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“HISTORY OF THE HEBREW MONARCHY.” SIR,
July, 1848. I HAVE been informed that a discussion has taken place in your pages as to the Hebrew word for task-work, alluded to in p. 130 of a recent History of the Hebrew Monarchy. The word is o?, which occurs in 1 Kings v. 13, rendered levy by our translators; in 1 Kings iv. 6, rendered tribute, as also in 2 Samuel xx. 24, and Gen. xlix. 15. From Winer's Simonis I learn that it means, “ maxime illud tributum quod corpore pendi solet, hoc est, servitium, opus quod quis præstare cogitur, Frohndiest, Exod. i. 11; alibi 729 də, Gen. xlix. 15; 1 Reg. ix. 21 ; 2 Chron. viii. 8. Hinc Denby W, 2 Samuel xx. 24, 1 Reg. iv. 6, est summus operarum, operariorum præfectus. Semel ipsi operæ, qui talia servitia præstant, collect. appellantur, De, 1 Reg. v. 13. Plural. D'oq, Exod. i. 11."
You will see that it is 1 Kings ix. 21, &c., which I compare with Exod. i. 11.
According to Winer's Simonis, it seems that bę means, (1) tributary service of bondsmen ; (2) the state of tributary bondsmen; (3) the bondsmen themselves.
I regret that I have left obscurity on this matter; but it did not sufficiently occur to me how much our English translation would set astray those who very properly sought to verify my statement. I have the honour to be, Sir, faithfully yours,
THE AUTHOR OF THE HISTORY IN QUESTION.
“HISTORY OF THE HEBREW MONARCHY." SIR, The sole point that I disputed in my animadversions on a passage found in the “ History of the Hebrew Monarchy” (pp. 130, 131), was, whether or not the evidence adduced by its author proved his allegation, namely, that Solomon employed in hewing and carrying cedar from Mount Lebanon a nation of bondmen whose condition and services were the same as those of the Israelites, when enslaved in Egypt. The defence of Solomon's humanity imputed to me by H. H. P. I did not undertake. The fact of bond-service being rendered to Solomon, I did not deny. I confined my strictures to one point-namely, the exhibition in a particular case of the tendency to exaggeration manifested by the author of that misleading work, in the disproportion which often exists between his evidence and his statements. That tendency will not be denied by any impartial judge.
In the instance which I selected, the author refers to one word as decisive. What that word is he does not say. I took it to be 70y. H. H. P. says it is sao. He may or may not be right. But if he be right, he has in his choice done nothing to confute the charge of exaggeration. This sad, however, he affirms can have “no other sense than that attributed to it by the author." What is that sense ? H. H. P.'s own words answer the question-namely, it means “the stripes and groans and sufferings of the unhappy gangs driven to their oppressive work.” According to the profound Hebrew scholar Fürst, bao as a verb signifies, 1, tenere, “ to hold;" 2, portare, “to carry;" 3, bajulare, “to bear burdens ;” and the corresponding noun denotes onus quod portatur, " a burden” or “load;" 2, only in the plural, “ heavy and grievous service." Similar is the account of the word given by Gesenius and Robinson. Hence it appears that had does not involve the idea of slavery. Failing in this, it is less strong than 73y, which I had taken. Its proper meaning is, "to hold” or “carry.” Hence Gesenius and Robinson render the concrete noun porters. The term is descriptive of a kind of labour not characteristic of a social condition. It means rather labourers than slaves; and when it is applied to slave-labour, it is so applied because the greater includes the less, not because it is the specific term for servitude or bondage. In being so applied, however, it is used solely in the plural (Exod. i. 11; i. 11; v. 4, 5; vi. 6, 7), “burdens;” but in 2 Chron. ii. 18, as referring to the labour of these Canaanite porters, the singular form is employed. The statement then made by the historian, namely, “ the same word is used concerning the task-work of these slaves as concerning the Israelitish service in Egypt,” requires modification; for though the word is the same, both its form and its import are different.
