The Criminal Code of Ancient Israel

Slavery in the Bible vs. Jails and prisons: A comparison of two systems

No Jails in the law of Moses

No Jails in Judaism.

God's perfect justice system had no jails!

God chose slavery rather than prison

Slavery Instead of Jails in Mosaic Legal System!
Have you ever noticed that there were no prisons in the law of Moses? People were stoned, beaten, fined but
NEVER sent to prison or confined in any way including shackles or stocks etc. This brand new study sheds a positive light on the role slavery had in rehabilitating criminals and providing welfare for the poor. Confinement was something completely foreign in the Jewish Legal system.

 

Introduction:

  1. God never instructed Jews in the Law of Moses to ever put anyone in prison. There were no jails in the original judicial system of the Hebrews.
    1. In place of prisons, God provided a better system: slavery.
    2. Confinement of any type including jail, stocks, shackles, hooks etc. was something completely foreign in the Jewish Legal system.
  2. Jails predated the law of Moses (1446 BC) by over 500 years.
    1. Joseph confined to a pit by his brothers and was also cast into prison in Egypt around 1905 BC.
    2. Two weeks before the Law of Moses was given on Mt. Sinai, a man was put in confinement (jail) in the wilderness of Sin for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. This was before the law of Moses was revealed: "Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation; and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.”" (Numbers 15:33–35)
    3. Samson was cast in a Philistine prison in Gaza in 1050 BC.
    4. The first time anyone is cast into an Israeli/Hebrew prison was Ahab in 853 BC (1 Kings 22:27).
    5. In 650 BC, the Assyrians captured Manassah and he was carried away bound in chains with a hook in his nose: "Therefore the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon." (2 Chronicles 33:11)
    6. In face all the surrounding nations had prisons but not Israel as a direct provision of the law. Later in Israel's history, especially in the period starting with the kings, there were prisons.

  1. Every legal system in the world is based upon the Old Testament Law of Moses.
    1. The Mosaic judicial and penal system was all encompassing, complex and divinely inspired.
    2. We have come to accept jail as a standard method of "corrections" when in fact it has never been God's way.
    3. Jails and prisons are man's invention.
    4. Jails are destructive to individuals, costly to society and ineffective in correcting anyone.
  2. Slavery is a much better system than sending someone to jail for a long list of reasons.
    1. Slavery in the Bible is a perfect system that would work perfect even today but few understand the original system.
    2. We should abolish jails and the welfare system then re-institute slavery according to the Law of Moses as a substitute solution for both.
  3. Master summary chart:

Huge social, economic and personal benefits of slavery over jail and welfare.

Comparison of welfare system, criminal codes and Penal System

Law of Moses: slavery for criminals and poor

Modern Prison system of Jails or welfare for poor

No Jails in Israel even though all surrounding nations had them. In 1905 BC Joseph was thrown in a prison in Egypt.

Many Jails

Nobody ever put in jail

Millions locked up in jails

Criminals or poor are slaves of individuals

Criminals are slaves of the state. Poor dependent on state.

A man of bad character lives with a normal, well adjusted hard working and successful family as a positive mentor and role model.

All criminals of bad character are together, influencing each other for the worse. "Bad company corrupts good morals", further corrupting society.

Criminals or poor are put to work in private businesses, are productive and learn a trade.

No work at all. Totally unproductive.

Criminals or poor are employed and therefore add positively to GDP (gross domestic product) and add value to the economy.

Criminals cost $100,000-150,000 per inmate per year to the economy causing a negative downward drag in the GDP. Welfare costs $20,000 per year.

Criminals and poor can get married and have children adding new market share to the economy and causing economic growth.

Criminals cannot get married or have children in prison, thus forcing immigration of people who bring in a new culture and religion that slowly replaces that of the native population further corrupting society.

The criminals or poor remain autonomous and self-reliant in all areas of personal life and must prepare their own food, make their own clothes, get their own firewood and build their own shelters.

Criminals become dependent for food, clothing, heat, shelter, further corrupting society.

Rebellious and disobedient slaves with no self-discipline were transformed into people of good character when they were beaten with rods as discipline but if they suffered any physical abuse where they were disabled for more than two days or suffered from such beatings a broken tooth, arm, blindness to an eye, they were automatically freed as a slave.

Ineffective methods like time out benches, loss of privileges, solitary confinement.

Slavery could only last a max of 7 years then they were released on the Sabbatical 7th year.

Prisoners can be put in jail for life.

When Slaves "have done their hard time as slaves" they are rehabilitated and productive members of society the day they walk free with a real world skill set and practical apprentice-like trade experience and are valuable to others to hire.

Prisoners leave jail unable to function on a daily basis or get a job because they are just as unskilled as the day they arrived in jail so they go from jail to welfare.

Often slaves opted to remain slaves for life to their original slave owner after they were freed because they saw how much better their life was as a slave, then it would be by themselves as freemen.

No one enjoys their time in jail or chooses to go back. Those who do, are total misfits anyways and proof that jails are "club Fed".

Slaves were treated like modern employees.

Prisoners are treated like animals.

Slaves rated their experience with the slave owner as positive

Prisoners rate their experience in jail as negative.

