EXODUS 21
Enter subtitle here


1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.

The law of Moses had not only to do with individual and national life, and with the foreshadowing of divine principles and purposes, but it had to do with the relations of man to fellow man. It laid down rules for the regulation and adjustment of temporal dealings. It defined a policy of what is called civil law. And in this department it as much excelled the jurisprudence of Gentile nations as we should expect the divine would exceed the human.

The contrast at the present moment is not so great as it would have been if Gentile law had not imitated some of the features of the Mosaic original. It is not at first obvious that this imitation has taken place. A study of historic development and the characteristics of human nature brings the fact to the clearness of a self-evident truth.

The Mosaic is particularly distinguished from all Gentile systems in the responsibility it scrupulously fosters with regard to the bearing of individual action upon one's neighbour and one's self--a feature largely incorporate in British law, though not so universally and consistently carried out as in the Mosaic original. Individual action was so strictly guarded by the principle of responsibility as to make Israelites particular at every turn as to how their actions bore upon others.

A man was liable for any suffering or loss caused either by what he did or what he failed to do.

...A system of national life based upon such principles of individual action was certain to be pure and noble and holy. But, alas! the basis proved only theoretical. The law was all that could be desired--holy, just, and good. But Israel were forgetful and so disobedient. The law fell into disuse, and Israel became worse than the surrounding nations.

Law of Moses Ch 10



22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

In all manner of loss, whether of ass, ox, sheep, raiment, or lost thing, the cause of the parties was to come before the judges, and the responsible party was to pay double (we don't read of "costs": the judges were to investigate as a matter of duty, and the parties to plead their own cause).

Justice was quick and cheap, and anyone refusing to submit to the award was to be put to death.

Law of Moses Ch 10