Dependency - RR171AM72
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission|
Let us worship God. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. The hour cometh and now is when the true worshiper shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Let us pray.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we give thanks unto thee for the multitude of thy mercies and blessings. We thank thee that we live, move, and have our being in thee, that thou art able in all things to accomplish thy will and thy purpose, and thy ways are altogether righteous and holy. Teach us then, to walk in faith, to know that our times are determined, not by what men plan nor what we see, but by thy sovereign decree. Make us joyful therein, knowing that all things work together for good in thee, that thou hast ordained all things to accomplish thy purpose for thy kingdom and for us in thee. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Our scripture is Exodus 21:1-11. Our subject: Dependency. Exodus 21:1-11. Dependency. “Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever. And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” [00:03:51]
Texts like these are very embarrassing to many churchmen
Texts like these are very embarrassing to many churchmen, and they are a delight to those who want to ridicule the Bible. Of course, given the evil of this century, such attitudes are hypocrisy. These laws are usually titled laws of slavery, by commentators. This of course, creates a very false impression, because what we have is very different than what is called slavery. First of all, verse 2 tell us the law has reference to Hebrews only. The economy and polity of Hebrew life was familistic. Virtually all of life existed within the circumference and the government of the family. The answer to life’s crises were sought within the family. This is why any offense the family was so serious a matter.
Second, the word “slave” is no where used. The Hebrew word in verse 2 is “ebbed,” meaning servant, bondman. The reference was to someone who, either because of debt or poverty, entered the service of the man for a six year period. But, true as that statement I just made is, it does not describe yet what such a person was. As long as he was in the family, he was a lesser member of the family. He could inherit. Abraham, for example, before Ishmael and Isaac’s birth, had as his steward and his heir, a man born in his household of such a bondservant. Such persons could inherit, because they belonged to the family and were reared as such. The family included everyone under the roof. This is very far removed from slavery, as we know it, and of course, biblical law said a believer could not be enslaved.
Third, at the end of six years, this bond servant could go out freely. His presence in the house was a form of welfarism, with a work program. Whether working off a debt or making restitution, or seeking refuge from economic distress because of hard times, his presence and existence in the family was to be one of grace. Add to that the kindness and the love of being given a status as being a member of the family.
If, while in the family, he married another bondservant, then, and it could be perhaps an orphaned girl or someone from a poor family, he could not take her freely on leaving. She remained, unless he redeemed her for her service. Under normal circumstances, a man had to provide a dowry for his wife, and this gave evidence that he was a responsible man. That was her property. He could borrow it, but he could not take possession of it. The bondservant could not have an advantage over a free man. He could not get a wife freely. She remained unless he provided a dowry which went to her master, because he was the one who had provided for her over the years. So, he redeemed her or he remained with her, if the marriage was to continue. Otherwise, he left the family as he came. Alone. His departure constituted a divorce. Of course, normally, the family was redeemed. He provided the dowry. [00:08:57]
Then, fourth, the man could say, ...
Then, fourth, the man could say, “I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free.” We can assume that when such a man married, knowing the alternatives, he usually had decided whether or not to remain, or to work to redeem his family. If he remained, his ear was pierced to indicate a subordinate status. Earrings used by women were often very costly. They indicated both her status, as under a man, and also his wealth and power. One pierced ear in a man indicated that he was a subordinate member of a household. It is interesting that pierced ears among men, as far as we know in the western world, came into being with piracy, and it was indicative of a man who was subordinate in a homosexual relationship.
Then fifth, in verses 7-11, we have laws relative to women and bond servants, especially and specifically young, unmarried girls. Other women came into service with their families, their father, or their husband. If, however, a man were deeply in debt and his daughter was an attractive young girl, and the man or his son was possibly interested in her, the debt could be settled by means of his daughter’s bond service. This depended, of course, on the willingness of the man to be ready to marry the girl in time, or to marry her to one of his sons. Until such a marriage, we are told in verses 7 and 9, she was to be treated as a daughter and could not be worked like the men. She could not be a field hand. She was a member of the family.
However, sixth, if as the boy and the girl matured, the girl did not please the man, her contracted bond service could not be sold to another even though she might have two or three years left. She was to be redeemed as soon as possible, and that ended the relationship. Since the period of bond service was a time of training within the family service for marriage, the master who broke the promise is said to have dealt deceitfully with her. [00:12:19]
Then seventh, polygamy is forbidden in Leviticus ...
Then seventh, polygamy is forbidden in Leviticus 18:19 which reads, “Neither shalt thou take one wife to another to vex her, to uncover her nakedness beside the other in her lifetime.” However, the Bible views polygamy as an inferior form of marriage, and takes a much more serious view of fornication and adultery. The law forbids it, but it imposes regulations on those who practiced it, and very few did, at least in ancient Israel and of course, in any culture the number who do is less than one percent.
