Picking up again after much of this is already put together, September 25- Oct 13, 1992

Exodus 21

In this, and the two following chapters, are delivered various laws and precepts, partly of a moral, and partly of a religious, but chiefly of a civil nature, respecting the commonwealth of Israel, and its political good. This chapter treats of servants, and laws relating to them; to menservants, how long they shall serve, and what is to be done to those who are desirous of staying with their masters after their time is up, #Ex 21:1-6, to maidservants, and especially betrothed ones, either to a father or a son, #Ex 21:7-11, likewise it contains laws concerning the slaughter of men, whether with design or unawares, #Ex 21:12-14, and concerning the ill usage of parents, #Ex 21:15,17, and man stealing, #Ex 21:16 and of mischief that comes by men's quarrelling and fighting, #Ex 21:18,19 and by smiting a man or maidservant, #Ex 21:20,21,26,27, to a woman with child, that is, by means of men's striving and contending with each other, #Ex 21:22-25 and of damages that come by oxen, or to them, #Ex 21:28-36. (Gill)

This chapter, as does all the law, takes for granted the sinful nature of man. People will buy and sell others, fight, kill and do all kinds of mischief and evil. These laws tell us how to deal with that sinful nature.

I think that the order which the Lord now starts explaining the ten commandments is interesting. The commandments were started with man's responsibility to God (20:1-7), then the sabbath was the transition law (20:8-11), then man's responsibility to man is dealt with (20:12-17). Then as soon as the Lord finished with the law, He gave short overview of the proper approach to Himself through the sacrifice (20:22-26). Then when the Lord starts developing the implications of the commandments, He starts in the opposite order: chapters 21-23:9, man's relationship to man. Then, 23:10-12, the sabbath is restated. Then, chapters 23:13ff, He deals with man's relationship and approach to the Lord through the sacrifices and the tabernacle.

The previous 10 law-words are intermingled of course, but these passages of explanation and expansion of the law will fit more under one than another. As we mentioned in the previous chapter, the Lord is here expanding upon the fifth commandment (basic authority and the home relationship concerning authority), and He starts with man's next basic authority relationship after the home, the master-servant relationship. We developed much of this point in chapter 20, so there is no need to go back over it. (Also see our development of authority under Gothard.)


God opens the practical applications of the law opposite of the way He gave the law. Note, actually man's relationship with God is the most important aspect of his life (thus, the first 3 commandments), but practically, man's most important aspect of life is his relationship with other men (the second 5 commandments). And in both cases, the practical application and the godly order, the two aspects are tied together by the sabbath. The sabbath reminded man that the law is for his benefit; it is his life, safety, and health.

This chapter starts the practical application of the commandments which had been given and restitution is the basic precept, vs. 24, 25. I think the order in which these laws are given is significant. Notice that these are the first laws given after the commandments. Why is the first subject after the commandments the subject of personal rights, starting with the master - servant relationship, vs. 1-11.

Apparently, the most important aspect of God's law is that of freedom and responsibility. The two cannot be separated; responsible people will be free; irresponsible people will be servants.

Next, we see is that man will be a servant: a servant to self, to the flesh, to the world, to the devil or the responsible man will be servant to the Lord. Man will serve someone or something; therefore, the Lord deals with this most basic aspect of relationships.

God's law is the law of responsibility which, if properly accepted, results in freedom and liberty, James 1:25; 2:12. But circumstances and/or sin may force one into servitude to another. It may not be that he has ignored the law; it may be that he just doesn't want the individual responsibility for remaining free, so he willingly becomes a servant. Strangely enough, even though the law promotes self-responsibility and freedom, the first thing it deals with is servitude. That is similar to the above; as soon as the Lord completed the ten commandments, He gave the offering.

God's law protects individuals from oppression, v. 16.

God's law establishes personal rights. God is concerned about individuals. Uncontrolled personal freedom is anarchy; uncontrolled restriction of personal freedom (by civil government) is totalitarianism.

We are servants. We are born servants to sin; we are born again servants of righteousness. Therefore, the Lord opens His many applications of His law with this very basic of laws: servants, their responsibilities and "privileges."

Edersheim gives this excellent explanation:

The Divine legislation begins, as assuredly none other ever did, not at the topmost but at the lowest rung of society. It declares in the first place the personal rights of such individuals as are in a state of dependence-male (xxi. 2-6) and female slaves (vers. 7-11). This is done not only with a sacred regard for the rights of the person, but with a delicacy, kindness, and strictness beyond any code ever framed on this subject. If slavery was still tolerated, as thing existent, its real principle, that of making men chattels and property, was struck at the root, and the institution became, by its safeguards and provisions, quite other from what it has been among any nation, whether ancient or modern. (p. 116. Need to also check his outline of the next several chapters. It is good.)

Note: My, we serve a wonderful God. He starts at the bottom and works up; He knows the hairs on our head, every bird that falls and the name of every star in the heavens. He knows me as an individual; furthermore, He especially knows those who are oppresses. He starts this practical application of the law dealing with the oppresses even before He places safeguards on the life of individuals.

Vs. 1-6

I. Here we have the first practical application of the master - servant relationship. Evidently this is the most important aspect of the law or the Lord would not have given this first after the sacrifice.


1) it is significant that this law is placed as the very first of the practical applications of the ten which had just been given. Why? As we saw under commandment 5, proper authority is the most basic of all human relationships. So the Lord starts with authority by dealing with those under and in authority.

2) even though God's plan for man was/is to be self-employed and self-sufficient under God, the Lord knew that fallen man would have a problem exercising his God-given mandate. Therefore, the first thing He deals with is what to do when an individual tries and fails or when he desires to be servant. Remember, Israel, to whom this law is now given, had been servants (slaves) of the Egyptians for several hundreds of years and had, at this point in their history, only been out of slavery for a few months. Thus, slavery, bondage and servitude would have been foremost on their mind. God gives them His law concerning servitude while their bondage experience with Egypt was still fresh in their mind. The contrast between Godly servitude and Egyptian bondage would have been striking at this point in time.

3) some people prefer the security of servitude over the responsibility of freedom, so the Lord makes provision for the servants quickly.

4) the law of God explains the responsibilities of all parties involved in every situation before either one gets involved.

5) God's word is a law-word. The Bible, especially the first 5 books, is a law-book; it is written in legal terms. Note: law gives stability because everyone involved knows exactly where each stands in relationship to the other and to God. The most devastating thing which is taking place to destroy the business community in the US is the instability of law. The businessman does not know the rules because they keep changing. In this law concerning the master and servant, they both knew exactly what was required of each before they enter into any kind of agreement. Although there are times when legal assistance was needed, they did not need someone trained in law to figure these requirements out.

How many have been destroyed because they failed to read or understand the "fine print" of a contract? Men specialize in making the terms of contracts and laws ambiguous because they want to be able to change the meaning and terms at will. But the Lord here writes the terms of servitude in large letters and easily understood words.

Note: people misunderstand the law of God because they want to misunderstand it.

6) God's law basically represents freedom and responsibility; the two cannot be separated. The master, upon purchasing the Hebrew servant, knew the responsibility he had to free the servant. The servant, who allowed himself to get in to the situation which required him to sell himself, knew the responsibility he would have to his master. Likewise, he knew up front the family situation.

II. Now let's look at it a little at this law:

Servant, slave

This is from TWOT, pg. 639 (#1553), "Slave, servant, the form appears 799 times in the OT.

While the most basic idea is that of a slave, in Israel slavery was not so irksome, since this status involved rights and often positions of trust. A fellow Israelite could not be held indefinitely against his will, but his period of bondage was limited to six years (Ex 21:2). Even the much protested description of a slave as his master's money (Ex 21:20-21) was not an "unsentimental thought," but served to control physical abuse by the master. Whenever evil intent could be proved (Ex 21:14), or the slave died (21:20), the master was liable to punishment. If the master's intent was debatable, an injured slave at least won his freedom (Ex 21:26-27), and the master lost his loaned money (21:21). Note also the servant's position of honor in Gen 24:ff; 41:12 (cf 15:2).

