Exodus 21:23
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life,

King James Bible
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt 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.

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,

Exodus 21:23 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"But he who acts presumptuously against his neighbour, to slay him with guile, thou shalt take him from Mine altar that he may die." These words are not to be understood as meaning, that only intentional and treacherous killing was to be punished with death; but, without restricting the general rule in Exodus 21:12, they are to be interpreted from their antithesis to Exodus 21:13, as signifying that even the altar of Jehovah was not to protect a man who had committed intentional murder, and carried out his purpose with treachery. (More on this point at Numbers 35:16.) By this regulation, the idea, which was common to the Hebrews and many other nations, that the altar as God's abode afforded protection to any life that was in danger from men, was brought back to the true measure of its validity, and the place of expiation for sins of weakness (cf. Leviticus 4:2; Leviticus 5:15, Leviticus 5:18; Numbers 15:27-31) was prevented from being abused by being made a place of refuge for criminals who were deserving of death. Maltreatment of a father and mother through striking (Exodus 21:15), man-stealing (Exodus 21:16), and cursing parents (Exodus 21:17, cf. Leviticus 20:9), were all to be placed on a par with murder, and punished in the same way. By the "smiting" (הכּה) of parents we are not to understand smiting to death, for in that case ומת would be added as in Exodus 21:12, but any kind of maltreatment. The murder of parents is not mentioned at all, as not likely to occur and hardly conceivable. The cursing (קלּל as in Genesis 12:3) of parents is placed on a par with smiting, because it proceeds from the same disposition; and both were to be punished with death, because the majesty of God was violated in the persons of the parents (cf. Exodus 20:12). Man-stealing was also no less a crime, being a sin against the dignity of man, and a violation of the image of God. For אישׁ "a man," we find in Deuteronomy 24:7, נפשׁ "a soul," by which both man and woman are intended, and the still more definite limitation, "of his brethren of the children of Israel." The crime remained the same whether he had sold him (the stolen man), or whether he was still found in his hand. (For ו - ו as a sign of an alternative in the linking together of short sentences, see Proverbs 29:9, and Ewald, 361.) This is the rendering adopted by most of the earlier translators, and we get no intelligent sense if we divide the clauses thus: "and sell him so that he is found in his hand."

Exodus 21:23 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

life for life

Numbers 35:31 Moreover you shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.

Cross References
Leviticus 24:19
If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him,

Leviticus 24:20
fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him.

Deuteronomy 19:21
Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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