Eye for an eye

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 21:1-2, 7-17, 22-27; 22:21-31; 23:1-12 (day seven)

“If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman. . .[and] there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”–v 21:22, 24.

It sounds vengeful to a society  that has grown soft on consequences, like permission to “get even”.  And probably it has been misused in the past.  Originally, however, it was an expression of accountability and consequence.  Men who fought and injured the innocent by doing so (even if unintentionally) were to be held accountable.  The response was to be measured.  Eye for eye.  Tooth for tooth.  No escalation, but no confusion or avoidance of consequence either.  Jesus will later prohibit us from using this law in personal revenge.  See Matthew 5:38.  I do not think Jesus was removing the principle from courts of law.  Wouldn’t we all make better decisions if we knew that this law (or something like it) would be impartially applied to our choices and actions?

Author: Don Guthrie

Don Guthrie is the Senior Pastor at FBCSA.

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