The Law of Moses and the Unborn

I found and it had some interesting posts. One was a letter from Terry Schiavo’s brother in response to Cathy Young of the Boston Globe. The post that really got my attention was about a passage in Exodus(21:22-24), from Nathan Sheets, and how it translates to the value of unborn life. the verse in the King James is

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot

I completely agree with this analysis:

Christian Courier notes:

However, there is absolutely no evidence that a dead fetus is under consideration in this passage. The fact is, the Hebrew language has a term (shachol) that denotes an abortion, or miscarriage (see 2 Kgs. 2:21; Hos. 9:14), yet that word is not employed in this context. This passage deals with a premature birth, not an aborted fetus.

The Hebrew word rendered “depart” is yasa, basically meaning “to go (come) out.” Though the word has a wide variety of uses in the Old Testament, it is frequently employed of an ordinary birth. God told Jeremiah, “ . . .before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you . . .” (Jer. 1:5). In Exodus 21:22 the verb is used “of untimely birth” (Brown, Driver, & Briggs, Hebrew Lexicon, p. 423), or of “premature birth” (cf. NIV; NKJV).

We then see that the verse is saying if a woman has a premature birth, but the baby does not die, the man is to be punished with a fine. If her baby dies as a result, he is to be put to death. Thus, God valued the unborn’s lives as equal to those who were born, and He still does today as clearly evidenced in the writings of the Early Church.

I found this insightful and true.

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