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might be attached), he was ordered to be sold for a slavé, and ment was to be made to the injured party out of the purchase money. (Exod. xxii. 1. 3.) The same practice obtains, according to Chardin, among the Persians. The wisdom of this regulation is much greater than the generality of mankind are aware of: for, as the desire of gain and the love of luxuries are the prevalent inducements to theft, restitution varied according to circumstances would effectually prevent the unlawful gratification of that desire, while the idle man would be deterred from stealing by the dread of slavery, in which he would be compelled to work by the power of blows. If, however, a thief was found breaking into a house in the night season, he might be killed (Exod. xxii. 2.), but not if the sun had arisen, in which case he might be known and apprehended, and the restitution made, which was enjoined by Moses. When stolen oxen or sheep were found in the possession of a thief, he was to make a two-fold restitution to the owner, who thus obtained a profit for his risk of loss. (Exod. xxii. 3.) This punishment was applicable to every case in which the article stolen remained unaltered in his possession. But if it was already alienated or slaughtered, the criminal was to restore four-fold for a sheep, and five-fold for an ox (Exod. xxii. 1.), in consequence of its great value and indispensable utility in agriculture, to the Israelites, who had no horses. In the time of Solomon, when property had become more valuable from the increase of commerce, the punishment of restitution was increased to seven-fold. (Prov. vi. 30, 31.) When a thief had nothing to pay, he was sold as a slave (Exod. xxii. 2.), probably for as many years as were necessary for the extinction of the debt, and of course, perhaps for life; though in other cases the Hebrew servant could be made to serve only for six years. If, however, a thief,-after having denied, even upon oath, any theft with which he was charged, had the honesty or conscience to retract his perjury, and to confess his guilt, instead of double restitution, he had only to repay the amount stolen, and onefifth more. (Levit. vi. 2. 5.) In case of debt also, the creditor might seize the debtor's person and sell him, together with his wife and children, if he had any. This is inferred from the words of the statute, in Levit. xxv. 39. There is an allusion to this custom in Job xxiv. 9.); and a case in point is related in 2 Kings iv. 1. This practice also obtained among the Jews in the days of Nehemiah (v. 1-5.), and Jesus Christ refers to in Matt. xviii. 25.
2. Man-stealing, that is the seizing or stealing of the person of a free-born Israelite, either to use him as a slave himself, or to sell him as a slave to others, was absolutely and irremissibly punished with death. (Exod. xxi. 16. Deut. xxiv. 7.)
3. "Where a person was judicially convicted of having denied any thing committed to his trust, or found by him, his punishment, as in the case of theft, was double restitution; only that it never, as in that crime, went so far as quadruple, or quintuple restitution; at least nothing of this kind is ordained in Exod xxii. 8. If the person
accused of this crime had sworn himself guiltless, and afterwards, from the impulse of his conscience, acknowledged the commission of perjury, he had only one-fifth beyond the value of the article denied to refund to its owner." (Levit. vi. 5.)
4. The Mosaic laws respecting Debtors were widely different from those which obtain in European countries: the mode of procedure sanctioned by them, though simple, was very efficient. Persons, who had property due to them, might, if they chose, secure it either by means of a mortgage, or by a pledge, or by a bondsman or surety.
(1.) The creditor, when about to receive a pledge for a debt, was not allowed to enter the debtor's house, and take what he pleased; but was to wait before the door, till the debtor should deliver up that pledge with which he could most easily dispense. (Deut. xxiv. 10, 11. Compare Job xxii. 6. xxiv. 3. 7-9.)
(2.) When a mill or a mill-stone, or an upper garment, was given as a pledge, it was not to be kept all night. These articles appear to be specified as examples for all other things with which the debtor could not dispense without great inconvenience. (Exod. xxii. 26, 27. Deut. xxiv. 6. 12.)