Slavery gave the poor a "working wage" when they worked so their children would be taught the work ethic.

The children of welfare parents often end up on welfare themselves because they never saw or learned a work ethic, further corrupting society.

Slavery begets children who are productive.

Welfare begets children on welfare, further corrupting society.

God's superior plan was slavery not jails for criminals and the poor

Man inferior plan is slavery in jails and a lifetime of dependence on welfare, further corrupting society.

Slavery transforms bad people into good people.

Jail and welfare transforms bad people into even worse people.

Slavery works better than a prison system or welfare.

Prison system is ineffective. Welfare will only be effective when it is turned into WORKFARE.

 

I. The Legal system in ancient Israel was sophisticated:

 

Law

 

Courts

(gates, cities of Refuge)

 

Mosaic

Judiciary

 

Rules of evidence

(2-3 witnesses)

 

Judges

 

  1. The court system: The Old Testament had an entire hierarchy of lower and higher ranking judges identical to our legal system today. You could appeal cases to the "supreme court" who had a final say.
    1. The first Mosaic courts were Moses himself at Sinai when he would judge all cases himself. Jethro, his father-in-law, suggested he set up system with a military like hierarchy of "leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens". The pattern was set up so that only the most difficult cases were brought to Moses. The same carried over in Canaan after the conquest. If the ordinary appointed judges could not figure out a solution, they were brought to a high ranking priest or judge in a city of refuge.
    2. “It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?” Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. “When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. “You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. “Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. “Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. “If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.” So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. They judged the people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor dispute they themselves would judge. Then Moses bade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way into his own land.” (Exodus 18:13-27)
    3. “If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses. “So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case. “You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the Lord chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you. “According to the terms of the law which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. “The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. “Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again.” (Deuteronomy 17:8-13)
  2. Courts: city gates and Cities of refuge: There were six cities of refuge distributed geographically as a place to run to hear your legal case without fear of harm until after the verdict. The cases were heard in the gate of the city by judges of various ranks. If found innocent, the person had to stay in the city of Refuge until the death of the High Priest. No money could be paid to mitigate the death penalty once pronounced. If a person was found innocent, money could not be paid to allow the man to return home before the death of the High Priest.
    1. These cities include: Hebron, Bezer, Shechem, Ramoth-gilead, Golan, Kedesh-naphtali.
    2. Jerusalem, though the later capital, was never a city of refuge.
    3. "“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall select for yourselves cities to be your cities of refuge, that the manslayer who has killed any person unintentionally may flee there. ‘The cities shall be to you as a refuge from the avenger, so that the manslayer will not die until he stands before the congregation for trial. ‘The cities which you are to give shall be your six cities of refuge. ‘You shall give three cities across the Jordan and three cities in the land of Canaan; they are to be cities of refuge. ‘These six cities shall be for refuge for the sons of Israel, and for the alien and for the sojourner among them; that anyone who kills a person unintentionally may flee there. ‘But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. ‘If he struck him down with a stone in the hand, by which he will die, and as a result he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. ‘Or if he struck him with a wooden object in the hand, by which he might die, and as a result he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. ‘The blood avenger himself shall put the murderer to death; he shall put him to death when he meets him. ‘If he pushed him of hatred, or threw something at him lying in wait and as a result he died, or if he struck him down with his hand in enmity, and as a result he died, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death, he is a murderer; the blood avenger shall put the murderer to death when he meets him. ‘But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or threw something at him without lying in wait, or with any deadly object of stone, and without seeing it dropped on him so that he died, while he was not his enemy nor seeking his injury, then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the blood avenger according to these ordinances. ‘The congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the blood avenger, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he fled; and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. ‘But if the manslayer at any time goes beyond the border of his city of refuge to which he may flee, and the blood avenger finds him outside the border of his city of refuge, and the blood avenger kills the manslayer, he will not be guilty of blood because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return to the land of his possession. ‘These things shall be for a statutory ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. ‘If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. ‘Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. ‘You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest. ‘So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. ‘You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.’ ”" (Numbers 35:10–34)
    4. "Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘Designate the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the manslayer who kills any person unintentionally, without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall become your refuge from the avenger of blood. ‘He shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and state his case in the hearing of the elders of that city; and they shall take him into the city to them and give him a place, so that he may dwell among them. ‘Now if the avenger of blood pursues him, then they shall not deliver the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him beforehand. ‘He shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then the manslayer shall return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he fled.’ ” So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. Beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. These were the appointed cities for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them, that whoever kills any person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stands before the congregation." (Joshua 20:1-9)
  3. Standards of evidence admissibility: Accusations must have at least two or more witnesses. The victim needed two witnesses for a total of three persons minimum in order to execute someone.
    1. “Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.” (Proverbs 25:18)
    2. “This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (2 Corinthians 13:1)
    3.  “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.” (Deuteronomy 19:15)
    4. “‘If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” (Numbers 35:30)
    5. “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. “The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” (Deuteronomy 17:6-7)

 

