Princes not Oppressors
Ezekiel 45:8
In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people…

In the apportionment of the restored and newly occupied territory there was need for a display of a just and equitable spirit. That there was some danger of another and contrary spirit is evident from the admonition here addressed by the prophet in the name of the Lord to those in power and authority.

I. THE SPHERE OF OPPRESSION. The oppressor may exercise his might in violation of the principles of righteousness; either

(1) against the personal liberty, or

(2) against the property and possessions, of the oppressed.

II. THE MOTIVE TO OPPRESSION. This is almost always selfishness, the desire of personal enrichment, aggrandizement, or power, to attain which the rights of another are treated as of no account.

III. THE OPPORTUNITY OF OPPRESSION. It is no merit on the part of the obscure, the impoverished, the friendless, that they abstain from oppression, for the simple reason that it is not in their power; they may be oppressed, but they cannot be oppressors. But those in high station, especially princes, whose power is arbitrary and unchecked, have many opportunities of wronging their subjects and inferiors. In a country like our own, where public rights are secured, and where the monarch acts of necessity within constitutional limits, it is not easy to understand how in other states of society the poor and uninfluential may be at the mercy of the great.

IV. THE SIN OF OPPRESSION. This appears from considering the fact that the distinctions obtaining amongst men are to a large extent accidental and artificial. It is for the welfare of society that certain individuals should be entrusted with power; when that power is abused, the very purpose of such distinctions is violated. The law of him who is King of kings, and the principles of whose government are justice and mercy, is opposed to the exercise of political power in an unrighteous and inconsiderate manner.

V. THE REMEDY FOR OPPRESSION. This is set forth in a very striking manner in the passage before us: "My princes shall no more oppress my people." The fact that both superior and inferior, both governors and subjects, are the Lord's, is adduced as the strongest argument against oppression. If both alike are the Lord's, the unreasonableness is apparent of one class treating the other with harshness and injustice. In fact, religion is here, as elsewhere, the true guide of human conduct, the true corrective of human ills. Let men first consider their obligations to the Giver of all, their responsibility to the Ruler of all, and such considerations will preserve them from wronging those who are, with them, subjects of the same Sovereign and children of the same Father. All alike are his, and there is a community of interest amongst all who acknowledge a common allegiance and a common indebtedness. In such a case, oppression is not only unrighteous, it is unreasonable and monstrous. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: In the land shall be his possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes.

WEB: In the land it shall be to him for a possession in Israel: and my princes shall no more oppress my people; but they shall give the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes.

Human Oppression
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