Exodus
Introduction 1-6 The Hebrew Slave 7-11 The Hebrew Female Slave 12-14 He Who Kills a Man 15 He Who Strikes His Father or His Mother 16 He Who Kidnaps a Man 17 He Who Curses His Father or His Mother 18-27 Causing Bodily Injury 28-32 Bodily Injury Caused by an Animal 33-36 Injuries Inflicted on an Animal
Introduction

God, Who knows all things in advance, after the law in the previous chapter, gives in the following chapters, Exodus 21-23, in a number of common cases, as it were, case-law, the application of the law. This shows that certain circumstances are also taken into account, things that can happen in everyday life. The cases discussed are models for all things that can happen among God’s people.

We have God’s directions for daily life in His Word. The Holy Spirit is given to us through Whom we are able to understand God’s Word and to live for God’s glory in obedience to His Word.


The Hebrew Slave

1“Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them: 2“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. 3If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. 4If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. 5But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ 6then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

It is not normal to be a slave while you are a member of a redeemed people. This must be the result of special circumstances. It can be the result of poverty, which has caused someone to get into debt. If someone turns to poverty, it is already a judgment in a certain respect, for in obedience to God there will be no poor among them. But because of the need, a Hebrew can offer himself as a slave to a fellow countryman in order to eliminate his guilt.

God sets the duration of the commitment at six years. In the seventh year the slave is free again. If he has taken a woman with him at the beginning of his period of service, she may leave with him. The situation is different if, during his service as a slave, he received a wife from his master. Then his wife, together with any children, remains the property of his master: the slave has come alone, he must also leave on his own.

Then we hear the language of love. The love of the slave does not only concern his wife and children, but also his master and him in the first place. The slave loved his master during his service to him. In his love he wishes to exchange his freedom for a life of service. There is no coercion, persuasion or manipulation. That is completely alien to love. As a sign that the slave remains forever connected to his master’s house, the ear – the symbol of listening, of doing what is said, of obedience – is pierced with an awl at the doorpost.

It is not difficult to recognize the Lord Jesus in the picture of the Hebrew slave. He has offered Himself as a Slave to take away the curse that sin put on creation and to work the redemption of sins for all those who believe (Phil 2:6-76who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, [and] being made in the likeness of men.; Zec 13:55but he will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’). He has performed a perfect service as a Slave. He is the obedient Man Who as the only One has fulfilled the law perfectly. He could have returned to heaven after His perfect life, without dying.

In His perfect love, however, He became a Slave of His free will forever (Lk 12:3737Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself [to serve], and have them recline [at the table], and will come up and wait on them.). Love is the true source of service. His love concerns in the first place “my master”, that is His Father; then “my wife”, that is the church, the bride; and finally, “my children”, those are the individual believers – we are not the children of the Lord Jesus, Scripture never calls us like this, but the children of God. He allowed himself to be pierced through the ear. He paid with His blood, and acquired his wife, the church, and the children of God, for His property.

In Psalm 40 and Isaiah 50 we also read about opened ears.
1. Psalm 40 points at his coming into the world: “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me” (Psa 40:6-76Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
7Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
; Heb 10:55Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me;).
2. Isaiah 50 points at His going through the world: “He awakens [Me] morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord GOD has opened My ear; and I was not disobedient nor did I turn back” (Isa 50:4b-54The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples,
That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.
He awakens [Me] morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
5The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
And I was not disobedient
Nor did I turn back.
).
3. Exodus 21 fits in beautifully with this, for it refers to His departure from the world: He has surrendered Himself at the end of His life for His own to be eternally Servant for them (Exo 21:66then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.).

It is nice to note that in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the expression “ears dug out for me”, as it is literally written in Psalm 40:7 in Hebrew, is translated as “a body You have prepared for Me”. Because the latter gives the true meaning, this translation is quoted by the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 10: “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me” (Heb 10:55Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me;) The open ear is the means by which people listen, the body is the means by which the will is carried out.


