“But if any harm follows, then you are to give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound and bruise for bruise.”-Exodus 21:23
There is one fundamental difference between the Bible and the Koran.
Mutilation was NOT a permitted punishment in God’s justice system.
I’m not saying it never happened as there might have been some brutal Hebrew kings or princes who capriciously administered this practice (though I never heard of it being done).
Nevertheless, the wicked practice of cutting off hands, or fingers and feet, or gouging out eyes or slicing off tongues etcetera was NEVER authorized by the God of Israel.
While Islam may love to claim that Christians, Jews and Muslims all share the same God, this difference concerning whether mutilation was permitted or not is further evidence that “Allah” is ABSOLUTELY NOT just another culture’s name for YAHWEH.
The Koran (Muslim’s Holy Book) commands mutilations.
The Torah does NOT.
When God says an “an eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot…” He is using an idiomatic expression to establish the God-principle that equal compensation is to be rendered for unlawful actions.
If someone knocks out somebody’s tooth, this in NO WAY means that the offender’s tooth is to in turn be knocked out.
Or if an eye is damaged, it doesn’t mean that the offender’s eye is to be damaged or gouged out in return.
Bible critics will point to verses like this and say “if God exacted an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth, this world would indeed be peopled with the blind and the toothless”.
This is a misunderstanding of what the Bible is really saying here.
Again, it is the principle of fair compensation that is being established here, the words are not to be taken literally.
We can see this principle woven into the entire context of Exodus 21, where God gives only a few situations where the death sentence is to apply.
My point is “life for a life” does NOT always mean the death penalty.
In some cases, it just means a very high amount of compensation which is sometimes accompanied by a very harsh punishment.
God lists very clearly those offenses that require the death penalty such as murder and adultery.
And in the case of murder, the death penalty is only to apply when the taking of human life was INTENTIONAL.
All other offenses require a fair and just compensation.
The example given in chapter 21 of a pregnant woman accidentally getting knocked down and then her still unborn baby dying would require a high amount of compensation but NOT the death penalty because what happened was accidental.
Again, “life for a life, eye for eye” is an idiomatic expressing meaning that fair compensation shall be rendered.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“You have heard that our fathers were told,
‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’
But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong.
On the contrary,
if someone hits you on the right cheek,
let him hit you on the left cheek too!
If someone wants to sue you for your shirt,
let him have your coat as well!
And if a soldier forces you to carry his pack for one mile,
carry it for two!
When someone asks you for something,
give it to him;
when someone wants to borrow something from you,
lend it to him.