October 5 – Exodus 21:12-36

October 5 – Exodus 21:12-36

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Exodus 21:12-36
12 “Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.
13 But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee.
14 But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
15 “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.
16 “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.
17 “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.
18 “When men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist and the man does not die but takes to his bed,
19 then if the man rises again and walks outdoors with his staff, he who struck him shall be clear; only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall have him thoroughly healed.
20 “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged.
21 But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.
22 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine.
23 But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life,
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
26 “When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free because of his eye.
27 If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth.
28 “When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox shall not be liable.
29 But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.
30 If a ransom is imposed on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life
whatever is imposed on him.
31 If it gores a man’s son or daughter, he shall be dealt with according to this same rule.
32 If the ox gores a slave, male or female, the owner shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
33 “When a man opens a pit, or when a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it,
34 the owner of the pit shall make restoration. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead beast shall be his.
35 “When one man’s ox butts another’s, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and share its price, and the dead beast also they shall share.
36 Or if it is known that the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall repay ox for ox, and the dead beast shall be his.

These passages give God’s laws regarding crime and punishment. While in today’s society, they may seem cruel; God’s laws were not. God addresses a variety of crimes with punishment according to their severity. It is the very idea behind our criminal justice system today.
Is God justifying ‘an eye for an eye’ in these passages?
Did God make provisions for intention and accidental harm to others?
In this passage, does God provide for mercy?
How did Jesus himself, experience injustice?
How did the injustice imposed upon Jesus, lead to mercy for us?
Have you experienced injustice? Recall how God took care of you.
How can we replace vengeance for wrongdoing on us with mercy and leave justice to God?

Heavenly Father, these are difficult days and we are reading difficult passages as well. Sometimes I don’t understand Your word, but I know everything You do is for our benefit. I know someday I will understand, but I also know my thoughts are very limited and my mind needs to focus on You and what You are teaching me today. Help me focus on You and You alone and not get distracted by the world and its noise from the enemy. The instructions in today’s verses were to help keep peace among the people of Israel, and that is certainly something we can use today…peace. Peace not just among the people, but among Your people that love You. I know the enemy is the one who destroys peace and loves to cause trouble, but we are the ones who allow it to fester and grow. Help me to focus on You and Your peace, not the times I’m wronged, or the people who don’t like me. Help me focus on love…Your love.
In Jesus’ name.


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