"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD!" Psalm 119:1
Text: Exodus 21 : 22-25
WHEN BYSTANDERS ARE INVOLVED
Fights can become very nasty! Fights often attract a crowd! If the fight is long and difficult, some bystanders may end up being hurt inadvertently. Such seemed to be the case as described in the following text:
“If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that
she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows,
he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s
husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life,
eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
1. The case of the pregnant woman
We are not told why she was there at the scene where a violent fight scene was taking place! Was she a concerned party? Perhaps!
2. Premature birth
Somehow, the fight affected the pregnant woman adversely. She had to give birth prematurely! Somehow, she sustained a serious enough injury that triggered off the premature birth! Who is responsible?
3. The one who caused the pre-mature birth to occur
The law holds responsible the person who caused the woman to give birth prematurely. Two component parts made up the penalty imposed:-
a) The husband of the injured woman may make a demand
Law courts in those days were not terribly sophisticated. Thus, the husband of the woman may suggest to the judge what he believes to be fair payment for the injury sustained!
b) The Final decision
The enraged and aggrieved husband may make demands, but ultimately it would be the judges who would decide on the penalty that would be imposed on the guilty!
4. In the event of death
Whose death it is we are not informed! It could well be e reference to the death of the baby. It could also refer to the death of the mother. It could even, in the worst case, refer to the deaths of both mother and child!
The death penalty may be applied to the person who caused death! The judges would have to make a very careful study of the circumstances before they can mete out the correct judgment!