The Hebrew Female Slave

7“If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. 8If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. 9If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11If he will not do these three [things] for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without [payment of] money.

The Hebrew male slave may be released in the seventh year after six years of service. This arrangement is not for a Hebrew female slave. She has been bought to please her master. If she disappoints him, he has to let her go. The condition is that he will not sell her to a foreign people. The purpose of this regulation is to protect her against arbitrariness.

He may also have destined the female slave for his son. Then he has to treat her like his daughter. If he takes another wife and does not sell her, but keeps her, he cannot evade his marital obligations. If he does, she is free to leave, without any purchase price involved.

In this female slave we can see a picture of Israel. Israel cannot go out freely, as the Lord Jesus was allowed to. The people are bought by God so that they may please Him. But the people did not please God.

Unlike the master in this section, God has sold His people in the hands of foreign peoples (Jdg 2:1414The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around [them], so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.; Psa 44:1313You make us a reproach to our neighbors,
A scoffing and a derision to those around us.
; Isa 50:11Thus says the LORD,
“Where is the certificate of divorce
By which I have sent your mother away?
Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you?
Behold, you were sold for your iniquities,
And for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
). This is not His dealing faithlessly. On the contrary, it is because of the infidelity of the people. His goal here is to teach the people the difference between service to Him and service to the nations (2Chr 12:88But they will become his slaves so that they may learn [the difference between] My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”).

The female slave, Israel, will eventually become free. She will become the wife of the Son (Hos 2:1919“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
). Then God will deal with her according to that position. In anticipation of that time, the Son has taken “another woman”, the church. There is no relationship with Israel at the time the church is formed (Hos 3:3-53Then I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you.”4For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or [sacred] pillar and without ephod or household idols.5Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.). Israel is now “Lo-ruhama”, which means “not having compassion”, and “Lo-ammi”, which means “not My people” (Hos 1:6,96Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them.9And the LORD said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.”
). God does not recognize Israel in this time as His people. It has gone away, away from Him.


He Who Kills a Man

12“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13But if he did not lie in wait [for him], but God let [him] fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee. 14If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him [even] from My altar, that he may die.

In verses 12-3612“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.13But if he did not lie in wait [for him], but God let [him] fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee.14If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him [even] from My altar, that he may die.15“He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.16“He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.17“He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.18“If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with [his] fist, and he does not die but remains in bed,19if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed.20“If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished.21If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.22“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges [decide].23But if there is [any further] injury, then you shall appoint [as a penalty] life for life,24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,25burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.26“If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye.27And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.28“If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished.29If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death.30If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him.31Whether it gores a son or a daughter, it shall be done to him according to the same rule.32If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his [or her] master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.33“If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it,34the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead [animal] shall become his.35“If one man’s ox hurts another’s so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its price equally; and also they shall divide the dead [ox].36Or [if] it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead [animal] shall become his. further regulations are given in case of violation of a certain commandment. We see how God takes into account different circumstances. He also takes into account whether and to what extent it is unintentional or deliberately.

In Matthew 5 the Lord Jesus also pays attention to the transgression of the commandments (Mt 5:17-4817“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.18For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.19Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others [to do] the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches [them], he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses [that] of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.21“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty [enough to go] into the fiery hell.23Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,24leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.25Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.26Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’;28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.29If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.30If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.31“It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’;32but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for [the] reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.33“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’34But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.36Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.37But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ [or] ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.38“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’39But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.40If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.41Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.42Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.43“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’44But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on [the] evil and [the] good, and sends rain on [the] righteous and [the] unrighteous.46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing [than others]? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?48Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.). He shows there that it is not only about deeds, but especially about the heart, the attitude that lies behind the deeds and the words. He has also revealed His own heart and has shown how much it goes beyond what the law requires. He has not only fulfilled the law, but also what goes beyond it. Nowhere does the law ask to give life for the other. He did. That is where love brings you.