II. The Penal system in the Old Testament had no jails but was effective in punishing crime:

A. Death (capital punishment) for 15 general categories of capital offenses:

  1. Methods of execution under the Old Testament law of Moses:
    1. The expression "Capital offense" comes from the Latin word for head: "caput", indicating the person could lose their head. However decapitation of the head by sword or the French guillotine etc., was never prescribed in the Mosaic legal system as a method of execution.
    2. stoning (Leviticus 24:14)
    3. burning (Leviticus 20:14; 21:9)
    4. arrow (Exodus 19:13).
    5. After death, they were hung or impaled on a tree/stake than taken down the same evening and buried: Deuteronomy 21:22-22.
    6. Capital punishment was carried forward into the New Testament: Romans 13:1-5
  2. Death for Apostasy:
    1. Worshiping idols: Ex 22:20, Lev 20:2-5, Deut 17:2-7

                                                              i.      ““He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the Lord alone, shall be utterly destroyed.” (Exodus 22:20)

                                                            ii.      ““You shall also say to the sons of Israel: ‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. ‘I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name. ‘If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death, then I Myself will set My face against that man and against his family, and I will cut off from among their people both him and all those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech.” (Leviticus 20:2-5)

                                                          iii.      ““If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the Lord your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, by transgressing His covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly. Behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death. “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. “The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” (Deuteronomy 17:2-7)

    1. A person who leads you away from the one true God into another religion: Deut 13:6-11

                                                              i.      ““If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom neither you nor your fathers have known, of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end), you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. “But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. “So you shall stone him to death because he has sought to seduce you from the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:6-11)

    1. Entire cities were to be destroyed who abandoned the one true God: Deut 20:12-14.

                                                              i.      ““However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. “When the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. “Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the Lord your God has given you.” (Deuteronomy 20:12-14)

    1. Sorcerer, medium, spiritualist, calling on the dead: Ex 22:18; Lev 20:27; Deut 18:9-12

                                                              i.      ““You shall not allow a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18)

                                                            ii.      “‘Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.’ ”” (Leviticus 20:27)

                                                          iii.      ““When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. “For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you.” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

    1. False prophet: Deut 13:1-5; 18:20

                                                              i.      “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. “You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)

                                                            ii.      ‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’" (Deuteronomy 18:20)

  1. Death for Blasphemy, curing God, speaking evil of God: Lev 24:15-16
    1. “You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone curses his God, then he will bear his sin. ‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death." (Leviticus 24:15-16)
  2. Death for Fornication/sex sins:
    1. Homosexuality: Lev 20:13

                                                              i.      ‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." (Leviticus 20:13)

    1. Bestiality, sex with animal: Lev 20:15-16

                                                              i.      ‘If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. ‘If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." (Leviticus 20:15-16)

    1. Rape, non-consensual sex with married/betrothed woman: Deut 22:25

                                                              i.      “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die." (Deuteronomy 22:25)

    1. Adultery: sex with married or betrothed woman: Lev 20:10-12;23-24

                                                              i.      ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. ‘If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them. ‘If there is a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed incest, their bloodguiltiness is upon them." (Leviticus 20:10-12)

                                                            ii.      ‘Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them. ‘Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples." (Leviticus 20:23-24)

    1. Discovered not to be a virgin on your wedding night: Deut 22:20-21

                                                              i.      “But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)

    1. The daughter of a priest practicing prostitution: Lev 21:9

                                                              i.      ‘Also the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by harlotry, she profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire." (Leviticus 21:9)

    1. Incest with daughter or step daughter: Lev 20:17,14,30

                                                              i.      ‘If there is a man who takes his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the sons of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he bears his guilt." (Leviticus 20:17)

                                                            ii.      ‘If there is a man who marries a woman and her mother, it is immorality; both he and they shall be burned with fire, so that there will be no immorality in your midst." (Leviticus 20:14)

    1. Sex with mother or step mother: Lev 20:20

                                                              i.      ‘If there is a man who lies with his uncle’s wife he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they will bear their sin. They will die childless." (Leviticus 20:20)

