Eye For Eye and Tooth for Tooth; What a Loving Law!

No, the title is not intended to be sarcastic. Before one ever thinks, “what a sadistic law”, one should meditate on the following:

1. The King/Lawgiver, YHVH knows what love is better than we do.

2. He loves His people and gave us a “perfect law” (Psalm 19:7-11).

3. The Messiah said that “all the law” hangs on “love YHVH...” and “love thy neighbor...” (Matthew 22:35-40).

After you have meditated on the former, meditate on the law in question. If you still cannot figure out how this law is “perfect” and “loving”, then just take the Father's and the Messiah's word for it. Keep meditating on it and follow His laws and you will gain more understanding (Psalm 111:10; 119:97-104).

Many who have heard of this commandment and are reading this will likely think of when the Messiah referenced this command. Many also have incorrectly understood the Messiah's sayings and incorrectly concluded that the Messiah did away with that law. The Messiah did not do away with any law, He expounded on them and gave a more complete understanding of them. Let us look closer to the Messiah's statements when He said, “turn the other cheek”.

Matthew 5:38-39 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

The word “smite” used in verse 39 is from the Greek word “rhapizô” which means, “to smite in the face with the palm of the hand, to box the ear”. This was a “slap” (some translations translated “rhapizô” to “slap”). Men do not fight by slapping another one's face. This slap was done as an insult and may be done to egg-on a fight. The Messiah here is saying, “the law states, 'eye for eye and tooth for tooth', but we should not trade insults for insults. If one insults you, let him insult you again.” The Messiah was NOT telling people to let people beat you up and not fight back!

Let us look at the “Eye for Eye” commandment.
“And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.” - Leviticus 24:19-20

By having this wise and loving law, the following will likely happen:
1. When two brothers (children of the Most High) fight, they need to stay in control of themselves and know that any major damage that they do will cost them. We have come so far from righteousness. At one time, men fought like men. They, for the most part, did not take below the belt, cheap shots. When they had the opportunity to break a bone or gouge an eye out, they did not take it. This is how fights should be done. I'll also point that there is no command against fighting. [There are many related commands and wise principles and guidelines, such as not hanging around angry men (Proverbs 22:24) and that we need to have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness (Galatians 5:22) but no law that says, “thou shall not fight”]. Men will likely fight; but when they fight, they should fight like respectable men.

2. In the U.S. today, we hardly ever try to work our damages out with our neighbor before taking them to court. This has been a factor in creating a huge legal industry. We have a higher percentage of lawyers than any other nation. The “Eye for Eye” law is designed to force one to go to their brother and make amends. If two brothers fight and one breaks the other one's arm, both brothers know what the exact penalty will be if they cannot make amends and take it to the courts. The brother that did the damage will work hard trying to work out a deal for compensation, and the other brother will likely also try hard to work out a deal, as he will not be compensated monetarily if no deal was made. They cannot sue for a ridiculous amount and just let the judge decide how much they are compensated. They know that if it makes it to court; that one will likely get his arm broken, and the other will get nothing*.
In today's society, if one breaks another one's arm, one or both of the men could go to jail, costing tax payers much money. After a conviction, the one with the broken arm might hire a lawyer and sue the one who caused the damage; then the judge will determine the compensation. Chances are; these two people will hate each other forever. If they went to the same church, they would likely split and no longer be “brothers”. With the Father's system, there is a much greater chance for spiritual healing and less drain on the courts. Again, the Perfect King/Lawgiver gave us a perfect law. A law that shows love to our neighbor better than any other law could.

* For a serious injury where one man is bedridden, the penalty was not to make the other bedridden; but to “pay for the loss of his time and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed” (Exodus 21:18-19). This also makes sense. If one is put into a coma for 9 days, how will you put another into a coma for that specific amount of time? If one broke the other’s back and will need to be taken care of for the rest of his life, does it make sense to cause twice the drain on society by breaking the other man’s back? This will also force the man that caused the damage to desire that the man become totally healed and to ensure that he does everything he can to make that happen (lots of opportunity for spiritual healing between the two). It will also not penalize the assembly, but the penalty will be only on the man that caused the damage.

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