The servant-master relationship is explained in datal in a couple other passages: Deuteronomy 15:12-18; Lev. 25:35-55. We see in Lev 25:35-55 these points:

1) the poor among the nation may be poor through no fault of his own. The first responsibility of the people of God toward the poor was to lend him money. This money could have no usury attached to it, nor could repayment be demanded, vs. 35-37. The reason for this requirement is given in v. 38, the Lord brought the people out of Egypt and gave them the land of Canaan. Thus, as Paul said in the NT, the Lord reminds them that they had nothing that they were not freely given by His hand of grace and mercy. Therefore, why would they treat it as if they gained their prosperity by their own hand? Liberality with the poor was a reminder that the Lord was liberal to them when they were no more than slaves in Egypt.

A) This law is expanded on by the Paul in Eph 4:28. The child of God is to work hard and if the Lord sees fit to bless him, he is commanded to share that blessing with those whom are in need. (We will cover some restrictions upon this giving in latter on.) Furthermore, notice where v. 28 is placed... just after v. 27, Neither give place to the devil. Even though v. 27 is connected with v. 26, its location before v. 28 would cause one to believe that a refusal to share their blessings from God's with other believers who have needs, gives place to the devil. In other words, selfishness with the blessings of God gives the enemy place to work in the life of a believer.

B) This law is not a condemnation on prosperity. If the person worked heard and earned the funds, God gave the prosperity to him; it is his to enjoy, Ecc 3:13. But, of course, if he enjoys the good of all his labor without remembering his responsibility to God and the poor and needy, he sins with it.

[Personal note: I well remember a family who professed loudly their love for the Lord, yet they would not share their car with anyone. By this I mean that their child went to the same school as did my daughter, Jessica, 15 miles away. Their child got a drivers license and they provided a car for her, yet she would not allow Jessica to ride with her to school. The child got the attitude from its parents because they moved to town, to a place only 2 blocks away from another couple who came to church here. That couple lived 15 miles from the church, and my wife would go pick up the lady because she played the piano. (Her husband worked a strange shift.) The family that moved next to the couple would not even take the lady home even though they lived next to her. This forced my wife to make the drive to pick her up and take her home for church services. It will be sad but interesting to see what finally happens to this extremely self-centered and selfish family who would not share their car.]

Before we look at other passages, we need to make an important point. Lev 25:35-38, the law required that those whom were able help the disadvantaged, but the poor which the law requires assistance for is not someone who has squandered away his money, misused people or is too lazy to work. The illustration which the Lord gave would be the prodigal son, Lk. 15:11-32.

Ex. 21:1-6... Prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32.

The boy demanded his share of the inheritance, which he got. He then wasted his substance with riotous living. Then there arose a mighty famine in the land; and he began to be in want. He had to take the most demeaning of jobs, feeding pigs. He was further reduced to eating what the pigs ate, and no man gave unto him. He was reminded of the goodness of his father, so he repented and went home.

This gives us these points.

1. It is obvious that he was reduced to the lowest state of poverty because of his sin. He wasted his substance with riotous living. He was poverty stricken because of his rebellion and hardness.

2. The Lord did not say that in his poverty he was to be helped. In fact, quiet the opposite. In his poverty, no man gave unto him. His poverty was a result of evil on his part. His poverty forced him to come face to face with his sin, because no one would give unto him. He had no place to turn to for aid.

3. What was the result of no man giving to him in the hog pen? He came to himself. He repented and made things right with God and man. The result was that he was restored to his father and his needs were met.

Our point is this: His poverty forced him to come to himself and face up to his sin. It forced him to make things right with his father.

Now, I'll have to admit that it is extremely difficult to watch some one feed the hogs and eat what the hogs eat, even though it was their own wasting of their goods which put them in this place. We want to rush in and help them get something better to eat. But we have seen over the years that almost without fail, when someone's wasting of their substance, lack of discipline, rebellion, stubbornness, hardness (sin), reduces them to poverty, any help given to them only prolongs the day of reckoning. Whereas, if they were left in the hog pen the first time, they would have come to their senses and returned to the Father.

When it is known and intentional sin that has reduced them to the hog pen (poverty), any help given to them this side of when he came to himself, will only return them to the wasting of their substance and the sin that got them there in the first place.

This gives us these conclusions:

First, today's welfare programs at all levels of government (civil, personal, family, church, & c.) are based on aiding the person on this side of when he came to himself. The result is that the person is financed so he can return to the sin that got him in the hog pen in the first place. It is when no man gave unto him that he will come to himself. It is foolish to think that the prodigal son would have come to himself if someone would have given to him while he was in the hog pen.

Second, there is a key word, gave unto him. The owner of the hogs paid him for working at feeding the hogs. Thus, when the one in need is required to work for that whatever they get, they are not being financed in their sin. They are being paid for their labor.

Third, when a person's poverty is not a result of their waste and intentional sin, all the commands of the word of God concerning the care of the poor are for their protection.

How many people miss the message of God to repent and return to Him because good sincere people rush in to help them in the hog pen?

III) Ex. 21:1-6.. Proper attitude toward & care of the poor, De. 15

Deuteronomy 15. There are three types of people mentioned in this chapter; the one who needs money for a business venture, vs. 1-6; the one who is poor through no fault of his own, vs. 7-11; the one who must sell himself (his labor) to another because of his poverty, vs. 12-18. This last one could be a person who does not like responsibility, of self-employment in this case.

First, the business venture: This had to be a short term loan, because it had to be released every seven years. There could be interest charged, and if the venture failed, the loan was lost. If the loan was to a foreigner, it did not have to be released in the seventh year.

a. V. 3, the principle of the sabbath is freedom and rest. Because the borrower is servant to the lender, the release of a loan to a foreigner would not solve his slavery problem.

b. V. 4, Israel was basically a nation of self-employed people. The encouragement here is for those who have the means, to help the ones who are trying to get established and on their feet. As they operated under the commandments of the Lord, He will prosper them. No doubt there would have been competition among them, but it would be a competition such as among brothers who loved each other.

c. V. 6, bondage is connected with loaning money. The promise was that the Lord would bless them as they loved each other as they loved themselves. If they would treat each other as they wanted to be treated, the Lord would bless then as a nation and they would loan to many nations.
Notice what is established here. A foreign nation does not have to occupy a land with their armies for that land to be in bondage to them. The debtor is in bondage to the lender. Individual bondage will follow.

Second, the poor, vs. 7-11 (keeping in mind the principle of the prodigal): If the individual had the means to help, he was required to help his poor brother. This law is referred to many times in the NT. (Mat. 18:30; 1 Jn. 3:17; Ja. 1:8, the royal law is given in the context of proper regard for the poor.)

V. 8, is clearly quoted by our Lord in Matthew 5:42 & Luke 6:34. When Paul was called before the counsel at Jerusalem over the issue of circumcision, the only thing he was instructed to teach was to remember the poor, Galatians 2:10. He said that he was already doing this.

V. 11, poverty is a result of the sin principle which has reigned since Adam. The purpose of the laws concerning the poor (both when to and when not to help) was to deal with sin. But, because of the hardness of the heart, the poor would always be with us. (Lev. 25:35-38, the poor brother could not be charged interest at all. See Ex. 22:25-27, for the complete treatment of this.)

Deuteronomy 15:1-11, deals with debt, not property. The property was released every 50 years at the year of the jubilee.

Then the third group, Deuteronomy 15:12-18: The fellow brother in the faith who had to sell his labor (not his body) to another. This is parallel to Exodus 21:2-6. It is significant that this law concerning the treatment of one who had to sell himself into servitude, follows the law concerning the poor in Deut. 15. Evidently the individual had to sell himself because of his poverty, Leviticus 25:39. Or, maybe he is just starting out in life.

Regardless, we can say that this one who sold himself was a self-motivated man. Maybe he failed through a bad set of circumstances, and was left broke. The Lord, with this law, gives him a chance to start over, under the instruction of one who has been successful. He now gets a six year training program. It would also be a great training program for one just starting out.

It is obvious that the one with the funds would not buy a dud. Why would he enter into a 6 year contract with one who was going to set around for six years, or do just enough to get by? Now, he might hire someone like this, because the hiring could be on a daily labor bases. But a six year investment would be examined closely. The one with the money has the money because he is smart enough to check things out, look past the surface appearance and he knows a good deal when he sees it. He also is able to avoid a mess.

