1: The ‘Social' Laws of Exodus 21-23
chapter 20 God gave the Ten Commandments because the first four match
reality and anything less degenerates into pagan superstition and
fear, and the latter six bring peace , order
and stability to society.
Remove them and all those three characteristics are also removed.
In chapter 21 onwards we have the social law worked out in more detail.
we start reading, please keep in mind the culture of the world at
that time. Although today we would find slavery abhorrent, in that
day it was common. Similarly we may have very different understanding
of the place and role of women in society to that which existed then.
Over the centuries, many of these things would change, things that
we might consider to be expressions of primitive societies, but we
should note that the Law of Moses recognised those attitudes and practices
and sought to regulate them for the welfare and wellbeing of the people
concerned until such changes were able to be brought much later in
history. Watch out for that in these laws!
to top of page
are the laws you are to set before them:
start of a set of new laws that applied specifically to Israel
you buy a Hebrew servant…. .
were clearly for Israel
and only Israel .
would change and therefore certain laws would simply no longer applicable
having said that, we can consider how these laws reflect God's design
for all peoples.
are the characteristics that we find in them, what are the principles
first is that God designed and planned this world before He created
it, so that it would work in certain ways. We might call these the
laws of nature.
second truth that flows from the first is that God knows best, and
that includes what is appropriate at particular times in history
(hence the laws about slavery) and what things are generally good
for creating a peaceful and orderly society.
third truth, that again flows from the previous one, is that God
knows that we are sinners and knows that things will go wrong in
society and so gives laws that both restrain the wrong and lay down
guidelines how to deal with things when they do go wrong.
to top of page
Law for Servants
you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in
the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he
comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he
comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she
bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong
to her master, and only the man shall go free.
situation would be that a family was poor and in need and so might
sell a family member into servitude. They would become the ‘ownership'
of the master who bought them and the family would receive the payment
for them and they would receive their keep and become almost part
of the family who bought them, and would work for them.
point that is at issue here is that when such a thing happened,
the Lord demands that their period of service be limited to six
years only and then they be released without payment.
servant is to be treated as a ‘hired worker or a temporary resident',
NOT a slave!
is strictly limited and so if poverty pushes a family into service,
that is only for a relatively short period and not for a lifetime.
If the servant was married when he came, then his wife went as well
and when the period of service came to an end they both left.
the master gives the servant a wife, she is under the master's directions
and so she and any children remain with the master at the end of
the period (unless of course a friendly master should release her
as well). However legally she was to stay with the Master. It would
be likely that a servant knowing this would either marry with the
obligations and stay on at the end, or simply not marry during that
if the servant declares, `I love my master and my wife and children
and do not want to go free, then his master must take him before the
judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his
ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”
is an implied recognition here that being a servant for a good master
actually created a great sense of security. It was just a job and
one which had rewards which the servant might wish to continue.
For a good master, such a job may have had no more
onerous requirements than
many jobs today, and in fact probably created a great deal of security
for the servant in a day when there were no ‘benefits' or other
means to care for such people.
the servant did want to stay on, then a simple procedure of creating
a permanent body mark (like we pierce ears for earrings) indicated
his intent and the master's agreement to have the servant and his
family stay on. Actually piercing the ear against the doorpost of
the home probably also added the sense symbolically of him being
attached to that home. In reality it was no more different than
ear piercing today.
purpose of these instructions was to formalise a process that often
happened anyway – the servant staying on after the six years – in
order to prevent abuse and to protect the servant by formalising
the arrangement in the eyes of the Law and of the local community.
to top of page
a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants
do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,
he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners,
because he has broken faith with her.
an under-developed country, most of us would agree that women are
more vulnerable than men.
are vulnerable because mostly they are physically weaker than men,
and also because sexually they could be preyed upon by stronger
verses 7 to 11 which cover the female servant (this applies to servants
and not slaves) the word ‘If” occurs five times, indicating five
possibilities that are being covered by this law.
