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Exodus 21:12-27, The Law concerning Violence

Tuesday, June 12

"There Are Four Lights!"

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Years ago there was a memorable episode of Star Trek, The Next Generation. Captain Picard was taken hostage and tortured for information that would help his enemies defeat Star Fleet. His captor worked tirelessly to break him, insisting that he proclaim that the four lights he saw were five lights. The most heart-wrenching revelation about the torture was when, after his rescue, he confided to his counselor that at the end, he believed he could see five lights. 

We were not created to inflict atrocities against one another. We were created to live in harmony and to give each other the respect we all deserve and the respect we desire for ourselves. But we don't yet live in such a world. We live in a world where violence, including torture, human trafficking, rape, and murder exist. Maybe we can't stop all violence from happening. But we can work toward minimizing the damage done by violence. Here are some resources for organizations that work toward stopping violence and human rights violations.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Exodus 21:12-27

Whoever strikes a person mortally shall be put to death. If it was not premeditated, but came about by an act of God, then I will appoint for you a place to which the killer may flee. But if someone willfully attacks and kills another by treachery, you shall take the killer from my altar for execution. Whoever strikes father or mother shall be put to death. Whoever kidnaps a person, whether that person has been sold or is still held in possession, shall be put to death. Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death. 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. When a slave owner strikes a male or female slave with a rod 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.

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. 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.