Exodus 21:29-30 – Can we pay a ransom for murder or not?

Problem: In Numbers, we read, “You shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death” (Num. 35:31). However, in Exodus, we read, “If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him” (Ex. 21:30). Could the Jews offer ransom for murder or not?

Solution: These two laws are describing two different types of death. Numbers 35 was a willful or intentional murder. Exodus 21 was a negligent or accidental homicide. In Exodus 21, the guilty person simply didn’t contain his ox. The Jews could pay a fine for accidental deaths, but they couldn’t simply pay a fee for intentional murder. For more information on OT law, see my earlier article.

“But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him. (Ex 21:29-30)’

Posted by petra1000

I am a born again christian who loves the Lord and I am taking bible classes online