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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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The word generally signifies a slave. For formerly among the Hebrews, and the neighbouring nations, the greater part of servants were slaves, that is to say, they belonged absolutely to their masters, who had a right to dispose of their persons, their bodies, goods, and even of their lives, in some cases. The Hebrews had two sorts of servants or slaves, Leviticus 25:44-45 , &c. Some were strangers, either bought, or taken in the wars. The others were Hebrew slaves, who, being poor, sold themselves, or were sold to pay their debts; or were delivered up for slaves by their parents, in cases of necessity. This sort of Hebrew slaves continued in slavery but to the year of jubilee; then they might return to liberty again, and their masters could not retain them against their wills. If they would continue voluntarily with their masters, they were brought before the judges; there they made a declaration, that for this time they disclaimed the privilege of the law, had their ears bored with an awl, by applying them to the doorposts of their master, Exodus 21:2 ; Exodus 21:5-7 , &c; and after that they had no longer any power of recovering their liberty, except at the next year of jubilee. Servant is also taken for a man that dedicates himself to the service of another, by the choice of his own will and inclination. Thus Joshua was the servant of Moses, Elisha of Elijah, Gehazi of Elisha; St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. Philip, and the rest, were servants of Jesus Christ.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Servant'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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