IV. Now some points about this servant, Exodus 21:2-6 & Deuteronomy 15:12-18.

First, he was a Hebrew.

Second, he was not a slave, but a servant. He was to be treated as a hired servant and as a sojourner. The word of God carefully avoids Owner-slave wording. Rather, it uses Master-servant terms. The thought behind each is vastly different.

Third, the servant sold his labor which could only be bought for six years. This did not correspond to the sabbath of the land, but was counted from when the person was bought. He had to be released after six years. The passage in Leviticus 25:40, deals with the year of jubilee. At the jubilee he had to be released, so the master had to be sure to take this into account when he bought him in v. 39.

Fourth, the servant could renounce his liberty. He would have his ear bored through, showing that he was under the authority of another man (similar to a woman under authority of a man). Of course he was not released at the sabbath or jubilee. Some men are natural slaves, enjoying the security of their slavery (no responsibility), but just about everything, especially their freedom, must be sacrificed.

Fifth, there is an important fact established in this chapter. That fact is both responsibility and restitution. When the Lord deals with servants, it is the master which is always paid for the damage to a servant. This is because the servant gave his responsibility to his master. The master is now the one responsible for all risks on the part of the servant. Therefore, the master is always the one who is dealt with in any situation involving a servant. This is in regard to a master-servant relationship, not a employer-employee relationship. The master bought the servant and total responsibility for him; whereas, the employer only buys an hour at a time of the employee. I really cannot think of a master-servant relationship other than the Lord our Master.

Sixth, because he was forced to sell his labor for six years, he was not to go away empty. He is to be supplied liberally out of what the master had. When we consider the next verse (Deut. 15:15), the indication is that the amount that was to be given to him was to be enough to give him a basic start in either establishing or reestablishing his own independence.

Seventh, the reason for being freed with enough to reestablish his independence is because this is the way the Lord provided for Israel when they came out of Egypt.

Eighth, v. 18. The phrase seem hard unto thee is worth looking at. The requirement was to release him with enough for him to start on his own. The person has been a good worker, worth twice as much as a hired hand. This means that these temptations would be present: 1. The owner would like to keep him, therefore, not let him go free. 2. The requirement is to supply him liberally so he has a new start. The owner would find it difficult in his heart to follow these instructions.

Ninth, there were four type of servants (employees) available to the master (employee). First, one who was an unbelieving stranger, a heathen, Leviticus 25:44-46. Because this person was already in bondage to his sin, he did not have to be set free. He could be passed on as an inheritance to the children. Second, a regular hired hand. Third, the one who sold himself because of his poverty or because of the security of being a servant. Fourth, an involuntary servant who was sold for his theft, Exodus 22:3, or one who was sold for his debt, Deuteronomy 15:12. When their debt was worked off, they were free to go.

The one who had to sell himself and is looking forward to his release, was worth twice as much as the hired servant. His owner made money off him. The master would have been crazy to invest in someone who would not work. So when the six years were up, the temptation would have been for the owner to try to talk the man out of going. After all, he was worth twice as much as the hired hand.

But, on the other hand, the master might be inclined to force the servant to go from him. Deut. 15:16, tells us that the master can not do this either. (This is another indication that the one with the money would very carefully examine the character of the one offering to sell himself six years previously.)

V. There are conditions mentioned about this bought servant which are dealt with in Exodus 21:1-6. (These oriental marriage customs seem strange to the Western mind.)

1. The servant came in with nothing. Thus, he leaves with nothing, except the goods the master is required to provide him with.

2. The servant came in with a wife, the wife was set free also. (Again, indicating that this servant could be a single man just starting out or a married man who had a bad turn of events.)

3. During this six years of bondservice, his master gives him a wife. In this case, he is still permitted to go free, but his wife and family must stay. A point here to keep in mind: The woman would have to been a foreign woman, because an Israelite woman would have to been set free also. And besides, an Israelite woman was protected by the Lord from unrestricted use by her 'master.'

If the man was given a wife, the wife and family had to stay. The reason? A man had to pay a dowry for a wife, about three years wages. This proved his responsibility to care for a family. (I'll bet he would be mighty choosy who he paid this much money for.) The servant had given all his responsibility to his master; thus, lost his freedom to his master. Therefore, he would be unable to obtain the mark of freedom and responsibility, a wife. The wife offered to the servant by the master would probably be another servant. Consequently, the man would know that she would not be free to go out with him. He would have to chose: The benefits of slavery, a wife given to him, or the benefits of freedom, wait until free and get his own wife. Of course, if he took the wife, he could go free and redeem her latter.

Responsibility vs Slavery

The law of God recognizes that some people are born slaves and want no responsibility. They will always remain this way, so He makes provision for them.


Socialism tries to give freedom and its benefits to irresponsible slave. In this attempt, it places both the master and the servant into slavery. It is impossible for those who receive the security of irresponsible slavery to exercise the benefits of freedom.

4. This apparently oppressive policy is softened by an added provision. If the servant is willing to renounce his liberty forever, he was permitted to stay with his family and master. (The advantage? No responsibility.)

This had to be a public proclamation before a judge of the people which would show that no force was used. Then his ear was to be bored through with an aul against the door post of the masters house. This showed that he was now like a woman and attached to this particular house. He became a servant forever.

VI. We might mention a few things about this servitude.

First, on the negative side. Servitude could be harsh, although the servant was protected by the law of God, Exodus 21:20, 21, 26, 27, 32; Leviticus 25:6, 10; . A maidservant was also protected from misuse, Exodus 21:7-11; Leviticus 19:20, 21.

On the positive side, a servant in the house of someone of means could be a very exalted position (Joseph and Daniel). In fact, we see from the story of Abraham that if Abraham had had no children, the servant would have been the heir to the family fortune. Even if there are children, the servant could partake in the inheritance, Proverbs 17:2. A faithful servant could be exalted to a very responsible position, but that exaltation would be in the name of his master. (Sound familiar? These are the faithful servants of Christ. He may see fit to exalt them to positions of great importance, but that must be done in His name.)

Second, the bondservant who was a pagan, could convert to the Hebrew religion, thus becoming an Israelite (as did the Egyptians who came out with them). Then all the laws concerning the brother who is a servant came into play for the new convert. And I would imagine that this was a common practice.

Third, if a poor Israelite had to sell himself to a wealthy sojourner or stranger, he could be redeemed at any time, Leviticus 25:47-52.

Fourth, unless the servant was working off a debt or theft, if he ran away, he was not to be returned to his master, Deuteronomy 23:15, 16. He was a servant by nature and by choice.

We deal with this further below.

VII. Another point before we leave this section:

The NT deals extensively with the inter-family relationship of authority, which we have already covered. It also deals extensively with the master-servant relationship. As we mentioned above, a master-servant relationship would be different than an employer-employee relationship. Mat 20, the laborers and the vineyard, would compare closely to our situation with the employer-employee; they could walk off the job if they so desired. The Lord and His people compare closely with the Bible servant-master relationship. Eph 6:9 refers to this Master-servant relationship. There are many passages which remind the child of God of their relationship to their Lord is a servant to Master relationship (eg. 2 Thes 2:24; 1 Cor 7:21, 22 &c.).

Ex. 21:7-11.

Before I get into a study of this passage, I want to mention a point of law in v. 8. Note the statement: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power. What if he would try to sell her contrary to this law? Evidently she would not have to go to her "new owner." The authority over her had no legal right to sell her, nor did the buyer have any right to buy her, so she would be free. She would be under no obligation to go because she has no owner now.

In other words, authority has no authority outside of what is given to it by the law of God. When it tries to exercise authority outside of the law, it forfeits any godly requirement of obedience by those under its authority. The woman was not required to submit to the ungodly misuse of authority. (See my paper on Gothard.)

Notice another statement: seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her. The implication is that obedience which was "won" by deceitful means is forfeited upon knowledge of the truth. The man persuaded the woman to come into his home with the promise that she would be either his or his son's wife. He failed to deliver his promise, so she was free, v. 11.


Vs. 7-11, continued.

