Our verse today is part of the Law God gave Israel through Moses, on Mount Sinai. You might say it’s the very “heart” of the punishment phase of that Law. That is, if a person was tried fairly and found “guilty.”
Everyone has heard these words. “And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” Deuteronomy 19:21
But this sounds so “harsh,” many would say.
Yet in reality it’s anything but harsh.
It, this simple code of retribution or justice, was MUCH more LENIENT than the laws of existing (heathen) nations of that time, around 1500 years before Christ. Israel’s “neighbors,” so to speak.
In those cultures if a man (even accidentally) caused a neighbor to lose his “foot” … the angry relatives might cut off BOTH FEET of the perpetrator, even though he did nothing wrong ON PURPOSE. The mishap was not premeditated, in other words.
Or in some cases if a man was careless and caused his coworker to lose a “hand,” that offender might be KILLED in someone’s fit of rage. And the law (for those people) would have “understood” such behavior. Condoned it!
But with our great God of Grace …
NO SUCH OVER-REACTION WAS EVER ALLOWED!
No, just this … “Life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”
But not overly so.
Just one eye, not both!
One tooth, not a whole mouthful!
Yes, even in God’s “justice” there is an element of “kindness and understanding!”
Oh, how so very often we “misunderstand” the Word of God.
And the God of the Word!
He is Good!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell