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Jewish views towards Trades

Secular skill was Important

                    BACKGROUND TO THE NEW TESTAMENT #10


From the book "Sketches of Jewish Social Life" by Alfred
Edersheim



JEWISH VIEWS ON TRADE, TRADESMEN, AND TRADES' GUILDS.


     We read in the Mishnah (Kidd. iv. 14) as follows  "Rabbi
Meir said: Let a man always teach his son a cleanly and a light
trade; and let him pray to Him whose are wealth and riches; for
there is no trade which has not both poverty and riches, and
neither does poverty come from the trade nor yet riches, but
everything according to one's deserving (merit).  Rabbi Simeon,
the son of Eleazer, said Hast thou all thy life long seen a beast
or a bird which has a trade?  Still they are nourished, and that
without anxious care. And if they, who are created only to serve
me, shall not I expect to be nourished without anxious care, who
am created to serve my Maker? Only that if I have been evil in my
deeds, I forfeit my support. 1  Abba Gurjan of Zadjan said, in
name of Abba Gurja: Let not a man bring up his son to be a
donkey-driver, nor a camel-driver, nor a barber, nor a sailor,
nor a shepherd, nor a pedlar; for their occupations are those of
thieves. In his name, Rabbi Jehudah said: Donkey-drivers are
mostly wicked; cameldrivers mostly honest; sailors mostly pious;
the best among physicians is for Gehenna, and the most honest of
butchers a 

......

1 The Jerusalem Talmud on this Mishnah rather mars its beauty by
details.

......


companion of Amalek. Rabbi Nehorai said: I let alone every trade
of this world, and teach my son nothing but the Thorah; (the law
of the Lord) for a man eats of the fruit of it in this world (as
it were, lives upon earth on the interest), while the capital
remaineth for the world to come. But what is left over (what
remains) in every trade (or worldly employment) is not so. For,
if a man fall into ill-health, or come to old age or into trouble
(chastisement), and is no longer able to stick to his work, lo!
he dies of hunger. But the Thorah is not so, for it keeps a man
from evil in youth, and in old age gives him both a hereafter and
the hopeful waiting for it. What does it say about youth? 'They
that wait upon the Lord shall renew strength.' And what about old
age? 'They shall still bring forth fruit in old age. And this is
what is said of Abraham our father: 'And Abraham was old, and
Jehovah blessed Abraham in all things.' But we find that Abraham
our father kept the whole Thorah - the whole, even to that which
had not yet been given b- as it is said, 'Because that Abraham
obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My
statutes, and My laws.'"

     If this quotation has been long, it will in many respects
prove instructive; for it not only affords a favourable specimen
of Mishnic teaching, but gives insight into the principles, the
reasoning, and the views of the Rabbis. At the outset, the saying
of Rabbi Simeon - which, however, we should remember, was spoken
nearly a century after the time when our Lord had been upon earth
- reminds us of His own words (Matt. vi. 26): "Behold the fowls
of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather
into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not
much better than they?"
     
     It would be a delightful thought, that our Lord had thus
availed Himself of the better thinking and higher feeling in
Israel; so to speak, polished the diamond and made it sparkle, as
He held it up in the light of the kingdom of God. For here also
it holds true, that the Saviour came not in any sense to
"destroy," but to "establish the law." All around the scene of
His earthly ministry the atmosphere was Jewish; and all that was
pure, true, and good in the nation's life, teaching, and sayings
He made His own. On every page of the gospels we come upon what
seems to waken the echoes of Jewish voices; sayings which remind
us of what we have heard among the sages of Israel. And this is
just what we should have expected, and what gives no small
confirmation of the trustworthiness of these narratives as the
record of what had really taken place.  It is not a strange scene
upon which we are here introduced; nor among strange actors; nor
are the surroundings foreign. Throughout we have a life-picture
of the period, in which we recognise the speakers from the
sketches of them drawn elsewhere, and whose mode of speaking we
know from contemporary literature. The gospels could not have set
aside, they could not even have left out, the Jewish element.    
Otherwise they would not have been true to the period, nor to the
people, nor to the writers, nor yet to that law of growth and
development which always marks the progress of the kingdom of
God. In one respect only all is different. The gospels are most
Jewish in form, but most anti-Jewish in spirit - the record of
the manifestation among Israel of the Son of God, the Saviour of
the world, as the "King of the Jews." 1

......

