Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth

And if a man causes a blemish in his neighbor; as he has done, so shall it be done to him again; breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth– Leviticus 24:19-20

     There are some folks today who are still mis-interpreting the command that was given through Moses – “And if a man causes a blemish in his neighbor; as he has done, so shall it be done to him again; breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth– Leviticus 24:19-20. They see this Scripture as a justification to seek revenge, when in fact this command was given to actually deter violence; to discourage anyone who wanted to cause harm to another person.
     This command is saying that if you hurt someone, you will be hurt in return. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows that shall he also reap - Galatians 6:7.
     Jesus said - All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword - Matthew 26:52. In other words, if you don’t want to die by the sword, or violence, then don’t use the sword, don’t be violent yourself.
     Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.-.Matthew 7:12
     You would not want to have someone punch out one of your teeth, so don’t punch out one of theirs.

     In Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount He was actually correcting many of the mis-understandings that had arisen concerning the law. He exemplified the Spirit behind the letter and directed us back to God’s original purpose in His word.
     “You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth: But I say to you, that you do not resist evil (don’t seek revenge) but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” – Matthew 5:38, 39.
     Jesus, who committed Himself to His Father in all things, trusted in the One who said, “To Me belongs vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste” - Deuteronomy 32:35. The apostle Paul also reminds us of that same Scripture; Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. – Romans 12:19.

     It takes faith to believe that God will avenge all the injustices in this world and the ones that are done to us personally. In the meantime, we are told to forgive, and be like Jesus, - Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously - I Peter 2:23.
     We have been given a wonderful promise that because of Jesus – “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28. We can have the strength and the courage to turn the other cheek, because He has called those who follow Him to a much higher level; to be examples to those who do not know the One who commanded us to “Love one another.” – John 15:17.

Copyright 2012 by H. D. Shively

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