“Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death. 13 But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee. 14 But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
15 “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.
16 “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.
17 “Whoever curses[c] his father or his mother shall be put to death.
18 “When men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist and the man does not die but takes to his bed, 19 then if the man rises again and walks outdoors with his staff, he who struck him shall be clear; only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall have him thoroughly healed.
20 “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money. (Exodus 21:12-21)
Quotes & Notes
So often when the modern man (us) comes to laws like these, we immediately begin looking for excuses and explanations to explain them away, for they are not comfortable to our modern sensibilities of God and the radical liberalism we have been indoctrinated in. While indeed, not all the civil penalties remain for us today, we should first take these penalties at face value and accept them as good.
The death penalty, rightly administered, protects life, honors life, and respects life. The death penalty is meant to restrain violence and evil. And thus it honors and respects the Giver of Life.
Those who oppose the death penalty, actually dishonor and harm life, and thus dishonor God, the Giver of Life.
God cares about the protection of life because man is made in the image of God.
As John Frame has put it, “The slayer is impressed with the need to be careful with human life, to avoid even the possibility of its unjust destruction. Similarly, Jesus in Matthew 5 places a high priority on the sanctity of life. He tells us to guard against even the causes of murder (anger – a potential cause).”
Hebrews 6:18 – Jesus Christ is our city of refuge. “…we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”
We are guilty sinners, deserving of death from the righteous wrath of God. Christ is where we find refuge from wrath and death, and in Him we are saved.
As Gary North says, “Men who strive together in private battle testify to their own lack of self-discipline.”
As Gary North puts it, “The theocentric principle here is obvious: God the Father must not be attacked by His children.”
Gary North again, “To strike an earthly parent is the covenantal equivalent of striking at God. It is an act of moral rebellion so great that the death penalty is invoked.”
Proverbs 20:20, “If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.”
“Cursing” parents is the opposite of honoring parents. The primary intent of the command to honor parents is for adult children to honor and care for their older parents. Cursing them would include refusing care for them, leaving them for dead, essentially.
Laws against cursing parents is typological of cursing God and dying.
Jesus became a curse for us, and died in our place that we might live and be freed from the penalty of the law.
Why is the person in possession of a stolen person also guilty of criminal activity? Purchasers of stolen men are creating a market for the crime of man-stealing.
We are deserving of death, the eternal death penalty before God. “Morality may keep you out of jail, but only the blood of Jesus can keep you out of hell,” (Spurgeon).