First, further regulations are given in case of violation of the sixth commandment (verses 12-1412“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.13But if he did not lie in wait [for him], but God let [him] fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee.14If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him [even] from My altar, that he may die.). The most radical form of violation of the law against his neighbor is to kill him, to take his life. As a general rule, in the case of manslaughter, one must act in accordance with what has been declared to Noah (Gen 9:66“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.
). He who kills another, enters into the rights of God. Only God has the right over life and death. God has transferred this right to the government (Rom 13:1-71Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.6For because of this you also pay taxes, for [rulers] are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax [is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.).

If someone accidentally kills another person, he can flee to a city of refuge, for which arrangements will be made later (Num 35:1-351Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan [opposite] Jericho, saying,2“Command the sons of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands around the cities.3The cities shall be theirs to live in; and their pasture lands shall be for their cattle and for their herds and for all their beasts.4“The pasture lands of the cities which you shall give to the Levites [shall extend] from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits around.5You shall also measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, with the city in the center. This shall become theirs as pasture lands for the cities.6The cities which you shall give to the Levites [shall be] the six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to; and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities.7All the cities which you shall give to the Levites [shall be] forty-eight cities, together with their pasture lands.8As for the cities which you shall give from the possession of the sons of Israel, you shall take more from the larger and you shall take less from the smaller; each shall give some of his cities to the Levites in proportion to his possession which he inherits.”9Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,10“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,11then you shall select for yourselves cities to be your cities of refuge, that the manslayer who has killed any person unintentionally may flee there.12The cities shall be to you as a refuge from the avenger, so that the manslayer will not die until he stands before the congregation for trial.13The cities which you are to give shall be your six cities of refuge.14You shall give three cities across the Jordan and three cities in the land of Canaan; they are to be cities of refuge.15These six cities shall be for refuge for the sons of Israel, and for the alien and for the sojourner among them; that anyone who kills a person unintentionally may flee there.16‘But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.17If he struck him down with a stone in the hand, by which he will die, and [as a result] he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.18Or if he struck him with a wooden object in the hand, by which he might die, and [as a result] he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.19The blood avenger himself shall put the murderer to death; he shall put him to death when he meets him.20If he pushed him of hatred, or threw something at him lying in wait and [as a result] he died,21or if he struck him down with his hand in enmity, and [as a result] he died, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death, he is a murderer; the blood avenger shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.22‘But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or threw something at him without lying in wait,23or with any deadly object of stone, and without seeing it dropped on him so that he died, while he was not his enemy nor seeking his injury,24then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the blood avenger according to these ordinances.25The congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the blood avenger, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he fled; and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.26But if the manslayer at any time goes beyond the border of his city of refuge to which he may flee,27and the blood avenger finds him outside the border of his city of refuge, and the blood avenger kills the manslayer, he will not be guilty of blood28because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return to the land of his possession.29‘These things shall be for a statutory ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.30‘If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.31Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death.32You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest.33So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.34You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.’”; Deu 19:1-131“When the LORD your God cuts off the nations, whose land the LORD your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses,2you shall set aside three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the LORD your God gives you to possess.3You shall prepare the roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God will give you as a possession, so that any manslayer may flee there.4“Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he kills his friend unintentionally, not hating him previously—5as when [a man] goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron [head] slips off the handle and strikes his friend so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live;6otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously.7Therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside three cities for yourself.’8“If the LORD your God enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give your fathers—9if you carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in His ways always—then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three.10So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and bloodguiltiness be on you.11“But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities,12then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.13You shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.; Jos 20:1-91Then the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,2“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘Designate the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses,3that the manslayer who kills any person unintentionally, without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall become your refuge from the avenger of blood.4He shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and state his case in the hearing of the elders of that city; and they shall take him into the city to them and give him a place, so that he may dwell among them.5Now if the avenger of blood pursues him, then they shall not deliver the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him beforehand.6He shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then the manslayer shall return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he fled.’”7So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.8Beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh.9These were the appointed cities for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them, that whoever kills any person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stands before the congregation.). He can also take refuge at the altar. God allowed it to happen at his hand. That does not mean that God worked it, but has allowed it. The fact that nothing happens outside His will does not mean that He is responsible for it. He does have an intention with what happens. In this case we can see that God wants to use this tragic event to bring the manslayer to His altar, a picture of the cross. But he who is not sincere in this, will still die (1Kgs 2:2929It was told King Solomon that Joab had fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, fall upon him.”).


