12 “Whoever hits a man so hard that he dies should 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 location to which he may escape. 14 But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him deliberately, you should take him even from my altar, so that he may die. 15 “Whoever hits his father or his mother should be put to death. 16 “Whoever kidnaps a man and sells him into slavery, and anyone found in possession of him, should be put to death. 17 “Whoever curses his father or his mother should be put to death. 18 “When men quarrel and one hits 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 will be clear; only he should pay for the loss of his time, and should make sure he is thoroughly healed. 20 “When a man hits his servant, male or female, with a rod and the servant dies under his hand, he should be avenged. 21 But if the servant recovers after a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the servant is his silver. 22 “When men fight together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no lasting harm to them, the one who hit her should surely be fined, whatever the woman’s husband will impose on him, and he should pay as the judges determine. 23 But if there is lasting 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 hits the eye of his servant, male or female, and destroys it, he should let the servant go free because of his eye. 27 If he knocks out the tooth of his servant, male or female, he should let the servant go free because of his tooth.
covenant household injury compensation rights
The LORD spelled out the details as to how the judges in Israel should rule to protect people from intentional violence, and protect those who caused injury unintentionally. Specifically, these legal rules covered:
- violence resulting in homicide (12-14),
- violence in conjunction with breaking other commandments (15-17)
- violence resulting in injury to others (18-27).
These rules allowed for a society which took personal harm seriously, but allowed for justice to be served without it simply turning into a matter of family blood feuds. They showed something about the LORD. They demonstrated his compassion for those who are hurt and victimized. They also reflected the reality that the very nation called on to reflect God’s holiness and lead others to him would itself be plagued by anger and violence. The fact that these laws were in place showed our LORD’s distaste for that kind of double-mindedness. He calls his people to peace among themselves so as to reflect the peace he has bought for them
LORD, make us a church who loves, restores, forgives, and lives at peace with the world around us.