Exodus 21:31
Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.
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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 animal was slain as a tribute to the sanctity of human life (Compare the marginal references and Genesis 4:11). It was stoned, and its flesh was treated as carrion. Guilty negligence on the part of its owner was reckoned a capital offence, to be commuted for a fine.

In the case of a slave, the payment was the standard price of a slave, thirty shekels of silver. See Leviticus 25:44-46; Leviticus 27:3, and the marginal references for the New Testament application of this fact.

30. If there be laid on him a sum of money, &c.—Blood fines are common among the Arabs as they were once general throughout the East. This is the only case where a money compensation, instead of capital punishment, was expressly allowed in the Mosaic law. A son or a daughter; names signifying their tender age, in respect of the man or woman, Exodus 21:29. And this is added, lest the foregoing sense should be restrained to their parents, whose lives were more precious, and therefore their loss greater.

Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter,.... A little son or daughter, and both Israelites, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra; this is observed, because only a man or woman are made mention of in Exodus 21:29 persons grown up; and lest it should be thought that only adult persons were intended, this is added, to show that the same regard is had to little ones as to grown persons, should they suffer by an ox in like manner as men and women may. The Targum of Jonathan restrains this to a son or daughter of an Israelite; but the life of everyone, of whatsoever nation, is equally provided for, and guarded against by the original law of God:

according to this judgment shall it be done unto him; to the owner of the ox that has gored a child, male or female; that is, he shall be put to death, if he has been warned of the practice of his ox for three days past, and has took no care to keep him in; or he shall pay the ransom of his life, as it has been laid by the court, with the consent of the relations of the children.

Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.
31. The same law is to hold good, if the person who has been killed is (as we should say) a minor, of either sex.

this judgement] The decision embodied in the preceding laws (vv. 28–30). Cf. on v. 1.

Verse 31. - Whether he have gored a son or a daughter. If the sufferer were a child, the value of the life, and therefore the amount of the fine, would be less. Exodus 21:31The death of a son or a daughter through the goring of an ox was also to be treated in the same way; but that of a slave (man-servant or maid-servant) was to be compensated by the payment of thirty shekels of silver (i.e., probably the ordinary price for the redemption of a slave, as the redemption price of a free Israelite was fifty shekels, Leviticus 27:3) on the part of the owner of the ox; but the ox was to be killed in this case also. There are other ancient nations in whose law books we find laws relating to the punishment of animals for killing or wounding a man, but not one of them had a law which made the owner of the animal responsible as well, for they none of them looked upon human life in its likeness of God.
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