He Who Strikes His Father or His Mother

15“He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

He who strikes his father or his mother, violates the fifth commandment. The fifth commandment is the first commandment of the commandments relating to the relationship with one’s neighbor. As with the sixth commandment, this is rebellion against God-given authority. This rebellion must be punished with the death penalty.

God’s authority is represented on earth primarily by parents. Children who have no respect for their parents generally have no respect for any form of authority (cf. Pro 30:11-1411There is a kind of [man] who curses his father
And does not bless his mother.
12There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes,
Yet is not washed from his filthiness.
13There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes!
And his eyelids are raised [in arrogance].
14There is a kind of [man] whose teeth are [like] swords
And his jaw teeth [like] knives,
To devour the afflicted from the earth
And the needy from among men.
).


He Who Kidnaps a Man

16“He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.

The kidnapping of a man means a transgression of the eighth commandment. Of all forms of theft this is the worst. Paul mentions the “kidnappers” in a list in which he gives several examples of people for whom the law is intended (1Tim 1:8-118But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,9realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers10and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,11according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.). A kidnapper is someone who deprives another of his freedom and makes him or her an object from which to earn. This crime must also be punished with the death penalty.

In spiritual terms, this happens when someone makes another completely dependent on himself and can therefore manipulate him, so that the other can no longer be as God intended him to be. Man is made according to God’s likeness (Jam 3:99With it we bless [our] Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;). Therefore, every human being must be treated with respect (1Pet 2:1717Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.).


He Who Curses His Father or His Mother

17“He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

Someone who curses his father or his mother violates the fifth commandment, as in verse 1515“He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.. This is not a violation of a misdemeanor like in verse 1515“He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death., but speaking scandalously about the parents. The death penalty must also be applied to this crime.

Children who abuse their parents by deed or word are deeply immersed in their natural feelings. They despise the most elementary relations God has given man in creation.


Causing Bodily Injury

18“If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with [his] fist, and he does not die but remains in bed, 19if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed. 20“If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. 21If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property. 22“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges [decide]. 23But if there is [any further] injury, then you shall appoint [as a penalty] life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 26“If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. 27And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.

The infliction of bodily injury is related to the sixth commandment (verses 18-1918“If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with [his] fist, and he does not die but remains in bed,19if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed.). A fight gets out of hand. There are no dead, but there are wounded. The wounded may not work for some time. The forced rest period must be compensated. No further punishment shall be imposed if the injured person recovers to the point where he is able to walk again, even if it is still with the aid of a staff.

If a male or a female slave is hit so hard by the owner that he or she dies, the owner shall be punished (verses 20-2120“If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished.21If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.). He has taken someone’s life away, and doesn’t have the right to do that. If the slave does not die immediately, no vengeance shall be taken. His punishment is the loss of his slave and thus his service. The Christian master is expected not to strike his slave. He is told that he must refrain from even the threat (Eph 6:99And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.; cf. Job 31:13-1513“If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves
When they filed a complaint against me,
14What then could I do when God arises?
And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?
15“Did not He who made me in the womb make him,
And the same one fashion us in the womb?
).

The pregnant woman may be wife of one of the fighting men who wants to interfere (verse 2222“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges [decide].). She gets a blow and as a result she gives birth prematurely. The man who caused this must be fined, which is determined by the woman’s husband and ratified by the judges.

However, if fatal injuries are inflicted (verse 2323But if there is [any further] injury, then you shall appoint [as a penalty] life for life,), either on the woman or on the child, the death penalty should be applied. We see here that the killing of unborn life – in our days: abortion – is judged by God as the infliction of fatal injury, to which the death penalty must be applied.

