The Orthodox Pages



Part 8

21st November 2013


























































































































































Continuing our talks on the Old Testament, last week we finished with the establishment of the Judges of Israel. Today we will look at the Ten Commandments and the establishment of the Law as given by God to the Jewish Nation.
Leaving Raphidin where they had camped for some time Israel now makes another stop at the base of Mount Sinai in the Sinai desert. It is the third month from when they left Egypt, so if it is the first of the month then a journey that would take a caravan from Suez to Sinai approximately 7-8 days, took the Israelites 45-46 days, because on the way they made long stops.
At Mount Sinai Moses goes up the mount where God called him to receive an order of agreement for the covenant between Israel and God. He was to remind the people of all the things God had done for them and if they agree to keep his commandments they will be a special people to him above all the other nations. The people agreed saying they will observe everything that God has spoken. Moses conveys the words of the people to God and God tells Moses that he will come in a pillar of cloud so that the people can hear when he speaks to him and believe for ever. God then tells Moses to sanctify the people and for them to wash their clothes because on the third day he will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. On that day no one is to go up the mount or touch any part of it and that if anyone touches it he will die. If any man or beast touches it he will be stoned or shot through with a dart. We are not told if this will be done by God or from the Israelite soldiers standing guard. So Moses instructs the people to wash their clothes and to keep themselves pure and for no man to come near a woman for three days. This outward cleansing is symbolic of inner cleansing. By taking care of their bodily hygiene they are at the same time preparing their soul to receive spiritual cleansing. We do something similar when we are to partake of Holy Communion; we fast beforehand, we don't come together with our husband or wife, which even today is observed by most people with a three day abstention and we wash and present ourselves before the Lord in clean clothing.
So on the third day at dawn, which was the sixth or seventh of the third month and exactly fifty days after the exodus, voices were heard and lightning and a dark cloud came upon Mount Sinai and the voice of a trumpet sounded loud and all the people in the camp trembled with fear. Then Moses led the people forth to meet with God under the mount. The mount was covered with smoke as from a furnace, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. The trumpet grew louder and louder and God called Moses to go up the mount. Once on the top, God tells Moses to go down again and warn the people not to come near lest they die. Moses returns to the top taking with him only Aaron as God had instructed him. What follows next is the giving of the Old Testament Law which is not just the Ten Commandments. After giving the first Ten Commandments, God follows with hundreds of other laws and ordinances they had to observe which dealt with everything on worship, on sacrifices, on servant’s rights, on how to live with their neighbours, how to receive strangers, on cursing, on what to do if someone’s animal harmed someone else, what punishments were to be applied for stealing various items, for killing premeditated or accidentally, for causing a fire that destroys another’s crops, for trespassing, and many other laws that we have to this day but with different punishments.

Before we look at these Laws, something should be said of this fiftieth day, which is still celebrated as the Jewish Pentecost in remembrance of the day the Jewish nation received the Law directly from God. It was fifty days after the Passover, the Jewish Pascha. In the New Testament we also celebrate a new Pentecost fifty days after the Christian Pascha. The establishment of the Old Pentecost is an image of the New Pentecost and both are preceded with a Pascha. The Old Pascha was the passing of the Lord over the land of Egypt smiting all the firstborn in the land, followed by the miraculous passing over of the Red Sea. A new life begins for the Israelites which is now sealed which the giving of the Law. The New Pascha is the passing over of Christ’s body from death to the Resurrection, which is then sealed with the giving of the Holy Spirit on the fiftieth day. There are many similarities between the Old and New Pentecosts. In the Old, Mount Sinai was shaken and the mount smoked with fire; in the New, a violent wind rushed through the house where the apostles were and tongues of fire came upon them. At Sinai trumpets were heard, in Jerusalem the Apostles preaching. God came down upon Sinai, God the Holy Spirit came down upon men in Jerusalem. Then the Law was given on tablets of stone, now the law is written upon our hearts. At Sinai was the dead letter; at Jerusalem the life-giving Spirit. At Sinai was fear and trembling, at Jerusalem was joy and love. Then God addressed only the Jewish Nation, now he addresses all of mankind. Then the keeping of the law was rewarded with material goods, now with the receiving of the Holy Spirit, we are promised heavenly goods, forgiveness of sins and eternal blessedness.
