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Toughest Question

Someone asked:


I would like for you to take the following passages and tell us why anyone would think that they are moral, good and ethical, or even “God’s word”:


When the Israelites were in the wilderness they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community. They put him in custody, because there was no clear instruction about what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; the whole community must stone him with stones outside the camp.” So the whole community took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the LORD commanded Moses. (Numbers 15:32-36)


Suppose a man comes across a virgin who is not engaged and overpowers and rapes her and they are discovered. The man who has raped her must pay her father fifty shekels of silver and she must become his wife because he has violated her; he may never divorce her as long as he lives. (Deu 22:28-29 NET)


“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NIV)


~michael w. jones


The Law: Logically.


Logically: “that’s the Law”


1. For the first one in (Numbers 15:32-36), punishment is “harsh” for his transgression & we say, “Why is God so harsh for such a ‘small sin’?”. If He isn’t harsh, the Law would not be followed. A lighter punishment such as “lock him up in prison” or “beat him but not to death” actually incurs “longer suffering” for the accused sometimes carried all throughout his life. It’s better to “die”, the shortest “suffering span” (literally).


2. For the second one in (Deu 22:28-29 NET), if God meted out the “stone to death” punishment to the “rapist”, it’ll actually be a service for him since he “suffers a brief moment only”. Also, if the rapist is dead, the “raped girl” (being used) may not get married (for most men avoid marrying rape victims) plus this may result her say in becoming a prostitute to fulfill her “sexual gratification” having tasted it. Also, she “suffers longer” in that she “lives on” with the memory of “being raped” but the “rapist” died “quickly”. Now, the “rapist” marrying her is taught to “pay for his sins” by “living with her”. If he commits “another rape” (being married = not virgin = committing adultery), he might have well “been stoned to death then” leaving this girl as a “widow” (not a rape victim) and thereby another man may “marry her”.


3. For the third passage in (Exodus 21:20-21 NIV), the first part where the abuser is “punished” is clearly fair. However, for the second part where the slave recovers, the master is not punished because “if the master too is punished”, then he may “take it out on the slave maybe not by beating him out of fear of punishment but by giving horrible chores”, again where the slave ends up “suffering longer”. But by letting the master go (shown mercy), chances are he will reduce the beatings (learning mercy) or realizing out of fear that harsh disciplinary beatings may cause the slave to die & he ends up being punished.


Regarding whether it is lawful to have slaves, the bible actually clearly highlights few reasons why they become slaves in the first place:


(i) Unable to pay debt (Matthew 18:25, 2 Kings 4:1)


(ii) Willingly. (Exodus 21:5)


(iii) prisoners of war (better than locking them up in a cage). They “pay” for their desire to kill the master’s kindred. (Deuteronomy 21:10). Please take note that these slaved were not “good men forced into slavery” but rather the very ones who wanted to “kill/destroy others & if given the opportunity, make you his slave”. Judgment is always “eye for an eye” or equivalently “the same judgment meted back to you”… But… God exercised Mercy available only after Christ came… And died on His Cross (otherwise, the logic of Law stands!).


But under Grace, we forgive though the Law has its “logic”. Logic is overcome with Love after Christ paid for the “logical requirements” of the Law.


A comment if you find the above “disturbing”:


“The people 3 -4 thousand years ago “needed” such “Law” to be “Civil”… It isn’t needed anymore since “men have learned” and thus the “Law was abolished by Christ fulfilling its penalties…”. You see, till today people kill another in the name of “freedom” to the name of “god” all claiming to be for the “right reason”, which is “against evil”… Any military force in the world is a good example = Don’t soliders kill, imprison, torture etc all in the name of “protecting freedom & good”? = all legally done (I’m not talking about the ‘war criminal’ activity part).”


Herein the “secret”:

God put such a Law to show “how humans are really like”.

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