Eye For An Eye


"When the Bible says ‘an eye for an eye,’ it encourages us to take the law in our own hands by avenging wrongdoing."


Matthew 5:38 (originally written in Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21) is so often misquoted by the world. Many believe it is giving a license to take matters into our own hands and render evil for evil. In reality, it is referring to civil law concerning restitution. If someone steals your ox, he is to restore the ox. If someone steals and wrecks your car, he is to buy you another one...a car for a car, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. The spirit of what Jesus is saying here is radically different from the "sue the shirt off the back of your neighbor" society in which we live.

What is crucial to the understanding of biblical law is the difference between civil and moral law. Civil law is how the Bible says a government should protect the people; basically, your obligations before man. Moral law is your obligations before God. The context of "an eye for an eye" is not moral, but civil. If you harms someone, you have a civil obligation to provide restitution. But if someone hurts you, Jesus says you have the moral obligation before God to be a good witness and forgive them.


Good Messengers Ministries of Northwest Indiana (www.gotourtract.com) seeks to provide Biblically based answers to the many questions that we receive from honest seekers of truth. We provide Bible verses that relate to all questions. Those that are not directly addressed in the Bible, are answered according to the principles in the Word of God that relate to that subject. Many of the Question & Answers comes from the Evidence Bible (www.livingwaters.com)  The real teacher is the Holy Spirit so we trust Him to help you understand His Word as we point you to the Bible for the answers to your questions. If your question is not listed or you need a more detailed answer, please contact us.