first one refers to a Hebrew father who has fallen into abject poverty
(for that's only when this was allowed) and who is seeking to care
for his children, as well as income for the family.
a man sells his daughter as a servant.”
the father, in exchange for money, puts his daughter into the family
of another to work “in service”. This is so that she can prove herself,
and it acts as a prelude to becoming the wife of the master, or
even of his son. It was a practice of the Middle
East and so the laws here
are to protect her in such circumstances.
she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he
must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners,
because he has broken faith with her.”
other words, after he has taken her as a wife, if that relationship
does not work out because for some reason she is unable to live
up to the role of wife, then she is not to be sold off but must
be redeemed by her family (implied).
is probable that this really means that this occurs if the Master
decides not to marry her because she turns out not to be a virgin.
Even within this practice,
as alien as it is to us, there is care for the woman and protection
against her being sold.
he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter.”
she is taken on as the wife of the son, she is not to be considered
a servant but is to have all the rights and privileges of a member
of the family.
he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her
food, clothing and marital rights.”
the man took a second (or even third wife) which was not uncommon,
the first girl must not lose out in any way and must still be cared
for and provided for.
he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free,
without any payment of money.”
that does not happen the contract
is annulled on both sides.
a loving family context it would only happen if the family fell
into hard times and could not cope, and the father's intentions
are likely to include the welfare of his daughter.
in every situation within the compass of the law, there would always
be abuses, but wherever possible the law sought to provide for the
care and welfare of everyone covered by it.
to top of page
who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. However,
if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is
to flee to a place I will designate. But if a man schemes and kills
another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him
Law now moves on to cover murder and manslaughter.
Ten Commandments stated “You shall
not murder.” This law spells out what should happen
when that basic law has been broken.
these three verses is the heart of criminal law: premeditated killing
is murder; accidental killing is manslaughter.
basic law is that “ Anyone who
strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.” That
is the starting point: it is wrong to kill someone – seriously wrong!
then comes a looking at the motivation for the act: “ if
he does not do it intentionally.” If it is unintentional
that is different from “ if a man
schemes and kills another man deliberately.”
secondary reason for assessing motivation, is because of what is
going to follow. If it was manslaughter, then the perpetrator could
flee to one of the cities of refuge:
you cross the Jordan
select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who
has killed someone accidentally may flee. They will be places of refuge
from the avenger, so that a person accused of murder may not die before
he stands trial before the assembly. These six towns you give will
be your cities of refuge.”
is within this additional law a realism and an awareness of human
behaviour that is admirable.
is the awareness that even though it may have been manslaughter
it may take time to prove that and in the meantime the close family
of the person killed may be so incensed by the killing that they
may want to go out and take revenge on the killer. That would not
the cities of refuge were a device to thwart human anger.
who attacks his father or his mother must be put to death.”
will see in your Bible a footnote to the effect that the word ‘attacks'
could mean ‘kills'
focuses the violence of death or attempted death on the sanctity
of the family, which was the primary building block in that society
that God was creating.
it is murder or attempted murder, when it applies to parents, then
death is to follow. The consequences of the breakdown of society
were too great; this must act as a deterrent.
who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he
is caught must be put to death.”
taking away of life by kidnapping (not literal death) is considered
just a heinous.
who curses his father or mother must be put to death.”
curse, here, is not a casual slanderous comment; it is a purposeful
bringing of an occult curse that will have effect and as such, is
put into the same category as the previous laws, for it has the
it is linked with the sanctity of the family, the primary building
block of society. That is why it is so serious and that is why it
will seem so strange to us who live in a society where we are so
casual about the family building block that we have made it easy
for it to be broken up, and we do so little to support and strengthen
it, allowing abuses of many kinds to continue almost unchecked.
to top of page
men quarrel and one hits the other with a stone or with his fist and
he does not die but is confined to bed, the one who struck the blow
will not be held responsible if the other gets up and walks around
outside with his staff; however, he must pay the injured man for the
loss of his time and see that he is completely healed.
