Oh, the beginning of the lovely law passages that will continue through Leviticus and Deuteronomy. They’re thick. They’re heavy. They’re boring. By and large, they’re difficult.
You know what I take away from this passage? What jumps out at me the most? The emphasis on justice and protecting the vulnerable.
Justice is about righting the wrong. It’s punitive both as added discouragement and because the damage done is never as straight forward as it appears. At best there’s the stress of processing what’s happened and the logistics of seeking reparations. More than that, though, judgments are for the victims.
There’s no state punishment. Either the violator is removed from society because they are a dangerous influence, or they make reparations to the wronged party. It isn’t jail time. There are no fines paid to the government. It is simple and it is direct.
I have no idea what a system like this would look like in the modern world. What kind of taxes would be needed to cover court costs? And certain violations would need to be fined to the state as there aren’t any privately wronged parties: traffic and parking violations come to mind. But the idea that a victim wouldn’t need to file a separate civil suit for reparations is certainly an appealing one.
Secondly, there is such a strong emphasis on protecting the vulnerable. If you harm the widow or orphan, your own wife will become a widow, your children orphans. And seriously, be good to the sojourner because you know what it’s like.
God is all powerful. We are nothing before him. Yet he loves us. He cares for us. He seeks us out. Should we, in any way, harm those who are vulnerable before us… well, whose side would you expect him to take?
This is the emphasis of my God. This is the whole point of the law, the whole point of the law. “I am God.” “Love each other. Take care of each other.” That’s it. Love God first, and love each other the way he does. Why do we make this so hard?