Let's now return to Mount Sinai where with the beginning of chapter 20, God gives the first Ten Commandments which have become the foundation of every civilization. It should be noted that in the text that follows we are not explicitly told that there are Ten Commandments. This we learn from a much later chapter. Also the commandments are not numbered so with some commandments we don't actually know when one commandment finishes and another begins. Some for example number the first commandment only as verse two while others from verse two till verse six. When the commandments are divided in this way then verse seventeen, which most people consider as one commandment, is divided into two commandments. For simplicity, I will follow the generally accepted numbering of the Commandments.
The first commandment: "I am the Lord thy God, Which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of an house of bondage." Here God officially proclaims and preaches monotheism, that He is the only God and stresses the great mercy he has shown upon Israel by bringing them out of bondage: something for which they should remain eternally grateful for.
The Second Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods beside Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee an idol, or likeness of any thing, whatsoever things are in the heaven above, and whatsoever is in the earth beneath, and whatsoever is in the waters under the earth." We have come across this commandment many times in older talks on Icons. It is used against the Orthodox Church by those who claim that Icons are a form of idolatry which is clearly forbidden by this commandment.
Where the Septuagint says "thou shalt not make unto thee an idol, the KJB translates this as "graven image". Graven image means an idol but it could be loosely interpreted to mean every kind of image, even a simple painting of flowers. On the other hand the word idol specifically refers to a carved image in wood or stone that was used in pagan religious worship. The commandment is clear that no idol is to be manufactured having any likeness of anything that is in heaven, or on earth or in the sea. God specifies heaven, earth and sea, because in the many years of their sojourn in Egypt, the Israelites had seen many idols that borrowed their images from all three places.
Note that the commandment refers to an idol created to be worshipped as a god and not for every form of images. If it refers to all kinds of images then God contradicts himself because a little later he gives another charge to Moses saying: “Thou shalt make two cherubim of gold; of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat”. The mercy seat was to be placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant. Solomon used this same ordinance when building the temple: “and within the oracle he made two cherubim of olive tree each ten cubits high” [1 Kings 6: 23]. Again, in Numbers 21: 8, the Lord said unto Moses, “Make thee a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole”.
Is God then contradicting himself? On the one hand, he tells us not to make any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven, on earth and in the sea and then on the other hand he tells Moses and Solomon to make images of Cherubim and a serpent. It is therefore obvious from these exceptions that God only prohibited images that were to be used as idols of gods or even as images that would represent Himself. Images other than idols were permissible because they were not images intended to be worshipped as a god. The commandment therefore had a twofold purpose: a practical and a theological. The practical purpose was to protect the Israelites from polytheism and pagan worship which was the common practice amongst other nations of that time such as the Egyptians and Assyrians. Whilst in Egypt the Israelites had begun to worship the gods of the Egyptians: idols had become a part of their lives. Now they are told to put all their trust in an invisible God. Believing in an invisible God was difficult and there was always the possibility that through encounters with other nations, the Israelites would again become influenced by their religious practices and would sooner or later demand to make an image that would act as a visual aid in their worship. This is where the second and theological purpose of the commandment is revealed.
God is uncreated and invisible and therefore indescribable and therefore cannot be represented in any form. To show Him in any form whatsoever would have been a false image, because the invisible and Absolute Being of God, cannot be described by created matter. God was not only invisible and indescribable; He was also uncircumscribable. This means that He was everywhere, in everyplace and without being confined to any boundaries in any given time. He reaches beyond all creation and beyond our understanding.
But this theological understanding belongs to the Old Testament. With the Birth of Christ, the theological understanding of this law is no longer true. If, as we believe Jesus Christ is God incarnate, in other words God in the flesh, then the Old Testament Law forbidding images is replaced by a new law in Christ. Why? Because whereas before God was uncreated, invisible and indescribable, now He has become as one of His creatures: a man visible and describable, and whereas before God was uncircumscribable, now He has made Himself circumscribable. With the Old Law God could not be described by created matter because no one had seen God, but now God is visible for all to see.
The Icon therefore is an image of God in his human form. The word Icon should not be misunderstood. It is only an English transliteration of the Greek word Εικόνα which simply means an image. In this sense man is an icon of God because he was created in the image of God. All pictures are icons but when we refer to images of Christ and the saints we call them Holy Icons, simply meaning Holy Images.
