Personal Injury in Exodus

What about how you hit me? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

It’s good to be writing again. Our home was one that was in the area of the storm. We didn’t get hit, but we had damage to our internet. I just recently was able to get back on again and after some posting, figured it was time to continue the OT look. Let’s go to Exodus 21 again.

“12 “Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. 13 However, if it is not done intentionally, but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate. 14 But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death.

15 “Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.

16 “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.”

For the first three verses, we in our society would not have much problem. If you kill someone, you yourself get killed. Some will object to the death penalty, but even still they could likely understand that it isn’t the barbarism that so many skeptics usually associate with the Bible. For the concept of a place to go to in case of an accident, that will be dealt with when we get there.

Note that this even includes a sudden killing out of anger as opposed to a deliberate planning. This would teach the Israelites about controlling the passions in their society and realizing that they were not sovereign and meant to take life by their own standards but were to trust in YHWH.

What about cursing a father and mother? Some of us think it is extreme to have the death penalty here. Note that this is more than just disagreement or words of anger. This is specific cursing. This is an act of uncontrolled hatred that will lead to the breakdown again of the family.

In the ancient world, your heritage was extremely important. Where you came from mattered. For us, when we read a passage like Genesis 5 with its genealogies or read the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles, we probably have our eyes glaze over wondering why this is in the Bible. Many who start out reading the gospels can wonder why Matthew began his gospel with a genealogy.

For a Jew, this would have been one of the most important parts and a part of great honor.In looking at this, the Jew could see where he came from. It would show his position of honor in society as it would be good to have relatives who behaved well and were honorable in your family tree.

To denounce that tree is to denounce your whole family and your whole society. It would be the equivalent of what we today call treason and even today, treason in the United States can be punished with the death penalty.

Kidnapping might seem severe to us, but why should it? For the ancients, kidnapping could destroy the unit of the family as well as stealing someone’s work force and could possibly lead to taking advantage of them in order to gain land privileges. In other words, the breakdown of the society would be far easier if kidnapping were allowed. This should show us the value God places on the order in society and the family unit.

What can we get from all of this? We can get that God is not a God of wanton destruction. He wants a stable society and He’s giving strict rules to show that. These rules would also be didactic. That means, not everything would be spelled out immediately but wise judges would work them out. Today, just one of our laws can be longer than the Torah itself. The Jews were expected to have wise people amongst them who could judge accurately.

We’ll continue next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters


One Response to “Personal Injury in Exodus”

  1. Kevin Says:

    A key point to remember here……Being in the NEW COVENANT now, our ”’HERITAGE”’ has been consumed and ”’rebirthed”’ into HIS…..”He is the firstborn among many brethren”…….

    So the lineage in Matthew 1:1 serves 2 purposes; 1. As you have shared for Israel’s sake.

    2. PROPHETICALLY – For The Brides sake (the Church) to know that our old heritage is gone, in CHRIST (Galatians 2:20 Colossians 3 etc…) and now our ETERNAL HERITAGE IS SEALED IN CHRIST……(We are not in Adam and Eves heritage any longer) nor are we ”kin” to our own family line, but we are ”’in CHRIST”’

    There’s much, much more to this, but that will suffice for now…..


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