This division deals with family relationship; husband - wife, or man - woman relationship. As we mentioned, this would come under Honour thy father and thy mother, the fifth commandment. Biblical marriage normally consisted of the groom 'buying' his bride with a dowry, usually equal to three years wages. This would prove the sincerity of the groom as well as his willingness and ability to work. This money went to the girl, but was kept out of reach of her husband by her father. It was her security in case the marriage failed and her husband was at fault (she shall go out free without money, ie. she kept the dowry). It could not be withheld from the children. Jacob had to 'buy' his wives. When a man took a woman without paying this dowry, she was his concubine, not his wife. As a concubine, she had less responsibility and protection under the law than a wife bought with the dowry.

In this passage, we see the family (father) selling his daughter into servitude for the dowry because he needed the money (why didn't he sell himself?). The man who bought a girl could not treat her as a servant, but as a soon-to-be wife or as a daughter. We are inclined to read these laws and say, "The woman was little more than a piece of property to be bought and sold at will." Those who say this have not read the laws. Notice how these laws protect the woman far more than do our modern day laws. The one who is in authority over the woman is always held responsible by God to treat her properly and decently at all times. He is never allowed to take advantage of her or her situation, and if he does, he loses her and his purchase price; she gains her freedom and can do as she pleases.

1. He bought her with the understanding that she would a wife to the man or his son, vs. 8-10. The father sold her with this understanding; he was forbidden by God to sell her into any immoral situation, Leviticus 19:29, 30. Nor could she be worked as a manservant in the fields, v. 5.

Remember, they were permitted more than one wife under the law. But the law governed how the wives were to be treated. Abraham's taking of a wife for his son Isaac would tell us that the woman needed to be a willing partner in the situation, Geneses 24:5, &c.

2. If she pleased not the one who bought her, he had to permit her to be redeemed. The father could return the dowry, and she was free to go. Or she could be sold to another covenant member for the dowry of a wife. She could only be sold, bought and used according to the law and she was always protected by the law. This was not marriage, but betrothal, and she had to be treated so. Therefore, there could be no marital relations until marriage. In fact, any immoral activity was punishable, Deuteronomy 22:22-27. (See Lev. 22:16, 17, for a treatment of this.)

3. The owner (and her dad) had no power to sell her to anyone outside of the covenant people. Reason? the pagan would not be bound by the law and the girl would be destroyed. Therefore, if the owner attempted to sell her, she did not have to abide by the sale. She could go back home or someone could 'rescue' her if she was held captive. No one would be bound by the sale because he had no power to sell her outside of the law.

4. Deceitfully.. The idea is that the buyer who finds that she does not please him, did not expect to find any pleasure in her. He bought her, not with the idea of marriage, but to sell for a profit. His actions prove that he is in the slave business. He is trying to violate the law for money, and wasn't interested in the girl to start with; the father should have caught this evil motives, but evidently he didn't. (We deal with deceit above.)

5. On the other hand, maybe she was bought, not for himself, but for his son. If so, she was to be treated as a daughter. So even if she was not bought to be a wife, the law required that she be treated as a daughter, and her owner was restricted by the same law.

6. He bought her to be his wife; he married her, but he fails to provide for her as required by the law of God. The fault is his, so she is free to depart without the return of the dowry. It is her's to keep and if she enters into another marriage, she would have a double dowry to go with her. One from her first marriage and one from her second. Of course, if the fault is hers, then the price is returned to the husband.
the following in study in Mat 5
A) 21:11, tells us that the primary responsibility to make the husband-wife relationship work lies with the husband. The first mention of the law which allows the separation of a husband and wife lays the blame on the husband for not providing for her as required by the law.

1 Timothy 5:8, Paul clearly refers to the fact that the primary responsibility for the family's welfare lies with the husband-father. I realize there are many more NT passages which cover family law, but the fact remains; all passages dealing with family law must take this principle into consideration. The man who fails to provide for his family has failed in his duty and is worse than a pagan. Such a one not only can be, but is required to be treated as a pagan, 1 Corinthians 5:5. The woman in Ex 21:11, departs his house because he is acting like a pagan by refusing to honour the law of God toward her.

B) Ex 21:11, she shall go out... The law does not say, she may go out; rather, it says, she shall go out... The man treats her as a stranger in his own home; the man acts like a pagan, so she is to leave him.


In the few years that I have been in the ministry (today's date, October 10, 1992), I have worked with a great many people through the buses and sunday schools. I have been amazed at the women who have stayed with men who not only are pagans, but treat their wives worse than "dirt." Yet their wives stay with them. The Lord says, she shall go out if he does not perform his duty of marriage (cf. 1 Cor 7:5).

One reason she cannot go out even if she wanted to is the departure from the Bible guidelines of marriage. If the dowry was still required today, she would have the finatural security to leave the pagan.

Thus, this law would say that the woman who finds herself in this bad situation is free to get out of it and cannot be charged with sin. The man is the sinner and the law protects her from his sin. When the traditions of men to prevent the woman from removing herself from the pagan situation, the purpose of the law is ignored and/or forgotten. The law protects the innocent and holds the guilty accountable; it delivers the innocent out of the hands of the wicked. When traditions prevent the law from doing its job of protection, those upholding the traditions become the worse sinner, Mt 15:2-9. (I know of a vast number of churches and pastors today that have totally voided the law of God by tradition in this area particularly.)

Observe this question - 1 Cor 7:10. Did Paul command the wife to remain in a pagan situation?

"How about 1 Corinthians 7:10?" Note these two points before we deal with the passage:
First, EVERYTHING IS IN RELATION TO THE LAW OF GOD, not in relation to others, tradition and/or our feelings and ideas about a situation.
Second, we must always keep the context in mind when dealing with any situation.

The context: The Corinthians were one of the more paganised people of the NT. Fornication, immorality, prostitution (both male and female), sodomy, licentiousness and lewdness were routinely accepted in this city; the pressure was tremendous to participate in the surrounding evil. They were now saved and had been changed by the power of the gospel, and they had a desire to live and do right. Paul preached to them the necessity of separation from their old paganism, and now problems and questions have arisen in the light of the law-word of God. So the church writes to Paul with questions concerning marriage and divorce:

A. Is it proper to marry, being a Christian? Notice an opening statement by Paul, to avoid fornication. Sex is accepted by Paul as a normal desire which will drive an individual into an intimate relationship; the drive if not harnessed within marriage will lead to trouble, v. 28. Paul addresses this by telling them that to avoid an immoral intimate relationship, they are to marry. Each is to have his/her own spouse. So the answer to the question is, Yes! It is God's plan, but His plan has restrictions:

1) we are to be content in whatever state we find ourselves and let God work out the details, vs. 20-28. In other words, don't let sex motivate marriage, as we are seeing so much of today, v. 27. Marriage today is based primarily on lust, not Godly love).

2) the marriage must be within the faith and according to God's established law, vs.3-5, 39.

3) marriage is not permitted to interfere with our responsibility to the Lord and His kingdom, v. 29, 30. There is a godly balance between the family responsibility and the Kingdom responsibility, and neither can be sacrificed for the other without the destruction of both.

4) there are those who can remain single and pure in mind and body, v. 37, but they are very few in number. It is a special calling and mercy from God, v. 25.

B. We are married & saved, but we can't seem to get along. Can we divorce? Answer: No! Sperate if you must, but remain married and work things out, vs. 10, 11.

C. We were unsaved when we were married. Now one is saved and the other is not. Now what? Are we to separate? Answer: No, not unless the unsaved refuses to render unto the other their due benevolence, which includes submission to proper authority and proper action one toward another (love), Ephesians 5:22-33.

If the lost spouse refuses to act according to the law toward the saved spouse, then the Lord permits separation and divorce, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16. But this separation and divorce is only as a last resort. Foremost in the mind is the fact that the God may see fit to use the godly action under the most trying of circumstances to reach the unsaved spouse, vs. 12-16. Cf. 1 Peter three.

Then Paul reminds them of a principle, v. 17: don't compare your circumstance and situation to anyone else's, 2 Corinthians 10:12, 13. The only determining factor in separation or divorce must always be the word of God and not what others do, say or think.

The conclusion would be that, under the principle established in the law (Ex. 21:10, 11; Deut. 24:1), if the spouse refuses to follow the law of God and is hardened in that refusal, the innocent one is free to go. They are not under bondage in such a chase. The law was not given to enforce bondage but to protect freedom. See all of 1 Cor. 7.