In order to enable the English reader to judge whether sad implies all that is ascribed to it, I give an instance or two of its application. In 1 Kings xi. 28, Jeroboam is said to have been made “ ruler over all the charge (bao) of the house of Joseph:” was he a slave-driver? If the term may be used of a free Hebrew tribe (or tribes), surely it does not of necessity involve the idea of cruel slave-labour. Whatever the nature of the service, it was one which was not incompatible with “ perfect freedom,” for the term is used of God himself (Is. xlvi. 4, 7; comp. " he shall bear their iniquities,” in liii. 11). Nay, the load which the word implies may be no heavier than a grasshopper-Ecc. xii. 5, "and the grasshopper shall be a burden.” The service, moreover, was one in which all Israel could take a part, for in 1 Kings v. 13, we read that Solomon raised a levy of 30,000 Israelites, whom he sent to work in Lebanon“10,000 a month by courses, a month they were in Lebanon and two months at home.” That these were not what H. H. P. calls “ drivers," appears from verse 16, where the number of the officers which were over the work is given as 3300.
In my strictures I intimated a doubt whether both the passages cited by the author referred to the same event. I now add that the First Book of Kings seems to speak of two events,-one in v. 13, seq., namely, the preparations for erecting the temple; the other in ix. 15, seq., the actual construction of the temple, with other edifices. With the former, the passage in 2 Chron. ii. 17, 18, appears to be parallel, while possibly the counterpart to the latter
may be found in 2 Chron. viii. 7, seq. As, however, the author has not made any distinction, I am at liberty to suppose that he did not intend to recognize any, the rather because the absence of such distinction gave him an opportunity of having a fling at the Chronicles—“a book prone to exaggeration" (comp. 1 Kings v. 13, seq.). Now he declares that 30,000 " is given as the number actually kept at work at once.” The only 30,000 mentioned are the 30,000 Israelites. But this thirty should have been ten thousand. A statement three times more ample than the reality looks as if its author was " prone to exaggeration.” There is, however, no doubt that ten, not thirty thousand, was the number. Here are the words: “King Solomon raised a levy out of (or from) all Israel; and the levy was 30,000 men.
And he sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month by courses; a month they were in Lebanon and two months at home, and Adoniram was over the levy” (1 Kings v. 13, 14). Hence it appears, that out of the whole 30,000, each man wrought for one month, and then rested for two months; in other words, they had four months' service and eight months' leisure. One-third of their time they spent in Lebanon, two-thirds they spent“ at home.” Such was the actual condition of the " persons who, being reduced to slavery, formed the hapless multitude whose unheard groans supplied the raw materials of Solomon's glory.”. Had the Israelites in Egypt two-thirds of their time to appropriate to their own purposes ? However that may be, “the nation of bondmen” has shrunk to 10,000 men working for Solomon four out of twelve months. But, says our author, the number of working slaves was 153,600. Accordingly, only onefifteenth was at work at the same time. This one-fifteenth, or 10,000, worked VOL. IV.
for a month, and then gave place to another body of 10,000; consequently, not till after the lapse of fourteen months would the first “ gang” be called upon to resume their labour!
With H. H. P.'s own evidence I have nothing to do. The only question is, whether or not I had sufficient grounds for imputing exaggerations to the author of the “History of the Hebrew Monarchy.” That question must be decided by the statements which its author makes, when compared with the evidence adduced by him for their support.
The actual condition of Solomon's “ porters” may be gathered from what has been brought forward. In one sense, all the subjects of an Oriental monarch are his slaves. But the Mosaic constitution guaranteed personal freedom to all native Israelites. Hence, whatever tendency to arbitrary power there may have been in Solomon's administration, Hebrews could scarcely in a mass be reduced into slavery; nor can the term slave be used of them, except in a qualified sense. Hence it also follows, that words applied to their labour do not of necessity imply such a condition as that which we in these days, finding our model in the West Indies while yet unemancipated, or the “doméstic institution” of the United States, understand by the epithets employed to describe the wretched lot of his “nation of bondmen" by the author of the History in question. Slavery in this sense of the term, or such as negro slavery, did not exist among the ancient Hebrews. In truth, as is said in 2 Chron. viii. 8, Solomon's conduct consisted in making those whom he overcame "pay tribute.” In so doing he acted not, as seems to be implied in the “ History of the Hebrew Monarchy,” exceptionally as well as oppressively, but in strict conformity with both law and custom. In Deut. xx. 11, Israel is instructed to make the conquered cities of Canaan tributary. The course which Joshua began, David and Solomon completed (Judges i. 30, 33, 35; Josh. xvi. 10; Is. xxxi. 8, marginal rendering). The persons who, in consequence of being subdued, thus became tributaries, were liable to tribute-ser
A species of feudal relation was brought into existence, in which the tenant paid to the lord his due, not in money, but in labour. Hence it was only a portion of the labour of the conquered Canaanites that Solomon had a right to and took; and the relation in which the two stood to each other, if less desirable than that of the tax-payer and the tax-imposer, was far superior to that of the slave-owner and the "working slaves."
