Fights and injuries (Ex 21:18-21:27)

“When individuals quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or fist so that the injured party, though not dead, is confined to bed, but recovers and walks around outside with the help of a staff, then the assailant shall be free of liability, except to pay for the loss of time, and to arrange for full recovery.”

If you cause injury to another  so that they are  confined to bed, but they recover, you only have to pay for his loss of time. I guess the idea behind this is that you should help someone to recover if you have hit them.

“When a slave owner strikes a male or female slave with a staff and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished.  But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment.  For the slave is the owner’s property.” 

Once again, the slave owner can practically do anything to his slave because he or she is their property.  Property rights trump all other rights.  However, the one exception is death.  There is no indication what the punishment is.

“When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine.  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.”

If you hit a pregnant woman so that it causes a miscarriage, you have to pay the fine that the woman’s husband demands as approved by a judge.  If any harm follows, you end up with the famous revenge concept of a life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.  This revenge concept is clear, even though it is limited revenge.

“When a slave owner strikes the eye of a male or female slave, destroying it, the owner shall let the slave go, a free person, to compensate for the eye.  If the owner knocks out a tooth of a male or female slave, the slave shall be let go, a free person, to compensate for the tooth.”

If a slave owner destroys either an eye or a tooth of a male or female slave then the slave shall be let go, a free person, to compensate for the loss.  Property rights outweigh human rights.  You could beat slaves, but if they lost an eye or tooth, they were to be set free.  This is an indication of how important the eye and teeth were in the revenge concept, ‘an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth.’

           

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