D) V. 28, sex is not sin; it is the misuse of sex which is the sin. Because of the tremendous immorality and use of sex in the wicked society of Corinth, it would have been easy for the new Christians, not knowing the law, to consider all sex sin. Furthermore, the unmarried life is not superior; rather, it is inferior to the married life.

1) V. 4, notice one of the sinful uses of sex within marriage is to use sex to gain what one wants from the other. One marriage partner has no right to withhold themselves from the other in order to gain something from the other. I have heard women say, "I know how to get what I want from my husband." Furthermore, I know of a pastor's wife who taught the ladies in their church how to use sex to get what the wanted from their husbands. That is just as much sin as immorality, fornication and adultery.

In addition, the words of Christ must also be taken in this context, Matthew 19:3-12. Notice the wording of the question which was asked to tempt the Lord: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause, v. 3. Note for every cause, and here was the problem. The law had been so corrupted that the Pharisees could divorce their wives for anything. Edersheim says that the Pharisees taught that one could divorce his wife for her for twirling in public or speaking against his parents.

1) the law made it clear that if he had no pleasure in her before they came together as husband and wife (during the time of the betrothal), he could return her to her father for his money back or sell her to another who was within the covenant. 2) regardless of whether he sold her or kept her, she was to be treated as a betrothed wife or as a daughter. If she wasn't, he was the law-breaker. 3) he married her but didn't treat her right, so she was the one who had the freedom to depart, not him. In addition, he lost the good sum of money he had invested in her. 4) the law the wicked Pharisees referred to is found in Deuteronomy 24:1. Clearly, for the husband to instigate the divorce there had to be uncleanness in her. And God defines what is unclean, not man.

With this law in mind, notice the Lord's response. God's purpose in marriage was the two made one. But because of sin and hardness of heart, and in order to protect the innocent party, divorce had to be permitted. The law is not bondage, but freedom from bondage. Then He concludes with Matthew 21:9, the grounds for putting away a wife (or husband).

One problem here is that the Pharisees were seeking justification for putting away their wives who didn't please them, for every cause. The key word is wife. The law only permitted separation for every cause from a woman who didn't please her master before they came together as husband and wife.

As we mentioned, the law permitted more than one wife and concubines. Accordingly, even though there were multiple wives, thus an inferior family and not meant to be that way, it was still a family under the authority of one man. These Pharisees did not ask about taking another wife. They wanted justification to get rid of the one they had when she did not please them in some way. This would have placed the woman under a tremendous stress and bondage, to say the least. The Lord held them to the law of God which gave protection for the woman and freedom if she were not treated according to the law.

After they became husband and wife, the major responsibility rested upon the husband to provide for his wife. He is then responsible to 'please' her, and she him, 1 Corinthians 7:32. He is now responsible to fulfill the law toward her, and for him to fail to do so, identifies him and a pagan and permits her departure and his loss. If he puts his wife away as the OT master was permitted to do with a girl he bought but did not marry, he commits adultery and causes her to do the same when she remarries.

The disciples understood this and said, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to merry, to which the Lord agreed. But this is not for all men, only the ones set apart by God for a unique purpose, Matthew 19:10-12.

(Reviewing and adding to: December 19, 1991. This was used as a message in nov. 91.)

murder vs manslaughter

Ex. 21:12-15.

Now we come to the third division of this chapter which deals with murder vs manslaughter. Although this division probably goes on through v. 17 because they all require capital punishment.

Here we see the first mention of murder vs manslaughter. Murder would be defined as intentionally killing someone that the killer has guile toward.

V. 13, we see that there are times when God delivers the one killed into the hands of the one who kills him. This is not killing with malice, but it is purely 'accidental.' There is an important point here: but God deliver him into his hand.. In other words, there are no accidents in the kingdom of God (over all the earth). This is Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

The Lord makes provision for the safety of the killer.

V. 14, evidently the killer could seek temporary sanctuary at the alter (the instructions concerning this alter had not been given yet).

(Cities of Refuge, Avenger of Blood. Put together, October 27, 1991)

Since this is the first mention of the protection of the Cities of Refuge, we will go ahead and cover them, along with the Avenger of Blood here. This would fall under the fifth commandment, Thou shalt not kill, Ex 20:13.

Numbers 35:9-34 (Deu. 19:1-13), records the giving of the possession to the tribe of Levi. In fulfillment of the prophecy by Jacob, Levi is scattered throughout the nation of Israel, Genesis 49:7. Levi's scattering throughout the nation enabled him to fulfill his call, which we described under the tithe.

Levi is given forty eight cities in all to dwell in, with the surrounding land to supply his needs. He is not scattered by individual families in each city of Israel, but by groups in sperate cities. They were congregated together in separate towns among the different tribes, which would aid in preserving them from the disadvantages of standing alone. It defended them from the danger of the apostasy into which the nation so easily fell. Levi's call included reminding Israel that they were to be a godly nation. This establishment of godly communities throughout Israel would better enable Levi fulfill his calling.

Out of these forty eight cities, there were to be six set aside. These cities were called Cities of Refuge and were conveniently located throughout the nation, with three on each side of the Jordan. The purpose of these cities was for the safety of the manslayer, one who unintentionally slays another, Exodus 21:12-14. God gave to the next of kin of the one slain, permission and the responsibility to slay the killer.

The congregation was responsible to keep the way to these cities clear and well marked. The manslayer could not be hindered as he fled the avenger of blood, who's heart would be hot with anger, Deuteronomy 19:3-6. If the manslayer made it to a city before the avenger of blood got to him, he was safe for the time being.

Notice three points here: First, the law does not prohibit anger; prohibits uncontrolled anger. The anger of the avenger had to be controlled by the law. He could not peruse the manslayer into the city, and he had to abide by the ruling of the elders.

Second, it is obvious that the law of God is basically family law. Even though the Lord gave the state the power of the sword (Gen. 9:5, 6; Rom. 13), Mosaic law always protects the integrity of the family. In fact, this law shows that it is primarily the family's responsibility to protect itself. When this responsibility is abrogated, the family is destroyed and the state replaces the family. Godly government must start with the godly family accepting its Biblical responsibilities of government in every area, including education and welfare.

Note that it was not the state's responsibility to see that the murderer's life was taken; it was a family responsibility to take care of the family. Furthermore, even though the killer found refuge in a city, if he came out before he was released, he was in danger of being put to death by the blood avenger; evidently, the family would, at times, support the avenger so he could live just outside the city and wait for the chance to avenge the blood of the one killed.

Third, we are given another basic principle of the law of God: restitution. The elders of the city of refuge were to receive the killer and protect him from the avenger of blood. Then the elders of the slayer's home city, or the city where the slaying took place, were to send to the city of refuge where the man was and bring him back for trial, Deuteronomy 19:12; Numbers 35:24, 25. This trial included a diligent inquire into the matter, and as examination of more than one witness, Deuteronomy 19:15-21. If the witnesses were found to be false, seeking to harm the one charged, then the false witness was to have done to him what he sought to have done to the one he witnesses against.

The point to which I want to draw our attention is the determining factor. What determined if the killer was guilty of murder, requiring him to be delivered over to the avenger of blood for death? What determined if he was guilty of manslaughter, thus protected from death?

The basic inquiry into the matter was whether or not the killer hated the one killed in the past. Did he have guile toward the dead person? He was found innocent of murder if there was no past evidence of hatred.

Deuteronomy 19:4-6, God, the Law Giver, gives an example to enable us to understand the principle. The example is that the death took place where no one could see it; maybe the two went into the woods to cut wood and only one returns. Maybe one was killed by a tree falling on him. The inquiry into the matter seeks to find if there was hatred between the two before the accident. If two or more witnesses testify that there had been anger, bitterness, guile and hatred between the two in the past, the survivor is found guilty of murder.

Thus, no matter how loudly the survivor proclaimed his innocence, and he may have been but there were no witnesses, if he had exhibited hatred toward the one killed, he was found guilty of murder. In other words, there was no refuge from destruction for the one who harbored hatred, anger or bitterness, no matter how loudly he proclaimed his incense, Hebrews 12:14-17. Obviously, the law taught that if there was anger, bitterness and hatred between two, it needed to be settled quickly. And the closer the two had to work together, the more important it was to settle any differences.

