Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
“Gunmen” in Israel
(From “A Sociological Study of the Bible”)

By Louis Wallis
WE saw that the great revolt under David was put down by the assistance of mercenary troops, or hired “strong men,” and that by their aid Solomon was elevated to the throne against the wishes of the peasantry. In the Hebrew text, these men of power are called gibborim. They were among the principal tools used by the kings in maintaining the government. It was the gibborim who garrisoned the royal strongholds that held the country in awe. In cases where the peasants refused to submit, bands of gibborim were sent out by the kings and the great nobles. Through them the peasantry were “civilized”; and through them, apparently, the Amorite law was enforced in opposition to the old justice.  1
  Hence the prophets were very bitter against these tools of the ruling class. Hosea writes: “Thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy gibborim; therefore shall a tumult arise against thy people; and all thy fortresses shall be destroyed.” Amos, the shepherd, says that when Jehovah shall punish the land, the gibborim shall fall: “Flight shall perish from the swift … neither shall the gibbor deliver himself; neither shall he stand that handeth the bow; and he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself;… and he that is courageous among the gibborim shall flee away naked in that day, saith Jehovah.”  2

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