The Law Concerning Violence

A strange situation that saved the life of a condemned man arose as Jim Williams, was about to be executed in the Florida state penitentiary at Raiford in 1926. After he had been strapped into the electric chair and the black hood placed over his head, both the warden and the she … More

Death Penalty

Four crimes are stated that required the death penalty (vv. 12-17):

  1. Premeditated Murder (vv. 12-14) - It is clearly stated here that to take the life of a murder is not  the violation of “Thou shalt no kill” but was clearly commanded by God.
  2. Physical violence against parents (v. 15) - The hitting of one’s parents was certainly a very serious thing in Israel’s society.
  3. Kidnaping (v. 16) - Required capital punishment.
  4. Verbal abuse of parents (v. 17) - It is very sobering to think that disrespectfulness in the home was to be dealt with in the same way as murder.

In the next few verses we find regulations concerning how civil violations that were not severe enough to merit the death penalty were to be handled:

  1. Fighting (vv. 18-19) - The injured party was to be given compensation for his loss of work time and pay for medical expenses.
  2. Slaves beaten or killed (vv. 20-21) - If killed, judges would set the masters punishment. If the slave soon recovered, the loss of the slaves work was considered punishment enough.


How many children do you think would have to die today if the penalty for verbal abuse of parents was carried out as it was stated in verse 17? I am thankful my parents respected God and loved me.

Exodus 21:12-21 (English Standard Version)

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