From a spiritual point of view, a quarrel can lead to nipping a young spiritual life in the bud. How much mental damage there is already in young believers caused by quarrels between adult believers!

The rule “life for life” (verse 2323But if there is [any further] injury, then you shall appoint [as a penalty] life for life,) is further elaborated (verses 24-2524eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,25burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.). Here we find the essence of the law: give tit for tat. That is a perfectly just principle. If God had acted according to the principle of “life for life” with a view to the death of His Son, He would have wiped out the world. But it is precisely at the time of the greatest crime that the Lord Jesus prays: “Father, forgive them” (Lk 23:34a34But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.).

The Lord Jesus also refers to the law of retribution, but makes it deeper: “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Mt 5:38-3938“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’39But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.). What the law demands is always just. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with “eye for eye” and “tooth for tooth”. It should be noted, however, that this should be applied by the competent court and not in the context of personal retaliation.

The disciples as faithful Jews have heard of the law of retribution, but grace goes much further. The Lord points this out with the words “but I say to you”. In what He says, He shows the spirit in which His disciples should act, as He did perfectly. It means that we do not defend ourselves against an angry neighbor, and that we do not allow ourselves to be humiliated just a little, but deeply.

The foregoing refers to situations in which we are wronged. Then, following the example of the Lord Jesus, we are expected to have that mind. If, however, we have done wrong ourselves, we will have to take into account that we will somehow receive back the injustice we have done (Col 3:2525For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.; Gal 6:88For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.).

God also provides the rights of slaves (verses 26-2726“If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye.27And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.). If the owner touches the eye or tooth of a slave in such a way that it can no longer be used, the owner must release the slave. The owner therefore misses the slave’s commitment and has to replace it, which costs money. The slave is a bit better off. He has his freedom back. But he is also handicapped. His eyesight is limited and eating food is no longer as easy as it used to be.


Bodily Injury Caused by an Animal

28“If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. 29If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 30If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him. 31Whether it gores a son or a daughter, it shall be done to him according to the same rule. 32If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his [or her] master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

If an ox kills someone, it must be killed. The animal killed for this reason should not be used as food because it must be considered unclean by its atrocity. The owner is not liable. He did not suspect that the animal would do this.

The owner is liable in case it is known that the animal is dangerous. If he does not guard the animal and it kills someone, the animal must be killed and the owner also. A possibility is given to pay redemption money, as a ransom for life.

Things in our possession can cause damage to others. This can happen through things we do not expect. It can also happen because of things we do know can cause damage to others. In the latter case, we must be attentive to how we use those things. Here we can make practical and spiritual applications for ourselves, for example: “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way” (Rom 14:1313Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.). And: “But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (1Cor 8:8-98But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.).

The amount mentioned in verse 3232If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his [or her] master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. is also the price at which the Son of God in the form of a Slave is valued (Mt 26:1515and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him.).


Injuries Inflicted on an Animal

33“If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead [animal] shall become his. 35“If one man’s ox hurts another’s so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its price equally; and also they shall divide the dead [ox]. 36Or [if] it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead [animal] shall become his.

Damage caused to the property of another person must be compensated. In case the damage cannot be repaired, an arrangement will be made.

All these events take place in the midst of God’s people. And what has happened to them has happened to them “as examples for us” (1Cor 10:6,116Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.11Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.). It is therefore permissible to assume that in all cases a spiritual application can be made. In one case this is obvious, in the other case this is not that obvious. It is important that an application is not based on fantasy, but on a truth expressed in the New Testament.

When it comes to our possessions, we can think of everything that has been entrusted to us physically and spiritually. How do we deal with our money, our possessions, our capacities? Do we use it to bless or to harm others? If we have caused material or mental harm to others, how do we compensate them? Material damage, too, cannot always be compensated with a sum of money alone.

In general, the teaching of this chapter is that we must be vigilant that evil has no chance of manifesting itself within us. If we have done any kind of harm, we must be prepared to pay compensation. It is about an attitude that we do not want anyone else to suffer through us, either materially or spiritually.


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