Law moves to minor injuries and four situations are envisaged in
verses 18 to 27, two involving fights and two involving slaves or
the first of the two fight situations: the Law recognises that sinful
men will have upsets and disagreements and in the heat of the moment
it will turn violent.
and manslaughter have already been covered, so now we consider lesser
injuries incurred during such upsets.
is an argument which turns violent and one man sustains injuries
that confine him to bed.
well, says the Law, that happens and it is no big issue, but there
are two things to be considered.
- The first is the fact that the
man confined to his bed to recover from his injuries will not
be able to work and so he should be compensated for his loss
of work by the other man who caused the injury.
- Second, and this is quite delightful,
the man who caused the injury is to go to the injured man and
“see that he is completely
other words, he is to care for him, and that means have contact
which, by its very nature, gives an opportunity for rebuilding a
relationship after the upset.
picture of the one caring for the one he has injured could well
be included in our own modern laws. It is part of the reconciliation
work that is sometimes being done today in the legal system.
second ‘fight situation' occurs a few verses later:
men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely
but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever
the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is
serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth
for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for
wound, bruise for bruise.”
If the pregnant wife of one
of the men (for that is the likely scenario) seeks to intervene
and stop the fight and be injured and give birth prematurely but
there is no other injury, then a fine shall be imposed on the other
man for having caused it, assessed as a compromise of what the husband
demands and the court agrees.
more serious injuries caused, the penalty is to match the injury.
This is a ‘limiting law', given to limit there being revenge. The
idea is that the punishment should equal the harm caused and
no more. It thus stops worse happening through revenge.
a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies
as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished
if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.
if a slave is killed by a master
the laws of murder and manslaughter will apply. If it is a temporary
injury there is to be no penalty. To us today, parts of this appear
quite unfair and I think it is right to say that it is unfair.
is, of course a law legislating for a situation that we would not
want to happen today but which would continue on for thousands of
years. Slavery is an outworking of a sinful Fallen World. In a redeemed
world it would not happen.
I have commented elsewhere, I believe the Lord tolerated slavery
(never commending it) simply because to abolish it would mean the
complete changing of the mindset of a particular nation or series
of nations and it would be many years before that could come about.
Lord never forces us to change our thinking and so slavery was an
unpleasant face of humanity all over the world for a long time.
Thus this law is inhibiting the behaviour of slave masters for they
would be fearful of killing a slave because of the repercussions.
Striking a slave in the heat of anger, presumably because of disobedience,
was not what God wants to happen, but is tolerable in as much as
slavery was tolerable until ‘civilised mankind' could eventually
a man hits a manservant or maidservant in the eye and destroys it,
he must let the servant go free to compensate for the eye. And if
he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let
the servant go free to compensate for the tooth.”
a servant is injured the penalty to compensate for that injury is
that the servant is to be released.
one commentator has said, slavery in Israel
was ‘rural, domestic and small
scale', yet the Law made sure it still was concerned for the welfare
of such workers.
the Jewish community, the slave was not without rights as was the
case with slavery elsewhere in the world.
slavery may have existed, but the Israelite master who had slaves
had to care for them and where his own sinful nature resulted in
them being injured, the Law was there to speak up for them.
to top of page
a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull must be stoned to
death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will
not be held responsible. If, however, the bull has had the habit of
goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up
and it kills a man or woman, the bull must be stoned and the owner
also must be put to death.
an agricultural society this is a very real issue to be dealt with.