Orthodox understand Holy Icons as inanimate objects which act as a medium by which God works to teach, speak, encourage and heal the faithful. This is not something new or unbiblical: created matter was used by God for this purpose even in the Old Testament. The Bronze Snake for example which God commanded Moses to make was a medium through which God gave his grace and power to heal those bitten by real snakes. God told Moses: "Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."
Similarly the Ark of the Covenant is described as the ritual object where God was present. God said to Moses: "there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony." (Exodus 25:22) Also the Ten Commandments written on the stone tablets were the Word of God and acted as a medium for God's grace and power.
As already noted, the Old Law on images lost its theological meaning when God became man and, from the very beginning of the Christian Church, the Icon became a statement proclaiming the Incarnation which I'm sure we will have another chance to discuss at some future talk.
The same commandment continues: "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor art thou to serve them: for I am Lord thy God, a jealous God, recompensing the sins of the fathers upon children unto the third and fourth generation unto them that hate Me; and doing mercy unto thousands, unto them that love Me and keep My commandments." Here it is clear that the prohibited images refer only to idols which are not to be worshipped or served as gods. God then says of himself that he is a jealous God and that he punishes the children for the sins of their fathers that hate him up to the third and fourth generation. The word jealous shown not be interpreted negatively as it would be with human emotions. Here jealousy is used to show God's compassion upon those that love him. God is speaking of people making idols and bowing down to them and worshipping them instead of giving him the worship that belongs to him alone. God is possessive of the worship and service that belong to Him. As God points out in this commandment, it is a sin to worship or serve anything other than God.

Where God says that he will punish the children for the sins of the fathers that hate him up to the third and fourth generation, we must be careful to read exactly what it says. He does not say that he will punish the children for their father's sins up to the third and fourth generation, but only of those fathers that hate him. The key words for the proper understanding of this verse are "them that hate me". Thus he will be longsuffering and compassionate upon the fathers that sin and their children, but if their descendants turn from him and hate him as did some of their ancestors then he will bring upon them punishment up to the third and fourth generation. The punishment is only temporary up to the third or fourth generation, but he is far more lavish with his rewards to those that love him and keep his commandments with love and mercy unto thousands of generations.
The Third Commandment: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not acquit him that taketh His name in vain." In fear of not taking the Lord's name in vain the Jews exaggerated this commandment by never mentioning the Lord's name of Yahve. God's name as Yahve appears for the first time when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush which we saw last week. When God told Moses to go to Egypt and tell the people of Israel of God's plan for them, Moses replied "what if the people ask me the name of this God, what should I tell them?" And God replied I AM THAT I AM: Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. In the Hebrew text is says Yahve which is interpreted by the Septuagint as I Am because Yahve is the Hebrew verb for I am. The Hebrew language does not have vowels in its alphabet so it is written with only four consonants which in English would be JHWH.
Now because the Jews feared pronouncing the name of God lest they be guilty of taking his name in vain and because they didn't have written vowels to help them, in time they forgot how the name was pronounced. After the 6th century AD, the Masorites (Judean scholars of that era) introduced their own vowels into Hebrew words and because they didn’t know what the correct pronunciation of the word “Yahve” was, they arbitrarily added vowels to the four-letter “JHWH”, which they had taken from the words “Adonai” (Master) and “Elohim” (God) and created the word Jahovah which then became Jehovah. Jehovah therefore is not the name God revealed to Moses in Exodus, but a created word of the wise men of Israel. This name was later used by the Jehovah Witnesses believing that it was the proper name of God, but today all experts are in agreement that the four letter JHWH was pronounced Yahve. Thus the Jehovah of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a name that doesn’t exist and is without any meaning.
