"The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust Him." Nahum 1:7
Text: Exodus 21 : 15-17
NEVER EASY TO ADMINISTER JUSTICE
As may be expected, it is not easy to administer and ensure full justice to be served! Yet every effort must be made. The deictic commandments must always be borne in mind. The other judgments of the Lord must also be studied most carefully and applied vigorously!
THE DEATH PENALTY TO BE APPLIED TO OTHER SITUATIONS
The death penalty was not restricted to just premeditated murder! Let us consider other circumstances where this penalty may apply.
“And he who strikes his father or his mother
shall surely be put to death.
He who kidnaps a man and sells him,
or if he is found in his hand, shall surely
be put to death.
And he who curses his father or his mother
shall surely be put to death.”
1. Where the 5th Commandment is severely violated
This deictic commandment insists that one’s parents must be honored! To strike one’s parents, or to curse them could lead to capital punishment! The full force of the law allows for this! However, it does not follow that the slightest misdemeanor would lead to an automatic application of the death penalty! The judges would have to use astute wisdom to determine what kind of penalty would be meted out against the offender!
2. The crime of kidnapping
The crime of kidnapping is seen as particularly onerous for two special reasons:-
a) Kidnapping is a most serious crime against an individual
There are many types of crimes! Pre-meditated murder ranks as one of the highest and most offensive of crimes. Kidnapping is a close second!
b) Kidnapping is a violation against a brother
Ultimately, Israel must appreciate that they are “brothers”. All came from the loins of Jacob! Thus to kidnap a brother and then to sell him away must be recognized as a crime that is most reprehensible! The most severe deterrent punishment may be meted out against the offender!
THE DECALOGUE AND THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF ISRAEL
It is vital to note that the Decalogue was not just “the moral law”. It was tied in very closely to the judicial system. These laws were enforceable in Israel! The judgments that God gave to Moses would enable the judges to know how to apply the Decalogue! Much wisdom would be needed before these laws could be applied correctly!