THE EARLY HEBREW CONSCIOUSNESS OF SOLIDARITY
The earliest bond of solidarity was the tie of blood. The Israelites regarded themselves as descended from one ancestor, Abraham. The Old Testament refers to the Hebrews as a flock, a vine. This blood solidarity expressed itself in the idea that the Hebrews were a chosen people; and this particularism survived even the universalism of the later prophets. It made intermarriage during the exile a very serious problem. The Hebrew slave was on a different basis from the slave of foreign descent. The early Hebrew family was not a family in our modern sense; it was a clan family. This clan family and the tribe were the fundamental social units of Hebrew life. When, after the murder of Abel, Cain was driven out of his blood-group, he exclaimed: "every one that findeth me shall slay me."
The solidarity between the individual and his various social groups strikes our individualistic minds with amazement. "And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan, the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent and all that he had . . . and all Israel . . . burned them with fire" ( Josh. 7). Not only Achan's family, but his inanimate possessions, were