In verses 9-11, we have the law relative to a marriage with a girl who is a bond servant. Since she comes from a poor family, she has no powerful brothers or father to protect her interest, and the husband thus could feel free to take a second wife if he were not the most honorable of men. In such an instance, her maintenance could not be diminished nor her sexual rights. Furthermore, according to Deuteronomy 21:15-17, her son could not be set aside in favor of the second wife’s son. The firstborn remained the heir. God’s law thus provides safeguards for the helpless. The marriage of a girl who was a bond servant thus had special attention and protection. If these terms were broken, then shall she go out free without money. She does not have to be redeemed, which meant no small disgrace to the man since she was now legally a member of the family.
Now, we must remember the statement in verse 5 of the bond servant who chose to remain. He said, “I love my master.” Hebrew slavery, if we can use that word, was unlike anything in that the servant was legally a member of the family, he could inherit. The hireling, or wage laborer, did not have the loyalty of the master or a bond servant. He was not a member of the family and, in fact, bond servants were highly regarded because of their status. [00:15:23]
These laws are located here, shortly after the giving
These laws are located here, shortly after the giving of the Ten Commandments and they are particularly important in this context. The first word from Sinai has reference to Israel’s bondage in Egypt. Exodus 22 reads, “I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” The ownership of slaves by these ex-slaves must have been a rarity. This makes it all the more striking that now, we have these laws following the Ten Commandments. However low their recent condition in Egypt, their children’s future in Canaan was a very promising one. It would be easy to forget their past and their low estate, for them to reproduce Egyptian practices would be a fearful offense in the eyes of God. Therefore, these laws are given with the reminder that if, in the future, they have power over others, they were to treat them as members of their families.
Now, the piercing of the ear was an important and a religious ceremony, and it took place before God’s appointed judges or governors. What was involved was first, that some men preferred to be cared for and governed by others. What the law recognizes is the dependency of some men. No society has ever existed without a number of such people. Many, many attempts have been made to care for dependent men from feudalism to welfarism. The impersonality of welfarism, of course, has been very destructive, and it has been the poorest solution to the problem.
Then second, in the Bible no shame is attached to dependency, but it does require a recognition of his place in society by the dependent man. He cannot say, “I’m as good as anyone else.” Status was earned. Hence, it was necessary for such a man to make the statement that he loved his master and did not want to leave him. Then, he had to present himself to the judges, have his ear pierced, and to publicly recognize his dependency. Many of our problems today stem from the fact that dependent men and women are given the same status of citizens and voters as are free men. This is not good for any segment of society. [00:19:08]
At one time in the United States, you could not, if
At one time in the United States, you could not, if you received any kind of funds from state or federal sources, vote or hold office. This is now a very remote thing, but I can remember until fairly recently, and when I was in Nevada, although everyone had been given the vote, no person who did not own property could vote on any revenue issue or any bond issue. All that, which existed in many states, has gone by the board. And, at one time, to be deeply in debt was also a hindrance to your status.
These rules and laws came out of the Bible, because biblical law associates power with responsibility. It places dependent people under God’s protection, and this is why these laws, and a great many laws in the Bible, are given. Special care is given to protect the dependent person. Charity is an important function of the faith in scripture. At the same time, those who are dependent are not allowed to be proud and arrogant and feel that they are entitled to all the freedoms of free man. I think, and I’ve mentioned this before, one of the low points in American history came a few years back when a mob of welfare people, mostly black women, invaded the governor’s office in New York when Nelson Rockefeller was governor, and screamed at him, issued orders to him, and insulted him grossly. You don’t have to have liked Nelson Rockefeller to feel that that was a disgusting episode in American history, and it did not say much for him that he did nothing about it other than to submit to it.
The Bible recognizes the fact of dependency. It does say that some people are not as capable as others, that some people are going to be cared for if they’re going to survive. It enjoins mercy and charity upon the rest of us, but it does not allow for the arrogance that marks dependent people today. [00:22:33]
Given these facts, the modern attitude towards these
Given these facts, the modern attitude towards these laws is a curious one. Perhaps modern man thinks, at times, that what he himself did not devise cannot be true or valid, but we have to recognize that the modern attitude has led to our present crisis. It cannot be resolved unless we restore a biblical perspective to our times. Let us pray.
Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto thee for this, thy word, for its relevancy to our needs, our times, and our world. Open the hearts of men that they will hear and obey, that they will know that, apart from thee, no state, no society, no house can stand. Make us builders in terms of thy word, in terms of thy Son, in terms of thy kingdom. In Christ’s name, amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?
[Audience] I don’t think it’s possible to say that any person is free today because of the control of the government.
