Whoa. What’s the child in Exodus 21? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Tonight in our look at the law, we will be looking at Exodus 21:22-25.
“22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”
There are some people who approach this text and use it as an argument that the fetus in Exodus 21 was not a human and that the Bible does not uphold a teaching consistent with the pro-life position. I do think that the pro-life position can be known without the Bible, however, I also do think that the Bible is pro-life and so the position needs to be defended.
Meredith Kline in looking at this passage has said that it is striking that there is no mention of abortion specifically in Hebrew law. The idea would be unthinkable since children were one’s livelihood. Meredith Kline is a Hebrew scholar who does not see anything about abortion in this passage. What it instead is about is a case where two men are fighting and when they hit a woman, she ends up giving birth.
This is the case of a premature birth. If there is no injury, then there is no penalty. If there is injury, then there is a penalty and the reason for this is because of that which the abortion side does not want to say is the case. There has been a human being hurt in all of this. If the human being dies, then it is a case of life for life. The punishment must equal the crime. It is the case of one human being given over for what it is that they have done to another human being.
Thus, we in fact have a high view of the child in the womb in this passage. This is something consistent with other passages of the Bible such as Jeremiah 1:5 and my own wife’s personal favorite of Psalm 139.
Of course, I do believe one needs other facts to make the case and fortunately, we live in an age where there is much information on the life of human beings in the womb. In fact, for those who are interested in reading other blogs, I think one of the best can be found at the blog of my friend David as he has written at RayadoRiver. There is a link in the sideroll of this blog and I recommend you become followers of his blog as well.
In conclusion, we find that the Bible does uphold the pro-life position in this passage that that which is in the womb of the woman is a full human being and if one murders that which is in the womb, then they are just as accountable as if they had killed an adult.