  1. Death for Breaking the Sabbath: Ex 31:14; 35:2
    1. ‘Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people." (Exodus 31:14)
    2. “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death." (Exodus 35:2)
  2. Death to Parents who sacrifice their children to idols: Lev 20:2-5
    1. “You shall also say to the sons of Israel: ‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. ‘I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name. ‘If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death, then I Myself will set My face against that man and against his family, and I will cut off from among their people both him and all those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech." (Leviticus 20:2-5)
  1. Death to Non-Levites entering the holy or most holy place in the tabernacle: Num 1:51
    1. “So when the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle encamps, the Levites shall set it up. But the layman who comes near shall be put to death." (Numbers 1:51)
  1. Death for Striking, cursing or disrespecting your parents: Ex 21:15,17; Lev 20:9
    1. “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:15)
    2. “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:17)
    3. ‘If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him." (Leviticus 20:9)
  1. Death to children who will not obey parents (stubborn, rebellious, glutton, drunkard): Deut 21:18-21
    1. “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. “They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ “Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear." (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
  1. Death for Murder: Gen 9:6, Ex 21:12, Num 35:16-21, premeditation: Exodus 21:14
    1. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man." (Genesis 9:6)
    2. “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:12)
    3. ‘But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. ‘If he struck him down with a stone in the hand, by which he will die, and as a result he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. ‘Or if he struck him with a wooden object in the hand, by which he might die, and as a result he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. ‘The blood avenger himself shall put the murderer to death; he shall put him to death when he meets him. ‘If he pushed him of hatred, or threw something at him lying in wait and as a result he died, or if he struck him down with his hand in enmity, and as a result he died, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death, he is a murderer; the blood avenger shall put the murderer to death when he meets him." (Numbers 35:16-21)
    4. “If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die." (Exodus 21:14)
  1. Death for Kidnapping or selling a man into slavery: Ex 21:16; Deut 24:7
    1. “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:16)
    2. “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 24:7)
  1. Death for Perjury, false witness: Deut 19:16-21
    1. Whatever harm would have been caused by the lie, was done to the liar, life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot
    2. “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. “The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. “The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. “Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." (Deuteronomy 19:16-21)
  1. Death for Rejecting the verdict of a judge/priest at the city gate: Deuteronomy 17:6-13
    1. “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. “The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. “If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses. “So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case. “You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the Lord chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you. “According to the terms of the law which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. “The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. “Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again." (Deuteronomy 17:6-13)
  1. Death for Failure to restrain an animal known to be dangerous that kills someone: Ex 21:29
    1. The animal owner is stoned if his animal kills another
    2. “If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death." (Exodus 21:29)

B. Eye for eye: Exodus 21:23-25; Leviticus 24:17-20; Deut 19:21

  1. "“But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." (Exodus 21:23-25)
  2. "‘If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death. ‘The one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. ‘If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him." (Leviticus 24:17-20)
  3. "“Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." (Deuteronomy 19:21)

C. Slavery: People were forced into slavery for a max of 7 years if they had nothing for repayment of debts/restitution/fines to pay for their debts/crimes.

  1. Slavery in the Bible was a perfect system that replaced jail and eliminated the need for a welfare system. This system would work today in Canada and USA if implanted exactly as the Bible says.
  2. The modern system slavery we are familiar with was condemned by God in the Law of Moses. Slavery in the Mosaic judicial system would work much better!
    1. The Abolition of modern slavery was because of a Bible thumping Christian named William Wilberforce.
    2. Slaves were kidnapped and sold, treated them like animals, physically abused them without any hope of ever getting free.
    3. People who kidnapped slaves under the Law of Moses were stoned to death. If they were physically abused, the slaves were freed the next day. The Bible placed a max limit of 7 years as a slave and then everyone went free.
    4. God's way is so superior to anything man could think up.
    5. Slavery in the America's had no resemblance to Biblical slavery.
  3. Modern slavery always involved native Africans kidnapping their own people and selling them for profit into slavery to the white man, who in turn resold them for profit. There was also no release date, nor limits on the physical harm the slave owner could inflict upon the rebellious or disobedient slave. Mosaic slavery therefore, was a rehabilitation/welfare system that protected the slavery from physical harm, kidnapping coupled with an anti-return provision if the slave chose to run away.
  4. Kidnapping and selling a man into slavery was a death penalty offence: Ex 21:16; Deut 24:7
    1. “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:16)
    2. “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 24:7)
  5. Slaves were set free after a max of 7 years on the Sabbatical year
    1. “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment." (Exodus 21:2)
    2. Ever 7th year was a Sabbatical year in a cycle.
    3. This means that if you were became a slave on "year 1" of the sabbatical yearly cycle, you would be a slave for six more years. If you became a slave on "year 5" of the sabbatical yearly cycle you would only be a slave for 1-2 years.
  6. A thief unable to make restitution was sold as a slave, not sent to jail:
    1. Even today, judges will give criminals an option of either paying a fine or going to jail in place of paying the fine.
    2. “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it … He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. “If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.” (Exodus 22:1-4)
  7. Financially bankrupt people could be sold as slaves to pay civil debts or criminal fines but went free on the sabbatical (7th) year: Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 22:1-11; Deuteronomy 15:12-15
    1. “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment." (Exodus 21:2)
    2. "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell Aaron and his sons to be careful with the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they dedicate to Me, so as not to profane My holy name; I am the Lord. “Say to them, ‘If any man among all your descendants throughout your generations approaches the holy gifts which the sons of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he has an uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from before Me; I am the Lord. ‘No man of the descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or who has a discharge, may eat of the holy gifts until he is clean. And if one touches anything made unclean by a corpse or if a man has a seminal emission, or if a man touches any teeming things by which he is made unclean, or any man by whom he is made unclean, whatever his uncleanness; a person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening, and shall not eat of the holy gifts unless he has bathed his body in water. ‘But when the sun sets, he will be clean, and afterward he shall eat of the holy gifts, for it is his food. ‘He shall not eat an animal which dies or is torn by beasts, becoming unclean by it; I am the Lord. ‘They shall therefore keep My charge, so that they will not bear sin because of it and die thereby because they profane it; I am the Lord who sanctifies them. ‘No layman, however, is to eat the holy gift; a sojourner with the priest or a hired man shall not eat of the holy gift. ‘But if a priest buys a slave as his property with his money, that one may eat of it, and those who are born in his house may eat of his food." (Leviticus 22:1-11)
    3. “If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. “When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. “You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you. “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today." (Deuteronomy 15:12-15)
  8. Receipt for the Purchase of a Debt Slave (Cuneiform tablet from Alalakh: 1480 BC)
    1. "This level VII tablet records the purchase of a debt slave. Debt slavery was well known in the ancient Near East. The use of the andarārum was a special dispensation that allowed all those in debt to be freed of their debts. In order to circumvent this possibility, Sumunnabi had a special clause written into the agreement. Perhaps this type of permanent servitude, with no exclusions, was what Leviticus 25:39–42 addressed. It required release of all those in debt during the Year of Jubilee. See also the usage of the Hebrew cognate, derôr, in Isaiah 61:1; Jeremiah 34:8, 15, 17; Ezekiel 46:17. See Wright 1990:123–128, 249–258; Hess 1994a:203. (Context of Scripture, Richard S. Hess, Receipt for the Purchase of a Debt Slave, from Alalakh 1480 BC, COS 3.100, 2003 AD)

