Exodus 21 Slaves, Killing, Fighting and Goring QA

Slaves, Killing, Fighting and Goring

With Questions and Proposed Answers

 

 

Background and printed text: Exodus 21

 

Exodus 21:1 And these are the justices that thou shalt set to their faces.

 

2When thou shalt buy a Hebrew slave, he will serve six years. And in the seventh he will exit to freedom gratis. 3If he will come with his body, he will exit with his body. If he is a husband of a woman, and his woman will exit with him.

 

4If his lords will give a woman to him, and she will child to him sons or daughters, the woman and her children will be to her lords. And he will exit with his body. 5And if the slave will say, saying, “I loved my lords, my woman and my children! I will not exit free!” 6And his lords shall approach him unto the Elohim. And he shall approach him unto the door or unto the Mezuzah. And his lords shall pierce his ear with a piercing-tool. And he shall serve him to Hider.

 

7And when a man will sell his daughter to a slavemaiden, she shall not-exit as the exiting of the slaves. 8If she-is-bad in the eyes of her lords who did not betroth her, and she shall be redeemed. He shall not rule to sell her to a foreign people in his defrauding via her. 9And if he will betroth her to his son, he will do to her as the justice of the daughters.

 

10If he will take to himself another {feminine}, he will not diminish her remainder, her blanket-covering and her cohabiting. 11And if he will not do these three to her, and he will exit her gratis─there is no silver.

 

12The smiter of a man, and he will die: dying, he shall-be-made-to-die! 13And whoever did not stalk, and the Elohim situated to his hand, and I will put a place to thee that he will flee there.

 

14And when a man will presume upon his neighbour to slay him via guile, thou shalt take him from with my altar to die.

 

15And the smiter of his father and his mother: dying he shall-be-caused-to-die!

 

16And a stealer of a man, and he sells him, and he will be found in his hand: dying, he shall-be-caused-to-die!

 

17And he lightly esteems his father and his mother: dying, he shall-be-caused-to-die!

 

18And when men shall fight, and a man shall smite his neighbour via a stone or via a fist and he will not die, and he will fall to bed, 19if he will arise and he will walk himself into the outside upon his staff, and the smiter will be innocent. Only he will give his sitting and healing—he-will-cause-healing!

 

20And when a man will smite his slave or his slavemaiden via a rod, and he will die under his hand, avenging, he shall be avenged! 21Only if he will arise a day or days, he will-not-be-avenged. For he is his silver.

 

22And when men will physically-fight, and they will smite a pregnant woman, and her children will exit, and there will not be injury, amerced, he shall be amerced just-as the husband of the woman will set upon him. And he will give via the deliberators. 23And if injury will be, and thou shalt give, being under being!— 24eye under eye, tooth under tooth, hand under hand, foot under foot, 25branding under branding, wound under wound, bruise under bruise.

 

26And when a man will smite the eye of his slave or the eye of his slavemaiden, and he will blind her, he will send him to freedom under his eye. 27And if a tooth of his slave or a tooth of his slavemaiden will fall, he will send him to freedom under his tooth.

 

28And when an ox will gore a man or a woman and he will die, stoning, the ox shall be stoned! And he shall not eat his flesh. And the husband of the ox is innocent. 29And if an ox—he gored from yesterday three days ago, and he was testified via his husbands, and he will not guard him, and the ox will cause- a man or a woman -to-die, he will be stoned, and also his husbands─he will-be-caused-to-die! 30And if a covering will be set upon him, and he shall give a redemption of his being as all that will be set upon him! 31Or he will gore a son, or he will gore a daughter, he will be done to him as this justice.

 

32If the ox will gore a slave or a slavemaiden, he will give silver of 30 shekels to his lords. And the ox will be stoned.

 

33And when a man will open a pit, or when a man will dig a pit, and he will not cover him, and an ox or an ass will fall ‘thereward,’ 34the husband of the pit will make peace. He will return silver to his husbands. And the dead will be to him.

 

35And when the ox of a man will attack the ox of his neighbour, and he will die, and they shall sell the living ox. And they shall halve his silver. And they shall also halve the dead. 36Or it was known that the ox—he gored from yesterday, three days ago, and his husbands will not guard {singular} him: making-peace, he shall make peace, an ox under the ox. And the dead will be to him.

 

37When a man shall steal an ox or a sheep and slaughter him or sell him, he will-make-peace: five of the herd under the ox and four of the flock under the sheep!

 

 

 

I. The Justices (verse 1)

 

Yehovah commanded Moshe to set these justices to the faces of the Israelis. How surprising to find that the first justices pertain to proper treatment of slaves!

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Why did Yehovah call these things justices? A definition of justice is rendering (that is, finally concluding and telling) a right decision based on all facts. Elohim will be telling the Israelis what justice is in each case.

 

2.     Why must these be “set to their faces” (instead of being told to them or written for them)? The Israelis must see these justices occurring in order for them to know that they are good and right. Just hearing them won’t necessarily show them that they are good or right.

 

          Also, the Israelis are in unbelief; thus, they go by sight rather than by faith. They must have Truth put right in front of them.

 

          If something good is set to their faces, they will be more likely to go after it.

 

 

 

II. Buying a Hebrew Slave (verses 2-3)

 

Israelis will purchase Hebrew slaves. (A Hebrew slave is an Israeli slave.) The slave will serve six years. In the seventh year, the slave will exit from slavery to freedom gratis—that is, without having to pay anything.

 

If the slave will come with the only possession being his own physical body, he will exit with his physical body. If, on the other hand, he is a husband of a woman, his woman will exit with him.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Who is thou in, “When thou shalt buy a Hebrew slave”? Thou is Israel. Again, whatever an individual Israeli does, all Israel does.

 

2.     What is a Hebrew slave? Anyone who is a Hebrew is descended from an ancestor named Ever (Eber in regular translations). The following text gives the genealogy from Shem, one of Noah’s sons, to Avraham:

 

          1 Chronicles 1:24 Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, 25Ever, Peleg, Reu, 26Serug, Nahor, Terah, 27Avram; the same is Avraham.

 

          The term Hebrew later came to be used mainly for the Israelis, though it originally included other non-Israeli groups who came from Ever’s lineage. If Yehovah’s command includes all who come from Ever’s lineage, that would include descendants of Ishmael, of Moab, of Ammon, of Esau… Had Yehovah said, “When thou shalt buy an Israeli slave…,” I would have known that this command was only for Israelis. Yehovah worded it the way He meant it.

 

3.     The text states, “He will serve six years.” Can’t the time of his serving as a slave be less than six years? Yehovah could have worded this, “He will serve no more than six years,” but He didn’t word it that way. The period of six years is the maximum (unless the slave desires to become a permanent slave), but it seems that it is also the required length of time. Yehovah will give exceptions if the slave can be freed before that. Of course, if the slavemaster wants the slave to be freed before six years, he can command the slave to be freed, in which case the remainder of the six years will be under the command of freedom!

