"The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked..." Nahum 1:3
Text: Exodus 21 : 12-14
DEVELOPING A GOOD JUDICIAL SYSTEM
The Ten Commandments covered man’s relationship with God! It also generally touched on how people were to relate to each other! Obviously, the Decalogue could not cover many other areas that were also very important.
God developed a sound judicial system that Moses was entrusted to give to the children of Israel! The first set of laws concerned slaves. Other laws had to be enacted to govern the young nation! Inevitably, there would be times when there would be conflicts! How should these conflicts be resolved, especially when the Decalogue did not cover these situations in sufficient detail? The answer lay in the development of a good judicial system!
THE LOSS OF LIFE
The 6th commandment clearly states, “You shall not murder” (Cf. Exodus 20:13). Murder involves the taking of another person’s life! The essence of the 6th commandment was pre-meditated murder! But what happens when a life is lost, but it was not premeditated murder?
“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely
be put to death. However, if he did not lie in wait,
but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint
for you a place where he may flee. But if a man acts with
premeditation against his neighbour, to kill him by treachery,
you shall take him from My altar, that he may die.”
1. Capital punishment
Pre-meditated murder is seen as a heinous crime! The death penalty may be declared if guilt can be proven! The highest penalty is to be considered so that people would not be tempted to take the life of another person easily!
2. Careful examination of murder cases
While the law allows for capital punishment, it does not follow that every death is committed by premeditated murder! God provided a special “place” or “refuge” to which he may run, until justice is served!
3. The Altar of the Lord
Sanctuary may be granted to people who may have caused death. A violent struggle may result in death. But it could be a case of self-defence! Till the judges arrive at the verdict of “Guilty” the individual will be guaranteed protection. He is to be considered innocent until proven guilty!
However, if he is proven and adjudged guilty, he may be dragged from the altar of God to face the music! God’s clemency does not extend to wicked murderers!