their own houses owe more on them than the houses are worth in the present market, and that's all changed in the last eight years. . . . Years of tax breaks for the wealthy, a minimum wage untethered from the inflation rate and electoral districts drawn to maximize political polarization have reduced the quality of life for all but a small fraction of Americans and imperiled the nation's standing as 'a real superpower.'")

  • Senator Bernie Sanders, "The Political Crisis in Washington" (9 October 2013) (urging "people [to] understand that the real issue . . . is not just the desire of Republicans to defund Obamacare. At a time when the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing, these right-wing ideologues want to repeal virtually every piece of legislation passed in the last 80 years which protects the elderly, the children, the sick, the poor and the environment. The truth is that ending Obamacare is just a small part of the right-wing extremist agenda, which is heavily funded by the Koch brothers and other very wealthy and powerful special interests. Their full agenda includes privatizing Social Security, ending Medicare as we know it, slashing Medicaid funding, eliminating the EPA and the Department of Energy and abolishing the concept of the minimum wage. Needless to say, they also want more tax breaks for the rich and large corporations. It should be clear to everyone that their long-term goal is to move this country into an oligarchic [monarchical] form of society in which billionaires completely control the economic and political life of this nation." And see Mary Bottari saying likewise.)

  • Mike Whitney, "Work Until You're Dead? Don't Plan on Retiring" (31 December 2013) ("A sizable chunk of the adult population is going to punch a clock until they keel-over in the office parking lot and get hauled off in the company dumpster. . . . [the coming] 25 or 30 years of austerity [will be] leaving the proles to scrape by on hardtack and gruel. Pensions are already being looted, Social Security is under fire, and any small stipend that supports the poor, the unemployed, or the infirm is going to be terminated.")

  • Harold Meyerson, "How to Raise Wages" (American Prospect, 30 March 2014)   ("Eight proposals to jump-start the incomes of workers")

  • Christopher Robbins, "What Happens When Low Wage Workers Suddenly Get a Living Wage?" (Gothamist, 5 June 2014)   ("Making a living wage isn't luxurious, it's living!")

  • Matt Bruenig, "Two Theories of Poverty" (Demos, 28 July 2014) (distinguishes between the individual vs structural versions)

  • Liz Alderman and Steven Greenhouse, "Living Wages, Rarity for U.S. Fast-Food Workers, Served Up in Denmark" (New York Times, 28 October 2014)   ("$20 an hour is the lowest the fast-food industry can pay under an agreement between Denmark’s 3F union, the nation’s largest, and the Danish employers group Horesta, which includes Burger King, McDonald’s, Starbucks and other restaurant and hotel companies. By contrast, fast-food wages in the United States are so low that half of the nation’s fast-food workers rely on some form of public assistance.")