 

4.     Why did Yehovah choose six years (instead of seven or five, for examples)? This length of time is also a type—a picture of events to come.

 

          The one future event of which I am aware that lasts seven years is the Tribulation. The Israelis will be as slaves to the lusts of others for six of those years, and the seventh year will be especially when the Israelis come with freedom to Mount Zion. I don’t know of another seven-year event that this could typify at this time.

 

5.     What does gratis mean? This means without price or payment of any kind.      

 

6.     Suppose that this slave had run up a debt that is equivalent to 25,000,000 dollars; how would his being a slave for six years come anywhere near paying that debt? It wouldn’t come near paying the debt. That is exactly what Yehovah is teaching the Israelis. No matter how great the debt, that debt will be canceled after six years and in the seventh year. That is exactly what will happen to Israel. The People of Israel will have accrued a debt (will have run up a debt) that will be so large, that no amount of time would permit the Israelis to pay that debt. Yet, Yehovah will cancel that debt in the seventh year of the Tribulation; the Israelis will request forgiveness, and Yehovah will grant it; the Israelis will ask for it in Truth.

 

7.     The text states, “If he will come with his body, he will exit with his body.” How could he come without his body? This wording in Hebrew implies that he comes into this slavery position without any other possessions except his physical body.

 

8.     If he is a husband of a woman, does his woman also become a slave when he does? If his debt is great enough, she does, and so do his children!

 

9.     If he went into slavery with his children, would they also come out with him? They do!

 

10.  Suppose that an Israeli purchases a slave who isn’t a Hebrew. Will that slave also exit in the seventh year? No! That person is a slave for life, and the children of that slave are also slaves:

 

          Leviticus 25:39 And when thy brother with thee will be impoverished, and he will be sold to thee, thou shalt not slave-drive via him the slavery of a slave. 40He will be with thee as a hireling, as a resident. He will slave with thee unto the year of the flowing. 41And he will exit from with thee—he and his children with him. And he will return unto his family. And he will return unto the possession of his fathers. 42For they are my slaves—them whom I exited from the land of Egypt. Ye shall not sell the selling of a slave. 43Thou shalt not descend into him via rigour! And thou shalt fear from thy Gods! 44And thy slave and thy slavemaiden who will be to thee: Ye shall acquire a slave and a slavemaiden from them—from with the races that are around you 45and from the children of the residents, the sojourners with you. Ye shall also acquire from them who are with you and from their families who childed in your land. And they shall be to you to a grasping. 46And ye shall self-inherit them to your children after you to a possession of grasping to hider. Ye shall slave-drive via them. And thou shalt not descend into him via rigour via your brothers, sons of Israel, a man via his brothers!

 

 

 

III. Slaves Making Babies (verses 4-6)

 

A slavemaster of a Hebrew slave can give a woman to the slave to make babies. If she does become pregnant for the slavemaster, the woman and her children will be the property of the slavemaster (and not the slave who impregnated her—who got her pregnant). When the time comes for the slave to exit, he will exit with his own physical body, and not with the woman or the child that he fathered.

 

Now, if the slave will insistently say, “I loved my lords, my woman and my children! I will not exit free,” his slavemaster will ‘approach’ him unto the Elohim—unto the Gods of Israel. And he will ‘approach’ him unto the door or unto the Mezuzah (the doorpost). The slavemaster will then pierce his ear with a piercing-tool. The slave will then serve the slavemaster to Hider—he will permanently become his property. (That way, he can keep his woman and his child/children.)

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Why is lords plural? Does this refer to a slavemaster and his wife? It isn’t referring to a second human slavemaster/slavemistress. It is referring to one slavemaster/slavemistress. It is plural because the slavemaster/mistress is the boss in the many areas of the slave’s life. This is also the reason why Yehovah is so often called my Lords Yehovah in Hebrew in the Bible. Yehovah isn’t merely the Lord, but He is boss in this area and in this other area and in this other area… He is all the Lords over all things.

 

2.     If the slave’s lords will give a woman to him, does she become the slave’s wife? No! That is the point of this section: she doesn’t become his wife, and he isn’t her husband. (There is one exception to this.)

 

3.     Aren’t a man and a woman supposed to be married in the Bible before having sex and producing children? That is the rule except in this one case, and in one other case given in the Bible. A slavemaster can have a slave produce children through a woman that the slavemaster provides, and the woman and the children will not belong to the slave, but to the slavemaster unless the slave meets certain conditions (given next in the text). This is not wrong; it is perfectly right in the eyes of Yehovah.

 

          The other exception occurred with Judah and Judah’s daughter-in-law, Tamar. When Judah’s son who was married to Tamar died, Judah’s next son was responsible to take Tamar, and try to produce children to his deceased brother. He refused, and he died. Judah was afraid to give his third son to Tamar because Judah knew that the third son might also end up dead like the first two (they were evil, and Yehovah killed them). Judah cheated Tamar by promising the third son to Tamar, and not giving him to her. So, Tamar dressed up like a prostitute, and Judah had sex with her thinking she was a pagan temple whore. She became pregnant by Judah, her father-in-law, and had twins. What she did was right, and the tribe of Judah in Israel became the most notable among the tribes of Israel, the tribe that will prove to be the most Spiritual at the earliest time.

 

          Apart from these types of justices, when a man and a woman (including a girl and a boy) who are not married to anyone engage in sex together without forming marriage bonds, they are committing fornication, and fornication is sin before Yehovah. Now, since most folks do not fear Yehovah, and most folks do not believe in Yehovah and in His Messiah (Yeshua), they follow their own gods; most gods are not against fornication. Those who fear Yehovah have no business judging those who serve other gods regarding such things; the True and Living God will judge those who are outside of the faith of Yehovah. These texts in Exodus that we are considering are the Teachings of Yehovah, and not the teachings of other gods. Getting to know the Teachings of Yehovah can save lives.

 

4.     Why would a slavemaster desire a slave to produce children for the slavemaster? Children are very valuable in the Bible. I don’t mean that they are worth a lot of money; they have great abilities to benefit those around them, and they are worth all the difficulties that come with rearing children if they decide to have good character.

 

          Suppose that a slavemaster and his wife cannot have children for one reason or another; obtaining children from a slave would be an excellent and simple way to solve this problem. That is one of Yehovah’s solutions.

 

5.     What does “he will exit with his body” mean, again? He won’t take anyone with him; the woman and the children are not his.

 

6.     In what order will the slave declare his love? He starts by stating, “I loved my lords.” He then says, “… my woman …” and finally, “… my children.”

 

7.     What else must the slave declare? He must declare, “I will not exit free!” Thus, he is declaring his intention to be a slave to this slavemaster for the rest of his life.

