Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ezekiel 46:18, The Property of the Family Before the Needs of the State

"The prince shall not take any of the inheritance of the people, thrusting them out of their property. He shall give his sons their inheritance out of his own property, so that none of my people shall be scattered from his property.

Such a simple verse, yet it strikes at the root of tyranny, i.e., the greed of power. The inheritance of the family in the land is not to be set aside or undermined by the civil magistrate. Whether this applies to any act of eminent domain, or simply to the wholesale confiscation of property, such as to create state or federal parks, I don't know. However, the implication for the balance between the rights of the people and the authority of the magistrate is obviously weighty. Think about persecutions under supposedly "Christian" kings, such as the Covenanters under the Stuart kings, who faced confiscation of property for refusing to take loyalty oaths. And the Kelo decision in our own Supreme Court.

It flows out of the verse in the previous chapter, Ezekiel 45:8, in which a portion of the land is set aside to the royal family, while the rest is preserved to the people, "so My princes shall no longer oppress My people" (NASB). This, of course, is an application of the VIIIth Commandment, "Thou shalt not steal."

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