[Rushdoony] We are all treated as dependent people, you are right. We are all treated as though we are incapable of caring for ourselves. I shall never forget, in terms of that, an episode that took place on the Indian reservation many years ago in the forties. One of our elders, an old Indian, Guy Manning was his name, a very, very remarkable man. He was part Indian, he has a lot of white blood and some Chinese blood. And he was blond and blue-eyed, and he was a tribal councilman, and had been tribal chairman more than once. One of the finest and most intelligent men I have ever known, and of course the cattle sale checks were always channeled through the agency office, and they would seek to control them and say, “We will deposit them and pay your bills and give you money as you want it.” And when a new agent tried that on Guy Manning, Guy at first said, “No,” and then after the man insisted, he said to him, “I’m a Christian and I’m a responsible man, but you’re in the mining camp drunk on Saturday nights. You’re not the kind of man I’d entrust with anything, so your hands are not going to be laid on what is mine,” and he reached over, took his check, and walked out. Of course, he had nothing but trouble after that and, in a subsequent episode with another man, his name was on the front pages from coast to coast, but he won that battle, too. So, what was being done to Guy Manning, they’re trying to do to all of us sooner or later, run our lives. Any other questions or comments? Yes? [00:27:04]
[Audience] Yeah, I guess it says something that even
[Audience] Yeah, I guess it says something that even the Greeks, and I guess the Athenians in particular, in particularly that supposedly a method democracy weren’t stupid enough to give the franchise to the majority of the people.
[Rushdoony] That is a modern belief stemming out of the Rousseauvian concept that all men are equally capable. Karl Marx went so far as to say that when communism arrives, men will be free enough to develop their potential, and a man can be a farmer in the morning, scientist in the afternoon, and a concert violinist in the evening. He actually believed that was possible. It’s one of the most amazing passages in socialist literature but, it rests on that premise that all men are totally equal, have the same aptitudes. In this country, we had that same thesis propounded by Watson, the founder of behaviorism, and while we do not hear much about behaviorism today, it is still under a variety of other names, the governing premise in modern psychology. Yes?
[Audience] Well, although Marx said that, he had the utmost contempt for all opposition.
[Rushdoony] Oh yes, his thesis was that until the revolution and perfect communism, their minds were so warped he could despise them, and if they didn’t then agree, of course, they could be liquidated. Yes?
[Audience] Do we know anything about the percentages of people who were bond servant in ancient Israel and percentages who might have taken the option of remaining with their master after the six years?
[Rushdoony] It fluctuated from time to time dramatically. When you had centralize control, monarchs who interfered with the freedoms of the people and the economy, then you had more bond servants, you had a lot of them, because it destroyed the freedom of the people and their ability to take care of themselves. At other times, it was apparently was quite rare or infrequent. For one thing, you see, if you had an age of faith what you would have would be an avoidance of long term debt, and that in itself meant that you were going to live carefully and modestly. Yes? [00:30:11]
[Audience] I understand that in the Diaspora in the
[Audience] I understand that in the Diaspora in the Middle Ages, the Jews practiced polygamy until the ninth century.
[Rushdoony] Yes, they did, and some have said it was practiced later by a very small minority of the very wealthy rich. Yes. Polygamy is economically impossible for most men, however much they may like the idea, their pocketbook cannot take it, and as a result, it has been very, very rare in history on the whole. It has always attracted a great deal of attention and curiosity, especially by men, but the practice is very limited. Kings were the last in Europe to maintain its practice. First, by actually calling them wives and then later, they were royal mistresses, but royalty insisted on it as a prerogative until fairly recently. Yes?
[Audience] In the beginning, there was a lot of problems with polygamy. A couple guys in our group were particularly godly men but before they were converted they happened to have more than one wife, and a lot of the other groups like the Lutherans, would make them divorce all of them except the first one which would cause those women to go into some sort of, you know, become prostitutes or something like that, and so what we did was to say, “Alright, there’s nothing specifically in the Bible that says you’re in sin by having this extra wife, so go ahead and maintain her but you’re never going to be able to hold a position in the church.”
[Rushdoony] Yes, that probably has been the best solution. That has been one of the headaches of the mission field, in Africa and elsewhere, because if you order them to abandon all wives but one, they abandon all but the youngest, and then the other wives are there and it’s usually of the chief, and maybe one other person in a tribe, they’re there at the mission station saying, “This is you fault, you take care of us,” which becomes very embarrassing to the missionary, so that has been the best solution to say, “There will be none hereafter, you will maintain them, but you cannot hold office, and that is closest to the biblical, “The husband of one wife,” Paul says. Any other questions or comments? Well, if not, let us conclude with prayer. [00:33:18]
Our Father, we thank thee that thy word speaks to our
Our Father, we thank thee that thy word speaks to our every need. We thank thee that thy word is a lamp and a light upon our way, and we pray that it may be a lamp and a light unto this nation and to the nations of this world, that they may be recalled from their insanities, their evil ways, and walk in justice and in truth. And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:34:11]
End of tape.