Saturday, June 28, 2008

Judicial Laws of Moses (11) - Personal Injury

The second half of Exodus 21 deals with protection from personal injury. The modern terms are assault and murder. Murder is the most serious form of assault. These laws are expressed in the same way as those that deal with protection of property.

If a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning… (v.14).
If men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist… (v.18).
If a man hits his manservant or maidservant with a rod… (v.21).
If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely… (v.22).
If a man hits a manservant or maidservant in the eye and destroys it… (v.26).
If a bull gores a man or a woman to death… (v.28).
If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it… (v.33)
If a man's ox butts another's… (v.35).
These laws define the scope of assault. The most serious assault is murder. The more common assault is one person striking another with his fist or a weapon. The definition of assault includes a careless action that causes another person to come to harm. It extends to harm done to animals.

These laws against assault are universal in application. They are not directed to a particular people, but to all people everywhere.

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