1 The elaboration and proof of this must be left for a work
entering fully on the life and times of our Lord.
......


     This influence of the Jewish surroundings upon the
circumstances of the gospel history has a most important bearing.
It helps us to realise what Jewish life had been at the time of
Christ, and to comprehend what might seem peculiarities in the
gospel narrative. Thus to come to the subject of this chapter -we
now understand how so many of the disciples and followers of the
Lord gained their living by some craft; how in the same spirit
the Master Himself condescended to the trade of His adoptive
father; and how the greatest of His apostles throughout earned
his bread by the labour of his hands, probably following, like
the Lord Jesus, the trade of his father. For it was a principle,
frequently expressed, if possible "not to forsake the trade of
the father" - most likely not merely from worldly considerations,
but because it might be learned in the house; perhaps even from
considerations of respect for parents. And what in this respect
Paul practised, that he also preached.  

     Nowhere is the dignity of labour and the manly independence
of honest work more clearly set forth than in his Epistles. At
Corinth, his first search seems to have been for work (Acts
xviii. 3); and through life he steadily forbore availing himself
of his right to be supported by the Church, deeming it his great
"reward" to "make the Gospel of Christ without charge" (1 Cor.
ix. 18). Nay, to quote his impassioned language, he would far
rather have died of hard work than that any man should deprive
him of this "glorying."  And so presently at Ephesus "these
hands" minister not only unto his own necessities, but also to
them that were with him; and that for the two-fold reason of
supporting the weak, and of following the Master, however "afar
off," and entering into this joy of His, "It is more blessed to
give than to receive" (Acts xx. 34,35). Again, so to speak, it
does one's heart good when coming in contact with that Church
which seemed most in danger of dreamy contemplativeness, and of
unpractical, if not dangerous, speculations about the future, to
hear what a manly, earnest tone also prevailed there.  Here is
the preacher himself! Not a man-pleaser, but a God-server; not a
flatterer, nor covetous, nor yet seeking glory, nor courting
authority, like the Rabbis. 
     What then? This is the sketch as drawn from life at
Thessalonica, so that each who had known him must have recognised
it: most loving, like a nursing mother, who cherisheth her own
children, so in tenderness willing to impart not only the Gospel
of God, but his own life. Yet, with it all, no mawkishness, no
sentimentality; but all stern, genuine reality; and the preacher
himself is "labouring night and day," because he would not be
chargeable to any of them, while he preached unto them the Gospel
of God (1 Thess. ii. 9). "Night and day," hard, unremitting,
uninteresting work, which some would have denounced or despised
as secular! But to Paul that wretched distinction, the invention
of modern superficialism and unreality, existed not. For to the
spiritual nothing is secular, and to the secular nothing is
spiritual. Work night and day, and then as his rest, joy, and
reward, to preach in public and in private the unsearchable
riches of Christ, Who had redeemed him with His precious blood.
And so his preaching, although one of its main burdens seems to
have been the second coming of the Lord, was in no way calculated
to make the hearers apocalyptic dreamers, who discussed knotty
points and visions of the future, while present duty lay unheeded
as beneath them, on a lower platform. There is a ring of honest
independence, of healthy, manly piety, of genuine, self-denying
devotion to Christ, and also of a practical life of holiness, in
this admonition (1 Thess. iv. 11,12): "Make it your ambition to
be quiet, to do your own" (each one for himself, not meddling
with others' affairs), "and to work with your hands, as we
commanded you, that ye may walk decorously towards them without,
and have no need of any one" 1 (be independent of all men). 
     And, very significantly, this plain, practical religion is
placed in immediate conjunction with the hope of the resurrection
and of the coming again of our Lord (vers. 13-18). The same
admonition, "to work, and eat their own bread," comes once again,
only in stronger language, in the Second Epistle to the
Thessalonians, reminding them in this of his own example, and of
his command when with them, "that, if any would not work, neither
should he eat;" at the same time sternly rebuking "some who are
walking disorderly, who are not at all busy, but are busybodies."
2
     Now, we certainly do not pretend to find a parallel to St.
Paul among even the best and the noblest of the Rabbis. Yet Saul
of Tarsus was a Jew, not merely trained at the feet of the great
Gamaliel, "that sun in Israel," but deeply imbued with the Jewish
spirit and lore; insomuch that long afterwards, when he is
writing of the deepest mysteries of Christianity, we catch again
and again expressions that remind us of some that occur in the
earliest record of that secret Jewish doctrine, which was only
communicated to the most select of the select sages. 3 
     And this same love of honest labour, the same spirit of
manly independence, the same horror of trafficking with the law,
and using it either "as a crown or as a spade," was certainly
characteristic of the best Rabbis. Quite different in this

......

