The Political Supplements of the Sixth Commandment
Leviticus 24:17, 19-22
17. And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
17. Qui percusserit animam hominis, morte moriatur.
19. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
19. Vir qui intulerit maculam proximo suo, secundum quod fecit sic fiat ei.
20. Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him wain.
20. Fracturam pro fractura, oculum pro oculo, dentem pro dente: sicut intulerit maculam hominis, sic inferetur ei.
21. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it; and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.
21. Qui percusserit animal reddet illud: qui vero percusserit hominem, moriatur.
22. Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the Lord your God.
22. Judicium unum erit vobis, sicut peregrinus sic et indigena erit: quia ego Jehova Deus vester.
1 See margin of A. V.
2 Lat., "quia praecepto respondet quasi
3 This is the earliest account we have of the Lex Talionis, or law of like for like, which afterwards prevailed among the Greeks and Romans. Among the latter it constituted a part of the Twelve Tables, so famous in antiquity; but the punishment was afterwards changed to a pecuniary fine, to be levied at the discretion of the Praetor. It prevails less or more in most civilized countries, and is fully acted upon in the Canon Law in reference to all calumniators: "Clumniator, si in accusatione defecerit, talionem recipiat." Nothing, however, of this kind was left to private revenge; the magistrate awarded the punishment when the fact was proved. Otherwise the Lex Talionis would have utterly destroyed the peace of society, and have sowed the seeds of hatred, revenge, and all uncharitableness." -- Adam Clarke on Exodus 21:24.
The enactment of the Twelve Tables to this effect appears from Festus to have been the following: "Si merebrum rupsit, (ruperit,) ni cum eo pacit, (paciscetur,) talio est;" presenting a singular coincidence with the Mosaic provision. See Aul. Gell., lib. 20 c. 1, where the words are given somewhat differently, as in C.'s text. The objection of Favorinus is that it was impossible to be kept; for if the like were inflicted for the like, as one wound for another, they must take care that the like wound in every respect should be made, neither longer nor deeper; if it were, then a new retaliation must arise, and so ad infinitum.
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