Exodus 21:32
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.
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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. The half the freeman’s price. See Poole on "Matthew 26:5".

If the ox shall push a manservant, or a maidservant,.... Which the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi interpret of a Canaanitish servant, man or maid; but no doubt the same provision was made for an Hebrew servant, man or maid, as for a Gentile one:

he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver; that is, the owner of the ox shall pay so much to the masters of the servants for the loss they have sustained by his ox goring them; and Maimonides (r) observes, that"the ransom of servants, whether great or small, whether male or female, is fixed in the law, thirty shekels of good silver, whether the servant is worth a hundred pounds, or whether he is worth but a penny.''This was the price our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was sold at; see Gill on Matthew 26:15.

(r) Hilchot Niske Maimon, c. 11. sect. 1.

If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty {x} shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

(x) Read Ge 23:15.

32. If the ox killed a slave, however, it was sufficient if its owner paid his master as compensation the ordinary value of a slave, and suffered at the same time the loss of his animal’s services. Another instance of the lower value set upon a slave’s life: he is in this case valued simply as a chattel.

a manservant or a maidservant] a male or female Slave.

thirty shekels of silver] doubtless the average price of a slave at the time It seems that the intrinsic value of a shekel of silver was about 2 Samuel 9 d. (DB. iii. 420a), so that the silver of 30 shekels would be worth now about £4. 2 Samuel 6 d, (though its purchasing power would be many times greater: ibid. note, and 431 f.). The free Hebrew was valued at 50 shekels (Leviticus 27:3 f.). The same sum was offered as his wages to the prophet who, in the allegory of Zechariah 11, represented the rejected ruler of his people (v. 12: cf. Matthew 26:15). Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver (Genesis 37:28 b [J]).

Verse 32. - If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant. Hitherto, the case of free persons only has been considered. But the accident might have happened to a slave. Where this was the case, the death of the ox was still made indispensable, and thus far the same sacredness was made to attach to the life of the slave and of the freeman. But, in lieu of a varying fine, the average price of a slave, thirty shekels of silver, was appointed to be paid in all cases, as a compensation to the master

CHAPTER 21:33-36 Exodus 21:32The 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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