Exodus 21:12-36




      The following four files contain my comments on chapter 21-23.  They are divided as follows:


1.   21:1-11 - The duty toward Hebrew, male and female purchased servants.


2.   21:12-36 - The duty toward murderers and their victims.


3.   Chapter 22 - The duty in lessor offenses.


4.   Chapter 23 - The duty in lessor offenses and instructions as to the proper worship of God.


The duty toward murderers and their victims.


A.  Verse 12-15 - General instructions.  Condemn the murderer, but protect the innocent man slayer.  The following offenses are punishable by death.

1.   Verse 12-14, He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death. {13} And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee. {14} But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die. Murdering another person.

2.   Verse 15, And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.  Hitting, in a malicious way, your father or mother.

3.   Verse 16, And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.  Kidnapping or selling people.  This is what happened when the Negroes were stolen from Africa and brought to the U. S. and sold as slaves.  (Note: nothing is said about the person who purchased the slave, but we know that if it is wrong to sell, it is also wrong to buy.)

4.   Verse 17-19, And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.  Curse your father or mother and you will die.  The word "curse" doesn't necessarily mean to say bad words to.  It means to slight them, or to show them to be of no account, trifling, despicable, or to treat with contempt.

5.   Verse 20,21, And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. {21} Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. The murder of a servant (as opposed to the punishment of a servant (verse 21).

B.   Verse 18, 19, And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: {19} If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.  A good way to stop fights.  Instead of the winner winning, he loses.  He must pay for the loss of time, and all medical expense.

C.   Verse 22-25, If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. {23} And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, {24} Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, {25} Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.  Abortion.  The murder or injury to the innocent is an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

D.  Verse 26,27, And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. {27} And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.  The punishment of a servant going to far (the temper of the owner revealed murder.)  The servant is free for his tooth or eyes sake.

E.   Verse 28-36, If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit. {29} But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. {30} If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him. {31} Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him. {32} If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. {33} And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; {34} The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his. {35} And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide. {36} Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.  Self - Explanatory.