Exodus 21:25
Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
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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.The rule would seem to refer to a case in which the wife of a man interfered in a quarrel. This law, "the jus talionis," is elsewhere repeated in substance, compare the marginal references. and Genesis 9:6. It has its root in a simple conception of justice, and is found in the laws of many ancient nations. It serves in this place as a maxim for the magistrate in awarding the amount of compensation to be paid for the infliction of personal injury. The sum was to be as nearly as possible the worth in money of the power lost by the injured person. Our Lord quotes Exodus 21:24 as representing the form of the law, in order to illustrate the distinction between the letter and the spirit Matthew 5:38. The tendency of the teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees was to confound the obligations of the conscience with the external requirements of the law. The law, in its place, was still to be "holy and just and good," Romans 7:12, but its direct purpose was to protect the community, not to guide the heart of the believer, who was not to exact eye for eye, tooth for tooth, but to love his enemies, and to forgive all injuries. 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). No text from Poole on this verse. Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. This is to be understood of burning a man's flesh with fire; of wounds made by any means, so that the blood is let out; and of blows, and the prints and marks of them; of stripes and weals where the blood is settled, and the part is turned black and blue: the Targum of Jonathan is, the price of the pain of burning for burning, &c. and indeed, in everyone of these cases, the law could not be well literally executed; for it would be very difficult to burn and wound and mangle a man exactly as he had done another: and as Favorinus (h) objects against the law of the twelve tables of the Romans concerning retaliation, how can a man make a wound in another exactly as long, and as broad, and as deep as that he has given? nor would he suffer a larger to be made, as it was not just it should; and to which may be added, that all constitutions are not alike, and burning and wounding and striping, especially in some parts, might prove mortal, and the person might die thereby; to them the law of retaliation would not be observed, the punishment would be exceeded; and it is much more agreeable to justice and equity that it should be lessened rather than increased; and it may be observed, the law of the twelve tables with the Romans, concerning maiming of members, only took place when the parties could not come to an agreement; and with respect to the Jewish law, Josephus (i) himself says, that the man that has his eye put out may receive money for it, if he is willing, which the law allows of.

(h) A. Gell. Noct. Attic. l. 20. c. 1.((i) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 4. c. 33, 35.)

Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
25. wound] Genesis 4:23 c (lit. for my wound). Isaiah 1:6.

stripe] Genesis 4:23 d (lit. for my stripe), Isaiah 1:6 [EVV. bruises], Isaiah 53:5.

The talio is a principle of punishment which was anciently, and still is, current widely in the world: Kn. quotes examples from the Thurians and Locrians (an eye for an eye), the Indians (Strabo, p. 710) the XII. Tables (‘si membrum rupit, ni cum eo pacit, talio esto’): Rhadamanthys was said to have declared that it was a just punishment when a man suffered what he had done (Arist. Eth. N. v. 8. 3); and there are several cases in the code of Hạmmurabi, §§ 116, 196, 197, 200, 210, 219, 229, 235, 263, &c.: see Cook, p. 249). For numerous instances is modern times, see A. H. Post, Grundriss der ethnol. Jurisprudenz (1894–5), ii. 238 ff.Fatal blows and the crimes placed on a par with them are now followed in simple order by the laws relating to bodily injuries.

Exodus 21:18-19

If in the course of a quarrel one man should hit another with a stone or with his fist, so that, although he did not die, he "lay upon his bed," i.e., became bedridden; if the person struck should get up again and walk out with his staff, the other would be innocent, he should "only give him his sitting and have him cured," i.e., compensate him for his loss of time and the cost of recovery. This certainly implies, on the one hand, that if the man died upon his bed, the injury was to be punished with death, according to Exodus 21:12; and on the other hand, that if he died after getting up and going out, no further punishment was to be inflicted for the injury done.

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