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Exodus Chapter 21


3 types of Old Testament Law:


A. Moral Law (applicable for all time)            


Easy way to know this:

Anything REPEATED as sin in the New Testament is Moral Law, always sinful


“Thou shalt not commit adultery”                    I Corinthians 6:9-11


B. Priestly Law (laws about priests, sacrifices, rituals- all fulfilled in Christ)


“Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.  For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”        -Hebrews 7:25-28


C. Civil Law (rules just for Israel at that time- made obsolete in Christ)


Death Penalty for disobedient kids, Sabbath laws, dietary codes, mold regulations


“He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for He gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks…”                -Romans 14:6


The key when looking through the Civil Laws of the Old Testament is to look for how it reflects the character of God and how He was protecting Israel, especially the most vulnerable among them.


In the civil law God REGULATES some things He doesn’t condone, like divorce and servitude.

Rules for a Hebrew Servant                                                                   V. 1-6


Rules to protect a daughter “sold” into marriage                          V. 7-11


The 3 R’s of Crime & Punishment in OT                                             V. 12-36       


Retaliation                          Retribution                         Restitution


Overlying principle: PUNISHMENT should fit the crime


Capital Punishment, as called for in Genesis 9:6                            V. 12, 14


Take a life by accident under providence, there will be a place to flee and get a fair trial (later we will read of cities of refuge)                                    V. 13


Also worthy of Capital Punishment                                                    V. 15-17


Rules for Damage Done During a Fight                                              V. 18-19


Rules for Excessive Punishment of a Slave                                       V. 20-21


Rules for Causing harm to pregnant woman                                    V. 22-25


Eye for eye does not necessarily mean “poke his eye out,” but is the law of retribution- the punishment should FIT the crime


Rule for causing harm to servants                                                       V. 26-27


Rules for your animals causing death or damage to a person    V. 28-32


Rules for your negligence causing death to an animal                  V. 33-34


Rules for an accident involving your animal                                     V. 35-36