Words from the Weary Wilderness - Lenten Journey Day 9
Day Nine - Friday, March 11
Fights Breaking Out All Over
Read: Exodus 21:18-27
18 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, 19 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.
20 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.
22 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. 23 If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
26 When a slaveowner 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. 27 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.
Today’s Word from the Weary Wilderness: When individuals quarrel… (Exodus 21:18)
Reflection: We gain insight into the work of Moses and his designated leaders in this passage. They are both referees and arbitrators, and there are several kinds of arguments outlined in this passage. Some are violent, and give us insight into “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” justice. Simply sit with the truth that people in the Bible fought. How does that feel to you? How does it inform your biblical interpretation?
Prayer: God of the Wilderness, in these holy scriptures we see ourselves, as in a mirror. We fight and we seek retribution. We seek justice, even as we struggle to know what justice may truly be. Help us to sit with these hard passages, to conscientiously consider their context, and to hear your word for our lives today. May your Spirit speak and inform us. Amen.
Blessings of Peace and Health,
Rev. Beverly B. Coppley
& Chief Missional Strategist