"An eye for an eye" - what does it mean?

The answer of the Bible

The commandment "an eye for an eye" was intended to ensure that a punishment was appropriate to the crime when deciding legal cases. * It was part of the law that God gave to the Israelites through Moses. Jesus quoted this commandment in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38; Exodus 21:24, 25; Deut. 19:21).

It was applied in cases of intentional harm to another person. For intentional offenders, the Mosaic law stated, "Break bone for break bone, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Whatever injury a person inflicts on another shall also be inflicted on him" (Deut. 24:20, New Living).

Why was there a commandment of "an eye for an eye"?

Does it also apply to Christians?

Misconceptions about the "eye for an eye" commandment

Jesus corrects wrong views

Why was there the commandment "an eye for an eye"?

The "eye for an eye" rule did not authorize or condone vigilante justice. Rather, it helped appointed judges impose appropriate punishments - neither too severe nor too lenient.

Moreover, the commandment served as a deterrent to anyone who intentionally hurt someone or planned to do so. The Mosaic Law declared, "The remnant [who could observe how God's law was applied] shall hear and fear, and they shall never again do in your midst anything so evil as this" (Deut. 19:2.
Does it also apply to Christians?

No, for Christians this commandment is not binding, because it was part of the Mosaic Law, which lost its validity through Jesus' sacrificial death (Romans 10:4).

However, this commandment does show the mindset of God. For example, it reveals the high value God places on justice (Psalm 89:14). It also reveals His standard for justice: wrongdoers should be punished "in due measure" (Jeremiah 30:11).
Misconceptions about the "eye for an eye" commandment

What some think: The principle of "an eye for an eye" was far too strict.

The fact is: the commandment was not a license for brutal, merciless punishment. Properly applied, it meant for the responsible judges to impose punishment only after they had examined the circumstances surrounding the crime and the degree of premeditation (Ex. 21:28-30; Deut. 35:22-25). "An eye for an eye" therefore prevented excessive punishment.

What some think: The principle of "an eye for an eye" justified a never-ending succession of violence

The fact is: The Mosaic Law stated, "You shall not take vengeance on the sons of your people, nor bear grudges against them" (Deut. 19:18). Rather than favoring vigilante justice, the law encouraged trust in God and the legal system He had instituted to right wrongs (Deut. 32:35).
Jesus corrects wrong views

Jesus knew that the statement "an eye for an eye" was being misinterpreted by some. He therefore clarified, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist him who does evil to you, but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also!" (Matthew 5:38, 39, Einheitsübersetzung).

To be noted is Jesus' statement, "You have heard that it was said." Obviously, he was referring to some religious leaders of the Jews who taught the principle of retribution. Biblical scholar Adam Clarke commented, "The Jews saw in this law ... [an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth] apparently the justification for private hostilities-with all the excesses of a vengeful spirit." By promoting vigilante justice, religious leaders misrepresented the intent behind God's law (Mark 7:13).

In contrast, Jesus emphatically showed that the basic idea of the divine law is love. He said, "'You shall love Jehovah your God ...' This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, equal to it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hangs the whole LAW" (Matthew 22:37-4. Jesus taught: His true followers would not be known by vengeance, but by love (John 13:34, 35).

WHERE DOES OUR CREATOR DWELL ??? Several Bible verses speak of "the heavens" as God's "permanent dwelling place" (1 Kings 8:39, 43, 49; 2 Chronicles 6:33, 39). How great Jehovah God is, however, is described in one place in the following words: "But will God really dwell with men on the earth? Behold! The heavens themselves, even the heavens of the heavens, cannot contain you!" (2 Chronicles 6:18).
The Bible says: "God is a SPIRIT" (John 4:24). Accordingly, He is in a spiritual realm that does not belong to the material universe. That the Bible refers to God's abode as "heaven" is to convey how highly exalted His abode is compared to the material environment in which we reside. Basically, then, the Bible teaches that God's dwelling place-though clearly separate from the material universe-is in a very specific place (Job 2:1, 2).Jesus spoke of Jehovah's dwelling place when he said to his disciples, "In my Father's house are many mansions . . . . I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). Where was Jesus going? He finally went "into heaven itself, to appear . . . before the person of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24). From these verses we learn two important facts about Jehovah God: first, he has a definite dwelling place, and second, he is not simply an indefinable force present everywhere, but a person.
That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray, "Our Father in the heavens," that is, to address their prayers to a person - Jehovah - who resides in a place - the spiritual heaven (Matthew 6:9; 12:5. To pray in this way had been taught to servants of God for over 1,500 years. The oldest of God's inspired scriptures contained the following prayer: "Look down from your holy dwelling place, the heavens, and bless your people" (Deuteronomy 26:15).

