Eye for an Eye: One of the Greatest Ideas in History Debunked

When the Bible is closed, Dennis Prager can claim that the book is what it isn’t. But when the Bible is open, the truth is exposed. There are many passages in the Bible that have absolutely no indication that the intent of the passages is not to mean what they say.

Prager claims that the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth passage in the Bible doesn’t mean that if someone kills your daughter that you kill their daughter. But that’s exactly what like-for-like retribution means. Dennis has no basis for his argument.

Prager argues that an eye for an eye is about equality. The eye of a prince is equal to the eye of a peasant. But when you read Exodus 21, it’s not a chapter about equality. A woman is not equal to a man, a slave is not equal to his master, a man with wealth is not equal to a man without wealth.

This chapter begins with instructions for a male Hebrew slave. He’s to be freed after 6 years. But female Hebrew slaves are not to be freed like the male ones. They are to be slaves for life like the foreigners, non-Hebrews.

And even for a male Hebrew slave, it’s easy to make them a slave for life. If they marry a female slave while in captivity and have children, at the end of 6 years they are not allowed to take their wife and children with them. They belong to the master. There are 2 choices, abandon your family or commit to be your master’s slave for life.

Who are the slave masters? Those with wealth. Who are the slaves? Those without wealth.

Further into the chapter there are clear instances of inequality. Kill a non-slave, be killed. Kill a slave, be punished, but not killed. If your aggressive bull is irresponsibly not kept locked up and gores a slave, pay the master 30 shekels. If the bull gores a non-slave, the bull and you are to be put to death, unless you’re able to make a satisfactory contribution of wealth in place of your life.

Who’s interpretation is correct? Don’t trust Dennis, don’t even trust me. Google Exodus 21 and read it for yourself.

-James Kirk Wall

Bible Gateway Exodus 21
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