1 So literally.
2 We have here tried to reproduce the play on the words in the
original.
3 We mean the book Jezirah. It is curious that this should have
never been noticed. The coincidences are not in substance, but in
modes of expression.

......

respect also - far asunder as were the aims of their lives - were
the feelings of Israel from those of the Gentiles around. 

     The philosophers of Greece and Rome denounced manual labour
as something degrading; indeed, as incompatible with the full
exercise of the privileges of a citizen. Those Romans who allowed
themselves not only to be bribed in their votes, but expected to
be actually supported at the public expense, would not stoop to
the defilement of work.  
     The Jews had another aim in life, another pride and
ambition. It is difficult to give an idea of the seeming
contrasts united in them. Most aristocratic and exclusive,
contemptuous of mere popular cries, yet at the same time most
democratic and liberal; law-abiding, and with the profoundest
reverence for authority and rank, and yet with this prevailing
conviction at bottom, that all Israel were brethren, and as such
stood on precisely the same level, the eventual differences
arising only from this, that the mass failed to realise what
Israel's real vocation was, and how it was to be attained, viz.,
by theoretical and practical engagement with the law, compared to
which everything else was but secondary and unimportant.

     But this combination of study with honest manual labour the
one to support the other - had not been always equally honoured
in Israel. We distinguish here three periods. 

     The law of Moses evidently recognised the dignity of labour,
and this spirit of the Old Testament appeared in the best times
of the Jewish nation. The book of Proverbs, which contains so
many sketches of what a happy, holy home in Israel had been, is
full of the praises of domestic industry. But the Apocrypha,
notably Ecclesiasticus (xxxviii. 24-31), strike a very different
key-note. Analysing one by one every trade, the contemptuous
question is put, how such "can get wisdom?" This "Wisdom of Jesus
the Son of Sirach" dates from about two centuries before the
present era. It would not have been possible at the time of
Christ or afterwards, to have written in such terms of "the
carpenter and workmaster," of them "that cut and grave seals," of
"the smith," or "the potter;" nor to have said of them: "They
shall not be sought for in public counsel, nor sit high in the
congregation; they shall not sit on the judges' seat, nor
understand the sentence of judgment; they cannot declare justice
and judgment; and they shall not be found where parables are
spoken" (Ecclus. xxxviii. 33). For, in point of fact, with few
exceptions, all the leading Rabbinical authorities were working
at some trade, till at last it became quite an affectation to
engage in hard bodily labour, so that one Rabbi would carry his
own chair every day to college, while others would drag heavy
rafters, or work in some such fashion. 1     
     Without cumbering these pages with names, it is worth
mentioning, perhaps as an extreme instance, that on one occasion
a man was actually summoned from his trade of stone-cutter to the
high-priestly office. To be sure, that was in revolutionary
times. The high-priests under the Herodian dynasty were of only
too different a class, and their history possesses a tragic
interest, as bearing on the state and fate of the nation.   
     Still, the great Hillel was a woodcutter, his rival Shammai
a carpenter; and among the celebrated Rabbis of after times we
find shoemakers, tailors, carpenters, sandalmakers, smiths,
potters, builders, etc. - in short, every variety of trade. Nor
were they ashamed of their manual labour. Thus it is recorded of
one of them, that he 

......


1 Compare Professor Delitzsch's beautiful tractate, "Jiid.
Handwerkerleben zur Zeit Jesu" (p.75), to which we would here
generally acknowledge our obligations.

......
     

was in the habit of discoursing to his students from the top of a
cask of his own making, which he carried every day to the
academy.
     We can scarcely wonder at this, since it was a Rabbinical
principle, that "whoever does not teach his son a trade is as if
he brought him up to be a robber" (Kidd. 29). The Midrash gives
the following curious paraphrase of Eccles, ix. 9, "Behold, the
life with the wife whom thou lovest:" 1  Look out for a trade
along with the Divine study which thou lovest. "How highly does
the Maker of the world value trades," is another saying. Here are
some more: "There is none whose trade God does not adorn with
beauty."  "Though there were seven years of famine, it will never
come to the door of the tradesman." "There is not a trade to
which both poverty and riches are not joined; for there is
nothing more poor, and nothing more rich, than a trade." "No
trade shall ever disappear from the world. Happy he whom his
teacher has brought up to a good trade; alas for him who has been
put into a bad one." 2   