Keeping one's good name

IT CAN give you a lot to look closely at a beautiful painting. On closer inspection, one will notice that the artist has applied various colors to the canvas with hundreds of brushstrokes.

Also, a good name is not created - to stay with this image - by a single thick brushstroke, but by many small deeds over a period of time. Yes, a good reputation is acquired bit by bit through deeds.

On the other hand, a single misplaced brushstroke can diminish the value of a painting. It is the same with a person's reputation. The wise King Solomon said, "It is the folly of a man of the earth that perverts his way" (Proverbs 19:3). Even so-called folly is enough-perhaps a violent outburst of anger, excessive drinking, or a sexually impure act-to sully a good reputation (Proverbs 6:32; 14:17; 20:1). How important, therefore, it is to acquire a good name and to be earnest in preserving it! (Compare Revelation 3:5.)

What is the soul?
The answer of the Bible
Where the word "soul" is found in some Bible translations, the word néphesch is found in the original Hebrew language of the Bible and the word psychḗ is found in Biblical Greek. The Hebrew word literally means "breathing creature" and the Greek "living being." * Thus, "soul" in the Bible refers to the entire living creature or person per se-not something inherent in him that leaves the body after death. Here are a few examples:
The creation of the first soul: Adam
Adam did not get a soul - he "became a living soul".
In the Bible account, we read that when God created the first man, "man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7, Elberfelder Bible). So Adam did not get a soul, but became a living soul, that is, a living person.
According to the Bible, the soul can work, have appetite, eat, obey laws, or be refreshed by cool water (Elberfelder Bible: Deut. 7:20; 23:30; Deut. 5:12:20; Rom. 13:1; Slaughterer: Proverbs 25:25). This clearly refers to the human being per se.
Is the soul immortal?
No, it is mortal. Dozens of Bible verses say this quite clearly. Again, a few examples:
"The soul that sinneth, it shall die!" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20, Slaughterer)
If someone committed a serious crime in ancient Israel, the punishment was as follows: "That soul shall ... be cut off" (Exodus 12:15, 19; Deuteronomy 7:20, 21, 27; 19:8; compare Schlachter and Elberfelder Bible). That is, the person was to be "punished with death" (Exodus 31:14, Einheitsübersetzung).
If someone has died, the Bible then speaks in some verses of a "dead soul" (Deut. 21:11; Deut. 6:6). Many Bible translations render this as "corpse," "dead body," or "dead person," but the Hebrew also uses the word néphesch here.
"Soul" can stand as a synonym for life.
The Bible also uses the word "soul" (néphesch) as a synonym for "life," for example, in Job 33:22. Similarly, when the Bible says that someone risks or loses his soul. What is meant is: his life (Exodus 4:19; Judges 9:17; Philippians 2:3.
This is how we know how to understand when Genesis 35:18 says that Rachel's soul "went out" or "disappeared" (Schlachter, Elberfelder Bible). This phrase was used to express that someone's life was ending. Some translations therefore render this text thus: "Rachel felt that life was slipping away from her and that she would die" (NeÜ bibel.heute). Or: "Rachel felt that it was coming to an end with her" (Good News Bible).
Where the belief in the immortal soul comes from
Christian religious communities that believe in an immortal soul do not get this teaching from the Bible, but rather from ancient Greek philosophy. The Calvary Bible Dictionary, under the heading of soul, states, "As s[eele], man is mortal ... This is related to the Bible's holistic view of man. The Greek separation of the perishable body and the immortal soul, as determined by Plato ... is foreign to biblical thinking." In another Bible commentary one reads: "The NT does not know an 'immortal soul' which would be conceivable apart from the body. ... Without being aware of it, we have taken over an old Greek philosophical understanding of 'soul', which in the course of time has displaced the biblical statements" (Biblical Dictionary).
For God it is in no way acceptable to mix His teachings with human philosophies - like the belief in an immortal soul. The Bible even warns against this: "See to it that there be no one to lead you away as a prey through philosophy and empty deceit according to the tradition of men" (Colossians 2:8)


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