(3.) The debt which remained unpaid until the seventh or sabbatic year (during which the soil was to be left without cultivation, and, consequently, a person was not supposed to be in a condition to make payments,) could not be exacted during that period. (Deut. xv. 1-11.) But, at other times, in case the debt was not paid, the creditor might seize, first, the hereditary land of the debtor, and enjoy its produce until the debt was paid, or at least until the year of jubilee; or, secondly, the houses. These might be sold in perpetuity, except those belonging to the Levites. (Levit. xxv. 14-32.) Thirdly, in case the house or land was not sufficient to cancel the debt, or if it so happened that the debtor had none, the person of the debtor might be sold, together with his wife and children, if he had any. This is implied in Lev. xxv. 39.; and this custom is alluded to in Job xxiv. 9. It existed in the time of Elisha (2 Kings iv. 1.): and on the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, some rich persons exercised this right over their poor debtors. (Nehem. v. 113.) Our Lord alludes to the same custom in Matt. xviii. 25. As the person of the debtor might thus be seized and sold, his cattle and furniture were consequently liable for his debts. This is alluded to, by Solomon, in Prov. xxii. 27. It does not appear that imprisonment for debt existed in the age of Moses, but it appears to have prevailed in the time of Jesus Christ. (Matt. xviii. 34.)
(4.) If a person had become bondsman or surety for another, he was liable to be called upon for payment in the same way with the original debtor. But this practice does not appear to have obtained before the time of Solomon, (in whose Proverbs there are several references to it,) when it was attended with serious consequences. It seems that the formality observed was, for the person who became
surety to give his hand to the debtor, and not to the creditor, to intimate that he became, in a legal sense, one with the debtor; for Solomon cautions his son against giving his hand to a stranger, to a person whose circumstances he did not know; and entreats him to go and urge the person to whom he had given his hand, or for whom he had become surety, to pay his own debt: so that it must have been to the debtor that the hand was given. See Prov. xi. 15. xvii. 18. and xxii. 26.
IV. Among the CRIMES which may be committed AGAINST THE
1. Murder claims the first place. As this is a crime of the most heinous nature, Moses has described four accessory circumstances or marks, by which to distinguish it from simple homicide or manslaughter, viz. (1.) When it proceeds from hatred or enmity. (Numb. xxxv. 20, 21. Deut. xix. 11.)-(2.) When it proceeds from thirst of blood, or a desire to satiate revenge with the blood of another. (Numb. xxxv. 20.)-(3.) When it is committed premeditatedly and deceitfully. (Exod. xxi. 14.)-(4.) When a man lies in wait for another, falls upon him, and slays him. (Deut. xix. 11.)-The punishment of murder was death without all power of redemption.
2. Homicide or Manslaughter is discriminated by the following adjuncts or circumstances(1.) That it takes place without hatred or enmity. (Numb. xxxv. 22. Deut. xix. 4-6.-(2.) Without thirst for revenge. (Exod. xxi. 13. Numb. xxxv. 22.)-(3.) When it happens by mistake. (Numb. xxxv. 11. 15.)-(4.) By accident, or (as it is termed in the English law) chance-medley. (Deut. xix. 5.) In order to constitute wilful murder, besides enmity, Moses deemed it essential, that the deed be perpetrated by a blow, a thrust, or a cast, or other thing of such a nature as inevitably to cause death (Numb. xxxv. 16-21.): such as, the use of an iron tool,-a stone, or piece of wood, that may probably cause death, the striking of a man with the fist, out of enmity,-pushing a man down in such a manner that his life is endangered, and throwing any thing at a man, from sanguinary motives, so as to occasion his death. The punishment of homicide was confinement to a city of refuge, as will be shown in the following section.
Besides the two crimes of murder and homicide, there are two other species of homicide, to which no punishment was annexed, viz. (1.) If a man caught a thief breaking into his house by night, and killed him, it was not blood-guiltiness, that is, he could not be punished; but if he did so when the sun was up, it was blood-guiltiness; for the thief's life ought to have been spared, for the reason annexed to the law (Exod. xxii. 2, 3.), viz. because then the person robbed might have it in his power to obtain restitution; or, at any rate, the thief, if he could not otherwise make up his loss, might be sold, in order to repay him.-(2.) If the Goel or avenger of blood overtook the innocent homicide before he reached a city of refuge, and killed him while his heart was hot, it was considered as done in
justifiable zeal (Deut. xix. 6.); and even if he found him without the limits of his asylum, and slew him, he was not punishable. (Numb. xxxv. 26, 27.) The taking of pecuniary compensation for murder was prohibited; but the mode of punishing murderers was undetermined; and indeed it appears to have been left in a great degree to the pleasure of the Goel. An exception, however, was made to the severity of the law in the case of a perfect slave (that is, one not of Hebrew descent) whether male or female. Although a man had struck any of his slaves, whether male or female, with a stick, so as to cause their death, unless that event took place immediately, and under his hand, he was not punished. If the slave survived one or two days, the master escaped with impunity it being considered that his death might not have proceeded from the beating, and that it was not a master's interest to kill his slaves, because, as Moses says (Exod. xx. 20, 21.), they are his money. If the slave died under his master's hand while beating him, or even during the same day, his death was to be avenged; but, in what manner Moses has not specified. Probably the Israelitish master was subjected only to an arbitrary punishment, regulated according to circumstances by the pleasure of the judge.
