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And though such suspicions are not mentioned, the mildness of the infliction, clearly justifies the impression that there were such. What offence the butler and baker had committed, we are not informed. It is evident that their punishment was subject to modification by subsequent disclosures, as this is necessary to account for the one being released and the other executed, contrary to their expectations. That being reduced to servitude, was one of the punishments of crime, may be inferred from the proposition to retain Benjamin as a servant, for having stolen (as was supposed) the silver cup. I infer that the punishment of the chief baker was first decapitation; after which his headless body was hung upon a tree. xxxix. 20; xl. 2, 21, 22; xliv. 10.


158. Noah predicted that Canaan should be a servant of servants. Abraham had three hundred and eighteen servants born in his house and trained in the art of war. Eleazer, Abraham's steward, was a servant, as the phrase "born in the house," is applied to him. He was prospective heir of the patriarch. He was the oldest servant and ruled over all his master had; and for this reason, he was selected to go and procure a wife for Isaac. He is called Eleazer of Damascus, and probably came with Abraham from the north, from Ur of the Chaldees; as Damascus was located in that region. ix. 25; xiv. 14; xv. 2, 3;

xxiv. 2.

159. Hagar was a handmaid to Sarah, and is called an Egyptian. And it may be remembered that before this, Abraham had been down into Egypt and had sojourned there for a time, and maid servants are mentioned as among the presents he received from the Egyptian king. This Hagar was, at first, treated with great respect, and was assigned to Abraham as his

concubine and if her son was shut out from being heir, that was not because he was a servant; for the sons of the second wife of Abraham were treated in the same manner. xxv. 5. Servants were sometimes bought with money; and those born in the house, must have sprung from such as were at first bought. xvi. 1; xii. 10, 16; xxv. 5; xvii. 13.

160. The important mission entrusted to Eleazer, as well as the oath exacted of him, shows the confidence placed in him by his master. Nor could any one have been treated with more deference and respect, than was he, by the people to whom he was sent. The handmaids given to Leah and Rachel, and afterwards given by them to Jacob, were treated with considerable distinction. The sons of the handmaids are reckoned among the twelve patriarchs, as well as the sons of the wives; and though the sons of Rachel are treated with special affection, and for an obvious reason, no difference is apparent between the sons of the concubines and those of Leah. xxiv. 3, 31.

161. Servants were made such by being taken captive in war. Simeon and Levi, when they destroyed Shalem, took the wives and little ones as captives. They were made servants by the commission of crime. They were bought with money. xxxiv. 29; xliv. 17.

It may be added that there is no evidence that the relation of master and servant grew up among the patriarchs, nor do we find any divine requirement that men should have servants. The institution came into existence, like any other social custom, as the result of circumstances; and was allowed to remain without any special condemnation. It was, however, a very different thing from the system of servitude in our country, as several of the references already given will make sufficiently obvious.



162. Nothing is more interesting than to observe the hospitality of the ancients. They treated strangers and travellers with the greatest tenderness and respect. Let us notice some examples. As Abraham sat in the door of his tent, he saw three men approaching. Rising, he ran to meet them and said; my lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant; let a little water, I pray thee, be fetched; and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under this tree; and I will fetch a morsel of bread; and comfort ye your hearts." He then makes arrangements for their entertainment in the most expeditious and generous manner. It is true that these men were divine messengers; but it does not appear that Abraham at first knew them to be such, or that this fact had any influence on his conduct towards them. Indeed, the conduct of Abraham is only one instance, out of many, where the same generous hospitality is offered to strangers. The language of Lot to the angels that came to him in the evening, is of the same kind with that just noticed "Behold, now my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet; and ye shall rise up early and go on your ways." These men are indeed called angels, but this term is quite as applicable to human beings, as to those not human; and it is certain that Lot had no knowledge of their divine mission till a later period. The readiness with which Rebekah supplied the wants of Abraham's servant, by giving him drink and offering to water his camels, is quite in harmony with the generous sentiment that every where shows itself in those ancient times. Not less generous was the conduct of the sons of Heth, when they offered Abraham his choice, in regard to a burial place for his dead, and showed a delicate unwillingness to receive pay for

such a privilege. And one cannot suppress the conviction that Abraham insisted on paying for a place of burial; with an ulterior purpose; presuming, it may be, that the amicable state of things then existing might not always continue. xviii. 4, 5; xix. 2; xxiv. 18-20; xxiii. 6.


163. The observances of friends on meeting and parting, may be noticed here. The language of Laban to Jacob, shows that parting with friends was sometimes attended with music and merriment. The parties kissed each other on meeting and separating. When Jacob first met Rachel, his future wife, he kissed her, and then informed her of the relation that existed between them. So Laban ran out to meet Jacob; and embracing, kissed him. When Jacob was about to meet his brother Esau, after a long separation, having a desire to show him special respect, he bowed seven times to the earth. Esau ran to meet him; and embracing him, fell on his neck and kissed him and both of them wept. A similar meeting is recorded of Joseph and Benjamin in Egypt, and afterwards of Joseph and his aged father. Bowing to the earth, or perhaps only towards the earth, was a common token of respect and deference. Abraham bowed himself to the people of the land when he was about to negotiate with the sons of Heth for Machpelah. So Jacob bowed himself before Esau, as seen above. xxxi. 27, 25, 55; xxix. 11, 12, 13; xxxiii. 3, 4; xlv. 14; xlvi. 19; xxiii. 7, 12.


164. Of course what we call the arts of life, were in a very imperfect state, during the age of the patriarchs. Jubal was the father of such as handle the harp and the organ. The tabret and harp are also mentioned, These instruments of music were doubt

less rudely constructed; but their existence shows that men were then not very unlike what they are now. Of course the mechanic art of constructing these instruments, as well as the fine art of playing on them, must have been known at that time. iv. 21; xxxi. 27.

165. Tubal-cain was instructor of every artificer in brass and iron; and though allusions to instruments of brass and iron are not numerous, there are enough such to show their existence. The knife and the sword must have been made of one of these metals. The manufacture of cloth must have been known, as references to the wool of their flocks, would indicate. Sackcloth may have been of this material, though of this there is no certainty. In Egypt fine linen is mentioned. Frequent references to gold and silver ornaments, indicate some knowledge of the art of refining silver and gold, and working them into such forms as are fitted to please the fancy. It is quite probable, however, that the gold and silver ornaments, mentioned in connection with the patriarchs and their families, were obtained from Egypt; as no mention is made of these things till Abraham had visited that country. Indeed, it is worthy of note that as soon as Abraham returned from Egypt, he is spoken of as being rich in cattle, in gold and silver. iv. 22; xii. 42; xliv. 2;

xiii. 2.

166. The implements of agriculture were undoubtedly very rude, though they answered all the purposes of practical life at that time. The fields were sowed, it is said; and of course they must have been plowed; and some instrument for this purpose must have been in use. They bound sheaves in the field; then they must have had some instrument for cutting the grain. We read of the threshing floor of Atad; then Atad must have had some mode of threshing his grain, though it was not after the modern fashion. Bread, made of fine meal, was an article of food; of course

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