As already said the Jews exaggerated this commandment of not taking the Lord's name in vain by never mentioning God's name, others take it to mean that it should not be used to swear an oath falsely but its proper meaning is not to use the Lord's name other than in prayer, or to teach, or when in need. It also means not to empty his name in other words not to speak of God in a way that empties him of his significance. It is common to respond to a surprise or on hearing gossip concerning someone with "Oh my God!" It has become such a common response that people just blurt out Oh my God! at almost anything even a funny joke. The Irish use "Mary mother of God and baby Jesus fairly loosely." People often use God's name as an oath to defend themselves saying "I swear to God I didn't know or swear to God it wasn't me etc. Cypriots often use God's name or the Mother of God's in anger "Θεέ μου Θεέ μου κανί" (My God, my God enough) "Παναγια μου με πέλλανες" (Mother of God you've driven me mad). Screaming out God's name in anger cannot be considered prayer because it is used blasphemously and no different to how many Greeks blaspheme by shouting out the devils name. Greeks from mainland Greece often use the blasphemous phrase "Γ.... την Παναγία σου" (F*** your Mother of God). There are many ways people use God's name in vain. In pleasure people shout out: Oh God that was fantastic, in shock: Jesus man you scared the life out of me, in irritation: Oh for Christ's sake leave me alone, in annoyance: God dammit I made a mistake. All these occasions and many more are taking the Lord's name in vain.

Written down some of these phrases may appear to be a form of prayer, but it is not just the words by themselves, but the tone of voice and content in which they are used that makes them taking the Lord's name in vain. Another way of taking the Lord's name in vain done by millions of people is by claiming to be a Christian. To say we are Christian means we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and thus should live according to his commandments and teachings. To claim to be a Christian only nominally is taking the name of Christ in vain.
The Fourth Commandment: "Remember the day of the sabbaths, to hallow it. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt do no work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, thine ox, nor thine ass, nor thy stranger that dwelleth with thee. For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and all things that in them are, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it." We saw the meaning of the Sabbath day in the Second talk on the Holy Bible where the six days of creation symbolized the six working days in which man is obliged to work, but on the seventh, the Sabbath, he is obliged to rest and glorify God. God separates the seventh day from the other days and gives it a special and holy character, so that on this day man can rest from his daily routine and during this day of rest to find time to think of God and to profit from prayer, but here the commandment also teaches the people to be charitable. It defines that not only themselves, their sons and daughters are to rest on this day, but also their servants and even the animals the ox and the ass are not to be put to work on the Sabbath. Even strangers staying with them are to observe the Sabbath. By strangers it means proselytes who have not yet been circumcised and received as a child of Israel.
The first four commandment deal with man's relationship with God. The next six commandments deal directly with man’s relationship to others. Each of these commandments addresses a different aspect of daily life and how man is to live peaceably with his neighbour.
The first of these commandments is the Fifth Commandment: "Honour thy father and mother, that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long upon the good land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." After honouring God, honour is to be given to the parents. Here the woman as a mother is honoured equal to the man as a father. This shows the superiority of the Jewish law compared to other laws where woman had no value. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians repeats this commandment: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:1-3) Honouring parents is the only commandment that comes with a promise of long life as a reward.
To honour the father and mother meant to show respect to them as the authority of the home and head of the family. Also, one’s relationship with their father and mother mirrored their relationship to God. And a right relationship with God often promoted a right relationship with the earthly father and mother. The two went hand in hand. Those who honoured God held the same honour for their father and mother. And those who honoured their father and mother honoured God, who placed parents as authorities over households.
So how are we to honour our parents? Honouring your father and mother is being respectful in word and action and having an inward attitude of esteem for their position. St. Paul says: "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." (Col.3:20) Thus honour is obedience to their unspoken and unspoken wishes, listening, heeding, and submitting to their authority. But this obedience is not unconditional. If our parents are ungodly, if they ask us to do something that clearly contradicts God's commands then we are obligated to obey God rather than our parents.
The remaining five commandments are simple and short and don't need any interpretation. The Sixth Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery, the Seventh: Thou shalt not steal, the Eighth: Thou shalt not murder, the Ninth: Thou shalt not testify falsely against thy neighbour with false witness, and the Tenth: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, nor his field, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any of his cattle, nor all whatsoever pertaineth unto thy neighbour. This last commandment reaches deep into the thoughts and hidden desires of the heart and asks us to keep check of our desires before they get out of hand and become action. If, when the desire is awakened within us, we remember that it is a sin, then with fear of breaking the commandment we can cast it from our thoughts before it grows and festers and becomes a cause of resentment and hostility towards our neighbour. In general we must retain good relationships with our neighbours by honouring and respecting them and the things that belong to them.
All the while Moses was up the mount receiving the Ten Commandment the people perceived the presence of God, through thunder and lightning, through the noise of the trumpet and the smoke that covered the mountain. The whole atmosphere brought fear upon the people and held them at a distance. Their fear was so great that they asked Moses to speak to them and not let God speak to them directly for fear that they would die.