This is the legal background for our Lord's words in Matthew 5:21-26, where He quotes the Sixth Commandment. Then, danger of judgment.. not necessarily judgment.

V. 22, angry.. When diligent inquiry was made into the matter, what did the witnesses say? Did they say that there had been hard feelings between the two? How did the two speak to each other in the past? How did they act toward each other before they went off into the woods together? Did the congregation find the survivor guilty or innocent of hatred in the past? If he is found guilty of attitudes, actions and words which exhibited hatred, he is guilty of murder under the law. If so, the Lord tells us that hatred is the same as murder.

Vs. 23, 24, the Lord gives us the answer to this danger; settle the problem as quickly as possible. If it is not settled, we are in danger of hell fire. The problem is to be resolved as soon as we know about it and before it goes any further. He tells us to agree with our adversary quickly while there is a chance to do so. If we do not, we are in danger of being found guilty before the judge. He added nothing to the law of Moses. He reinforced what had already been given, giving it the proper understanding.

Now, let's consider this law in Deuteronomy 19:4-6. Under the OT economy, there was no choice but to work close together. It was all for one and one for all. Even though a conflict arises between ourselves and our neighbor, we still have to work together, help one another and bear one another's burdens. This cannot be avoided. Christ, in explaining this law, points out that we had better make things right with that person as soon as it arises and while we are still together, or as soon as we know about it. The term the Lord uses was whiles thou art in the way with him. Before we part company, it needs to be settled. If it isn't, there is danger of judgment.

In the Bible economy under Mosaic law, tomorrow I may have to work alone together with the one I had the conflict with today. While we are working together, something completely beyond my control happens and the one I am with is killed. I am known to be at odds with him. Those who saw us knew we had a conflict over something. Now they think, "He saw his chance and he did it." Under the Bible economy, I parted company yesterday with that one I had a conflict with in danger of the judgment by not settling it when it happened. We parted company in anger and bitterness, and the witnesses knew it. Therefore, I am held accountable as a murderer of the one who's life was lost, whether I did it or not.

Therefore, even under the Mosaic law, any differences needed to be settled immediately, while the two were still in the way with each other. If there was evidence of anger and hatred when they parted company, both were in danger of the death penalty. If evidence of hatred and bitterness arose between the two that even two others could see, and there was an accidental killing, the charge would be murder against the survivor; life for a life.

On the other hand, if the survivor were determined not to be guilty of hatred (murder), he still had a price to pay. He had to move to the free city of refuge where he stayed until the death of the high priest. The manslayer was now under the protection of the divine grace of God, but only as he remained within the city, Numbers 35:26, 27. Only after the death of the high priest could he return to his land of possession. The manslayer would have to move from the home community of where the killing took place. This removed the killer from among the family of the killed.

This gives us four more points: First, the manslayer was still under the death penalty, but was under the protection of God's law. Second, he had to abide by the law if he expected the protection of the law. As long as he remained in the city, the law protected him. Third, if he presumed that since he was not guilty of murder he could go on about his business as usual, and departed from that protection, death could meet him at any time. Fourth, the death penalty was not removed until the death of the high priest; at which time, the death penalty was paid for him and he is free to go.

Now, some applications: The law of God offers protection, but only as that law is followed. To depart from the principles which He has established and still expect His protection, is presumption. The avenger is waiting outside the walls of His protection. Presumption will place us in the enemy's territory. But, His law also makes provision through the death of our High Priest, which enables us to go out into the enemy's territory and claim our inheritance.

Our city of refuge is Christ. He instructed us in one of the most important matters of protection from the revenger of blood; make the situation right as soon as it happens or as soon as we know about it. If we do not, we are in danger of the judgment.

Three concluding points to consider:

First, Deuteronomy 19:14, places the law prohibiting the removing the neighbor's landmark with the law concerning the killing of a neighbor. The similarities are obvious. Under the Bible economy, the land was the life of the individual, and to move his landmark, the border marker of his land, was in effect, taking his life. It was theft and attempted murder.

Second, the guilty could not buy his way out of the death sentence, nor could he make any deal with the family of the one killed, that he might return to his own land before the death of the high priest, Numbers 35:31, 32. There was no way around the fact that the debt had to be paid, restitution had to be made.

Third, if restitution was not made, the land was polluted with the blood of the innocent, and can only be cleansed by the blood of him that shed it, v. 33. The blood of the innocent cries out from the very ground for justice, Genesis 4:10.


Death Penalty.

Thisleaves us with three more sins which identified with murder and carried the death penalty, vs. 15 (smiting parents), 16 (kidnapping), 17 (cursing parents).

V. 15, smiteth does not mean killeth, or it would read like v. 12. Nor does it deal with speech, which is dealt with in v. 17. Rather it refers to the mistreatment of parents. The parents represent God's authority on earth to the child. Therefore, disrespect of parental authority is disrespect toward God. And by this following the law concerning murder, this disrespect toward parents is equated with murder. (See my paper on Gothard where I deal with family authority from the seventh commandment.)

All of society is built upon the foundation of the family. When this foundation is not protected, all the rest will fall. All authority must be properly respected, which is taught in the home. Thus, godly respect for family authority must be protected. The Lord shows us the importance which He places upon this requirement here with the death penalty.

Notice some things: First, the death penalty is against the children who attack this authority, not against any outside source of attack against the family authority. Second, God is not demanding obedience to the parents (death if you don't obey your parents). Third, the parents may be evil, but God does not permit an evil response, nor are the children required to condone the parents evil. Fourth, proper attitude under ungodly authority must be learned. Fifth, bad situations in the family when the children grew up, do not permit vergence on the child's part against his parents when the chance arises. Sixth, evil habits learned in the home are never justified in the grown child, 1 Peter 1:18.

Paul build upon this law in Ephesians 6:1-3, where he gives two sets of instructions: First, v. 1, children, obey your parents in the Lord.. Before marriage, while the child is still under their authority, parents are to be obeyed in the Lord. Second, v. 2, honour thy father and mother.. (In Col. 3:20, he adds, in all things..) After the children are married and on their own, they are still required to honour their parents. But this honour is never required at the expense of honour to God and His word.

Then the reason for obeying the parents, Ephesians 6:1, for this is right. The reason for continuing to honour them after the child is married, is because of the promise of God, 6:2, 3. In neither case is it because the parents are right or deserving, but because it is right in God's eyes. (In Col. 3:20, he says for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.) The reason is in relationship to what is right and pleasing to God.

Furthermore, notice Paul's words in Ephesians 6:4, concerning the proper parent-child relationship. Then the home relationship moves out into the world. V. 5, deals with the proper servant-master relationship (in Col. 3:22, in all things is added, which would be restricted to the guidelines of Scripture), and v. 9, proper master-servant relationship. Both of these follow the proper parent-child and child-parent relationship.

December 20, 1991

Now, some conclusions here:

1. In both passages the servant learns proper attitudes and obedience toward authority in the home. The parents (master) learn to exercise proper authority in the home.

2. The command is given again in Lev. 20:9, where it is proceeded by God's word against witchcraft (vs. 1-8), and followed by His word against adultly, sodomy, bestiality and incest (10-21). Again, we are shown what the Lord thinks of the importance of proper authority in the family. Rebellion is as witchcraft, and rebellion permitted in the family is as much of an attack against God's order as is sodomy, adultly & c.

3. God commands that the rebellious son be put to death, Deuteronomy 21:18-21. (Note that son is specifically mentioned, not daughter, although the daughter could do things to require the death penalty.) First, he has been chastened by the parents. They have tried to follow God's word in the rearing of the child. Second, he refuses to submit to the parents, either father or mother. Third, they were to lay hold on him, and take him to the elders of the city. Sounds like he didn't want to go, so they had to force him. Fourth, they charge him before the elders of the city. Fifth, we see elsewhere that the elders of the city were to make diligent inquiry into the matter (cities of refuge), and if it is true, all the men of the city were to stone him until dead.

Thus we see that the parents were to obey the word of the Lord over and above any attachment they might have to the children. The parents were not required to stone the child, but they were required to bring him in for judgment. In other words, the covenant ties were to be stronger than family ties.

The NT principle here would be the cutting off of a rebellious child from inheritance and fellowship with the family. If this is not done, the family will be supporting him in his rebellion and the child will undermine the family with his rebellion.