 

8.     Under what conditions would a slave be willing to voluntarily become a permanent slave to another human? There can be many conditions, including the following:

 

  • The slave loves and trusts the slavemaster
  • The slave greatly desires to keep the woman and the children
  • The slave does much better in life with the slavemaster handling his affairs than he would do handling his own affairs
  • The slave is confident in the ability of the slavemaster to provide protection
  • The slavemaster is very good at finances and runs his holdings very well

 

 

          Many volunteered to become slaves of others in Biblical times when masters were very good to those around them.        

 

9.     Isn’t slavery evil? Slavery is evil under the following conditions:

 

  • When a person has been kidnapped for slavery purposes (as in the cases of slavery in the early United States)
  • When slaves are mistreated
  • When slaves are treated as cattle rather than as humans (made in the image of God)
  • When corrupt laws of humans cause free-born persons to become slaves
  • When slave drivers and slavemasters don’t value the lives and limitations of their slaves

 

 

          Otherwise, slavery isn’t evil; it is actually an excellent relationship that all countries in the world use and acknowledge. Marriage is voluntary slavery; every form of the military is always slavery; life-and-death forms of work are usually slavery.

 

          The military is slavery because officers can and do send men and women into life-threatening positions and assignments. They order men and women to do tasks that can easily get them killed. The military tells folks where to go, where to live, what to eat, how to dress, how to behave, etc. Even when a person retires from the military, every military can always call the retired to return to active duty. The country owns its military personnel; that ownership is for life. Thus, slavery is not automatically evil. Some thrive as slaves.

 

10.  The next verse states, “And his lords shall approach him unto the Elohim.” What does this mean, and how can this happen? The Elohim, of course, is the Gods, usually (if not always) a reference to the Messiah, and definitely a reference to the Creator. This slavemaster must bring this slave to approach the Creator.

 

          Now, the text doesn’t tell how this must be accomplished. (When I ask a question about what these things typify, you will probably see that the type will be clear.) The normal way to approach the Elohim is by coming to the altar of the Temple or Tent of Appointment. That act of coming to the altar is considered approaching Him.

 

11.  Why should he approach him unto the door, and what door is this? The text doesn’t tell what door is in mind, but the door will be made of wood, and will be hard. It will be the backdrop for ear piercing.

 

12.  What is a Mezuzah? That is the Hebrew word for a doorpost—the hard wood structure that fits around the door on the left and right upon which the door is either hinged or latched.

 

13.  What is a piercing tool? It is a tool designed to make a small but permanent hole in the lobe of the ear.

 

14.  Why must the ear be pierced? Apart from the type (that I will discuss shortly), this is usually for the placement of an earring, and if so, it shows that the man is owned as a permanent slave.

 

15.  What does “he shall serve him to Hider” mean? Since Hider refers to a time that isn’t revealed, serving to that time is serving throughout all of revealed time! The Bible reveals what will happen up to the creation of the New Earth! Thus, Hider must be beyond this present earth’s history!

 

16.  Since a human cannot serve another to Hider (due to finally becoming old and dying), what does this section of the text typify? Suppose that the slave’s lords is a type of Yehovah Himself. If this is correct, Yehovah is the one who gives a woman to the slave. She can bring forth children to him, but the woman and the children belong to Yehovah, the owner. When the slave’s time with Yehovah ends, he exits with his body. The woman who belonged to Yehovah and the children that belonged to Yehovah still belong to Yehovah; the exit of the man (I am proposing) is his death. If, however, the man declares, “I loved my lords”—that is, that he truly loved Yehovah, and, “I loved my woman and my children, I will not exit free,” his lords (supposing that this is Yehovah) will approach him unto the Elohim—that is, unto the Messiah, Yeshua. He will also approach him unto the door or unto the doorpost; the door and the doorpost are designed to keep undesired persons out. His lords (again, supposing that this is Yehovah) will pierce his ear with a piercing-tool, and I propose that this typifies the hearing of the man being opened so that he can hearken. The man who is the slave will now serve Yehovah to Hider—that is, even beyond his own death, since he will return in the resurrection of the dead to continue serving Yehovah. Since the woman and the children belonged to Yehovah, his relationship with them will also continue, though there is no marriage after death; marriage is only for this life.

 

          If what I propose is correct, this text pictures how things change when a man is born of God, opting to become a permanent slave of Yehovah and of His Messiah.

 

 

 

IV. Selling a Daughter (verses 7-9)

 

An Israeli can sell his daughter as a slavemaiden. (See questions to learn why this might occur.) This slavemaiden shall not exit (go out) as the exiting of the slaves. She must be treated differently from the other slaves.

 

If her slavemaster doesn’t look at her in a good light, and if he also didn’t betroth her (either to himself or to his son), she must be redeemed. The slavemaster is never permitted to sell her to a foreign people in the process of defrauding (dealing crookedly with her) by means of her.

 

If, on the other hand, he will betroth her to his son, he must do to her exactly what is the justice to do with daughters.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Does the man really sell his daughter to a slavemaiden? That is the Hebrew way of wording that he is selling his daughter to become a slavemaiden.

 

2.     Isn’t selling a daughter to become a slavemaiden really cold, an act of total lovelessness, and just cruel? While this could be the case, doing this among the Israelis under the Torah (Teaching) was often quite different in results. Now, if a man must sell his daughter to become a slavemaiden, it is usually because the financial situation of his family has become desperate. Now, suppose that he sells his daughter to become a slavemaiden, and the couple who purchases her has a son about her age. Suppose that this couple truly loves this hard-working and very gracious slavemaiden, and suppose that their son also does. She can easily go from being poor to being the wife over much property. In cases like this, selling her wasn’t cold, it wasn’t a loveless act, and it wasn’t cruel. It was a step up for her, giving her opportunity to demonstrate her quality of character.

 

          While every daughter-selling will not be so romantic, some of them will be, and the two families will then be bonded by a strong love for each other. Yehovah’s commands are good; they are not designed to do bad to the innocent.

 

3.     What does “she shall not-exit as the exiting of the slaves” mean? This can mean two different things; I propose that both are what is in mind.

 

          When the male slaves go out in the morning, most going into the fields to tend crops or to tend cattle, the slavemaiden is not to accompany the male slaves. Accompanying them would put her at risk of being raped and of being mistreated in various ways. She must be given safe tasks in safe places so that her time of slavery is not dangerous.

 

          Also, when the time comes for her to be freed from her slavery, she must not be sent out with just her body and her clothing; she must be accompanied and treated as a daughter.

 

4.     What does “she is bad in the eyes of her lords” mean? For one reason or another, her slavemaster (or slavemistress) just didn’t like her. Instead, he (or she) viewed her as destructive to his/her goals. This doesn’t imply that she did anything wrong. Yehovah knew that the Israelis were not born of God, and their senses of justice can be all wrong because of the hardness of their hearts.

 

          On the other hand, the slavemaiden might truly be destructive; still, she must be treated in a right manner.

 

5.     What does betroth mean? This means to seal a marriage relationship; the two involved are indeed husband and wife, but they haven’t yet come together for sexual intercourse.