I conclude by remarking that I shall not attempt to deprive H. H. P. of any advantage he may derive from his tone of jubilant self-confidence.
A UNITARIAN MINISTER.
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE VEN. ARCHDEACON HARE
AND REV. G. ARMSTRONG, OF BRISTOL. (The following Correspondence having recently taken place between the Rev. George Armstrong, of Bristol, and the Rev. Julius Charles Hare, Archdeacon of Lewes, we feel pleasure in the permission which has been given us to lay it before our readers.)
11, Clifton Vale, Bristol, June 13, 1848. Rev. Sir—In two conspicuous instances, you have permitted yourself to speak in terms alike unjust and harsh of Unitarians and Unitarianism. In the later instance, in the course of your writings on the Hampden controversy ; and in the earlier, I lament to say, in the pages of one of the most interesting and instructive thought-books it has lately been my good fortune to meet with.
As to the Hampden controversy, what I have to say in general, as well as with some particular reference to yourself, may be sufficiently collected from the printed letter, entitled, “Dr. Hampden and the Unitarians,"* which I take the
Inserted in the Inquirer newspaper, March 25, 1848.
liberty herewith to enclose. But I own it is with more concern that I advert to the trespass you have committed against your neighbour, in the following passages of the "Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers;" 1st Series, 3rd Edition, 1847:
" As the Epicureans had a Deism without a God, so the Unitarians have a Christianity without a Christ, and a Jesus but no Saviour.”—P. 39.
“ Unitarianism has no root in the permanent principles of human nature. In fact, it is a religion of accidents, depending for its reception on a particular turn of thought, a particular state of knowledge, and a particular situation in society. This alone is a sufficient disproof of it. But, moreover, its postulates involve the absurdity of coupling Infinity with Man. No wonder that, beginning with raising him into a god, it has ended with degrading him into a beast. In attempting to erect a Babel on a foundation of a foot square, the Socinians constructed a building which, being top-heavy, overturned; and its bricks, instead of stopping at the ground, struck'into it from the violence of the fall.”—P. 220.
That in a work so rich in the fruits of the Christian spirit, and so marked by genius, such words as these should be found, allow me to repeat, is matter to me of unaffected and deep regret. And, grieving to meet them where I do, pardon me if I entreat that, should you come to another edition, you will dismiss from the “Guesses” these ill-favoured specimens—weeds in a basket of flowers--as wholly unworthy of a place in the scholar-like and graceful pages where they have, unhappily, been permitted to intrude.
For the present, what can I say in the way of commentary or reply? Upon the rule,
Gratis dictum, gratis ergo negatur, I might, doubtless, be warranted in closing these remarks by simply reversing each position you have taken, and directly unsaying whatever you have said. But my interest in the subject-may I add, Sir, my interest in you ?—forbids the adoption of so curt a procedure.
With entire and prompt conviction, indeed, I might say,—first, that Unitarianism has “its root” in the best, the highest and most enduring “principles of human nature;" secondly, that Unitarianism does not "convert man into à beast;" while, lastly, I may affirm that, if by Socinianism you intend to be understood (however incorrectly) as speaking of Unitarianism,-so far is the system from being “overturned,” that, in despite of the overbearing policy, the unfair arts, the corrupting motives, the misapplied learning, and the thousand expedients by which“ orthodoxy” is enabled to lift up her horn on high, the divine truth our heresy” embodies lives, and will continue to live, and, how long soever it may struggle through “the day of small things," will eventually be able to say, "Who art thou, O great mountain ? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” By the Spirit of the Lord of Hosts, its walls, planted on a rock (Matthew xvi. 16), shall be completed, and “ the headstone thereof be brought forth with shoutings, and with cryings of Grace, grace, unto it.” And why am I thus confident? Because it is immutably appointed. “ In that day there shall be one Lord, and his name ONE” (not Three-one). “ One God and FATHER of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.”
