He that smites a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.…
Complaint has been made against Moses on account of the number of crimes made capital in his code. But great injustice has been done him in this particular. The crimes punishable with death by his laws were either of a deep moral malignity or such as were aimed against the very being of the state. It will be found, too, on examination, that there were but four classes of capital offences known to his laws — treason, murder, deliberate and gross abuse of parents, and the more unnatural and horrid crimes arising out of the sexual relation. And all the specifications under these classes amounted to only seventeen; whereas it is not two hundred years since the criminal code of Great Britain numbered one hundred and forty-eight crimes punishable with death — many of them of a trivial nature, as petty thefts and trespasses upon property. But no injury simply affecting property could draw down upon an Israelite an ignominious death. The Mosaic law respected moral depravity more than gold. Moral turpitudes, and the most atrocious expressions of moral turpitude, these were the objects of its unsleeping severity.
(E. C. Wines, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.