 

          Betrothal can occur at any age. Parents of a son can betroth their son to the daughter of another set of parents when the son and daughter are, say, six years old. (I am speaking of another set of cultures, and not the cultures of the United States.) The children are husband and wife, but they are not old enough for many things. Later, when they are ready and mature enough, they can live under the same roof and can live as husband and wife. In the meantime, though, they are still married, and the term betrothed explains their relationship. Once they are betrothed, only divorce or death can break that relationship.

 

6.     What does “she shall be redeemed” mean? This form of redemption refers to a monetary price being paid for her release from slavery. Someone who is near of kin to her must pay the redemption, since her lords sees her as bad, and he didn’t betroth her to himself or to his son. The text doesn’t tell who must do this, but only that it must be done. (Someone who fears Yehovah, who is near of kin, and who can afford the redemption price will redeem her.)

 

7.     What does defraud mean? It means to cheat; to claim the willingness to do something, and then not do it; to fool another and then refuse to do what was promised.

 

8.     Explain “He shall not rule to sell her to a foreign people in his defrauding via her”: The slavemaster acquired her as a slavemaiden, and then he didn’t like her. He gave her the impression that she would do well under him, but instead he turned against her. He cannot rule over her to sell her to a foreign (non-Israeli) people; if he did, he would be selling her to folks outside of Israel who are not bound by the Teaching (Torah) of Yehovah, and who therefore could do with her whatever they wanted. If he were to sell her to a foreign people, he would be both violating this commandment and defrauding Israel and Yehovah by means of her! Yehovah will not be happy!

 

9.     Can this slavemaster betroth this slavemaiden to his son without her parents’ permission? During the time that she is a slavemaiden to this master, he owns her—but he owns her as a daughter. If his son is of good character, and if he is of good character, I don’t think that her parents will be against this betrothal. If the slavemaiden didn’t desire to be betrothed, she could express this; forced marriages do not usually work well. I propose that a wise slavemaster will speak with the slavemaiden’s parents, and will also speak with the slavemaiden herself to make certain that his son and this woman will work well together.

 

10.  What does “he will do to her as the justice of the daughters” mean? Doing as the justice of in the Bible means treating as—that is, doing things in the right manner that Yehovah has commanded.

 

          Justice is a right decision based on all facts. If the justice of a daughter who is about to be married includes giving her a dowry (a gift that is like an inheritance to help supply things needed during the marriage), the slavemaster must likewise give her a dowry! He must treat her exactly as if she were his natural daughter. (This is the only right way to treat a slavemaiden.)

 

 

 

V. Second Wife (verses 10-11)

 

If the son of the slavemaster who has married the slavemaiden takes another woman to himself as a second wife, he will not diminish the remainder of the woman who was both the first woman and the slavemaiden. He will not diminish her blanket-covering, and he will not diminish her cohabiting—sleeping with her. If he will not do these three to her, he will exit her without any redemption price—that is, gratis; there must be no silver exchange for her leaving.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Does the Bible permit an Israeli to have more than one wife? Yes.

 

2.     Why would Yehovah permit a man to have more than one wife? Yehovah knew that wars would leave shortages of men, and Yehovah gave most women the desire to have children. He therefore gave that option so that a woman would not have to be without a husband and a means of legitimately having children if there were not enough men.

 

3.     Can a man have more than one wife in the United States and in countries with similar cultures? No; it is against the laws of these lands. These lands are not Israel. Yehovah has commanded those who fear Him to obey the laws of the lands in which they live as long as those laws do not command citizens to violate the Scriptures.

 

4.     Isn’t taking on another wife a form of cruelty to the first wife? Work for women and men was usually very hard. A woman might be able to have slaves who worked with her, but at times, she desired to have help that was more personal, and she might have a true friend who was in need of a marriage relationship. In other words, at times, the women found this arrangement good, and they would basically run the household while their husband did his labour.

 

          In many of our cultures, such a relationship would make for terrible jealousy, frustration and even hatred. Under the conditions of the cultures in which Israel was placed, such a relationship could be very beneficial.

 

          Yehovah never permits a woman to have more than one husband; that confuses the lineages, and men are liable to kill each other in such a case.

 

          Also, Yehovah never recommended that a man have more than one wife; He permitted it, and He gave the conditions under which it could occur.

 

5.     Who is taking to himself another woman? I propose that this is the son whose father has betrothed a slavemaiden to his son.

 

6.     What does “he will not diminish her remainder” mean? If a man will take on a second wife, the man is not permitted to cut down on what the first wife (the slavemaiden) previously was given. He cannot take what is hers and share it with the second wife; mistreatment is not permitted.

 

7.     What does “he will not diminish … her blanket-covering” mean? The husband is not permitted to take blankets (or clothing) of the first wife (the slavemaiden) to give to the second wife. He is not permitted to take part of the tent or all of the tent of the first wife and give it to the second wife.

 

8.     What does “he will not diminish … her cohabiting” mean? This means that the first husband is not permitted to diminish the amount of time that he sexually sleeps with his first wife (who was a slavemaiden). He is not to position his second wife as a replacement for his first.

 

9.     Verse 11 states, “And if he will not do these three to her, and he will exit her gratis─there is no silver.” Does he send her away after living with her as a wife for a while, and then after obtaining a second wife? If the son who has been betrothed to the slavemaiden is not willing to meet these three conditions from the beginning of his coming together with this woman, the slavemaiden’s betrothal becomes a form of fraud against her. Thus, she will be immediately sent away from being a slave.

 

          If the son takes another woman before coming together with this betrothed slavemaiden, and the son isn’t willing to make the other woman second to the slavemaiden, this also is a form of fraud against the slavemaiden, and has mandated her freedom.

 

          If the son comes together with this slavemaiden to whom he is betrothed, and then later takes another woman, and he isn’t willing to do the three things commanded to the slavemaiden, he again has defrauded her (cheated her). She must be freed. (I do not know if this constitutes a divorce since the only allowable divorce is for fornication.)

 

 

 

VI. Murderer and Manslayer (verses 12-13)

 

Anyone who smites a human such that he dies, the smiter shall be likewise made to die.

 

Now, if anyone killed another, and that person didn’t stalk the one he/she killed, and the Elohim situated the victim to the hand of the one who killed him, Yehovah will put a place to Israel so that this ‘manslayer’ will flee there.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     What does “The smiter of a man, and he will die” mean? This means that a man struck another man such that the other man died.

 

2.     What does “dying, he shall-be-made-to-die” mean? This means that this person must be put to death.

 

3.     Is Yehovah for capital punishment, or is He against capital punishment? Yehovah isn’t for death at all, but He commanded capital punishment for certain crimes. If He commands something, it is morally right.

 

4.     What does “the Elohim situated to his hand” mean? This means that Elohim (Gods) placed the one man (or woman) who is about to be accidentally killed into the hand of the other man (or woman) who is about to do the accidental killing. Thus, this accidental killing involves Elohim’s direct action. (Life and death are in Elohim’s hands.)

