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Lecture Eighty-Second

In the last Lecture we began to explain the reproof given by the Prophet to King Jehoiakim for his cruelty and oppression; for in building his splendid palaces, he constrained the people to labor for nothing. This was the crime which the Prophet pointed out when he said, He! he builds unjustly, and his chambers by iniquity; literally, “not in judgement.”

As Jehoiakim might have objected and said, that this was lawful for him, for kings think that the whole world has been created for their sake, the Prophet called his attention to the common rights of men, for all the Israelites were his relations; as though he had said, “Though thou excellest in dignity, yet thou art one of the race of Abraham, and taken from the midst of thy brethren; there is, therefore, no reason for thee to take so much liberty as though they were to be thy vassals.” We hence see the design of the Prophet, when he condemned the cruelty of King Jehoiakim, who in building magnificent palaces treated the people arbitrarily and unjustly, and extorted more labor than what was right. It now follows, —

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