When attacked by the Amorites, they applied to the Israelites as confederates for aidit was rendered, their enemies routed, and themselves left unmolested in their cities.
There is no intimation that they served families, or individuals of the Israelites, but only the "house of God," or the Tabernacle.
This service was their national tribute to the Israelites, for the privilege of residence and protection under their government.
Throughout the Mosaic system, God warns the Israelites against holding their servants in such a condition as they were held in by the Egyptians.
God's denunciations against the bondage of Egypt make it incumbent on us to ascertain, of what rights the Israelites were plundered, and what they retained.
Probably one-fifth part of the proceeds of their labor was required of the Israelites in common with the Egyptians.
THE ISRAELITES UNDER THE BONDAGE OF EGYPT, ENJOYED ALL THESE RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES.
The probable centre of that portion, occupied by the Israelites, could hardly have been less than sixty miles from the city.
See "Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt," an able article by Professor Robinson, in the Biblical Repository for October, 1832.]
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, were subjected by the Ottoman dynasty, where they yet remain.
But if the Israelites had not only servants, but a multitude of slaves, a word meaning slave, would have been indispensable for every day convenience.
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: it declares the duration of that general provision.
In what sense were the Israelites to possess these nations, and take them as an inheritance for their children?
Those who were wealthy, or skilled in manufactures, instead of becoming servants would need servants for their own use, and as inducements for the Stranger's 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.
Besides as those Israelites who became servants through poverty, would not sell themselves, till other expedients to recruit their finances had failed(Lev.
The inference is like unto it, viz., since the command forbade such outrages upon the Israelites, it permitted and commissioned their infliction upon the Strangers.
This class consisted both of Israelites and Strangers.
This class also, consisted of Israelites and Strangers, the same difference in their kinds of employments noticed before.
It is this,"The slavery of the Canaanites by the Israelites, was appointed by God as a commutation of the punishment of death denounced against them for their sins."
These laws were given to the Israelites, long before they entered Canaan; and they must have inferred from them that a multitude of the inhabitants of the land were to continue in it, under their government.
For at his death, the Israelites still "dwelt among them," and each nation is mentioned by name.
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.
On this account their influence would be far more perilous to the Israelites than that of the country.
[Footnote C: Suppose all the Canaanitish nations had abandoned their territory at the tidings of Israel's approach, did God's command require the Israelites to chase them to the ends of the earth and hunt them out, until every Canaanite was destroyed?
"] The oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, and the wonders wrought for their deliverance, proclaim the reason for such a law at such a time.