Bulls are notoriously dangerous and the possibility of a person
being gored to death by a bull is very real. If that should happen,
possibly in recognition of the seriousness of a human life being
taken, the bull shall be killed but not eaten. Presumably it would
just be burnt to get rid of it. As towards responsibility for the
bull, the starting place is that the owner of the bull will not
be liable for what it has done.
as with most of these laws, there is a caveat, which is that if
the owner knew of the tendency of this bull to injure people who
got near it, then he would be held liable and both he and the bull
are put to death for causing the death of another when the owner
had known of the likelihood.
law of “Strict Liability” in our land says that if you bring something
onto your land known to be dangerous if it escapes off the land,
and it does escape, you are liable for the damage caused if you
do allow it to escape. This is the same sort of law behind these
verses here. They deal with, first of all, a bull killing a human
being, and then a bull killing another bull.
if payment is demanded of him, he may redeem his life by paying whatever
have seen already that the owner's life is thus forfeit but the
family of the dead person may take compensation instead if they
wish and the owner thus keeps his life.
was no doubt the more preferable option.
law also applies if the bull gores a son or daughter.”
other words, the law is no different if the person killed by the
bull is a child. This point is made in the light of what then follows:
the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels
of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull must be stoned.”
i f a slave was killed the
compensation goes to the owner for his loss. Because a foreign slave
(see earlier) was considered to be less important than a Hebrew,
the death penalty for the owner does not apply and he just has to
pay compensation to the owner of the slave.
in the two verses above, death was not mentioned but the assumption
is that that is what followed being gored by the bull, as they follow
on from our initial verses above. It is also assumed, because of
the natural flow of the verses, that they refer to a situation where
the owner was aware of the bull's propensity to harm.)
a man uncovers a pit or digs one and fails to cover it and an ox or
a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit must pay for the loss;
he must pay its owner, and the dead animal will be his.”
is simply a case where compensation must be paid for the loss of
an animal by his carelessness, but the dead animal remains his for
him to do whatever he will with it.
the carelessness comes in the form of allowing one bull to kill
another, then both dead and live bull values are divided between
the two owners:
a man's bull injures the bull of another and it dies, they are to
sell the live one and divide both the money and the dead animal equally.”
assumes that the first owner was not aware that his bull had a propensity
to be vicious
if it was known that the bull had the habit of goring, yet the owner
did not keep it penned up, the owner must pay, animal for animal,
and the dead animal will be his.”
if he was aware of its propensity, then he simply has to pay the
full price of the dead bull to its owner and the carcass becomes
his for him to do whatever he wants with it.
to top of page
a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must
pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
an agricultural economy, theft of animals was clearly the worst
sort of theft envisaged because it took away a family's food or
livelihood. Domestic theft is that sort covered here.
law here seems to have an element of deterrence in it. The assumption
is, of course, that the thief has been found out. The thief has
stolen an animal belonging to someone else and has either killed
it or sold it on. In other words, there is no possibility of giving
it back. The original owner has lost his property and there is no
way of returning it.
the stolen animal is found alive in his possession--whether ox or
donkey or sheep--he must pay back double.”
other words, he's not going to get away with just giving back the
animal; there is an element or punishment or deterrent about it,
for he has to give double what he took.
there is a further element to be added:
thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must
be sold to pay for his theft.”
surely is the ultimate deterrent: if you steal and can't pay the
appropriate amounts you will end up working to pay for the debt.
comes dealing with the situation of where a thief breaks in and
the homeowner, defending himself or his home, kills the intruder:
a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender
is not guilty of bloodshed; but if it happens after sunrise, he is
guilty of bloodshed.” (v.2,3)
law is very simple: if it happens after dark, the homeowner is not
guilty; if it happens in the daylight, he is. Presumably there is
a recognition that in the dark there is a greater likelihood of
fear and great probability of violent defense, and greater difficulty
in being careful to avoid over use of force that might result in
death of the intruder.
the daytime presumably there is less fear and it is easier to control
what takes place, and therefore the homeowner should do what he
can to avoid seriously injuring the intruder. In recent years court
cases have come more in line with this way of thinking. It is a
recognition of the practical difficulty in carefully defending your
home, especially at night.
to top of page
a man grazes his livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray
and they graze in another man's field, he must make restitution from
the best of his own field or vineyard. "If a fire breaks out
and spreads into thorn bushes so that it burns shocks of grain or
standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must
modern law a duty of care arises when a person is in a position
to foresee that an action or lack of action of theirs is likely
to cause to others injury of damage or wrong reliance upon them,
and negligence occurs when there is a breach of that duty and as
a result another has suffered damages (loss).
