The Covenant Code
last revised: 10/31/00
Decalogue: (1)   (2)   (3)    (4) (5)    (6)   (7)    (8)    (9)    (10) Code:
Cultic Laws
Ex. 20:21-26
Civil/ Criminal Laws
2.Capital Crimes
3.Bodily Injury
Moral/Religious Laws 
1.Capital Offenses
2.Ethical Responsibility
3.Cultic Regulations

lex talionis

Exodus 20:21-23:33 (Code)

Cultic Laws (20:21-26):
     20:21 Then the people stood at a distance, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. 20:22 The Lord said to Moses: Thus you shall say to the Israelites:"You have seen for yourselves that I spoke with you from heaven.  20:23 You shall not make gods of silver alongside me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.

20:24 You need make for me only an altar of earth and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your offerings of well-being, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. 20:25 But if you make for me an altar of stone, do not build it of hewn stones; for if you use a chisel upon it you profane it. 20:26 You shall not go up by steps to my altar, so that your nakedness may not be exposed on it."

Hebrew slaves
     21:1 These are the ordinances that you shall set before them: 21:2 When you buy a male Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, but in the seventh he shall go out a free person, without debt. 21:3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 21:4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's and he shall go out alone. 21:5 But if the slave declares, "I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out a free person," 21:6 then his master shall bring him before God.F47He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life. 21:7 When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. 21:8 If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt unfairly with her. 21:9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 21:10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish the food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife.F4821:11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out without debt, without payment of money.

Capital Offenses (21:12-17):
     21:12 Whoever strikes a person mortally shall be put to death. 21:13 If it was not premeditated, but came about by an act of God, then I will appoint for you a place to which the killer may flee. 21:14 But if someone willfully attacks and kills another by treachery, you shall take the killer from my altar for execution. 21:15 Whoever strikes father or mother shall be put to death. 21:16 Whoever kidnaps a person, whether that person has been sold or is still held in possession, shall be put to death. 21:17 Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death.

Bodily Injury Laws (21:18-32):
21:18 When individuals quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or fist so that the injured party, though not dead, is confined to bed, 21:19 but recovers and walks around outside with the help of a staff, then the assailant shall be free of liability, except to pay for the loss of time, and to arrange for full recovery. 21:20 When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. 21:21 But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner's property. 21:22 When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman's husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. 21:23 If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 21:25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. 21:26 When a slaveowner strikes the eye of a male or female slave, destroying it, the owner shall let the slave go, a free person, to compensate for the eye. 21:27 If the owner knocks out a tooth of a male or female slave, the slave shall be let go, a free person, to compensate for the tooth 21:28 When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. 21:29 If the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not restrained it, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death. 21:30 If a ransom is imposed on the owner, then the owner shall pay whatever is imposed for the redemption of the victim's life. 21:31 If it gores a boy or a girl, the owner shall be dealt with according to this same rule. 21:32 If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall pay to the slaveowner thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

Property Rights (21:33-22:17):
     21:33 If someone leaves a pit open, or digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 21:34 the owner of the pit shall make restitution, giving money to its owner, but keeping the dead animal. 21:35 If someone's ox hurts the ox of another, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide the price of it; and the dead animal they shall also divide. 21:36 But if it was known that the ox was accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not restrained it, the owner shall restore ox for ox, but keep the dead animal. 22:1F49When someone steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, the thief shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.F50The thief shall make restitution, but if unable to do so, shall be sold for the theft. 22:2F51If a thief is found breaking in, and is beaten to death, no bloodguilt is incurred; 22:3 but if it happens after sunrise, bloodguilt is incurred. 22:5 When someone causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets livestock loose to graze in someone else's field, restitution shall be made from the best in the owner's field or vineyard. 22:6 When fire breaks out and catches in thorns so that the stacked grain or the standing grain or the field is consumed, the one who started the fire shall make full restitution. 22:7 When someone delivers to a neighbor money or goods for safekeeping, and they are stolen from the neighbor's house, then the thief, if caught, shall pay double. 22:8 If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house shall be brought before God,F52to determine whether or not the owner had laid hands on the neighbor's goods. 22:9 In any case of disputed ownership involving ox, donkey, sheep, clothing, or any other loss, of which one party says, "This is mine," the case of both parties shall come before God;F53the one whom God condemnsF54shall pay double to the other. 22:10 When someone delivers to another a donkey, ox, sheep, or any other animal for safekeeping, and it dies or is injured or is carried off, without anyone seeing it, 22:11 an oath before the Lord shall decide between the two of them that the one has not laid hands on the property of the other; the owner shall accept the oath, and no restitution shall be made. 22:12 But if it was stolen, restitution shall be made to its owner. 22:13 If it was mangled by beasts, let it be brought as evidence; restitution shall not be made for the mangled remains. 22:14 When someone borrows an animal from another and it is injured or dies, the owner not being present, full restitution shall be made. 22:15 If the owner was present, there shall be no restitution; if it was hired, only the hiring fee is due. 22:16 When a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married, and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. 22:17 But if her father refuses to give her to him, he shall pay an amount equal to the bride-price for virgins.

