XXIV. (134) Such, then, is the reason which it is fitting should be communicated to the ears of the younger men. But there is another which may be well set before those who are elder and settled in their characters, which is this. It is granted to private individuals alone to be pure from voluntary offences, or if any one chooses, he may add the other priests also to this list; but it can only be given as an especial honour to the high priest to be pure from both kinds, that is from both voluntary and involuntary offences; (135) for it is altogether unlawful for him to touch any pollution whatever, whether intentionally or out of some unforeseen perversion of soul, in order that he, as being the declarer of the will of God may be adorned in both respects, having a disposition free from reproach, and prosperity of life, and being a man to whom no disgrace ever attaches. (136) Now it will be consistent with the character of such a man to look with suspicion on those who have even unintentionally slain a man, not indeed regarding them as under a curse, but also not as pure and wholly free from offence, even though they may have appeared most completely to obey the intention of nature, who used them as her instruments to avenge herself on those whom they have slain, whom she had privately judged by herself and condemned to death.
XXV. This is enough to say concerning free men and citizens. The lawgiver proceeds in due order to establish laws concerning slaves who are killed by violence. (137) Now servants are, indeed, in an inferior condition of life, but still the same nature belongs to them and to their masters. And it is not the condition of fortune, but the harmony of nature, which, in accordance with the divine law is the rule of justice. On which account it is proper for masters not to use their power over their slaves in an insolent manner, displaying by such conduct their insolence and overbearing disposition and terrible cruelty; for such conduct is not a proof of a peaceful soul, but of one which, out of an inability to regulate itself, covets the irresponsibility of a tyrannical power. (138) For the man who fortifies his own house like a citadel, and does not allow a single person within it to speak freely, but who behaves savagely to every one, by reason of his innate misanthropy and barbarity, which has perhaps even been increased by exercise, is a tyrant in miniature; and by his conduct now it is plainly shown that he will not stop even there if he should acquire greater power. (139) For then he will at once go forth to attack other cities and countries, and nations, after having previously enslaved his own native land, so as to prove that he is not inclined to behave mercifully to any one who shall ever become subject to him. (140) Let, then, such a man be well assured that he will not always escape punishment for his continual ill-treatment of many persons; for justice, which hates iniquity, will be his enemy, she who is the assistant and champion of those who are treated with injustice, and she will exact of him a strict account of, and reckoning for, those who have fallen into calamity through his means, (141) even if he should say that he had only inflicted blows on them to correct them, not designing to kill them. For he will not at once get off with a cheerful countenance, but he will be brought before the tribunal and examined by accurate investigators of the truth, who will inquire whether he slew him intentionally or unintentionally. And if he be found to have plotted against him with a wicked disposition, let him die; not having any excuse made for him on the ground of his being the servants’ master, so as to procure his deliverance. (142) But if the servants who have been beaten do not die at once after receiving the blows, but live one day or two, then the master shall no longer be liable to be accused of murder, having this strong ground of defence that he did not kill them on the spot by beating, nor afterwards when he had them in his house, but that he suffered them to live as long as they could, even though that may not have been very long. Besides that, no one is so silly as to attempt to distress another by conduct by which he himself also will be a loser. (143) But any one who kills his servant injures himself much more, since he deprives himself of the services which he received from him while alive, and, moreover, loses the price which he paid for him which, perhaps, was large. If, however, the servant turn out to have done any thing worthy of death, let him bring him before the judges and prove his offence, making the laws the arbiters of his punishment and not himself.