0, Sir, when will men in your position, blessed with such means of culture and influence for good, in searching of spirit, take these things to heart,--and the veil be removed from their eyes, that they might behold the beauty of the Lord, and, discerning Him in his real simplicity, apprehend and understand Him in his true power! Who can calculate the loss to the cause of truthwho can estimate the waste of mind, and the obstacles placed in the way of the world's peace, civilization and happiness, by the captivity of such intellects as yours to a traditionary, church-made faith ; and the well-contrived secular arrangements by which it is fenced around, and by which its inherent weakness becomes all too strong, alas, for generation after generation of the wisest and best of minds!
Allow me to advert for a moment to the Postscript to your Letter to the Dean of Chichester, At page 96 in that tract, you introduce to us a group of a rather curious character, and curiously enough employed. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (who was a Unitarian before he was an opium-eater), Dr. Arnold, and the Rev. Julius Charles Hare, busied in experimenting on Unitarians as on some inferior nature, some corpus vile, under the glass receiver of a philosophical lecturer ; and according to their measure of metaphysics, determining whether they should be assigned to the genus “ Christian,” or swept into the category of pagans, infidels, or blasphemers.
But here a word in behalf of Arnold. Let his memory and his name have justice done them. Early in life, indeed, by the influence chiefly of one, of whose theological inspirations in subsequent years he was known to say," he should as soon think of believing in Jupiter;"* this eminent man was led to crush his doubts on the Trinity; and through all his life carried with him the heavy responsibility of doing despite to the spirit of truth which, in other circumstances and with better advisers, might have led him into the serene, unclouded atmosphere of the Unitarianism which he never thoroughly understood, but which, when pressed by fact and constrained by his own good nature, he nevertheless knew how to respect.
I will not stop to criticise your saying, how you and your associates made up your minds about “the name of Christian not being appropriately applied to Únitarians as a body.” It might employ you in some nice calculations to determine how far that holy term fitly applies to any denomination in the gross. But to shew you how the mind of Arnold viewed this matter, I may not inappropriately conclude this communication by referring, in the first place, to those words of his in his Letter, 158, addressed to Mr. Crabbe Robinson :-“ The differences between Christian and Christian are not moral differences, except accidentally." “An Unitarian, as such, is a Christian ; that is, if a man follows after Christ's law, and believes his words according to his conscientious sense of their meaning, he is a Christian; and though I may think he understands Christ's words amiss, yet that is a question of interpretation, and no more; the purpose of his heart and mind is to obey and be guided by Christ, and therefore he is a Christian."
It would be interesting to cite, to similar effect, the important observations in his Letters, 122 and 161, to J. C. Platt, Esq., and Bishop Otter respectively. But I shall content myself with only further referring to a memorable passage in the latter, in words which may serve at once as an opprobrium and a beacon to the age in which we live :-“ All Protestants acknowledge the Scriptures as their common authority, and all desire their children to study them. Let every candidate for a degree bring up at his own choice some one Gospel, and some one Epistle, in the Greek Testament. Let him declare on coming before us to what communion he belongs. We know what are the peculiar views entertained by him as such, and we would respect them most religiously. But on all common ground we might examine him thoroughly; and how infinite would be the good of thus proving, by actual experience, how much more our common ground is than our peculiar ground! I am perfectly ready to examine to-morrow in any Unitarian school in England, in presence of parents and masters. I will not put a question that should offend; and yet I will give such an examination as should bring out, or prove the absence of, what you and I should agree in considering to be Christian knowledge of the highest value. I speak as one who has been used to examine young men in the Scriptures for twenty years nearly, and I pledge myself to the perfect easiness of doing this.”
Such, Sir, was your "dear and magnanimous friend, Dr. Arnold” (Letter to the Dean of Chichester, p. 5). O si sic omnia !-si sic omnes ! I have the honour to remain, Rev. Sir, your faithful servant,
GEORGE ARMSTRONG, A.B., T.C.D.
Said of Mr. Keble--Life of Arnold, Letter 261.