In order to increase an abhorrence of murder, and to deter them from the perpetration of so heinous a crime,-when it had been committed by some person unknown, the city nearest to which the corpse was found was to be ascertained by mensuration : after which the elders or magistrates of that city were required to declare their utter ignorance of the affair in the very solemn manner prescribed in Deut. xxi. 1-9.
3. For other Corporal Injuries, of various kinds, different statutes were made, which show the humanity and wisdom of the Mosaic law. Thus, if a man injured another in a fray, he was obliged to pay the expenses of his cure, and of his bed, that is, the loss of his time arising from his confinement. (Exod. xxi. 18, 19.) By this admirable precept, most courts of justice still regulate their decisions in such cases. If a pregnant woman was hurt, in consequence of a fray between two individuals,-as posterity among the Jews was among the peculiar promises of their covenant,-in the event of her premature delivery, the author of the misfortune was obliged to give her husband such a pecuniary compensation as he might demand; the amount of which, if the offender thought it too high, was to be determined by the decision of arbiters. On the other hand, if either the woman or her child was hurt or maimed, the law of retaliation took its full effect, as stated in Exod. xxi. 22-25.-The law of retaliation also operated, if one man hurt another by either assaulting him openly, or by any insidious attack, whether the parties were both Israelites, or an Israelite and a foreigner. (Levit. xxiv. 19-22.) This equality of the law, however, did not extend to slaves: but if a master knocked out the eye or tooth of a slave, the latter received his freedom as a compensation for the injury he had sustained. (Exod. xxi. 26, 27.)
If this noble law did not teach the unmerciful slave-holder humanity, at least it taught him caution; as one rash blow might have deprived him of all right to the future services of his slave, and consequently self-interest would oblige him to be cautious and circumspect.
4. The crime, of which decency withholds the name, as nature abominates the idea, was punished with death (Levit. xviii. 22, 23. xx. 13. 15, 16.), as also was adultery (Levit. xx. 10.),-it should seem by stoning (Ezek. xvi. 38. 40. John viii. 7.), except in certain cases which are specified in Levit. xix. 20-22. Other crimes of lust, which were common among the Egyptians and Canaanites, are made capital by Moses. For a full examination of the wisdom of his laws on these subjects, the reader is referred to the Commentaries of Michaelis.1
V. In nothing, however, were the wisdom and equity of the Mosaic law more admirably displayed, than in the rigour with which CRIMES OF MALICE were punished. Those pests of society, malicious informers, were odious in the eye of that law (Levit. xix. 16-18.): and the publication of false reports, affecting the characters of others, is expressly prohibited in Exod. xxiii. 1.: though that statute does not annex any punishment to this crime. One exception, however, is made, which justly imposes a very severe punishment on the delinquent. See Deut. xxii. 13-19. All manner of false witness was prohibited even though it were to favour a poor man. (Exod. xx. 13. xxiii. 1-3.) But in the case of false testimony against an innocent man, the matter was ordered to be investigated with the utmost strictness, and, as a species of wickedness altogether extraordinary, to be brought before the highest tribunal, where the priests and the judges of the whole people sat in judgment: and, after conviction, the false witness was subjected to punishment, according to the law of retaliation, and beyond the possibility of reprieve: so that he suffered the very same punishment which attended the crime of which he accused his innocent brother. (Deut. xix. 16-21.) No regulation can be more equitable than this, which must have operated as a powerful prevention of this crime. Some of those excellent laws, which are the glory and ornament of the British constitution, have been made on this very ground. Thus, in the 37 Edw. III. c. 18. it is enacted that all those who make suggestion, shall suffer the same penalty to which the other party would have been subject, if he were attainted, in case his suggestions be found evil. A similar law was made in the same reign. (38 Edw. III. c. 9.) By a law of the twelve tables, false witnesses were thrown down the Tarpeian rock. In short, false witnesses have been deservedly execrated by all nations, and in every age.
1 Vol. iv. pp. 163-203,