Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Lex talionis ( Matthew 5 v 38 - 42 )
How many time have we heard people saying ,''an eye for eye, tooth for tooth'',and they take that literally,the words are taken from Exodus 21 v 24. I want to quote Alec Motyer on these words. ''This is often misused ( as if ' an eye for an eye ' was an expression of ancient savagery ), but it is actually a poetic and dramatic demand that the punishment should match the crime,no more and no less. When English law hanged a person for stealing a sheep , it was not because the principle of ' an eye for an eye' was being practised but because it had been forgotten . Nowadays,the great rule of equity is more often breached by mistaken leniency. The Lex talionis ( The law of retaliation ) is of course a law for the courts, not for private vengeance.The reference to the Lex talionis in the present context shows that its terms were illustrative not prescriptive. '' Our Saviour taught in Matthew 5 v 38 ff how we transcend this law,by turning the other cheek, to not resist evil, I think this does not rule out the law courts, were a fair settlement should be reached.