Leviticus 24:17-23

17 ‘If a man [f]takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.18 The one who [g]takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. 19 If a man [h]injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him:20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has [i]injured a man, so it shall be [j]inflicted on him. 21 Thus the one who [k]kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who [l]kills a man shall be put to death. 22 There shall be one [m]standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’” 23 Then Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and they brought the one who had cursed outside the camp and stoned him with stones. Thus the sons of Israel did, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

It’s interesting to see this law which Jesus talks about during his ministry. This law gave them the right to knock out someone’s tooth if they knocked out one of yours. If they broke your bone, so it would be done to them. If they burn your field, their field would be burned, etc.

The problem with this law is that it almost always causes escalation. Revenge is a dangerous business, and I don’t think this law was probably intended for that. It was intended to discourage people from doing stupid things and hurting each other. And I think it likely that the person injured was not usually supposed to be the one doing the injury in return, that was the court’s job. Seeking revenge certainly never heals relationships, and God is all about restored relationship. That’s why Jesus came in the first place.

So sure, legally you may have a lot of rights, but under Jesus, you forfeit those rights, and give vengeance back to God. He will take care of your needs without you retaliating.

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