     Perhaps these are comparatively later Rabbinical sayings.   
But let us turn to the Mishnah itself, and especially to that
tractate which professedly embodies the wisdom and the sayings of
the fathers (Aboth). Shemaajah, the teacher of Hillel, has this
cynical saying (Ab. i. 10)--perhaps the outcome of his
experience: "Love work, hate Rabbiship, and do not press on the
notice of those in power." The views of the great Hillel himself
have been quoted in a previous chapter. Rabbi Gamaliel, the son
of Jehudah the Nasi, said (Ab. ii. 2): "Fair is the study of the
law, if accompanied by worldly occupation: to engage in them both

......

1 So literally in the Hebrew.
2 Compare Hamburger, "Real. Encycl." p.497, where these sayings
are collated.

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is to keep away sin; while study which is not combined with work
must in the end be interrupted, and only brings sin with it."
Rabbi Eleazar, the son of Asarjah, says, among other things: 
 Where there is no worldly support (literally, no meal, no
flour), there is no study of the law; and where there is no study
of the law, worldly support is of no value" (Ab. iii. 21). It is
worth while to add what immediately follows in the Mishnah. Its
resemblance to the simile about the rock, and the building upon
it, as employed by our Lord (Matt. vii. 24; Luke vi. 47), is so
striking, that we quote it in illustration of previous remarks on
this subject.  We read as follows: "He whose knowledge exceeds
his works, to whom is he like? He is like a tree, whose branches
are many and its roots few, and the wind cometh, and uproots the
tree and throws it upon its face, as it is said (Jer. xvii. 6)..
...But he whose works exceed his knowledge, to whom is he like?
To a tree whose branches are few, but its roots many; and if even
all the winds that are in the world came and set upon such a
tree, they would not move it from its place, as it is written
(Jer. xvii. 8)."  We have given this saying in its earliest form.
Even so, it should be remembered that it dates from after the
destruction of Jerusalem. It occurs in a still later form in the
Babylon Talmud (Sarah. 99 a). But what is most remarkable is,
that it also appears in yet another work, and in a form almost
identical with that in the New Testament, so far as the simile of
the building is concerned. In this form it is attributed to a
Rabbi who is stigmatised as an apostate, and as the type of
apostasy, and who, as such, died under the ban. The inference
seems to be, that if he did not profess some form of
Christianity, he had at least derived this saying from his
intercourse with Christians. 1
     But irrespective of this, two things are plain on comparison
of the saying in its Rabbinical and in its Christian form.  

     First, in the parable as employed by our Lord, everything is
referred to Him; and the essential difference ultimately depends
upon our relationship towards Him. The comparison here is not
between much study and little work, or little Talmudical
knowledge and much work; but between coming to Him and hearing
these sayings of His, and then either doing or else not doing
them. 
     Secondly, such an alternative is never presented by
Christianity as, on the one hand, much knowledge and few works,
and on the other, little knowledge and many works. But in
Christianity the vital difference lies between works and no
works; between absolute life and absolute death; all depending
upon this, whether a man has digged down to the right foundation,
and built upon the rock which is Christ, or has tried to build up
the walls of his life without such foundation. Thus the very
similarity of the saying in its Rabbinical form brings out all
the more clearly the essential difference and contrariety in
spirit existing between Rabbinism, even in its purest form, and
the teaching of our Lord.

     The question of the relation between the best teaching of
the Jewish sages and some of the sayings of our Lord is of such
vital importance, that this digression will not seem out of
place. A few further quotations bearing on the dignity of labour
may be appropriate. The Talmud has a beautiful

......

1 Elisha ben Abbuja, called Acher, "the other," on account of his
apostasy. The history of that Rabbi is altogether deeply
interesting. We can only put the question: Was he a Christian, or
merely tainted with Gnosticism? The latter seems to us the most
probable. His errors are traced by the Jews to his study of the
Kabbalah.

......


