Sunday, February 27, 2011

Exodus 21 - Ordinances To Govern God's People

LINK: Exodus 21


Exodus 20:22 - 24:11 are an elaboration of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) of Exodus 20:1-17. It involves specific civil and religious ordinances. It is often called "the Book of the Covenant" based on Exodus 24:7.

Here is a brief outline of these ordinances:

20:22-26 were ordinances regarding worship and reiterate the first and second commandment.

21:1-11 were ordinances regarding the rights of male and female slaves. You may have observed that females were treated very differently than males! We have already learned in our reading in Genesis that female slaves were often concubines or second wives (Genesis 16:3; 22:24; 30:3, 9; 36:12, Judges 8:31; 9:18). Exodus 21:8 speaks of being "redeemed" if the female slave was not pleasing. This meant that a relative could free her by paying off the debt which forced her into slavery (Leviticus 25:47-55).

21:12-17 were ordinances involving criminal offenses that required the death penalty: premeditated murder (reiterating the sixth commandment); physical violence and verbal abuse against parents (both reiterating the fifth commandment); and kidnapping. Cities of refuge were for unintentional deaths and will be discussed in more detail in Numbers and Deuteronomy.

21:18-27 were ordinances concerning physical injuries that did not involve the death penalty.

21:28-36 were ordinances concerning injury through negligence.

No REFLECTION and APPLICATION today since we are in the middle of a section that goes until Exodus 24.


LORD, I praise You as the ultimate Lawgiver and Judge. Thank You that all Your ways are just. We acknowledge and submit to Your righteous judgment in our lives. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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