Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Earliest Humane Society

(taken from "Strange Facts About the Bible" by Web Garrison)

In 1866 Henry Bergh, inspired by earlier work in England and Scotland, founded the world's largest humane society. But at least 3,000 years before that, every Hebrew community had an informal society for prevention of cruelty to animals.
Moses's Law required every man to lead a stray ox or ass back to its owner - even if the owner was a personal enemy (Exodus 23:4). No matter who the animal belonged to, a person who found a donkey unable to get on its feet because of his load was required to give the beast a hand (Exodus 23:5). And in New Testament times even sever laws prohibiting all kind so of work on the Sabbath were relaxed on behalf of mercy to animals. If a beast were in trouble on the Sabbath, a person was permitted and even encouraged to help rescue the animal (Luke 14:5). At first literally and then in a figurative sense, "an ox is in the ditch" came to indicate an emergency grave enough to warrant violation of customary restrictions of work.

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