Capital Offenses (22:18-20):
     22:18 You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live. 22:19 Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death. 22:20 Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction.

Ethical &Moral Responsibility (22:21-28):
     22:21 You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. 22:22 You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. 22:23 If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; 22:24 my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans. 22:25 If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them. 22:26 If you take your neighbor's cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; 22:27 for it may be your neighbor's only clothing to use as cover; in what else shall that person sleep? And if your neighbor cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate. 22:28You shall not revile God, or curse a leader of your people.

Religious Regulations (22:29-31):
     22:29 You shall not delay to make offerings from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses.F55The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. 22:30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall remain with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me. 22:31 You shall be people consecrated to me; therefore you shall not eat any meat that is mangled by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.

Justice & Duty toward One's Enemy (23:1-9):
     23:1 You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness. 23:2 You shall not follow a majority in wrongdoing; when you bear witness in a lawsuit, you shall not side with the majority so as to pervert justice; 23:3 nor shall you be partial to the poor in a lawsuit. 23:4 When you come upon your enemy's ox or donkey going astray, you shall bring it back. 23:5 When you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden and you would hold back from setting it free, you must help to set it free.F56  23:6 You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in their lawsuits. 23:7 Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and those in the right, for I will not acquit the guilty. 23:8 You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. 23:9 You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Laws governing Religious Institutions & Practices
     23:10 For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; 23:11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard. 23:12 Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have relief, and your homeborn slave and the resident alien may be refreshed. 23:13 Be attentive to all that I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.
23:14 Three times in the year you shall hold a festival for me. 23:15 You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. No one shall appear before me empty-handed.23:16 You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall observe the festival of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. 23:17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God. 23:18 You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the fat of my festival remain until the morning. 23:19 The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk

Promises & Instruction
for Entry into the Promised Land
     23:20 I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 23:21 Be attentive to him and listen to his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my name is in him. 23:22 But if you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. 23:23 When my angel goes in front of you, and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, 23:24 you shall not bow down to their gods, or worship them, or follow their practices, but you shall utterly demolish them and break their pillars in pieces. 23:25 You shall worship the Lord your God, and IF57will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you. 23:26 No one shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. 23:27 I will send my terror in front of you, and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 23:28 And I will send the pestilenceF58in front of you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. 23:29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, or the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply against you. 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. 23:31 I will set your borders from the Red SeaF59to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will hand over to you the inhabitants of the land, and you shall drive them out before you. 23:32 You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 23:33 They shall not live in your land, or they will make you sin against me; for if you worship their gods, it will surely be a snare to you
F47: Or [to the judges] 
F48: Heb [of her] 
F49: Ch 21.37 in Heb 
F50: Verses 2, 3, and 4 rearranged thus: 3b, 4, 2, 3a 
F51: Ch 22.1 in Heb 
F52: Or [before the judges] 
F53: Or [before the judges] 
F54: Or [the judges condemn] 
F55: Meaning of Heb uncertain
F56: Meaning of Heb uncertain 
F57: Gk Vg: Heb [he] 
F58: Or [hornets]: Meaning of Heb uncertain 
F59: Or [Sea of Reeds] 

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