Exodus 21:15, striking a parent required death. V. 17, cursing, or rebellious speech and mistreatment required death. When this area breaks down, all of society breaks down.

Exodus 21:16, the penalty for manstealing (De. 24:7, the stolen are sold to the pagans as slaves, or retained by the kidnaper for his own pleasure) is placed right between vs. 15 & 17. Obviously, the Lord shows us that rebellion within the family and kidnaping are equal in all points. They are both an attack against the family and individual freedom; both require death.

What is the connection here? The issue is personal liberty, or the rights of the individual. The servant-master relationship is established; next the husband-wife relationship is established; next the neighbor-neighbor, co-worker relationship is established with the cities of refuge; next, the parent-child relationship is established. The point being that even though the Lord protects personal liberty, death to the kidnaper who steals the personal liberty of the individual, this liberty is defined by God. Death to the one who steals this liberty, v. 16, and death to the one who abuses this liberty with rebellion, vs. 15, 17.

In other words, liberty is not in terms of the person, it is in terms of God's word.

The fourth division of Exodus 21, vs. 18-32. Vs. 24, 25, would appear to be the key verses, giving the basic principles of restitution. I would say that vs. 24, 25 are central to the whole law of God, even redemption. The broken law must be made right, either by the death of the lawbreaker or of a substitute. Furthermore, someone was always held responsible for everything that happened, even accidents. In other words, if eye for eye, tooth for tooth, &c. is done away with, we have no need for a substitute for the sinner before God. The Holiness of God must be satisfied, and satisfaction is based on restitution.

Because the principle of restitution is so totally ignored today, I wonder if this is why the plan of salvation of a sinless substitute is so perverted. There is no longer this need.

Vs. 18, 19.
This takes for granted that people will fight. The law is given to deal with sin. If one of the parties hurts the other in any matter, here is the proper way it is to be handled.

If the injured does not die in the fight (if he does, the other party had better flee to the city of refuge, vs. 12-14), but is injured enough that he is laid up in bed, the one who did the injury is assessed the cost of his recovery. He is charged for the medical bills and time lost from his occupation until the injured can go back to work. If the injured dies in bed before he is up and around, the other party is charged with murder. If the injured gets up and around, then dies, the other party is free.

Notice that this passage does not lay the blame for the fight on anyone; there is no determination as to who is at fault in the fight, who started the fight, who was in the right and who was in the wrong in the fight. It only deals with the results here.

Vs. 20, 21.
The case of a servant is different. As mentioned above, the servant renounced his responsibility and freedom. Now the master is responsible for him and his every action. Therefore, the master is left with the right to chasten his servant, as well as his family (wife and children), Pro. 10:13; 13:24. What this law is for is to prevent the abuse of authority in a fit of passion by the master. (Again, the connection between the Master and His servants are obvious.)

If the servant or maid dies at the hand of the master, the master was to be punished. There is no punishment defined here, so evidently the punishment would be determined by the authorities, the elders of the city in which the killing took place, or the city closest to the location of the killing.

But if the servant did not die for a day or two, there was no punishment. It would be evident that the master did not intend to kill the servant. The master lost his money.

This law would appear to be unfair to the servant, but we should keep some thing in mind. As we mentioned above, there were four types of servants: The unbelieving stranger, who could convert and become a Israelite, thus gain his freedom. Second, the hired hand, who could walk off the job. Third, the one who sold himself. The primary reason for selling himself would be because did not want responsibility and he loved the security of slavery. The person caught in a legitimate case of poverty had many other promises to provide for his bad circumstances which brought his poverty upon him. Although, obviously, there would be some of honest poverty who would be forced to sell themselves, or provision would not be made for their release with the master's liberal supply. Then the forth servant would be highly involuntary. He had been sold for his theft or debt (Ex. 22:3; Deut. 15:12). When this amount was worked off, they were free to go.

Consider vs. 20, 21, in this light. The servant is forced to remain with this master primarily because he didn't pay his bills, enjoyed the lack of responsibility and the security of slavery, or he was a thief and he was working off his theft. But the servant might be here because of poverty beyond his control; in which case, he should have been a little more careful who he sold himself to. Thus, three out of the four types of servants (and maybe even the fourth one) who were forced to remain in a bad situation of an angry master were here because of a lack of discipline on their part. The master must be given the authority to chasten these servants or he would not get anything out of them.

Vs. 22, 23.
Here we have a central law against abortion which protects the unborn child. If the Lord protects the unhatched eggs of a bird (Deut. 22:6, 7) with such strong language, how much more value is an unborn child?

The men are fighting (v. 18) and a woman steps forward to protect probably her husband, and she is hurt causing a premature birth. If the child and the woman live, the only punishment is that the one who hurt her must pay a fine to the woman's husband. (Note how many times the word of God stresses that the child belongs to the husband and not to the wife. This is sure contrary to humanistic thinking.)

But if either the child or woman is injured, the law of vs. 19, 24, 25, goes into effect. If either the child or woman is killed, then the one who caused the death is put to death. Notice there is no city of refuge for this killer. The one killed was killed in a fit of anger, even though the anger might not be against the one killed. In addition, if either of the adversaries are killed in the conflict, it was life for life.

The Lord protects the woman who might try to stop the fight, but He does not give her unlimited license in her effort, Deuteronomy 25:11, 12. So even an action which might save her husband must be within the limits of God's word. Notice she is not put to death for her rescue, but she loses her hand. Evidently she is permitted to do anything else in the fight, except what is mentioned in Deut 25:11, 12.

(If a man had a bold unafraid wife who was committed to him, his enemies had better be careful about fighting him. She could do anything, although if she would injure the enemy, the same principle of restitution would hold true in her case also.)

The obvious application for our day is; first, abortion is murder and requires life for a life. This would include the mother who is the primary party in the killing. There will always be doctors who will give the public what they demand, legalized murder in this case. Second, accidental abortion, the judge determines the punishment to be placed upon the one who caused it. Either child or mother injured; perfect restitution is required.

Vs. 23-25. As we have mentioned previously, this is the very central theme of God's law. Without this basic idea there is no need for a sinless substitute. And as we have seen this basic tannate of the law of God go by the way-side, we have seen terrible corruption of the plan of salvation. It no longer stresses the substitutionary death of Christ. There is no need for this central doctrine without vs. 23-25.

V. 23, life for life.. We cover this more in detail under vs. 33-36. (Which is the Jan. 92, mailing. See the mailing for the corrected copy.)

Vs. 26, 27.
This applied to the free Israelite. God establishes a just system of restitution and the conditions upon which that system will operate properly, eye for eye, &c. It is obvious that an eye is not required for an eye, but value for value.

But what if the person injured is a servant? What is the restitution which is owed to him? Again, the Lord does not forbid the smiting, He controls it. If the servant is injured when smitten by his master, he is set free for the injury. All manners of injuries are covered. I would say that broken bones would be included in vs. 20, 21, and not here which covers the loss of a body member, from the smallest to the greatest.

(But, then again, the servant may like his lack of responsibility so well that he remains under the smiting. I think we live in a society such as this today. The servants love for Uncle Sugar to take all their responsibility; therefore, they are putting up with a tremendous amount of injury.)

Vs. 28-32.
The practical application of restitution continues. The life of the individual is further protected.

First, if the ox had not been known to be dangerous before and he kills someone, the guile is laid on the ox and it is stoned. It cannot be eaten, and the owner loses his investment. (There would appear to be a distinction between killing and pushing or goring by the ox.)

Second, the owner had been warned about his bad animal, but he did not keep it confined and it kills someone, maybe a child. The owner was to be killed. The guilt of the death was on the owner; in other words, his death could not be avenged. He had been warned. On the other hand, maybe the death was accidental (carelessness on the owner's part, so provision is made; the owner can pay a ransom and he would not have to die. The judges would establish the amount, not the injured party.

Third, the requirement was not near as stringent for a servant. The master was responsible for the servant. Therefore, if a servant was injured by the ox through the negligence of its owner, the owner was to pay the master the servant's redemption price, thirty shekels of silver. The servant did not get it. Again, the ox is to be stoned.