Moses again goes into the darkness where God was and a second stage of laws is revealed which Moses later called the Book of the Covenant. The book consists of laws on worship, laws concerning personal rights, ownership rights, certain promises and a great mixture of other laws.
The first of these secondary laws concerns the sacrificial altar. Here God instructs Moses to make the altar of earth only in places that God will specify. On this they will sacrifice the whole burnt offerings and the deliverance or peace offerings. The difference between the two is that with the whole burnt offerings the animal was burnt whole whereas with the peace offerings only the best parts of the animal were offered. As already said, the altar was to be made of earth, but if it was to be made of stone then the stone was to be used in its raw condition and not to be carved and shaped with any tools otherwise it would be polluted. This was because they would be in the desert for forty years continually on the move. The altar of earth or raw stone could easily be dismantled, but an altar of carved stone would be more permanent. When they left a certain place the neighbours who were idol and devil worshippers could then use this altar for their sacrifices to their gods which explains why it would be polluted. The same law concerning the altar continues: "Thou shalt not go up by steps unto Mine altar, that thou mayest not discover thy nakedness thereon." What it means is that there should not be any steps up to the altar but to have a slight inclination like a ramp so that the naked feet of the priest are not visible.
The next law concerns the rights of slaves. If someone buys a Hebrew servant he will serve his master for six years, but in the seventh year he will be free to go. Hebrews became slaves to other Hebrews if they owed them money which they couldn't repay or if they broke in to someone's house and couldn't pay the compensation set by the court. The laws here concern only Hebrew slaves; the subject of non-Hebrew slaves is covered in the Book of Deuteronomy.
If someone made himself a servant to someone of his own freewill, he is free to leave by himself; if his wife also went with him she also is free to go with him. Now if a master gave his servant a wife and she gave him sons and daughters, in the seventh year the servant is free to go out alone, but the wife and children remain the property of the master. If the same servant will not leave because he loves his master, his wife and children and insists on remaining a slave to be with them, the master will take him before the judgement seat of God and there before the judges he will confess his desire to remain his master's servant until he dies. As a sign of his life-long servitude, his master will take him to the doorpost and bore his ear with an awl (pointed tool). The ear is pierced as a sign of his complete dependency to his master's house because the ear means that he will hear and obey.
If someone sells his daughter to be a house-servant she will not be set free as the other maidservants in the seventh year. By house-servant it does not mean a slave because then she would have the rights of a slave to be set free in the seventh year. Here it means a girl given to be a wife because the father owed the master money and gave his daughter as payment. Now if after she had been betrothed to him the master didn't find her pleasing, then he was to let her go free, or he could resell her to another Hebrew, but by no means was he at liberty to sell her to another nation, because he had dealt deceitfully with her. If on the other hand he didn't betroth her for himself but gave her as a wife to his son then the girl was to have all the rights that belonged to a daughter. If whoever is her husband takes for himself another wife, he is not to deprive her of food, clothing or the marital rights. If he is not willing to do these three things then the girl is free to leave but without money.
These laws on slavery may seem harsh to us, but they were actually very lenient and compassionate compared to the contemporary laws of other nations. The Babylonian Hammurabi code and the Assyrian lawbook state than when someone becomes a slave for only three years then he can never again obtain his freedom and remains the property of his master for ever.
The next laws concern murder and dishonour to parents. If anyone hits another man and he die he will be punished by death. The executioner was usually the next of kin of the victim. If the death was unintentional then he will be given a town where he can flee to. The towns for refuge will be specified by God at a later time and they are mentioned in Numbers and Deuteronomy. In the case of a premeditated attempted murder where a man lies in wait for his neighbour to cunningly slay him, but fails, and then seeks refuge at the altar, he shall be taken from the altar and put to death.
Whoever hits his father or mother will be put to death. Whoever insults and badmouths his father or mother is again guilty of death. Other laws of the time completely ignored the mother so the Jewish law was first to recognized certain equal rights between the sexes.
If someone abducts another son of Israel and forcibly sells him and his guilt is proved then he will be put to death. All the above crimes were punishable by death. Next follow crimes of lesser sentences.
If two men verbally abuse each other and the one hits the other with a stone or with his fist and does not die but is bedridden, if the man rises and walks again then the one that hit him is in the clear, but has to pay for the loss of his time and all medical expenses.
