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11. Civil Laws

June 26, 2009

Text:   Exodus 21:1-23:19

Key Verses:   Exodus 22:31a; 23:19

Outline:              I. Concerning Servants      Ex. 21:1-11

                              II. Concerning Personal Molestation      Ex. 21:12-36

                             III. Concerning Property Issues      Ex. 22:1-15

                             IV. Concerning Social Responsibilities      Ex. 22:16-23:13

                             V. Concerning Celebrations      Ex. 23:14-19

Context/Discussion/Comments:

     Moses is on Mt. Sinai being instructed personally by God. These instructions/laws/rules/regulations are what Moses is to teach Israel’s elders who were recommended by Jethro and instituted by Moses. These elders are going to help Moses govern the Israelites and they are to govern according to these laws given by God. Actually theses laws are an amplification/clarification of God’s Ten Commandments, particularly the ones relating between men [#’s 5-10]. Just a few deal with man’s relationship to God [#’s 1-4]; Ex. 22:20,28,29-30; Ex. 23:10-15.

Lessons/Applications:

     1. All men are created equal but not all men have equal rights.

     2. All men have the opportunity to be free and fulfilled.

     3. What we do and how we relate to one another speaks volumes as to who we are and who we worship. The rules/statutes presented in this passage of Scripture are meant to be followed so that others will know that they are God’s people who treat others with love , mercy, and justice. They are to love one another and take care not to oppress others or harm them in any way. This standard is the same for us who claim to be Christian.

     4. God rules with love, mercy, and justice but in so doing we learn He:

              • Supports capital punishment.

              • Supports property rights.

              • Supports the underprivileged.

             • Supports the principle of marriage.

             • Supports personal and corporate worship.

     Note the chart on the following page which summarizes God’s Laws for governing His People.

God’s Civil Law

Scripture Subject Statute
Ex. 21:1-11 Servants 1. Hebrew men are to be set free after 6 years.
a. If he had a wife when he became a servant she is also free.
b. If his master gave him a wife, she and her children remain servants.
2. A servant can choose to remain a servant by becoming a bond-servant.
3. Women servants are not set free but can be redeemed if found unacceptable.
They have the privileges of a wife.
a. She cannot be sold to a foreigner.
b. If her rights as a wife are not met, she is free to go.
Ex. 21:12-36 Personal Molestation 1. Intentionally killing another person is punished by death.
2. Accidently killing another person requires the person flee [to a sanctuary
city].
3. Attacking or cursing one’s mother and father is punished by death.
4. Kidnapping is punished by death.
5. Fighting requires that the one injured be paid for the time needed to
heal.
6. The killing of slaves requires punishment but not death.
7. If one fights with a pregnant woman causing premature birth, a fine is
rendered. If death occurs, it is punishable with death.
8. Beating and/or injuring a servant requires he/she be set free.
9. If an animal kills a person, the animal must be killed but not eaten.
a. If the owner of the animal was previously warned of the aggressive behavior,
the owner must die too. However, his death sentence is redeemable.
10. If an animal kills a slave, the owner of the slave is paid and the animal
killed.
11. You are responsible for any injuries to animals on your property, paying
for the loss in an equitable manner.
Ex. 22:1-15 Property Issues 1. Stealing requires a 4-5 fold payment in value back to the owner assuming
the animal is killed or sold.
a. If the animal is found alive, the payment is only 2 fold its’ value.
2. There is no offense for someone killed in the act of stealing at night
but death is required if one kills a thief during the day.
3. A man must pay another for the food his animals have eaten which belonged
to another.
4. Being responsible for the destruction of another’s crop requires payment
in full.
Ex. 22:16-23:13 Social Responsibilities 1. Premarital sex requires marriage.
2. Sorcerers must die.
3. Deviant sex behavior is punished by death.
4. Worship of idols is punishable by death.
5. Do not mistreat a foreigner.
6. Do not take advantage of widows and orphans.
7. Lend money but do not charge interest.
8. Respect your leaders and respect God.
9. Worship the Lord with your offerings and your firstborn.
10. Do not eat the meat of animals killed by wild animals.
11. Do not lie, gossip, or bear false witness against another.
a. Return lost property
b. Do not accept bribes.
c. Be honest and truthful in all your dealings.
d. Do nothing to oppress others.
12. Rest your land every 7th year.
13. Rest your bodies and your animals every Sabbath.
Ex. 23:14-19 Celebrations 1. Praise God three times a year.
a. The Feast of Unleavened Bread [God’s redemption of Israel].
b. The Feast of Harvest or First- fruits [God’s Promise to Israel]
c. The Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles [God’s Provision to Israel]
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