16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.
20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.
21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;
24 And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.
K.J.V. Bible Text
It seems that today’s reading has brought us to a miscellaneous assortment of wrongdoing and what the Lord laid out as recompense. The Lord surely knew the habits of man when he ordered that if a man “lie with” a maid who is not betrothed he needs to make her his wife, or pay for her the dowry of a virgin.
The Lord forbade the Israelites to lie with beasts. (death)—to sacrifice to other gods (utter destruction) or to vex strangers. The Lord is particularly clear about what His reaction would be to the affliction of widows or fatherless children. (Death by sword in the heat of his wrath.)
After all the hundreds of years the Israelites were in captivity to the Egyptians, being enslaved and forced to do the bidding of their masters, the Israelites must have become like children code of ethics of their own. What we have been witnessing throughout this chapter is the creation of a code of behavior and rules for judgment of misbehavior for the people to follow. The level of detail indicates that the Lord knew that the Israelites were not capable of discerning through judgment how to behave. They needed complete, detailed rules to guide them.
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