Purchase (lines 1–5)

Twenty-three and one third silver shekels

are debited against Ugaia.

For service in her household

Ms. Sumunnabi

has purchased (her).

Exclusion clause (lines 6–7)

At a general release

she may not be released.

Witnesses (lines 8–12)

Diniaddu,

Zunna,

Irkabtum,

šangű-priest of Ishtar,

Irpa-Addu.

Date (lines 13–15)

In the year of Irkabtum,

in the month of Addanati,

15  on the seventeenth day.

  1. A bankrupt father could sell his children into slavery to pay for his debts in place of himself: Exodus 21:7; Nehemiah 5:3-5
    1. A great incentive for kids to help out around the house! "Listen little Johnny, if you don't help out with work around the house and farm, I will sell you as a slave to a slave-over who will teach you how to do hard work and at the end of 7 years you will be glad to come home and work hard!"
    2. "Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”" (2 Kings 4:1)
    3. "There were others who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain because of the famine.” Also there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards. “Now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children. Yet behold, we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others.”" (Nehemiah 5:3-5)
    4. "“If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do." (Exodus 21:7)
  2. Slaved could redeem themselves or be redeemed by relatives:
    1. "‘Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property." (Leviticus 25:26–27)
    2. "‘Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family, then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or if he prospers, he may redeem himself. ‘He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him. ‘If there are still many years, he shall refund part of his purchase price in proportion to them for his own redemption; and if few years remain until the year of jubilee, he shall so calculate with him. In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption. ‘Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight. ‘Even if he is not redeemed by these means, he shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him. ‘For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 25:47–55)
  3. Men could voluntarily become slaves for the rest of their lives or until the Jubilee (every 49 years): Leviticus 25:39-42; Exodus 21:5-6; Deuteronomy 15:16-17
    1. "‘If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. ‘He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. ‘He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. ‘For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale." (Leviticus 25:39-42)
    2. "“But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently." (Exodus 21:5-6)
    3. "“It shall come about if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant." (Deuteronomy 15:16-17)
  4. Children of slaves born while they were slaves, were the property of the slave owner: Leviticus 22:11
  5. Slaves were valued at 30 shekels of silver: Exodus 21:32
    1. “If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned." (Exodus 21:32)
    2. Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver: "Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt." (Genesis 37:28)
    3. Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver:

1.      "I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord." (Zechariah 11:12-13)

2.      “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him." (Matthew 26:15)

  1. Slaves could be purchased from outside Israel: Leviticus 25:44-46
    1. "‘As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. ‘Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. ‘You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another." (Leviticus 25:44-46)
  2. Slaves could be beaten with a rod, but not to death: Exodus 21:20-21; 26-27
    1. Before you "have a cow" that the Bible allows beating of slaves, remember that in the USA and Canada, inmates in prisons were routinely beaten until very recently. All jails historic and present have beaten inmates to bring them into obedience. Only in the last 25 years and only in western countries have beatings been abolished. But then again, these same countries have also abolished the death penalty and made it illegal for parents to even spank children. No wonder there is such problem with youth and a high crime rate!
    2. If a slave owner does any bodily harm to a slave that disables the slave for more than two days, the slave is set free.
    3. If a slave owner so much as knocks out a tooth or inures an eye or, he is set free.
    4. "“If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. “If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property." (Exodus 21:20-21)
    5. "“If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. “And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth." (Exodus 21:26-27)
  3. It was illegal to return a run-away slave to his master if he escaped: Deuteronomy 23:15-16
    1. Slave owners could track down their slaves, but others could not report to the slave owner the location of the slave.
    2. "“You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. “He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him." (Deuteronomy 23:15-16)
    3. However, nations outside Israel paid bounties to run-away slave hunters. Once again the moral code of the God of Israel was much higher than the nations.
    4. A cache of cuneiform clay tablets have been uncovered at Alalakh, which is a Bronze Age city identified with Tell ʿAṭšan (or Atchana; 36°15´N; 36°23´E). (ABD, Alalakh)
    5. One of the tablets is a treaty that regulates the reward/bounty for returning male and female slaves. The women were valued twice what the men were valued at! “bounty for returning a captured slave: If a man: 500 copper shekels reward. If a woman, 1000 copper shekels reward" (see tablet below)