Haggadah, which tells how, when Adam heard this sentence of his
Maker: "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee,"
he burst into tears. "What!" he exclaimed; "Lord of the world, am
I then to eat out of the same manger with the ass?" But when he
heard these additional words: "In the sweat of thy face shalt
thou eat bread," his heart was comforted. For herein lies
(according to the Rabbis) the dignity of labour, that man is not
forced to, nor unconscious in, his work; but that while becoming
the servant of the soil, he wins from it the precious fruits of
golden harvest. And so, albeit labour may be hard, and the result
doubtful, as when Israel stood by the shores of the Red Sea, yet
a miracle will cleave these waters also. And still the dignity of
labour is great in itself: it reflects honour; it nourisheth and
cherisheth him that engageth in it. For this reason also did the
law punish with fivefold restitution the theft of an ox, but only
with fourfold that of a sheep; because the former was that with
which a man worked. 1

     Assuredly St.Paul spoke also as a Jew when he admonished the
Ephesians (Eph. iv. 28): "Let him that stole steal no more: but
rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is
good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." "Make a
working day of the Sabbath: only be not dependent upon people,"
was the Rabbinical saying (Pes. 112). "Skin dead animals by the
wayside," we read, "and take thy payment for it, but do not say,
I am a priest; I am a man of distinction, and work is
objectionable to me!" And to this day the common Jewish proverb
has it: "Labour is no cherpah (disgrace);" or again: "Melachah is
berachah (labour 

......

1 All these are Rabbinical sayings. Compare the references in
"Tendlou Sprii'chw. u. Redensarten," p.263.

......


is blessing)." With such views, we can understand how universal
industrious pursuits were in the days of our Lord. 

     Although it is no doubt true, as the Rabbinical proverb puts
it, that every man thinks most of his own trade, yet public
opinion attached a very different value to different kinds of
trade. Some were avoided on account of the unpleasantnesses
connected with them, such as those of tanners, dyers, and miners,
The Mishnah lays it down as a principle, that a man should not
teach his son a trade which necessitates constant intercourse
with the other sex (Kidd. iv. 14). Such would include, among
others, jewellers, makers of handmills, perfumers, and weavers.
The latter trade seems to have exposed to as many troubles as if
the weavers of those days had been obliged to serve a modern
fashionable lady.  The saying was:  "A weaver must be
humble, or his life will be shortened by excommunication;" that
is, he must submit to anything for a living. Or, as the common
proverb put it (Ab. S. 26 a): "If a weaver is not humble, his
life is shortened by a year." This other saying, of a similar
kind, reminds us of the Scotch estimate of, or rather disrespect
for, weavers: "Even a weaver is master in his own house." And
this not only in his own opinion, but in that of his wife also.  
For as the Rabbinical proverb has it: "Though a man were only a
comber of wool, his wife would call him up to the house-door, and
sit down beside him," so proud is she of him. Perhaps in the
view of the Rabbis there was a little of female
self-consciousness in this regard for her husband's credit, for
they have it: "Though a man were only the size of an ant, his
wife would try to sit down among the big ones."

     In general, the following sound views are expressed in the
Talmud (Ber. 17 a): "The Rabbi of Jabne said: I am simply a
being like my neighbour. He works in the field, and I in the
town. We both rise early to go to work; and there is no cause
for the one setting himself up above the other. Do not think
that the one does more than the other; for we have been taught
that there is as much merit in doing that which is little as that
which is great, provided the state of our hearts be right." And
so a story is told, how one who dug cisterns and made baths (for
purification) accosted the great Rabbi Jochanan with the words: 
"I am as great a man as thou;" since, in his own sphere, he
served the wants of the community quite as much as the most
learned teacher in Israel. In the same spirit another Rabbi
admonished to strict conscientiousness, since in a sense all
work, however humble, was really work for God. There can be no
doubt that the Jewish tradesman who worked in such a spirit would
be alike happy and skilful.

     It must have been a great privilege to be engaged in any
work connected with the Temple. A large number of workmen were
kept constantly employed there, preparing what was necessary for
the service.  Perhaps it was only a piece of Jerusalem jealousy
of the Alexandrians which prompted such Rabbinical traditions,
as, that, when Alexandrians tried to compound the incense for the
Temple, the column of smoke did not ascend quite straight; when
they repaired the large mortar in which the incense was bruised,
and again, the great cymbal with which the signal for the
commencement of the Temple music was given, in each case their
work had to be undone by Jerusalem workmen, in order to produce a
proper mixture, or to evoke the former sweet sounds. There can
be no question, however, notwithstanding Palestinian prejudices,
that there were excellent Jewish workmen in Alexandria; and
plenty of them, too, as we know from their arrangement in guilds
in their great synagogue. Any poor workman had only to apply to
his guild, and he was supported till he found employment. The
guild of coppersmiths there had, as we are informed, for their
device a leathern apron; and when its members went abroad they
used to carry with them a bed which could be taken to pieces. At
Jerusalem, where this guild was organised under its Rabban, or
chief, it possessed a synagogue and a burying-place of its own. 1

But the Palestinian workmen, though they kept by each other, had
no exclusive guilds; the principles of "free trade," so to speak,
prevailing among them. Bazaars and streets were named after them.


