Daily Devotions


Day 176

"Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11

Text: Exodus 21 : 28-30


God’s laws given to Israel were truly outstanding! They extended to animals! Laws were necessary, to avoid the problem of abuse! Owners were generally held responsible for the behaviour of the animals they owned!


There were occasions when animals become rogues. This was recognized in the following text.

“If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, then the ox
shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten;
but the owner of the ox shall be acquitted.”
EXODUS 21:28

Animals can become wild and uncontrollable for different reasons. It may be diseased. It may be hurt. It may be harassed! And thus the enraged rogue animal may gore people to death!

The owner may be sued. The judge would have to determine if the owner may be held responsible! He may be acquitted by the judge, if he can prove that his animal was not known to have such rogue tendencies!

The animal that has become a rogue must be put down! The flesh of the slain animal is not to be consumed! This is to emphasize that this was not an ordinary animal that was bred for consumption!


In another set of circumstances, an animal may have been known to have such violent tendencies! How does the law treat such an instance?

“But if the ox tended to thrust with its horn in times past,
and it has been made known to his owner, and he has not
kept it confined, so that it has killed a man or a woman,
the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death.
If there is imposed on him a sum of money, then he shall pay
to redeem his life, whatever is imposed on him.”
EXODUS 21:29-30

1. Where the owner has not taken necessary precautions

The owner should have taken special precautions to ensure that his ox may not hurt innocent people! When he neglects, or refuses to take responsibility, he is held accountable!

2. A heavy fine or even the death penalty!

The judge may determine that the owner was so wicked that he allowed his ox to cause grievous hurt or even to cause death, without any sense of concern or regard for people. In this case, the judge may impose the death penalty! But under certain mitigating circumstances, the owner may be let off with a severe fine!