    1. "HOW MUCH FOR A HEBREW SLAVE? THE MEANING OF MIŠNEH IN DEUT 15:18 “Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because his service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand (מִשְׁנֶה שְׂכַר שָׂכִיר).” This translation (NIV) of Deut 15:18a, the conclusion of the deuteronomic law concerning a Hebrew slave, represents in modern language a very old traditional understanding of that verse. That traditional reading was challenged by M. Tsevat in 1958. Tsevat argued that משנה in Deut 15:18 does not have its usual meaning “twice, double,” but is to be understood on the basis of a supposed Akkadian cognate mištannu, occurring at Alalakh, meaning “equivalent, quid pro quo.” The passage should be translated, according to Tsevat, “he has served you the equivalent of the hire of a hired servant six years.” Tsevat sees the same meaning of the word in Jer 16:18, “I will give them the משנה of their iniquity and their sin” (RSV: “I will doubly recompense their iniquity and their sin”). Tsevat’s proposal appears to remove a difficulty in the interpretation of these verses, and it has been accepted by many commentators, including D. J. Wiseman, the original editor of the Alalakh texts. G. von Rad, in a 1967 article, carried Tsevat’s argument one step farther. Just as משנה may mean “equivalent” as well as “double,” von Rad argues, so the same broader semantic range can also be detected in the synonymous word כִּפְלַיִם. Thus in Isa 40:2, “She has received from Yhwh’s hand כפלים [traditionally ‘double’] for all her sins,” von Rad would translate “the equivalent/ recompense for all her sins.” Tsevat’s suggestion, though it has not met with universal acceptance, has not to my knowledge been directly challenged in the thirty years since it was first put forward. It is cited with favor in Peter Craigie’s recent commentary on Deuteronomy and is clearly the scholarly basis for the rendering in NRSV: “for six years they have given you services worth the wages of hired laborers.” But a closer look at the comparative evidence, some of it not available in 1958, suggests that despite its wide acceptance, the proposed parallel is illusory. The Akkadian word in question occurs four times in a single text from Alalakh stratum IV (Alalakh Text 3). It is an international treaty between King Idrimi and a certain Pillia concerning the capture and extradition of fugitive slaves. From that context it is clear that the mištannu is something given by the master of a runaway to a person who seizes the slave and returns the escapee to his or her owner: “If it (the captured slave) is a man, then he (the captor) will be paid 500 copper [shekels] as his reward [mi-iš-ta-an-na-šu], and if it is a woman, then he will be paid 1000 copper [shekels] as his reward [mi-iš-ta-an-na-šu].” Two difficulties stand in the way of identifying Alalakh mištannu and Hebrew משנה in Deut 15:18. The first is semantic; the second concerns the form and etymology of mištannu. 1. First, the semantic problem: משנה is a well-attested noun in biblical and postbiblical Hebrew. Related to the root שנה, its meaning varies according to context (“double, duplicate, deputy [second in command], second-best, repetition”). All of these nuances reflect clearly the common sense of “double” or “second.” Mištannu, on the other hand, is not a common word at all. Wiseman would relate it etymologically to the verb šanű, “to repeat, do again” (the Akkadian cognate of Hebrew שנה). But mištannu has not to my knowledge been found anywhere in the entire Akkadian corpus except for Alalakh Text 3. Akkadian has well-attested derivatives from šanű, but this word is not one of them. A genuine semantic parallel for the range of meaning Tsevat proposes for משנה would be an Akkadian noun that ordinarily means “double,” but in some contexts has the alternative sense “equivalent.” This is not the case with mištannu at all. It is an extremely rare word having only a specialized meaning relating to compensation for a slave. 2. A more serious objection concerns the morphology of mištannu. The termination -nnu is not a normal one for an Akkadian noun. Tsevat recognized the anomaly and attempted to answer it with the ad hoc suggestion of a secondary doubling of the n or a by-form of the root with a second n. But a more likely explanation was put forward by M. Mayrhofer in a brief critical note published in 1965, which has been largely ignored by biblical scholars. Mayrhofer observes that in Akkadian texts from Hurrian territory (including other texts from Alalakh IV), the Hurrian article -nni often appears in the akkadianized form -nnu, and that in several cases the word-element preceding this ending can be recognized as Indo-Aryan in origin. He goes on to note that the element mišta- can easily be explained from an Indo-Aryan etymology: *miždhá->mīḍhá- [Sanskrit] “pay, price” (cf. Greek μισθός, “pay, hire”). Thus if Mayrhofer is correct, mištannu is not a Semitic word at all, and the possibility of any direct connection with Hebrew משנה is ruled out. Even if his Indo-Aryan etymology is uncertain, when we consider the rarity and uncertain derivation of mištannu, and the great distance in time, place, and culture between Alalakh stratum IV and the environment of Deuteronomy, the supposed parallel is too tenuous to justify retranslating a Hebrew text that is intelligible as it is. What, then, does משנה in Deut 15:18 mean? The best answer is the simplest: משנה has its traditional sense “double” (cf. Gen 43:12, 15; Exod 16:5, 22; Isa 61:7; Jer 17:18; Zech 9:12; Job 42:10). The sense of the verse is, “It shall not seem hard to you …, for he has served you six years, and has been worth twice as much to you as a hired servant.…” “Twice as much,” then, turns out not to be a legal formula after all, much less an implication that hired laborers loafed half the time. It is simply a vivid way of stating a harsh but self-evident fact: you get more work for less pay from a slave than from an employee!" (Journal of Biblical Literature, How Much for a Hebrew Slave? The Meaning of Mišneh in Deut 15:18, James M. Lindenberger Vancouver School of Theology Centre, vol 110, p479-482, 1991 AD)