     The workmen of Jerusalem were specially distinguished for
their artistic skill. A whole valley - that of the
Tyropoeon---was occupied by dairies; hence its name, "valley of
cheesemongers."  Even in Isa. vii. 3 we read of "the field of the
fullers," which lay "at the end of the conduit of the upper pool
in the highway" to Joppa. A whole set of sayings is expressly
designated in the Talmud as "the proverbs of the fullers."

     From their love of building and splendour the Herodian
princes must have kept many tradesmen in constant work. At the
re-erection of the Temple no less than eighteen thousand were so
employed in various handicrafts, some of them implying great
artistic skill. Even before that, Herod the Great is said to have
employed a large number of the most experienced masters to teach
the one thousand priests who were to construct the Holy Place
itself. For, in the building of that part of the Temple no
laymen were engaged. As 

......

1 See Delitzsch, u.s. p.38.

......


we know, neither hammer, axe, chisel, nor any tool of iron was
used within the sacred precincts. The reason of this is thus
explained in the Mishnah, when describing how all the stones for
the altar were dug out of virgin-earth, no iron tool being
employed in their preparation: "Iron is created to cut
short the life of man; but the altar to prolong it. Hence it
is not becoming to use that which shortens for that which
lengthens" (Midd. iii. 4). Those who know the magnificence and
splendour of that holy house will be best able to judge what
skill in workmanship its various parts must have required. An
instance may be interesting on account of its connection
with the most solemn fact of New Testament history. We read in
the Mishnah (Shek. viii. 5): "Rabbi Simeon, the son of
Gamaliel, said, in the name of Rabbi Simeon, the son of the
(former) Sagan (assistant of the high-priest): The veil (of the
Most Holy Place) was an handbreadth thick, and woven of
seventy-two twisted plaits; each plait consisted of twenty-four
threads" (according to the Talmud, six threads of each of the
four Temple-colours - white, scarlet, blue, and gold). "It was
forty cubits long, and twenty wide (sixty feet by thirty), and
made of eighty-two myriads" (the meaning of this in the Mishnah
is not plain). "Two of these veils were made every year, and it
took three hundred priests to immerse one" (before use). These
statements must of course be considered as dealing in "round
numbers;" but they are most interesting as helping us to realise,
not only how the great veil of the Temple was rent, when the Lord
of that Temple died on the cross, but also how the occurrence
could have been effectually concealed from the mass of the
people.

     To turn to quite another subject. It is curious to notice in
how many respects times and circumstances have really not
changed. The old Jewish employers of labour seem to have had
similar trouble with their men to that of which so many in our
own times loudly complain. We have an emphatic warning to this
effect, to beware of eating fine bread and giving black bread to
one's workmen or servants; not to sleep on feathers and give
them straw pallets, more especially if they were co-religionists,
for, as it is added, he who gets a Hebrew slave gets his master! 
Possibly something of this kind was on the mind of St.Paul when
he wrote this most needful precept (1 Tim. vi. 1,2): "Let as
many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters
worthy of all honour, that the name of God and His doctrine be
not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let
them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do
them service, because they are believing and beloved, partakers
of the benefit." But really there is nothing "new under the
sun!" Something like the provisions of a mutual assurance
appear in the associations of muleteers and sailors, which
undertook to replace a beast or a ship that had been lost without
negligence on the part of the owner. Nay, we can even trace
the spirit of tradeunionism in the express permission of the
Talmud (Bab. B. 9) to tradesmen to combine to work only one or
two days in the week, so as to give sufficient employment to
every workman in a place. 

     We close with another quotation in the same direction, which
will also serve to illustrate the peculiar mode of Rabbinical
comment on the words of Scripture:

"'He doeth no evil to his neighbour'---this refers to one
tradesman not interfering with the trade of another!"

                         ........................


To be continued


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