Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Judicial Laws of Moses (14) - Limited Justice

The judicial laws of Exodus 22:12-22:16 have just two objectives.

  • Protection of Property
  • Protection of Human Life
God has specified only two types of sin for which remedy or punishment can be imposed by a human court. In a biblical system of justice, judges are limited to dealing with two types of activity.
  • Theft or damage to property
  • Physical injury to a human person.
The first type of sin is actions that harm the property of other people. This ranges from theft to careless actions that harm to another person’s property. The following are specifically mentioned in the judicial laws.
  • Stealing another person’s property (Ex 22:1).
  • Breaking into another person’s house (Ex 22:2).
  • Allowing animals to wander and destroy another person’s crop (Ex 22:5).
  • Allowing fire to spread and destroy another person’s property (Ex 22:6).
  • Losing money that has been handed over for safekeeping (Ex 22:7). (This is an important principle for banking).
  • Careless care of another person’s property that results in damage (Ex 22:10-13).
  • Damaging animals or equipment that has been borrowed. (Ex 22:14-15).
The second type of sin consists of actions that injure the body of another person. This covers the range from an accidental assault to murder. The following are specifically mentioned in the judicial laws.
  • Assault (Ex 21:18-19).
  • Murder with intention to kill (Ex 21:14).
  • Manslaughter (Ex 21:13).
  • Assaulting a parent is particularly serious, because God requires children to honour their parents (Ex 21:15).
  • Kidnapping is a serious assault, because it involves theft of another person’s life (Ex 21:16).
  • A serious curse can do as harm a person’s body more than a blow with a fist (Ex 21:17).
  • Assaulting and employee (Ex 21:20-21).
  • An innocent bystander being injured by men fighting with each other (Ex 21:22-25).
  • Allowing an animal or machinery to hurt another person (Ex 21:28-32).
  • Leaving a hazard unguarded that hurts another person (Ex 21:33-36).
  • Sexual seduction is a serious of assault (Ex 22:16-17).
The Bible has no distinction between criminal law where crimes are enforced by the state in criminal courts and civil law where breaches are pursued by individuals in civil courts. The concept of an offence or crime against the state simply does not exist in the scripture. The only distinction is between sins that affect property and those that harm the person. God is offended by both types of sin and his judges are responsible for dealing with both types of offence.

2 comments:

brandbuster said...

IMHO God and his Son are the only righteous Judges capable of determining a persons worth. And as we are told He has determined that the life of a SINNER is worth the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son. Money is a poor subsitute when God has already given the Life of His precious Son as A ransom for the same life.
This scripture really supports the death penalty, but who is worthy of judging a man or casting the first stone? There can be no Justice without righteousness, and there can be no righteousness without Christ so therefore if we would pursue Justice we must needs to preach Christ.
As for the life insurance industry we know for sure that their assment of a life's worth must not be trusted because of two things 1.they sell product and thereby get gain by fear mongering therfore can not please God because they procede from fear not faith.
2.they serve money not people ie they don't want to payout and do often escape on technicalities.
Gareth Morgan wrote a good book about Kiwisaver called Kiwisafer which is an eyeopener about the corruption of Multinational insurance companies.

RonMcK said...

I would not trust the insurance companies either. All I was doing was using them as an example to show that it is possible to make a reasonable, but not perfect, judgement about what a life or loss of a limb or organ is worth. Courts make similar decisions. Therefore we cannot reject the concept, by saying it is imposssible.

Only God can do this perfectly and he will make perfect judgment at the end of the age. In the interim, he expects humans to make judgments, because we are created in his image. If human communities are unwilling to make judgments, then murderers and violent people will be unrestrained.