D. Restitution, Fines, seizing of assets: Proverbs 17:26; Numbers 5:6-8

  1. “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep. “If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. “But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. “If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.” (Exodus 22:1-4)
  2. “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.” (Exodus 21:22)
  3. Graduated fines for various sins based on income level: Lamb/dove/grain Leviticus 5:1-13
  4. False accusation of loss of virginity: Deut 22:19
  5. Fines became the income of the overseeing priest: Numbers 5:9-10
  6. If a man could not make restitution, he was sold as a slave to the one whom he owned the money, or the proceeds of the sale of the slave (30 pieces of silver) were given to him in lieu of restitution.

E. General liability for carelessness:

  1. Long term Medical liability:
    1. Very similar to our laws of liability for auto accidents, you are responsible for the medical and living expenses of the person you hurt.
    2. "“If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but remains in bed, if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed." (Exodus 21:18-19)
  2. Your animal kills another animal:
    1. "“If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his. “If one man’s ox hurts another’s so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its price equally; and also they shall divide the dead ox. “Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal shall become his." (Exodus 21:33-36)
  3. You set a fire that gets out of control and damages another's property:
    1. "“If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution." (Exodus 22:6)
  4. Property is damaged, lost or stolen while under your care:
    1. "“If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. “If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor’s property. “For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. “If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking, an oath before the LORD shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor’s property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution. “But if it is actually stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner. “If it is all torn to pieces, let him bring it as evidence; he shall not make restitution for what has been torn to pieces. “If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution. “If its owner is with it, he shall not make restitution; if it is hired, it came for its hire." (Exodus 22:7-15)

F. Amputation of hands, feet, limbs etc: Deuteronomy 25:11-12                                     

  1. The Great Edict of Horemheb (1300 BC) describes how the Egyptians would cut off the nose of criminals as a permanent mark of humiliation and warning to others and sent to Tharu. They were sent to the furthest city on the border of Egypt and Israel called Rhinoculura in the late Hellenistic/early Roman period (100 BC). Rhinoculura "rhino" = nose "culura" = cut off. Rhinoceros = horn/nose + one or the "One horned/nosed" beast! Rhinoculura was called Tharu in 1480 BC and in the Bible is it known as "Arish" as in the Wadi Arish, the historic border river between Israel and Egypt.
  2. "“If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity." (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)
  3. Under the "eye for eye" law, if a man cuts off another's hand or foot etc., his hand or foot would be cut off by the one whom he injured.
  4. While amputation of hands is prescribed by Muhammad under Sharia law for simple theft, there was only one specific reason listed in the Law of Moses to amputate a hand.
  5. A woman to grabs a man's testicles to injure or crush them, which prevents him from having children.
    1. Notice the section before this condemns a man who will not raise up children through his dead brother's wife: "“When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. “It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. “But if the man does not desire to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ “Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, ‘Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ “In Israel his name shall be called, ‘The house of him whose sandal is removed.’" (Deuteronomy 25:5-10)
    2. Therefore it is understandable that reproductive organs were considered sacred and off limits for women. Under the "eye for eye" law, if a man injures another man's testicles, his testicles would be cut off.
    3. Since women have no testicles, at least they didn’t used to until Canadian law started allowing men who merely think they are women into the ladies bathroom, they lost their hand instead.
    4. So Men who injured another man's testicles had his cut off. Women had their hand cut off. Which would you chose if you were a man, your testicles or your hand?
  6. Some men think women got a lighter sentence for the same crime. Where is the equality? Once again, women get the better deal! Deuteronomy 25:11-12

G. Public beating with rod, birching, whipping posts, verbal rebuke/scolding:

  1. Notice that no one was ever put in stocks, tied or chained to a post or restrained after the punishment was over. Until very recently prisons and insane asylums would use the whipping bench. But in Israel, the man had to voluntarily lay himself down on the ground to be beaten with a rod by his victim!

