XXIV. (120) And concerning the tribe which was set apart as consecrated for the priesthood, the following laws are established. The law did not bestow upon the keepers of the temple any portion of the land, considering the first fruits of it a sufficient revenue for them. But it allotted them eight and forty cities to dwell in, and a suburb of two thousand cubits around each City.{15}{#le 35:5..} (121) Therefore, it did not confirm the houses in these cities in the same manner that it did those in the other cities which are built within walls, to the purchasers, if those who had sold them were not able to redeem them within the year, but it permitted them to be redeemed at any time, like the open houses in the country taken from the gentiles, to which they corresponded. Since the Levites had received only houses in this district, of which the lawgiver did not think it fit that those who received them should be deprived any more than those to whom the allotments of the open houses in the country had fallen. And this is enough to say about the houses.

XXV. (122) But the laws established with respect to those who owed money to usurers, and to those who had become servants to masters, resemble those already mentioned; that the usurers shall not exact usurers’ interest from their fellow countrymen, but shall be contented to receive back only what they lent; and that the masters shall behave to those whom they have bought with their money not as if they were by nature slaves, but only hirelings, giving them immunity and liberty, at once, indeed, to those who can pay down a ransom for themselves, and at a subsequent period to the indigent, either when the seventh year from the beginning of their slavery arrives, or when the fiftieth year comes, even if a man happen to have fallen into slavery only the day before. For this year both is and is looked upon as a year of remission; every one retracing his steps and turning back again to his previous state of prosperity. (123) But the law permits the people to acquire a property in slaves who are not of their own countrymen, but who are of different nations; intending in the first place that there should be a difference between one’s own countrymen and strangers, and secondly, not desiring completely to exclude from the constitution that most entirely indispensable property of slaves; for there are an innumerable host of circumstances in life which require the ministrations of Servants.{16}{sections 124û139 were omitted in Yonge’s translation because the edition on which Yonge based his translation, Mangey, lacked this material. These lines have been newly translated for this edition.} (124) Sons shall inherit their parents’ property, but if there should be no sons, then the daughters would inherit. For just as in their nature men take precedence over women, so also in families they shall have the first share, inheriting property and filling the station of those who have died, being held by a law of necessity that lets no earthborn mortal live forever. (125) But if virgins are left behind with unmarried, no dowry having been set apart by the parents while they were still living, they shall receive a share equal to that of the males. But the presiding power must take care to watch over those who are left behind and of their growth and of the expenses for sustenance and the training that is appropriate for girls, and, whenever the time should come, for appropriate marriage, husbands approved in all things having been selected by merit. (126) Preferably they should be relatives, but if not, they should at least be of the same deme and tribe, so that the lots assigned as dowries will not be alienated through marriages but remain in the tribal allotments as ordered from the beginning. (127) But if someone should have no offspring, then let the brothers of the deceased succeed to the inheritance. For the place in the family after sons and daughters belongs to brothers. And if someone who has no brothers should die, the uncles on the father’s side should succeed to the property, and if there are no uncles, then the aunts, the closest of the remaining household members and other relatives. (128) But if scarcity should seize the family, so that no blood relations are left, then let the tribe be the heir. For the tribe is also a kind of family, if we draw a larger and more complete circle. (129) The perplexity raised by some, however, should be laid to rest: Seeing that the law mentions all members of the family, the deme, and the tribe in the order of succession to inheritances, why did it remain silent only about parents, who, it would seem, should be just as eligible to inherit their children’s property as the children are to inherit theirs? Here is the answer, my good fellow! Since the law is divine, and since it always aims at following the logic of nature, it did not wish to introduce any ill-omened provisions; for parents pray to leave behind living offspring who will have succeeded to their name, their lineage, and their property, while their worst enemies call down the opposite on them as a curse, namely, that the sons and daughters should die before their parents. (130) Therefore in order to avoid making explicit provisions for a situation that would be illfitting and discordant with the harmony and concord that characterize the administration of the whole cosmos–namely, the case where children die and parents survive–the law both necessarily and fittingly omitted ordering that mothers and fathers should inherit the property of sons and daughters, knowing that this outcome was out of accord with life and nature. (131) So then, the law was careful not to say in so many words that parents inherit when their children die, in order not to seem to reproach grieving parents by allotting to them a benefit that no one would want, and in order not to call misfortunes to mind; but it allotted the property to them in another way, as a small consolation for a great evil. (132) How, then, does it do this? It puts down the father’s brother as the heir of his nephews, no doubt rewarding the uncle for the father’s sake–unless anyone is so silly as to suppose that one who honors someone for the sake of someone else thereby chooses to dishonor the latter. Those who pay attention to their friends’ acquaintances do not thereby neglect their friends, do they? Do not those who show the most solicitous care for those whom they honor also welcome their friends? In precisely the same way, when when the law names the father’s brother to share in the inheritance on account of the father, how much more does it name the father! It does not do this explicitly, for the reasons cited, but it makes clear the will of the lawgiver with surer force than an explicit mention. (133) The eldest son does not share equally with those who came after him but is considered worthy of a double portion, since two people who were previously husband and wife became father and mother on account of the first offspring, and once he came along he was the first to call those who engendered him by these names. Furthermore–and this is the most essential point–the household that was previously childless became one blessed with a son for the continuance of the human race. The seed of this continuance is marriage, and its fruit is the begetting of children, of whom the eldest is the head. (134) I suppose that it is for this reason that the firstborn sons of the enemies who had given no quarter, as the holy scriptures reveal, were all cut off in their youth in one night, while the firstborn of the people of the nation were dedicated to God as a thank-offering and were thus consecrated. For it was necessary to weigh down the former with a heavy and inconsolable grief, the destruction of those who held first place, but to reward the savior God with the firstfruits, whose lot was the preeminence among the children. (135) But there are some men who after getting married and having children have at length unlearned prudence and drifted into incontinence. Lusting after other women, these men have wronged their first wives and behaved toward their children from them no longer as fathers but as uncles, imitating the impious behavior of stepmothers toward previously born children. They have given themselves and their property over entirely to their new wives and to their sons, having been overcome by pleasure, the most shameful passion. The law would not have hesitated to bridle these lusts somehow if it had been possible, lest they kick up their heels even more; (136) but since it was difficult, or rather impossible, to cure this wild frenzy, the law abandoned the man as being in the grip of an incurable disease. It did not, however, overlook the son of the woman wronged on account of the new love but commanded that he should receive a double share of the distribution left for the brothers. (137) There are many reasons for this. For in the first place it punishes the guilty man by compelling him to do something good for the son whom he has chosen to treat badly; and it makes clear the invalidity of his inconsiderate judgment in that it profits the one who was in danger of suffering loss at his hands by putting itself in the role of the parent–the role abandoned by the natural father with regard to the firstborn son. (138) Secondly, it shows mercy and compassion on those who have been treated unjustly, whose burden of distress it lightens by giving them a share in grace and gift; for the double portion of the inheriting son was no less likely to please the mother, who will be encouraged by the kindness of the law, which did not permit her and her offspring to be totally overcome by their enemies. (139) In the third place, being a good referee of justice, it considered in itself that the father had freely lavished provisions upon the sons of the beloved wife due to his affection for her, while he considered the sons of the hated wife to deserve nothing due to his hatred for their mother. Thus the former had inherited more than their equal share during his lifetime, while the latter were in danger even upon his death of being deprived of the whole patrimony. So then, in order to equalize the distribution to the sons of both wives, it set aside a double portion as the rightful inheritance of the eldest, the son of the wife who had been put away. This is enough regarding these things.