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him with his hand, that he die, he that smote shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer; the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him. So these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you, throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses. Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death; but he shall surely be put to death. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are; for blood it defileth the land; and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. If any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die'; thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee*. Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person'. Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days", when he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them". Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people; for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful to his land, and to his people".
Whosoever hateth his brother, is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. For without are dogs and murderers'.
f Num.xxxv. 17-21.
* Num. xxxv. 29, 30, 31.
n Psal. ix. 12.
4 Rev. xxi. 8.
h Num. xxxv. 33.
' Deut. xxvii. 24, 25.
• Deut. xxxii. 43. Rev. xxii. 15.
SECT. 2. Next to this is oppression, especially of the widow and fatherless, the poor and afflicted.
Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me; I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath shall wax hot. Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless, nor take a widow's raiment to pledge. Enter not into the fields of the fatherless; for their Redeemer is mighty, he shall plead their cause with thee. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down. When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge; thou shalt stand abroad; and the man to whom thou dost lend, shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee. And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge. In any case thou shalt deliver him his pledge again, when the sun goeth down; that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee before the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers, that are in thy land within thy gates. At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; (for he is poor and setteth his heart upon it,) lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee'.
There is a generation whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw-teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men. He that oppresseth the poor, reproacheth his Maker; but he that honoureth him, hath mercy on the poor. He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, shall surely
§ 2. a Exod. xxii. 22, 23, 24.
d Deut. xxvii, 19. Prov. xxx. 14.
b Deut. xxiv. 17.
e Exod. xxii. 25, 26.
e Prov. xxiii. 10, 11.
f Deut. xxiv. 10-15.
come to want'. A poor man that oppresseth the poor, is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food*. As a roaring lion, and a raging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people'.
The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poorTM. He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages; in the secret places doth he murder the innocent; his eyes are privily set against the poor. He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den; he lieth in wait to catch the poor; he doth catch the poor when he draweth them into his net. He croucheth, and humbleth himself". For lo the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string; that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation; their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bow shall be broken". Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery, For the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land; by swearing, and lying, and killing, they break out; therefore shall the land mourn'. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof; for ye have eaten up the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth. Their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands; their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, wasting and destruction are in their paths; the way of peace they know not, and there is no judgment in their goings; they have
Prov. xxii. 16.
P Psal. xxxvii. 14, 15.
* Prov. xxviii. 3.
I Prov. xxviii. 15.
made them crooked paths; whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace". In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, and uttering from the heart words of falsehood; judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter; yea truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil, maketh himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased him *. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies'.
SECT. 3. These crimes are an abomination to the Lord.
What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor, saith the Lord God of hosts? Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread". Thus saith the Lord God, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come. Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed. Behold the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood. In the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger; in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow; in thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion. Behold therefore I have smitten my hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which is in the midst of thee. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion, ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
" Isa. lix. 6, 7, 8.
* Isa. lix. 13, 14, 15.
b Psal. xiv. 4.
y Isa. lix. 18.
c Ezek. xxii. 3, 4.
The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery; and have vexed the poor and needy; yea they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully". Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord God, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: Thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence to do it Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed, to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless'. They afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right". Wo to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee". Wo to them that are at ease in Zion, but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Wo to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds; when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hands'. And they covet fields, and take them by violence, and houses, and take them away; so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. Wo be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves; should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool; ye kill them that are fed, but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force, and with cruelty have ye ruled them'; forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat; ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink of
h Ezek. xxii. 29.
i Ezek. xxxv. 6.
* Jer. xxii. 17.
Isa. xxxiii. 1.
4 Mic. ii, 2.