 

5.     What does “whoever did not stalk, and the Elohim situated to his hand, and I will put a place to thee that he will flee there” mean? This describes a man who didn’t stalk another person to kill him, and he didn’t plan to do so. Elohim placed the other man into the hand of the man who accidentally kills him. Elohim will designate (point out) a place for the accidental slayer so that the slayer will flee there. (He will be tried there, and if found to be an accidental slayer, he will remain there until the death of the High Priest—see Numbers 35, beginning at verse 9; you will have to read quite a few verses to see what is occurring.)

 

 

 

VII. Plotting Murderer (verse 14)

 

When a man will presume upon his neighbour (assume with arrogance in a prideful approach) to slay him via guile, Israel must take that person from being with Yehovah’s altar so that the man will die (being put to death).

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     What does presume mean in the Bible? It means to assume with arrogance. Assuming anything means that one figures that it is the case without checking it out. Assuming with arrogance means pridefully figuring that something is the case without a willingness to be corrected if it isn’t the case.

 

2.     How can a person presume upon his neighbour (to slay him via guile)? This person pridefully figures that he has the right to kill his neighbour, and that his neighbour deserves being killed. Thus, this person is behaving as a judge, the jury, and the executioner.

 

3.     Why must he slay him with guile? If he doesn’t, the neighbour might be able to defend himself!

 

4.     Why did Yehovah state, “thou shalt take him from with my altar to die”? Why was the man at Yehovah’s altar? If a person accidentally kills someone, that person can flee to a city of refuge where he will be safe until he is put on trial.

 

          If a person slays another using guile, that person might also flee to a city of refuge in order to make the claim that the killing was accidental!

 

          There is one detail this murderer doesn’t know: that Yehovah knows that he did his murder with presumption and via guile! Thus, Yehovah is quite capable of showing the truth of this to the judges at the city of refuge!

 

          Now, Yehovah is indicating that the murderer has fled to the city of refuge, and that he also has taken hold of the horns of the altar (see 1 Kings 2, especially at verse 28, but read the surrounding text to see an example) in order to avoid being killed until he will give his version of what took place. Once the judges find out that the man actually murdered his neighbour, they will take the man from the horns of the altar, and they will see that he is put to death.

 

 

 

VIII. Parent Murderer (verse 15)

 

Smiting (striking) one’s father and one’s mother is a death-penalty offense; that person must be put to death.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     What is a smiter of his father and his mother? This is one who strikes his father and his mother (that is, who hits them very hard, and not in play).

 

2.     Why is this a death penalty? This is also a type.

 

          First, the image of God is on these parents, and Yehovah gave these particular parents to this youth in order for these parents to benefit him. Smiting them, then, is an attack of Elohim.

 

          Secondly, these parents are a type, as proposed in the last chapter. The father, I proposed, typifies Avraham, and the mother Jerusalem. Smiting Avraham, the father of faith, and smiting Jerusalem, the free mother of all Israelis is striking out against the two by which Yehovah has brought Truth to all of Israel. That will lead to death, and not to life.

 

3.     Suppose that one’s father and mother are drowning; is smiting them in order to bring them to shore or to a ship also a death penalty? Doing what is necessary to save their lives is different, and is the right thing to do. Again, these things are types—pictures of actions and situations that are far more important. Smiting parents to save their lives is heroic.

 

 

 

IX. Kidnapper (verse 16)

 

Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him must be put to death.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     What is a stealer of a man? This is a kidnapper.

 

2.     If he sells him, how can he be found in his hand? This is describing two different cases, though it is connected by and in Hebrew. This is the way to read it: “And a stealer of a man, and he sells him; and a stealer of a man, and he will be found in his hand; dying, he shall be caused to die!” Whether the kidnapped person has been sold or not, the kidnapper will be put to death.

 

3.     Why is kidnapping a death penalty offense? This action violates ownership, destroys relationships, causes (and is) violence, and brings death. It brings the great mistreatment and murder of others as if they are worthless objects. It destroys society, causes wars, breeds bitterness, and is cruel.

 

          Yet, war is not wrong, though one can take others for slaves in a war. That is not kidnapping (according to the Bible). It is quite different from kidnapping since taking slaves in a war is acquiring very valuable acquisitions of others. A slave legitimately acquired can be so good for all involved (it can even be good for the one taken into slavery, as the Bible shows).

 

 

 

X. Light-Esteemer of Parents (verse 17)

 

Anyone who views parents with contempt as if they have little value must be put to death.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     What does lightly esteem mean? It means to view and treat as of little worth and value. It is why some show contempt for their parents and treat their parents as excess baggage to be dropped off and abandoned.

 

2.     Why is lightly esteeming father and mother a death penalty offense? This shows contempt for Yehovah who gave the father and mother, since the image of God is in the father and the mother, and they were given the role of God for a while in the life of the child. Yet, the type shown by this is very important.

 

          If Avraham is the father and if Jerusalem is the mother, lightly esteeming Avraham will not only stop one from having faith (since Avraham is the father of faith), but it will also lead to contempt for fellow-Israelis who are children of Avraham. Thus, it will lead to every form of mistreatment of others. Lightly esteeming Jerusalem will stop a person from heroism during the Tribulation, and will instead cause that person to focus on self-preservation (a form of selfishness) instead of focusing on preserving others. This will be one of the reasons why Yehovah’s wrath will be against Israel! Thus, such action is worthy of the death penalty since it causes great death among the Israelis (and others).

 

 

 

XI. Fighting and Reparations (verses 18-19)

 

Israeli men will fight. If one of them smites his neighbour via a stone or via a fist, and the neighbour doesn’t die, but he does fall to bed, if he later arises and walks on his own power into the outside upon his staff, the smiter will be innocent. In the meantime, however, the smiter must pay for whoever has to care for the man and for medical bills; the smiter must make sure the man is healed.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Will Israelis fight with each other? They will until they will all be born of God. Until that occurs, some of their fights will be severe.

 

2.     Is smiting a neighbour via a stone against the Torah? I haven’t seen where that is against the Torah, but the command to love one’s neighbour as oneself is part of the Torah, and using a stone or a rock in a fight isn’t normally a good way to show love toward a neighbour. If the one who is using the stone or rock is considerably weaker or smaller than the other, that might be the advantage needed to even out the fight, but it has its risks as the text will explain.

 

3.     What does “he will fall to bed” mean? This means that the hit with the rock/stone or with the fist was great enough, that the other person has been injured and cannot get up out of bed. This is quite an injury.

 

4.     The text continues, “if he will arise and he will walk himself into the outside upon his staff …” What does this mean? This means that the person who was injured was later able to get out of bed and was able to walk without aid, using his own staff to walk. Thus, the injury wasn’t permanent or very long-lasting.

 

5.     Why will the smiter be innocent in this case? The smiter didn’t do permanent damage to the injured person.

 

6.     What does the text require the smiter to do? The text requires the smiter to “give his sitting and healing”—that is, to pay for another to sit with the injured person until the person can get up, and to pay the medical bills and medication costs until the person can get up.

