Imatges de pàgina

adultery. For our part, we cannot believe any of these cases to be meant by the words of Moses ; because, as these were all capital crimes, it would have been ridiculous to have ordained a divorce against those that were to be put to death. We rather think, therefore, that it meant fome involuntary uncleannefs, whether natural, or contracted, which rendered her loathsome in his eyes, or unfit for the nuptial intercourse ; which Christ therefore discommends in the gospel, not only because it was become too frequent, and permitted upon every trivial occafion P; but, allo, to aflure the people, that the marriage-knot was not to be diffolved upon any pretence, except that of infidelity (W).


p Vide Joseph. ant. 1. iv. c. 8, & lib. de vit, sua ad fin. & Phil. de special. legib. præc. 6, & 7.

(W) We may add, that the thought the ground of a dia words (being 737 niny, har vorcement in David's time, is, vath.dabar, and not niny 27, that that monarch did not redebar-harvath; which last only pudiate those concubines, or doth fignify the case of turpis wives of the second rank,whom tude) may be more properly his son Abfalom had publicly rendered, for any turpitude on debauched, but contented himimmadesty of words, discourse, or self with fhutting them up for even behaviour, So that this in life (23); and that the Levite dulgence might have been de, did not divorce his concubines signed to deter the wanton fort wife, as the text calls her, after of wives from such immodeft she had played the harlot, and speeches or behaviour as might forsaken him ; but went to seek be apt to disgust a fober hus- and bring her home again (24). band; and to inspire them with The fame may be said of Samsuch chaite deportment as could son, who went and demanded his alone preserve a true conjugal wife, after she had been given affection. According to this to another man (25). To this sense, also, our Saviour's re- we may add, that we do not flection will be very juft ; that find any instances, through the it was their indocible temper whole Old Testament, of men that extorted such an indulgence divorcing their wives,either upfrom Mojes, which was mani- on this, or any other account, festly contrary to the original except those who put away design and institution of mar the strange women they had riage.

brought with them from the One thing which fhews that captivity (26). However that the nuptial breach was not be, it is plain, the Jezus have

(23) 2 Sam. xx. 3, (24) Judg. xix. , & feq. 2 Sam. iii. 13, & feqi (35) Yudz, xy. 1. & feq. (26) Ezra x. pal. Nebem, xii. 23, & leg.


Laws against theft.

UNDER this

' NDER this head we shall include not only those Theft.

which are against taking away another man's property, whether privately, or by open force ; but, also, against every act of fraud and injustice, which is contrary to the right and common faith of mankind. 1. As to theft, it must be observed, that the Jews understood the words in the decalogue, Thou malt not steal w, of menstealing ; and thought that the other fort of theft was implied in the last precept, Thou shalt not covet : but we shall include them under the same head.

w Exod. xx. 15. underftood it in another, and on the fame grounds that they more lax fense. The form of might be divorced by them, we the bill of divorce was to this can only say, that we do not effect: Such a day, month, and find any such indulgence granted year, I, such an one, of such a to them by Mofes, unless in the place, upon or near such a rin case of a virgin betrothed by her ver, do, of my own free consent parents before she was twelve and choice, repudiate thee, fuch years of age, who might then anone, my late wife, banish thee refuse to ratify the contract from me, and restore thee to thy which her parents had made, own liberty; and thou mayest, without giving any other reahenceforth, go whither, and mar- fon than that the did not like ry whóm thou wilt: and this is the person designed for her. thy bill of divorcement, and But this cannot be called a diwriting of expulfion, according vorcement, because there is na to the law of Mofes and Ifrael. marriage in the case. Josephus Signed by two witnesses; and therefore thinks, that a divorce delivered in the presence of as was so far from being permitted. many, at least (27). From this to women, that, if the husband time the wife was as much at forsook his wife, it was not lawher liberty, as if she had been a ful for her to marry another, widow; only, in both cases, the till she had first obtained a di

was obliged to stay, at least, 90. vorce from him. He adds, that = days, before she was married to. Salome, fifter to Herodrhe Great,

another, left the should prove was the first who took upon her pregnant by the last.

to repudiate her husband, whole Touching the controversy, example was foon followed by Whether women might like others, mentioned by the fame. wise divorce their husbands, up- author (28).

(27) Vid. Mof. Kotz, fol. 133. & Ms. Ægypt. part. ii. fol. 59. Seld. Buxt. & Goodw. ubi fup.

(28) Ant. 1, xvio Coll. xviii. 7. XX. 15).


& in vit, fua.

The stealing of a man was the only capital theft under the law of Mofes (Y); and whether the stolen persons had been sold, or were still in the poffeffion of the thief, he was to be put to death *. All other theft was punished by reftitution, and the addition of a fine, according to the nature of the theft ; only the man, that broke into an house in the night to rob, might be with impunity killed, though not in the day-time y. He that stole an ox, was to restore five oxen ; if a sheep, or a goat, four sheep, or four goats z; but if he had neither killed nor fold them, but they were found alive with him, he was only to pay two for one a.

In case the thief had not wherewith to make satisfaction according to the law, it was lawful for the prosecutor, if he was an Israelite, to sell him, but not if he was a profelyte of any kind ; neither could the former fell him to any but to an Ifraelite. If he had a wife and children, they might likewise be fold with him, till satisfaction was made to the offended ; at least it seems to have been fo understood, and practised, by the Jews, in cases of debt, though Mofes mentions none here but the thief (Z).


* Exod. xxi, 16. a Ibid. ver. 4.

Y Ibid. xxii. 2.

z Ibid. ver. 1.