  1. Public scolding's and rebukes took place at the city gate:
    1. "“So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him" (Deuteronomy 22:18)
  2. Adults were beaten in public up to 40 times. This is the origin of the "39 lashes": Deuteronomy 25:1-3; Proverbs 17:26; Proverbs 10:13; Proverbs 26:3
    1. Public whippings, floggings, birching in the open town square were practiced in the USA and Canada up to 50 years ago.
    2. "“If there is a dispute between men and they go to court, and the judges decide their case, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, then it shall be if the wicked man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall then make him lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of stripes according to his guilt. “He may beat him forty times but no more, so that he does not beat him with many more stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes." (Deuteronomy 25:1–3)
    3. "It is also not good to fine the righteous, Nor to strike the noble for their uprightness." (Proverbs 17:26)
    4. "On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding." (Proverbs 10:13)
    5. "A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the back of fools." (Proverbs 26:3)
    6. "“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." (Luke 12:47–48)
    7. Innocent apostle Paul: "Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep." (2 Corinthians 11:23–25)
    8. Innocent Jesus: "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) "Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him." (John 19:1)  
    9. Christians today: "“But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles." (Matthew 10:17–18)
  3. Children were to be beaten with rods: Proverbs 23:13-14; Proverbs 13:24; Deuteronomy 21:18
    1. Birching, the strap and the paddle were used throughout the USA and Canada by principles in schools up into the 1980's. Indeed, this author got the strap 9 times by the grade school principal on the hand with a leather strap for his multitude of misbehaviors and adventures and look how he turned out! A preacher! Who could argue with the wisdom of my principle now? As the proverb goes: "If a child is misbehaving, sit the child on your lap and lovingly and calmly comb his hair with a brush. If he continues to misbehave, use the other end of the brush on the other end of the child on your lap."
    2. If spankings didn’t work, they were taken to the priest and stoned to death as rebellious children: Deut 21:18-21 (see Capital punishment section)
    3. "Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol." (Proverbs 23:13–14)
    4. "He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently." (Proverbs 13:24)
    5. "“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them," (Deuteronomy 21:18)
    6. Modern laws that criminalize parents who spank their children are satanic!

H. "cut off from the people" (possibly death):

  1. The meaning of being "cut off from the people" is not certain:
    1. It could be interpreted as a king Public shunning, humiliation, shaming, marking, ostracized or banishment
    2. It could mean death.
  2. Adult uncircumcised male:
    1. "“But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”" (Genesis 17:14)
  1. Eating leavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
    1. "‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel." (Exodus 12:15)
  1. Manufacturing anointing oil:  
    1. "‘Whoever shall mix any like it or whoever puts any of it on a layman shall be cut off from his people.’ ”" (Exodus 30:33)
  1. Sex with a menstruating woman:
    1. "‘If there is a man who lies with a menstruous woman and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow, and she has exposed the flow of her blood; thus both of them shall be cut off from among their people." (Leviticus 20:18)
  1. Eating blood:
    1. "‘And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’" (Leviticus 17:10–11)
  1. Worshipping while ritually unclean:
    1. "‘But the person who eats the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings which belong to the LORD, in his uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from his people." (Leviticus 7:20)
    2. Not cleansing yourself after touching dead person: "‘Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him." (Numbers 19:13)
  1. Eating a sacrifice three days after being killed:
    1. "‘Now when you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. ‘It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and the next day; but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire. ‘So if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an offense; it will not be accepted. ‘Everyone who eats it will bear his iniquity, for he has profaned the holy thing of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from his people." (Leviticus 19:5–8)
  1. Forsaking the day of Atonement:
    1. "“On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. “You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. “If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. “As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people." (Leviticus 23:27–30)

 

Conclusion:              

  1. Confinement of any type including jail, stocks, shackles and hooks etc. was something completely foreign in the Jewish Legal system.
    1. This is remarkable, since all the nations surrounding Israel used jails, shackles and stocks.
  2. “the word spoken through angels (Law of Moses) proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty” (Hebrews 2:2)
    1. The Old Testament law offered slavery an alternative to a prison systems found in surrounding Gentile nations.
    2. The Mosaic Penal Code prescribes beatings, scolding, death, fines and slavery but never imprisonment.
    3.  This system, if instituted correctly, would transform and dramatically improve the moral fiber of society in general, reduce crime, eliminate welfare for the "capable of work but unemployed" poor, save billions of dollars, boost the economy and reduce the need for immigration.
  1. The Abolition of Slavery by a Bible thumping Christian named William Wilberforce.
    1. Slaves were kidnapped and sold, treated them like animals, physically abused them without any hope of ever getting free.
    2. People who kidnapped slaves under the Law of Moses were stoned to death. If they were physically abused, the slaves were freed the next day. The Bible placed a max limit of 7 years as a slave and then everyone went free.
    3. God's way is so superior to anything man could think up.
  1. Slavery is regulated in the New Testament for Christians:
    1. Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” (Colossians 3:22-4:1)
    2. Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” (Ephesians 6:5-9)
  1. Today we have a greater problem and that is slavery to sin, which we can be set free through the blood of Christ.
    1. “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (John 8:34)
    2. “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:5-7)
    3. “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)
    4. “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:16-18)
    5. “Were you called (ie became a Christian) while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1 Corinthians 7:21-23)
  1. We were bought by Christ with his blood and are how his slaves and his property:
    1. “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1 Corinthians 7:23)
    2. “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
    3. “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1)
  1. The price of a slave was 30 pieces of silver and that is how much Judas betrayed Jesus for who went on to die on the cross and buy us as slaves with his blood!

 

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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