Clearly, this chapter tells us that the servant has very little responsibility; the responsibility has been given to the master; therefore, the master reaps any reward from the servant. Responsibility placed upon the master seems on the surface to be appealing, but the servant also has very little freedom. Responsibility & freedom must go hand in hand; it is impossible to have one without the other.

Vs. 33-36

The fifth division of Exodus 21 would be vs. 33-36. I would call these 'Preventive Law,' although all the applications up to here have been for prevention. This gives the principle of God's law which is to hold the sinful nature in check. In this case, we could say, "To hold carelessness in check," although these go further than carelessness.

Even though these can be considered preventive laws, there is punishment upon the violator until someone is injured. In other words, there were not men assigned to go around looking for open pits or unattended animals. There was no power to do anything until someone was injured.

Thus we see these two points.

1. As soon as the Commandments are given, the alter and the proper approach to God, is established. This alter deals with the first 4 commandments, and tells us how to have peace with God. Basically, restitution; with a sinless substitute in place of the sinner.

2. As soon as the approach to God is established, the Lord establishes the most basic principle in our relationship with our fellow man; the same as it is with Him, restitution. All the rest of the Bible expands on these two points.

Responsibility & Restitution
(Salvation requires the law of restitution.)

In Jan 92, MO

Ex. 21:33, 34, contains a very basic principle which would come under the sixth commandment, thou shalt not kill. Restitution is basic to God's law. There are two more equally important points in this chapter: Something is not unlawful until it happens, and someone is always held responsible, vs. 35, 36. The Lord argues from two points which all of that day could identify with; an ox which every farmer would have, and a pit (cistern or well) which every property owner would have.

It was not unlawful to have the pit open, but if the man who opened it left it unprotected and someone or something fell into the unprotected pit, the owner of the pit was held responsible and had to make restitution. Now, obviously, if he took reasonable precautions to cover or protect the pit and the ox fell in, he would not be responsible. (Precaution and responsibility would be determined by the elders or judges.)

Deuteronomy 22:8, gives more about this. In that case, it was unlawful not to have a protective railing around the roof of a house. The roofs of the Israelitish houses were flat, and often used as living quarters. Remember Peter? He was on the roof when he saw the vision.

Therefore, God's law required a protective railing around the roof to prevent anyone from falling off, but there was no penalty for not having the railing. If some one fell off, then restitution was required, Exodus 21:24. Now, if the railing was built and someone did fall off, the builder would not be guilty of blood. On the other hand, if it was not built and someone did fall off, the builder would be responsible. I would say that the present owner, though not the builder, would also be held responsible. He should not be living in such a house.

Throughout God's law, the law of responsibility and restitution is evident. Notice Exodus 21:20, if a man smite another. The law does not forbid smiting or even striving together with another; it recognizes that sinful men will strive together. What it does do is lay a penalty on the one who injures another, centering around responsibility and restitution. The Lord establishes responsibility and just restitution by giving us some sample cases. If the one is hurt, the one who hurt him is responsible for paying for his recovery and lost time. If the other is killed in the strife or under the smiting, the killer is put to death. (Or, in the case of a master smiting his servant that he die, the master is punished according to the judgment of the judges.)

Also contained within Exodus 21 is the instruction for the cities of refuge. Unintentional killing, killing with no guile involved, is protected by the cities of refuge. Killing with guile involved (which is another study) required life for life. The elders of the city made the determination.

V. 29, and he hath not kept him in, would tell us that the owner tried to restrain the ox, but he got away, or someone got into the pen. Therefore, the killing was an accident, and the owner did not have to flee to the city of refuge. The law was clear-cut. If he had been warned about the ox and the owner does not restrain the ox and it kills someone, then either the owner was put to death or he could pay an amount assessed by the judges. The godly judges were to make the determination concerning the guilt of the owner of the mean ox. The spilt blood had to be atoned for, and the Lord established that atonement. This would be a great incentive to get rid of an uncontrollable ox, maybe eat him.

This gives us these basic things.

First, the individual is careful, takes all precautions and heeds the just warnings of others, yet something still happens (note v. 13, but God deliver him into his hand): he is held guiltless. At times he had to flee to a city of refuge if someone died. Second, he was careless and his carelessness caused an injury: he paid for the results of his carelessness. Third, in a fit of emotion he injured another: the law required restitution, even his death. (This also applied to the fighting in vs. 22, 23.) Fourth, someone was always held responsible for an injury or death, either an animal or a person. At times responsibility was shared, vs. 35, 36. Someone or something had to pay the price.

Exodus 21:24, 25, gives us the premise of God's law, eye for eye, & c. Someone was always held responsible, and restitution was to be made according to the damage done, no more-no less. Obviously, the Lord is not requiring a literal eye for eye, but stating a principle of just recompense. Also to be taken into consideration was the spirit behind the damage. Guile toward the one who was accidentally killed, though out of sight of others, carried the death penalty against it.

Now, we need to trace this into the NT, Matthew 5:38-48.

Our Lord's words of vs. 38, 39, must be understood in their context. Israel was a captive nation under Rome. They had a large amount of self-rule, but were by no means autonomous. Whereas Exodus chapters 21 & 22 spoke to the ones who were about to establish their nation, its laws and their enforcement, Matthew chapter 5 speaks to those who were under authority to a foreign power, with very little actual control over the law of the land. Our Lord spoke on an individual level, telling the individual how to respond when he is under oppressive authority (turn to him the other cheek).

A quick look at the context of our Lord's words will show this.

Matthew 5:11, the ones this is addressed to are going to be persecuted for the Lord's sake; they will be falsely accused and reviled. The source of persecution would be from the same ones who persecuted the prophets, the Jewish religious leaders, v. 12 (cf. Mt. 23:29-39). The required restitution must be made before any peace with man or God can be obtained, vs. 23, 24. Christ tells His hearers to agree quickly with someone they might have a conflict with because there is a chance that person might drag them into court, vs. 25, 26. But it is not a court system of justice. Rather there will be corrupt responsibility and no proper restitution. Therefore, they will not find justice, but jail.

Vs. 38-42, would be spoken to those under authority. It would prohibit seeking an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth from the ones in authority as they persecute them for their stand for Christ, v. 10.

Matthew 5 is also given against the background of the Pharisees and all they stood for and their corruption of the law. All ten of the blessings given here would be in stark contrast with what these corrupt teachers were saying.

To set the Lord's words of v. 39, apart from these facts will strip the law of its meaning, which the Lord Himself said that He was not here to do, v. 17.

Humanistic law attempts to prohibit any dangerous situation from arising (speed limit, 65). This can only lead to tremendously oppressive and restrictive laws, as well as large armies of police to inspect every area of society, every roof, every hole in the ground and every domestic animal. On the other hand, Biblical law establishes basic principles to build on. It is based upon responsibility and restitution for the damage done. If my negligence and irresponsibility in any area causes harm to man or beast, I must be held responsible to make restitution, even to life for life.

The removal of Biblical law is drowning us under an ocean of laws and 'law enforcement officials.' Why? Because it takes an ocean of laws to restrict every unsafe practice and animal. (Who defines unsafe? Is the same practice unsafe for everyone?)

This would go into every area. I understand that China found the answer to the drug problem. They put to death the drug pushers. This was enforced a few times and the problem was brought under control.

Obviously, the goal of civil government today is not to bring crime under control, but to increase their control of every person under heaven and every aspect of life and thought.

There is another devastating result when humanism removes this principle of restitution from the law of God (Ex. 21:23-25). If, as the antichrist theologians say, just restitution is no longer required under the new covenant, then you have no need for a Sinless Substitute to make restitution in place of the sinner before the Holy Father in heaven. I do not know what kind of a religion this leaves, but it is not Christianity (Gal. 1:6).

In other words, all of God's law, including Salvation, is based upon the principle of life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. Without this principle, a gospel (which is no gospel) can be presented which falsely offers Salvation based upon, "Asking, accepting jesus into your heart and life, and trusting him to do that," or, "Turning your life over to the lord," or, "Committing you life to Christ," or any of many false teachings along this line. There is death in that pot to all who refuse to avoid it.

Salvation is impossible unless the sinner is slain by the law of God, Romans 7:7-13. How can the need of a Sinless Sacrifice to pay the penalty for the sinner be taught, if there is no teaching and understanding of the requirement of restitution?

May God see fit to shine His light upon these false teachers of death.