livestock escape, of course they will eat the grass on neighbouring
ground. If fire breaks out and is not contained, of course it will
cause damage on neighbouring land. In both cases the original land
owner is liable for the dame to his neighbours land.
a man gives his neighbor silver or goods for safekeeping and they
are stolen from the neighbor's house, the thief, if he is caught,
must pay back double. But if the thief is not found, the owner of
the house must appear before the judges to determine whether he has
laid his hands on the other man's property. In all cases of illegal
possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any other lost
property about which somebody says, `This is mine,' both parties are
to bring their cases before the judges. The one whom the judges declare
guilty must pay back double to his neighbor.”
the goods are stolen the original law of theft applies (Ex 22:4)
but if no trace of a thief is found it may be that the neighbour
may have taken the good for himself and so it must be taken to court,
and if the court determines the neighbour has taken the goods for
himself then the normal law of theft applies.
a man gives a donkey, an ox, a sheep or any other animal to his neighbor
for safekeeping and it dies or is injured or is taken away while no
one is looking, the issue between them will be settled by the taking
of an oath before the LORD that the neighbor did not lay hands on
the other person's property. The owner is to accept this, and no restitution
is required. But if the animal was stolen from the neighbor, he must
make restitution to the owner.”
law appears at first sight to be the same as for personal property
left in safe keeping but the difference is that rather than go to
court to settle it, it is settled by a solemn oath before God which
is seen as sufficient to deter untruth, and no restitution is required
when the animal has simply died or injures itself. The reference
to it being “ taken away while
no one is looking” would seem, to suggest it was taken
either from his own property or without the knowledge of the person
caring for it, because in this case the other person is required
to make restitution for it
it was torn to pieces by a wild animal, he shall bring in the remains
as evidence and he will not be required to pay for the torn animal.”
if a marauding wild animal got in and destroyed the animal being
cared for, as long as there is evidence of the remains there are
a man borrows an animal from his neighbor and it is injured or dies
while the owner is not present, he must make restitution. But if the
owner is with the animal, the borrower will not have to pay. If the
animal was hired, the money paid for the hire covers the loss.”
is a case where an animal is borrowed (?possibly a horse or a donkey)
and it is injured or dies while with the other man. The outcomes
depend on whether the owner was present or not. If he was (and can
see there was no mistreatment – implied?) there is no come back,
but if he wasn't then the borrower must make restitution. If it
happens when the animal was hired, then it is assumed that the hire
cost covers such eventualities.
in an agricultural economy, these things would happen and were therefore
very important. God gives the guidelines that are quite reasonable
and they operate to protect each person involved.
to top of page
of Social Responsibility
a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps
with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.
If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still
pay the bride-price for virgins.
is in respect of young women
being taken advantage of as seen in our verses above. They are the
first vulnerable group covered here.
that caring was also extended to foreigners living within Israel
Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt
prejudice had no place in the people of God. The foreigner is the
second of the vulnerable groups who the
caring attitude also extended to those who were vulnerable because
they are alone, although part of Israel
, widows and orphans:
not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry
out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused,
and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows
and your children fatherless.”
God's concern for the weak and the vulnerable in society. Widows
and orphans are the third vulnerable group that
the Law protects.
caring attitude was extended to cover not taking advantage of those
who needed to borrow from you:
you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not
be like a moneylender; charge him no interest. If you take your neighbor's
cloak as a pledge, return it to him by sunset, because his cloak is
the only covering he has for his body. What else will he sleep in?
