- Exo 21:1-11 – Laws concerning Hebrew slaves.
- Exo 21:12-17– Laws for capital offenses.
- Exo 21:18-27 – Laws for physical injuries.
- Exo 21:28-36 – Laws for injuries produced by animals.
- Exo 22:1-15 – Laws about theft, restitution and compensation for damage
- Exo 22:16-27 – Moral Justice and Impartiality Laws
- Exo 22:28-31 – Respect due to God and those in authority
- Exo 23:1-14 – More Moral Laws
- Exo 23:14-19 – Ceremonial Laws
- Exo 23:20-33 – Promises for obedience
The Law of Moses
The Laws presented in these chapters represent the type of judgment that Moses was called to do in Exodus 18. They are an attempt to establish justice in the social context of the time. For this reason, they should be considered progressive in relation to the times and the common practices in the surrounding nations.
Is This Law for Today?
Should they be regarded as God given and valid for today? I don’t believe that. They are simply a rudimentary legal system used at the time as a deterrent to injustice. In a way, they were similar to the present English legal system based on precedents.
Jesus Himself clearly negated a number of them.
For example “…life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exo 21:23-25) is clearly revised by Jesus in Matthew 5:38-39 with God’s perspective. Similarly, Jesus redefined the laws on divorce (Mat 5:31-32, 19:3-9). These laws were given by Moses because of the hardness of their hearts, but they did not change their heart. Only faith in what Jesus has done can do that.
Understanding the Purpose of the Law
These laws presented here address many practical aspects of life. The key to understanding them is to perceive the spirit behind them. Paul said “the letter kills but the spirit gives life.” (2 Cor 3:6) Legalism is not the solution of morality. The law is only a teacher that makes us realize our need of a savior (Gal 3:24-25). Justice and morality are not achieved by external laws but by inner righteousness. This is the transformation that Jesus came to give us.
How the Law Works
The Lord explains the way these laws will work for us. He sent an Angel before us to keep us in the way and bring us into the place He has prepared for us (Exo 23:20). This reminds us of Jesus’ words in John 14:2-4. Jesus is the one who brings us to victory (Exo 23:23), who enables us to serve the Lord (Exo 23:25), who blesses our bread and takes away our sickness (Exo 23:25, 1 Pet 2:24). Our victory will be gradual for us to take possession of the land conquered (Exo 23:30-31) and we should keep ourselves separate from our enemies (Exo 32-33).
Prayer of Faith
Thank you Father that I can have victory in Christ Jesus. He has changed my heart and qualified me with His righteousness. All the promises of the covenant are mine as I remain in Him. Jesus’ crucifixion is the source of all my righteousness.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!
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