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Life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Deuteronomy 19:21)

What, exactly, did Moses mean by this statement? In times past, this has occasionally been interpreted quite literally, resulting in lost eyes, hands and feet for different offenses. There are cultures, even today, who will separate a thief from his hand if he is caught and much more than that depending on the circumstance. The Bible does, in fact, say that whatever someone intended for their victim will come back on them but does that mean people were to lose eyes, feet and hands? Was he being literal or is this some idiomatic way of expressing Biblical justice?

In the previous devotion I mentioned that what the world calls Karma the Bible refers to as “measure for measure” or, as it is known in Hebrew, midah k’neged midah. Here is an example: when a new Pharaoh arose in Egypt, he identified the Hebrews as enemies of the state. Policies were set in place to restrict their lives and the Israeli population which included drowning newborn Hebrew males in the Nile. Many years later, as another Pharaoh pursued Israel into the sea, he and all of his army were drowned — that is midah k’neged midah or “measure for measure.” And so, it would seem that Moses was being literal, at least to some degree, in that God’s justice requires that what one intends for another will come back upon them in some form or fashion.

That is why Messiah warned us to be careful about judging others because, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:12). Understanding that this command addresses a negative inclination, nevertheless, the principle can also be applied to a positive inclination. In other words, when we perform good deeds, the benefit is returned to us in the measure we extended to others. That is why the Messiah said, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

So then, is it not in our best interests to give of ourselves to the Kingdom of Heaven in great measure? Obviously, we should not do in order to get but we should, nevertheless, do what is right to the fullest knowing that God keeps the books and returns unto each according to his deeds, measure for measure.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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