 

7.     The text states, “he will cause healing!” What does this mean? This means that the smiter must bring about the healing of the injured person! This can be very expensive; it might be worthwhile for the smiter to decide to not smite with his fist or with a rock/stone!

 

8.     Suppose that both men injure each other, and both are stuck in bed for a while. Are they even? No! They each must pay for the sitter for the other, for the medical bills for the other and the medication costs for the other! Their bills and costs might not be similar!

 

 

 

XII. Smiting a Slave (verses 20-21)

 

When a slavemaster smites a male or female slave via a rod, and the slave dies under his hand, vengeance must be taken for the slave.

 

If instead the slave arises in a day or several days, no vengeance will be taken for the slave since the slave is the silver of the slavemaster.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Is an Israeli in violation of the Torah if he/she smites a slave? No; this isn’t a violation as long as there is no permanent damage from the smiting.

 

2.     In the case that a slave dies under a smiting, the text states, “avenging, he shall be avenged.” It doesn’t say what will be done. What will be done in such a case? The slavemaster will be put to death. Though the person beaten was a slave, that doesn’t diminish the crime of murder that was committed.

 

3.     Explain this: “Only if he will arise a day or days, he will-not-be-avenged. For he is his silver”: If the slave that was beaten doesn’t die, and will be able to get out of bed in a day or two days, the slave won’t be avenged; nothing will happen to the slavemaster. The reason is given: the slave is the slavemaster’s ‘silver’—that is, he is his money! If the slavemaster wants to beat a slave, and have that slave useless for a time, such that the slavemaster must take care of the slave, that is the choice of the slavemaster. (If the slavemaster damages the slave, however, another text commands what must be done.)

 

4.     Doesn’t this paragraph permit the general mistreatment of slaves? It may appear to do that, but it doesn’t. The Torah is such that all of it must be taken together; taking only parts will certainly lead to taking it wrong!

 

          Some slaves are at first very unwilling to do what they are told; and sometimes what they are told to do is good, and not bad. The slavemaster must be careful to not permanently hurt the slave, however, since another text teaches that the slave must be released from slavery under that circumstance. If slavemasters were never permitted to strike their slaves who refused to work, no one would desire to be a slavemaster since almost no slaves would voluntarily work. The Bible shows a number of slaves and slavemasters who developed a relationship with each other that included great love and trust. Besides this, anyone entering into a marriage is volunteering to be a slave; anyone entering into the military is becoming a slave; slavery is a normal part of life.

 

          Now, some slavemasters are just evil. Yehovah later gives rulings about the treatment of slaves who run away. For example, if a slave runs away and comes to the home of another Israeli, that Israeli must treat that slave well, and that Israeli is not permitted to return the slave back to the slavemaster! The slavemaster must come for the slave on his own!

 

 

 

XIII. Pregnant Woman’s Injury during a Fight (verses 22-25)

 

Israelis will physically fight. If they will smite a pregnant woman in the process of fighting, and if her children will exit (from her womb), and there won’t be injury, there will still be a monetary fine for causing this birthing at this time. The husband of the woman will set the fine, and the one who smote the woman causing the birth will pay the fine. Deliberators will decide if the fine’s size is right, and the man will give according to the deliberators.

 

If, on the other hand, there will be injury, whatever the nature of the injury is, that will be done to the man who smote the pregnant woman!

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Why would men smite a pregnant woman? Normally, this is an accident. This text doesn’t make a distinction between an accident and an intentional attack on the pregnant woman; what must be done is the same.

 

2.     Why does the text state, “and her children will exit,” instead of this: “and her child will exit”? She might be carrying twins (or more). (He children exiting means that she gave birth.)

 

3.     What does amerced mean? This means to impose a financial penalty that is not fixed by any statute. The woman’s husband (along with deliberators) will determine how much the one who struck her and caused the premature birthing must pay.

 

4.     Why does the woman’s husband (and not the woman) get to set the amount that must be paid? Some women would feel very uncomfortable having to set a price for what took place. The husband is more likely to not be stressed by such a decision. Since the woman and her husband are one flesh, and since he wasn’t directly involved, he can participate in this way without being dishonoured for setting the price high.

 

5.     What is a deliberator? This is a person who thinks things (including very difficult things) through in order to reach a good decision.

 

          Folks who participate in a jury are supposed to deliberate on what they hear in court; they are supposed to carefully weigh all testimonies given to determine who is innocent and who is guilty, and whether the evidence presented is truly convincing evidence.

 

6.     How many deliberators will be involved? The text doesn’t give this information; the reader can tell that there are at least two. That way, the decision will probably be wiser.

 

7.     What occurs if the deliberators determine that the amount declared by the husband is too high or too low? I propose that the deliberators will change the amount to reflect what they feel is wise.

 

8.     What must be done if the woman is injured? Whatever the injury of the woman is, that same injury must be done to the man who injured her! Thus, if one of the two fighting men broke her leg, the judges will appoint someone to break the leg of the guilty man!

 

9.     Why is the Torah so hard on the man who accidentally harmed the woman while fighting with another Israeli? Every Israeli is a guard (‘keeper’) of his brother and his sister. Becoming angry at one Israeli, and then hurting another in the process of getting back at that Israeli is wrong. (The Israelis could have gone to the judges instead of fighting.) Thus, the retribution (payback) must be exactly according to the damage.

 

          The Israelis will usually fear this ruling, and will be careful to stop the fight when any woman comes into the area.

 

10.  What does under mean in “eye under eye,” etc.? It means in the place of. Thus, if the fighter puts out the woman’s eye, the fighter’s eye is put out in place of her eye that was put out.

 

11.  Suppose that the injury is to the baby—what is the ruling regarding this? Since the text doesn’t specify whether the injury is to the woman or to her children, I propose that the same would be true. If the baby dies, the man who struck the woman will be put to death (if I am right about this).

 

 

 

XIV. Damaging a Slave (verses 26-27)

 

A slavemaster who will smite a slave might put out the slave’s eye. If he does, he must send the slave to freedom in the place of his/her eye. The same is true regarding a tooth.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Does it matter if putting out the eye of a slave was an accident, or was intentional? It doesn’t matter.

 

2.     Why isn’t the eye of the slavemaster put out in an ‘eye-for-an-eye’ response? There isn’t a way to tell if the slave or slavemaiden was intentionally fighting with the slavemaster in a case where the slavemaster was truly being kind and very reasonable (even if there were witnesses, since things can be made to look like they are not). The slave/master relationship can start out being very adversarial (that is, with the slave seeing the slavemaster as a terrible enemy, and the slavemaster seeing the slave as doing everything to not participate in work that needs to be done). If there were danger of kind-for-kind retribution in such cases, a slave could intentionally receive payment to have his own eye put out, and then to claim that the slavemaster did it. This would make holding slaves very dangerous for even the best and kindest of slavemasters. Yehovah has limited the damage response to losing the slave.

