Exodus 21:23
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,

New Living Translation
But if there is further injury, the punishment must match the injury: a life for a life,

English Standard Version
But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life,

New American Standard Bible
"But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life,

King James Bible
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If there is an injury, then you must give life for life,

International Standard Version
If there is harm, then you are to require life for life,

NET Bible
But if there is serious injury, then you will give a life for a life,

New Heart English Bible
But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
If anyone is injured, the offender must pay a life for a life,

JPS Tanakh 1917
But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

New American Standard 1977
“But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life,

Jubilee Bible 2000
And if there is death, then thou shalt pay life for life,

King James 2000 Bible
And if any mischief follows, then you shall give life for life,

American King James Version
And if any mischief follow, then you shall give life for life,

American Standard Version
But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

Douay-Rheims Bible
But if her death ensue thereupon, he shall render life for life.

Darby Bible Translation
But if mischief happen, then thou shalt give life for life,

English Revised Version
But if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

Webster's Bible Translation
And if any mischief shall follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

World English Bible
But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life,

Young's Literal Translation
and if there is mischief, then thou hast given life for life,
Study Bible
Personal Injury Laws
22"If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. 23"But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,…
Cross References
Leviticus 24:19
'If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him:

Leviticus 24:20
fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him.

Deuteronomy 19:21
"Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Treasury of Scripture

And if any mischief follow, then you shall give life for life,

life for life

Numbers 35:31 Moreover you shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, …

Verse 23. - Then thou shalt give life for life. "Life for life" seems an excessive penalty, where the injury was in a great measure accidental, and when there was certainly no design to take life. Probably the law was not now enacted for the first time, but was an old tribal institution, like the law of the "avenger of blood." There are many things in the Mosaic institutions which Moses tolerated, like "bills of divorce" - on account of "the hardness of their hearts." Verses 23, 24. - Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc. Aristotle says in the Nicomachean Ethics, that this was the rule of justice which Rhadamanthus was supposed to act on in the judgment after death (book 5, see. 3), and that it had the approval of the Pythagoreans. Solon admitted it to a certain extent into the laws of Athens, and at Rome it found its way. into the Twelve Tables. There is a prima facie appearance of exact equality in it, which would captivate rude minds and cause the principle to be widely adopted in a rude state of society. But in practice objections would soon be felt to it. There is no exact measure of the hardness of a blow, or the severity of a wound; and "wound for wound, stripe for stripe," would open a door for very unequal inflictions "Eye for eye" would be flagrantly unjust in the case of a one-eyed man. Moreover, it is against public policy to augment unnecessarily the number of mutilated and maimed citizens, whose power to serve the state is lessened by their mutilation. Consequently in every society retaliation has at an early date given way to pecuniary compensation; and this was the case even among the Hebrews, as Kalisch has shown satisfactorily. If the literal sense was insisted on in our Lord' s day (Matthew 5:38), it was only by the Sadducees, who declined to give the law a spiritual interpretation. And if any mischief follow,.... According as that is, so shall it be done to the smiter: if death follows:

then thou shalt give life for life; if death to the woman, so Jarchi and Aben Ezra interpret it; to which agrees the Targum of Jonathan,"but if there is death in her, then ye shall judge or condemn the life of the murderer for the life of the woman;''about which, Jarchi says, there is a difference among their doctors; some say life properly, absolutely the person himself; others say money, but not life properly; for he that intends to kill one and kills another is acquitted from death, but must pay to the heirs the price (of the person killed) as that person might be sold for in the market: and indeed it seems hard that a person that kills another at unawares should die for it; it is more reasonable that the punishment should in such a case be commuted for something less than life; and that though no satisfaction was to be taken for a wilful murderer, Numbers 35:31, yet it seems to imply that it might be taken for one that was so without design; as by another law cities of refuge are appointed for the manslayer at unawares: the canons of the Jews, according to Maimonides (b), run thus;"he that strikes a woman, and she miscarries and dies, although it is done ignorantly; lo, such an one is free from payment, and he does not pay anything, as it is said, "if there is no mischief, &c." the Scripture does not distinguish between what is done ignorantly and presumptuously, in a thing in which there is not death by the sanhedrim, to free him from payment; in what things? when he intends the woman; but if he intends his neighbour and strikes the woman, though she dies, since her death is, without intention, lo, this is a thing in which there is not death by the sanhedrim, and he pays the price of the birth:''the Septuagint version interprets this, not of the woman that miscarries and dies, but of the child that becomes an abortive; if that was not formed and shaped, then only a fine was to be laid, but if it was come to its proper form and shape, and so was animated or quickened, then life was to go for life: and so, according to the Salic laws, he that killed an infant in its mother's womb was to pay 8000 pence, which made two hundred shillings; but if he was the cause of a woman's miscarriage, by blows or otherwise, if the birth was animated, according to the civil law, he was to be punished with death (c): but one would think, where this is only accidental and not intended, such a punishment is too rigid and severe: however, neither this nor what follows were left to the will of a private person to inflict at his pleasure, but to the civil magistrate; and therefore no ways encourages private revenge, in favour of which it was applied by the Pharisees in Christ's time, whose gloss he refutes, Matthew 5:38 nor are the words directed to the offender in this and the following cases, but to Moses, and so to all judges under him and in succession, who were to see these laws put in execution.

(b) Chobel Umazzik, c. 4. sect. 5. 6. (c) Vid L'Empereur in Misn. Bava Kama, c. 3. sect. 2.23-25. eye for eye—The law which authorized retaliation (a principle acted upon by all primitive people) was a civil one. It was given to regulate the procedure of the public magistrate in determining the amount of compensation in every case of injury, but did not encourage feelings of private revenge. The later Jews, however, mistook it for a moral precept, and were corrected by our Lord (Mt 5:38-42).21:22-36 The cases here mentioned give rules of justice then, and still in use, for deciding similar matters. We are taught by these laws, that we must be very careful to do no wrong, either directly or indirectly. If we have done wrong, we must be very willing to make it good, and be desirous that nobody may lose by us.
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