If a man hits his manservant or maidservant with a rod and the servant dies then he shall be punished. It doesn't tell us what form of punishment probably leaving it to the discretion of the judge. Now if the same servant doesn't die immediately and lives on for a day or two and then dies, then the man is free from any punishment because the servant was bought with his money and is his personal property. Compared to the Gospel of the New Testament these ordinances are imperfect, but compared to other ancient laws they are superior because none of the other laws of the time had any legislation protecting servants.
If two men get into a brawl and the pregnant wife of one intervenes to stop the fight or defend her husband and loses her baby then the other man is to pay a penalty according to what the woman's husband will lay upon him and which the court will judge appropriate. The text talks about the woman's child being born imperfect or perfect. It does not refer to deformities but to the time of the pregnancy. Born imperfect means to abort the pregnancy before the fourth month because the foetus has not fully developed; it is imperfect. After the fifth month the foetus is considered a perfect person because it is fully formed. If the woman aborts her child between the fifth and ninth months of pregnancy then the man that caused the abortion is guilty of murder and punishable with the law life for life. If the child is born with a deformity then the law: eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe is applied. The law: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was theoretically a justifiable punishment, but it was very rarely put into practice. Jewish tradition refused to interpret the law in it's literally sense and instead used it to calculate a reasonable money compensation to be given to the victim.
The eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth worked differently for victims who were servants. If a man hit the eye of his servant and put it out, instead of an eye for an eye or money compensation, the servant received his freedom. Again if the servant lost his tooth because his master hit him, for the tooth's sake he received his freedom.
The next set of laws concerns human deaths caused by animals. If a bull gore a man or woman and they die, the bull is to be stoned to death and its flesh is not to be eaten because it was condemned to death and therefore unclean. The loss of the bull to the owner is punishment enough and he is acquitted of any other liability. But if the bull was known to be wild and push with his horns before and it was told his owner and he did nothing to constrain the bull then the bull is to be stoned and the owner also is to be put to death. But the law allows for the guilty owner to escape death by paying a large sum according to how much is laid upon him. This law applies only if the victim of the bull is a free son or daughter of Israel. If the victim is a servant then the owner is liable to pay the master of the servant thirty didrachmas of silver and the bull to be stoned. Thirty didrachmas is approximately 345 grams of silver.
From human deaths caused by animals the next law deals with animal deaths. If anyone digs a pit or a cave in stone and doesn't cover it and an ox or an ass falls into it, the owner of the pit has to compensate the owner of the animal with money and the dead animal shall be his. If any mans bull gores his neighbour's bull and it dies, they shall sell the live bull and divide the money and also divide the dead bull. But if the bull was known to be wild and it was told the owner and he did nothing to constrain his bull, then he will repay bull for bull and the dead bull shall be his.
The laws continue dealing with thefts of livestock and damage to crops by animals or fire and how they are to be recompensed by those responsible. We won't look at these but go directly to various laws concerning man. If any man charms a maid that is not betrothed and sleeps with her, he is obliged to give her father the dowry which the law requires and take her as his wife. If the father refuses and will not consent to give his daughter to him as a wife then the man is still obliged to pay the father the amount in silver according to the dowry of virgins. Sorcerers are sentenced to death as also are those who lie with an animal and those that sacrifice to any other god other than the Lord. Strangers, widows and orphans have a special protection from God. Strangers are not to be hurt or oppressed because the Israelites were also strangers in the land of Egypt and know very well what it means to be oppressed. Neither is the widow or fatherless child to be hurt or afflicted by ill use. Their cry will come unto the Lord and he will hear them and as punishment the man afflicting them will die by the sword leaving his wife a widow and his children fatherless.

If someone lends money to a poor brother he is not to pressure him to repay it neither is he allowed to add interest to the amount borrowed. The Jewish law allowed interest to be charged to strangers, but not to another Jew who was poor. If the poor person left his coat as collateral the coat was to be returned to him before sunset. This was because the coat was the main outer garment of the poor and during the day it was used as a coat but in the evening it was used as a mattress or blanket to keep warm. The laws continue some being repeats of ordinances already made known to the Jews from the time they left Egypt like the keeping of certain feasts, offering the firstfruits of the crops and offering the firstborn sons of Israel to God and also the firstborn of the animals. After finishing with various other ordinances which Israel is to observe, God tells them that if they listen to his voice and do all that he commands, they will be a special people to him above all the other nations. They will prosper and have good health and all their enemies will become his enemies and one by one he will defeat them. God has made his covenant with Israel and Moses now has to convey everything God has told him to the Elders and people of Israel and receive their acceptance of the agreement.