 

3.     Supposing that both eyes are put out; wouldn’t sending the slave or slavemaiden to freedom be cruel, since he/she cannot do anything much for quite a while? Once the slave is free in Israel, the Israelis have other commands that take care of such cases. The Israelis must take care of their brethren who become poor.

 

4.     Only the blinding of an eye or the falling of a tooth is mentioned. Suppose that the little toe of the slave is broken; what must be done in that case? This must be asked: will the toe heal? The eye won’t, and the tooth won’t. If the toe won’t heal, the slave must be freed. If the toe will, the slave won’t be freed. (Time will tell.) Now, if the slavemaster causes the slave to lose a toe or a finger, the slave must be freed.

 

5.     Why does Yehovah pick things like the losing of a tooth when they are so minor compared to other things, and when the Torah is truly so short (in contrast to other bodies of ‘law’ in other lands)? Yehovah gave rulings in order to keep lives from being lost.

 

          Suppose that Yehovah had not covered this issue of slaves. Now, supposing that a man in Israel had a sister whom he loved, and who was married to a man who became poor. Suppose that the man with the sister couldn’t afford to pay for her freedom. Now, suppose that she had a tooth knocked out during an angry response of her slavemaster, and the slavemaster still kept her as a slave. Her brother, who loves her a great deal, might go to find the slavemaster, and might intentionally knock out three of his teeth. His kinfolks, hearing about this, might get together to go after this brother and his kin… This would begin a feud and much bloodshed. Thus, Yehovah ruled on such things so that like things could also be judged by judges, and so that feuding would be far less likely to occur, thus saving lives.

 

 

 

XV. A Goring Ox (verses 28-31)

 

An ox that gores a man or a woman to death must be stoned. No one is permitted to eat the flesh of the ox. The husband (ox owner and handler) is innocent.

 

On the other hand, if the ox gored yesterday or even three days ago, and someone testified this to the ox’s husbands (handlers), and the husband will not guard the ox, and the ox will cause a man or a woman to die, the ox will be stoned, and the ox’s husbands—he will also be put to death!

 

If a covering will be set upon the husband, the husband will give a redemption of his being according to all that will be set upon him!

 

If the ox will gore a son or a daughter, this same justice will be done to the husband.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Why must the ox be stoned to death instead of just being slaughtered? The ox has acted as a type—as if the ox were a group that committed murder! Therefore, the ox is treated as a murdering group and is stoned to death. The outrage of the Israeli community must be shown against this animal. This will also cause other oxen owners to fear so that they will be far more careful to keep their oxen from harming others. (An ox is very valuable; losing one is a great loss.) If the ox is stoned, it cannot be used for food.

 

2.     Who is he in, “And he shall not eat his flesh”? This refers to the owner, and to any Israeli (or sojourner).

 

3.     What does “the husband of the ox is innocent” mean? The husband of the ox is either the owner or the person taking care of the ox. That person didn’t do anything wrong since this is the first incident of the ox goring.

 

4.     What does “he gored from yesterday three days ago” mean? This means that the ox tried to ram someone with its horns yesterday, or three days ago, or sometime in the past (it could be two months ago!).

 

5.     Explain “he was testified via his husbands”: Someone told the husbands of the ox—that is, the ox tender(s) who take(s) care of the ox—that the ox has a tendency to try to gore humans, and that the animal is dangerous. If the husbands received this information, it changes everything!

 

6.     The text states, “and he will not guard him.” Does the husband of the ox refuse to guard the ox? Suppose that the husband was willing, but just couldn’t guard the ox for a short time; doesn’t that mean that he will guard him? The statement, “and he will not guard him,” has nothing to do with his willingness in his mind; it has everything to do with whether or not he has taken precautions and measures to make sure that the ox never has opportunity to gore anyone. If the husband permits the ox to take any opportunity to gore another person, that husband isn’t guarding the ox!

 

7.     Why must the husbands also be caused to die even if the ox broke down a fence (say), and then gored a man? The husbands knew very well of the danger. He could easily have had the ox dehorned! (A dehorned ox cannot gore; it can kick and stomp, but it can’t gore.) The owner could also have traded the ox to a butcher, and used the proceeds to purchase a more docile (quieter and calmer) ox.

 

          Once an Israeli knows the danger, and that Israeli is always his brother’s and sister’s keeper, that Israeli is responsible to take action, and to do it right away!

 

8.     How will the husband of the ox be caused to die? The text doesn’t say. Stoning would be appropriate, in some cases!

 

9.     The next verse states, “And if a covering will be set upon him…” What does this mean? Since the covering is connected to a redemption, I propose that this covering will keep the husband from being killed, and the redemption is what the husband must pay because of the death that the animal he was tending has caused.

 

10.  Under what circumstances might a covering keep the husband of the ox that gored from being put to death? I thought of several, and I suspect that you also can think of several circumstances. Here is one: Suppose that the owner of the ox didn’t know that the ox tended to gore humans. Now, suppose that the owner traveled to a distant part of Israel. In the meantime, while he is gone, he receives a communication from the person he put in charge to watch his oxen, and this communication tells him that his ox tried to gore one of the cowboys. This owner now knows, but he is still a distance from being home. Suppose he writes a communication back, telling the person in charge of the ox to keep the ox carefully tied up until he gets back, because he intends to use the ox in some form of work in which the ox won’t be dangerous. Now, the one in charge of the ox is the husband of the ox while the owner is out of town. He receives the note, and he carefully ties up the ox. In the meantime, the ox breaks loose. A cowboy is passing through the field, and the ox goes after him; the ox gores the cowboy, who then dies. Now, the husband of the ox tried to restrain him, and the owner told the husband of the ox to restrain him. The judges hear this case, and they put a covering on both men. They can’t blame the husband of the ox because the owner didn’t permit him to destroy the animal; they can’t blame the owner because the owner gave specific directions to keep the ox tied. Thus, I propose that the judges will set a covering upon the husband of the ox—the man hired, and he must give a redemption of his own being according to whatever is set upon him because though the ox escaped, it was his responsibility to make sure that the ox didn’t escape. If the man isn’t married, and if the cowboy was married, and she is now a widow, she might insist that his redemption be that he will take her husband’s place, and become her husband!

 

11.  Why is verse 31 necessary? If the ox (that has gored before) gores a child, someone might think that the child was foolish for being in the area of the ox, and that it was an accident. The Torah doesn’t permit this view; the ox was already dangerous, and it is up to the husband of the ox to make certain that the ox doesn’t hurt anyone!

 

12.  How could this justice be the means of making a proper law regarding someone who drives after having become a little drunk, and kills someone? While these Teachings are designed for the Israelis in the Land of Israel, the correctness and the justice of these teachings will sometimes be wise considerations when making laws in other countries and cultures.