(Y) The Jews, however, from the parable in the gospel, confine it to the stealing of an where the creditor commands Ifraelite, and not without some the wife and children, as well ground; because Mofes, in an- as the insolvent debtor, to be other place (29), expresses it, If fold, and payment to be made a man be found flealing any of (32). As soon as a sufficient his brethren, of the children of equivalent had been made by Israel ; which exception the servitude, they were to be reTargum of Onkelos (30), and the stored to their freedom again, Septuagint, have added, alfo, to tho' by another law (33): but the text in Exodus. Abenezra if the thief was unmarried, and doth even underitand it of chil- his master gave him a wife dudren that cannot speak. As for ring the time of his fervitude, the stealing of strangers, the of- the children that he had by her fender was not to be put to were his master's property. On death, according to them, but this law they engrafted another, only to make reititution. agreeing to shorten a married

(Z) This may be gathered man's fervitude, on condition from the words of the prophet he begat a certain number of Elisha (31) to the widow; and slaves, for the benefit of his

(29) Deut. xxiv. 7. (32) Mat, xviii. 25.

(30) In Exod. xxi. 16. (33) Ex

xxi. 3

(31) 2 Kingsir, 1


When a man was suspected of theft, and the prosecutor had not sufficient proof against him, he might bring him before the judges, and have both him, and those whom he thought his accomplices, examined upon oath. If they could be afterwards proved forsworn, they were put to death, not for the theft, but for the perjury. The same law reached, also, to the receiver or concealer of stolen goods, knowing them to be such h; for fo they understood the words, He fall bear his iniquity (A). All kind of


h Levit. V. I.

[ocr errors]

creditor, upon fome woman highest bidder that would (36). whom his master gave him ; (A) All these kind of matwith this pretended proviso, ters were to be tried before the however, that he should not judges of the place where the deprive his own wife of the fact was done ; and it was left nuptial due. In cases of petty to them, in many cases, to aplarcenies the laws seem till point the fines and punishments more indulgent, and the crime of the offender, according to was not looked upon as infa- the nature and circumstances of mous, according to that of So- the fact : only the Jews add, lomon, A thief is not despised that if the thief came and acthat fealeth to satisfy bis hun- cufed himself, and restored the ger; but if he be found, he fall stolen goods, he was not to have restore sevenfold, he shall give any further punishment; beall the substance of his house cause, say they, he was con(34): where the word seven- demned not by the judges, but fold means only more or less, by himself (37). Moses gave according to the theft, as far them, also, many other wholás his whole substance would fome laws relating to things reach. It is plain, however, committed to another's care, or that the law of Moses was far pledged for a time; such as enough from countenancing cattle, houshold - goods, garfuch kind of theft, fince it al- ments, and the like ; in cafe lowed a man, in cases of ex- they came to be loft, or damatreme want, to sell himfelf to ged (38); which we shall not fome master for any term of dwell upon. Only thus much years, even to that of the ju- we may add, that, in all cafes bilee (35). He was even per- where any

fatisfaction was mitted to sell an unmarried made, the person wronged, or daughter, upon condition, ei- his next heir, was the only ther that the buyer hould mar- person intitled to it: but if he ry her, or, if he did not, that died without heirs, then the The should be redeemed by the priest might claim it as his due.. (34) Prov. vi. 30, 3: (35) Levit. xxv. 39,40.

(36) Exod. xxi. 7, & feq. (37) Vide Maim, traët. genubab, l.i. ex. Exod. xxii. 9. (38) Exod. xxii, 7, & loq;

Usury: usury, whether of money, grain, apparel, &'c. was like

wife forbid by the law of Moses, in more places than one, from one Ifraelite to another; in which cases, the usurer might be compelled, by the judgeș, to refund the ill-gotten wealth. They were commanded, on the contrary, whenever a brother was waxed poor, to support and affift him with such things as he needed, without proposing to themselves any other advantage, by fo Going, than the blefling of God attending it n : but of strangers, that is, of the

gentiles, they were permitted to take some usury °; yet so All kind of as not to oppress them by too great extortion, or, indeed, oppreffion. in any other way : for, in such cases, the stranger is put

upon the same foot with the fatherless and the widow, whose protector God every-where declares himself, with very fevere threatenings, against those who were wanting in kindness and hospitality towards them ? (B).


n Exod. xxii. 25, & seq. Levit. xxv. 36, & feq. Deut. xxiii. 19. o Ibid. ver. 20. p Exod. xxii. 21. xxiii.


Levit. xix. 33, & feq. & alib,

He likewise forbad not only (43) ; removing of land-marks the use of false weights and (44) ; digging of pits and leav measures (39), but, also, all kind ing them uncovered (45); and of frauds, circumvention in con- many more of the like nature ; tracts, whether written or ver- were likewise reckoned enorbal, both in merchandising, and mous crimes : which, if found all other dealings between man out, were cognisable by the and man (40). Even in bargains judges, who were impowered the rule was, that, if the price to cause suitable satisfaction to was above one fixth part more be made ; if not, there were or less than the true value of terrible curses denounced against the thing fold, the party wrongd the transgressors by God, from might make the other refund whose all-seeing eye they could the overplus.

not be concealed, and from (B) Oppressing of fervants whose justice they could not and birelings ; defrauding, or escape unpunished. Taking even decaining their wages, things in pledge from the inthough but one night (41); digent, of which they stood in denying them necessary food constant need; such as their and respite (42); private mif- garments, bed-cloaths, the nechiefs, such as misleading the ther or upper mill-tone, and blind, or even another's cattle the like ; was no less forbidden,

(39) Deut. xxv. 13, & feq. (40) Levit. xix. IJ. XXV, 14, & alib. (4-1) Ibid. xix. 13. Deut. xxiv. 14, 15.

(42) Ibid. v. 14. XXV. 4. (43) Levit. xix. 14. (44) Deut. xix. 14.

(45) Exod. xxi. 33


« AnteriorContinua »