When he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”
recognises that the person who has to borrow because they are poor
and needy, are particularly vulnerable (the fourth vulnerable
group ) and as such they should be treated with compassion,
for the Lord is a compassionate God and you will be answerable to
Him if you do not care for those who are less well off and vulnerable.
this was to be a distinct people and part of that distinctiveness
meant that clear boundaries were drawn as to what was considered
emphasise the seriousness of this, the death penalty was applied
to those who blurred the distinction between light and darkness
by dabbling in the occult:
not allow a sorceress to live.”
although it is not stated here, this and the following prohibitions
are in respect of things that not only show a disdain for God, but
they also show a disdain for the holy nature of Israel
was supposed to be a holy nation, a nation that was distinct and
different and which shone as a light or an example to the rest of
the world, to show the world how God had designed mankind and how
a good society in relationship with God was possible.
subjects we are now considering demeaned people, and demeaned the
nation and stopped them being that light to the nation. It is for
that reason that they are considered so serious that the death penalty
is there to act as a severe deterrent.
first of these prohibitions was thus
in respect of those who blurred the distinction between God and
what is, in fact, demonic powers.
who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death.”
second prohibition in this group is in
respect of those who blurred the distinction between human and animal.
sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.”
third prohibition was in respect of those
who blurred the distinction between real and false in the spirit
of these prohibitions demeans the people, demeans society and demeans
the height of that distinctiveness was to be in respect of the way
they related to the Lord Himself.
not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.”
they were always to honour Him and respect His authority.
not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.”
they were to express that
honour in giving a token offering of their produce, as an expression
must give me the firstborn of your sons. Do the same with your cattle
and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but
give them to me on the eighth day.”
their first born son, cattle and sheep as token offerings to remember
the Exodus deliverance
are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn
by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.”
holiness was to extend even into their eating, probably to maintain
health, by not eating savaged meat: (v.31).
A truly distinctive people!
to top of page
of Justice & Mercy
not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious
witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony
in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and
do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit.
reports and false testimony (v.1) are forbidden. Indeed letting
public opinion sway you from the truth ( follow
the crowd – v.2) and
being biased for or against those in court, because of that ( siding
with the crowd – v.3 )
in passing that there are two reasons why you might ‘go along with
the crowd': the first is because public opinion is with the lawbreaker
(a wicked man), a bad man thought well of by people (watch for that
in the media) and, second, because public opinion feels sorry for
a poor man bringing an action, even if he is wrong.
Law demands that you do not let emotions rule – only the truth!
not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.”
Law also requires that everyone has equal access to the courts.
Excluding people from the judicial process because they cannot afford
it denies them the opportunity for the truth to bring justice.
“Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent
or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.”
courts are to be about justice and anything that undermines justice
is to be abhorred.
charges deny the truth, and mishandling a case so the innocent are
made guilty also denies the truth and denies justice: Justice
is ascertaining the truth in disputes and acting accordingly.
“Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists
the words of the righteous.”
bribes work against the truth being brought out and are therefore
not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens,
because you were aliens in Egypt
against someone simply because they are a foreigner denies them
should know better – they have been aliens in Egypt
you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to
take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you
fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help
him with it.”
truth denies care for people and caring is behind all of God's laws.
should be extended even to those who you don't get on with.
if you find yourself with
an opportunity to help those you would consider and enemy or someone
who hates you , then take that opportunity to bless them. Every
now and then within the Law we find God's heart for reconciliation
Law of Moses doesn't just try to right wrongs, it also tries to
bring people back together again.
find in these first nine verses of chapter 23 a strange blend of cries
FOR justice and AGAINST untruth together with clear indications of
care for the weak and poor, and even for helping those you don't get
recap, caring for and upholding truth is seen in verses 1-3 (right
testimonies), v.7 (no false charges), and v.8 (no bribes). Care for
the underdog is seen in verse 6 (the poor) and v.9 (the alien). Working
for goodness and reconciliation is seen in verses 4 & 5 (animals).
will not acquit the guilty.”
the midst of all this is a quiet reminder that these are God's laws
and that we are answerable to Him!
we come to the end of the ‘social laws' of these three chapters. I
hope you will have seen how reasonable they are in the circumstances
of this embryonic nation under God.