 

          For example, here is a way that a law could be constructed in another country that would resemble this: Suppose that a person who has never been tipsy or drunk before becomes tipsy, and then drives. If that person hits and kills another person, manslaughter has taken place, and the laws regarding manslaughter should be enforced.

 

          Now, suppose that the person had previously become tipsy or drunk, and drove the car. This person now drives drunk again, and kills someone. This person should be held for murder since the person already has shown the tendency to drink and then drive, and also to be dangerous to others. Thus, this person should be put to death. (Of course, most places are doing away with capital punishment because of terrible justice inconsistencies that have put innocent folks to death, and because there isn’t the view that the image of God is on each person, making capital punishment both right and necessary when there is valid proof of murder.)

 

 

 

XVI. Ox Goring a Slave (verse 32)

 

If the ox will gore a male or female slave, the husband will give 30 shekels of silver to the slavemaster, and the ox will be stoned.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     Thirty shekels isn’t much at all—the equivalent of perhaps $50. Why is this all that occurs from an ox goring of a human? The text assumes that the reader realizes that this ox wasn’t previously known to try to gore and ram humans. This exchange of currency is more than what would have been exchanged if the person had not been a slave, since there would have been no monetary compensation or compensation of any kind. This ox goring destroyed the property of another: a slave. The 30 shekels should remind readers who have read the entire Bible of another incident in which this price was exchanged. (See Zechariah 11:12-13, Matthew 26:15, and Matthew 27:3-9.) This is the price of a slave.

 

2.     What will occur if the ox of a master kills that master’s slave? He cannot pay himself; he has lost a slave.

 

 

 

XVII. An Open Pit (verses 33-34)

 

When a man opens or digs a pit, it is up to the man to provide a cover for the pit that will keep humans and large animals from falling into the pit. If the man who opens or digs the pit doesn’t provide such a cover, and an ox or an ass falls into the pit, the husband of the pit (the one who is responsible for the pit being opened or dug) will make peace. He will return silver to the husbands of the dead animal; he will now own the dead animal.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     What does this text mean by cover him? It refers to placing something over the entire hole so that even a large animal cannot fall into this hole. (Of course, the man could put a fence around the hole, but that would defeat the purpose.)

 

2.     What is the purpose of digging such a hole? There can be a number of reasons. It might be to start a well; it might be to trap deer or similar animals; it might be to catch a lion; it might be to look for minerals or for valuable items in the ground that can be used for various purposes; it might be to catch rainwater… Regardless of its purpose, if an ox or ass owned by someone else falls into this pit, the one who dug the pit must compensate (pay out for damages).

 

3.     Suppose that the animal falls into the pit, but isn’t hurt; must the one who dug the pit pay something? This text assumes that the animal that fell into the pit was harmed or killed. If the animal isn’t harmed or killed, the one who dug the pit must get the animal out of the pit.

 

4.     What does “thereward” mean? This is a coined word(a made-up word) that means toward there—toward the pit (the bottom of the pit), in this case.

 

5.     What does “the husband of the pit will make peace” mean? The husband of the pit is the one who dug the pit. (This could easily be a worker who was told to dig the pit.) This person must make peace—that is, must pay a reasonable price for the damages so that theowner of the harmed or dead animal doesn’t feel as if he had been cheated regarding the actual value of the animal.

 

6.     Suppose that the animal that was harmed or killed was a pet or a prize animal to the owner; how would peace be made? In very difficult cases like that, where the owner has a value on the animal that is far above any market price (the price that would normally be paid for the animal at a place where animals are sold), the judges in the city gates will hear, and will determine what must be done.

 

          There are some folks with whom peace just cannot be made; they will insist on being unreasonable no matter what. Some of them try to make a huge profit from such a case. The judges at the gate will hear such cases, and they will force a peace on that man even if he doesn’t like it; the peace that must be made also has Yehovah in mind!

 

7.     What does “He will return silver to his husbands” mean? This means that he won’t give an animal for an animal, but will instead pay a price in silver (it doesn’t say, in gold).

 

8.     Why must the price be in silver? Why didn’t the text specify that silver or gold could be used? All of these texts are types—pictures of things that are even more important. Silver is a picture of redemption in the Bible. To redeem (with this kind of redemption) is to pay a price in order to bring a person from some sort of a held state—like being held as a hostage, as a slave, as a prisoner, etc. The one paying the silver is thus redeeming the dead animal! The dead animal therefore becomes “to him” (becomes his).

 

9.     Suppose that he doesn’t want the dead animal; can he leave the animal in the pit, and cover it? He can do whatever he wants with the animal. He cannot tell the previous owner to come and get it! It is now the property of the one who dug the pit, and it is also his problem!

 

10.  If the animal is an ox, and it just recently fell into the pit and died, can the new owner eat the animal? Yes!

 

 

 

XVIII. Ox Duel (verses 35-36)

 

If one ox of one man attacks another ox of a neighbour, and the neighbour’s ox dies, both men must sell the living ox. They must then halve the silver for the ox. They will also halve the dead ox.

 

If it was known that the ox gored yesterday or even three days ago, and his husbands will not guard the ox, that owner must make peace, replacing the ox with one of his own oxen (or acquiring an equivalent ox for the victim’s husband). The owner of the goring ox will now own the dead ox.

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     What must they do if an ox attacks and kills two oxen of his neighbour? If no one knew that the ox showed this behaviour before, the living ox must be sold, and half its value must be given to the owner of the dead oxen; and half the price of another ox of equal value must be given by the husband of the ox that gored; and both dead animals must be halved between the husband and the owner of the dead oxen. It will come out equal for both.

 

          If the oxen’s reputation as a gorer was already established, however, peace must be made, and the two dead oxen will then belong to the husband of the goring ox. This could become quite expensive! 

 

 

 

XIX. Animal Theft (verse 37)

 

A sheepstealer or an ox thief who slaughters or sells the animal must make peace with the owner. Making peace includes this: he must give five animals of the herd in the place of the ox, and four of the flock in the place of the sheep!

 

 

 

Questions

 

1.     What must be done to a man who steals an ox or a sheep, and is found with the animal alive and unsold? I can only propose an equitable solution, since I don’t know. I propose that instead of five of the herd, he will return the ox with four other oxen; instead of four of the flock, he will return the sheep with three other sheep.

 

2.     What will happen to the thief if he cannot cover these costs? He will become a slave of the man or woman from whom he tried to steal. If the man or woman doesn’t want him, the man or woman can sell him to another Israeli who can deal with such a person with ease.

 

3.     Why are the rates for oxen and sheep different—that is, five of the herd under the ox, and four of the flock under the sheep? Stealing an ox is stealing an Israelis tractor! It is taking away not only an animal that could be eaten, but also one that can be used to farm and raise crops! Therefore, the theft was much more severe than the theft of a sheep.

 

          (Now, if that sheep were like a daughter, that is a very different case, again! In such a case, the judges will determine what to do. King David almost ordered the death of a man who took the only sheep of another man; King David almost ordered his own death! See 2 Samuel 12!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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