Israel Accepts the Covenant, by Melissa Gibbs

Israel Accepts the Covenant, Exodus 22:16 - 24

To those of you still reading your Bibles, you have officially formed a habit! You've come too far to let it slide now. Hang on to that when we get to Leviticus! I am so encouraged to hear from people who are learning new things in their reading, as I am, and even doing additional research into other troubling or intriguing issues from Scripture. Check out Cindi's comment from Friday. And thank you for encouraging me and appreciating what I'm trying to do. I love to read your comments or get your e-mails or hear personally from you about what you're learning. And I know that of those I hear from, there are many, many more who are following silently. That is how I read with Proverbs 31. I never signed in, never left a comment, but stayed with it until the end, and I know there are many of you doing the same thing. It excites me to know that something so beneficial for me, has the added bonus of encouraging others. Thank you for letting me feel purposeful and keeping me accountable to what I know I am to do with this!

I have been asked to provide the titles of the resource books I use, all of which were recommended by my pastor at Life Fellowship. I'll list them in order of greatest use...
"Hard Sayings of the Bible" by Walter Kaiser jr. and several others
"Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties" by Gleason Archer
"Big Book of Bible Difficulties" by Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe
"Popular Survey of the Old Testament" (also a NT version I'll use later) by Norman Geisler
"What the Bible is All About" by Henrietta Mears

After Moses gives the Israelites the Ten Commandments, some other regulations are added. I'm going to comment on the ones that jumped out at me, beginning with the treatment of slaves. The idea that the Bible would provide rules for the fair treatment of slaves seemed odd, as I would think God would condemn the practice as opposed to regulating it. But what is very important to note, is that slavery in this time period was nothing like the form of slavery our country practiced a few hundred years ago. There were only two types of slaves at this time in history...those who voluntarily sold themselves into slavery to get out of debt and prisoners of war. Israel did not capture and sell humans as the Philistene and Phoenician slave traders did. So the institution of slavery provided a means of lessening two social problems...what to do with "bankrupt" people and what to do with prisoners of war. The regulations put in place to protect these vulnerable populations were revolutionary for their time. For example, someone who sold themselves into slavery had to be set free after 6 years, along with his wife.

Secondly, the regulations for personal injury sparked some interesting research. From verse 21:12, it is clear that God condoned capital punishment in cases of murder. But the next verse, "but if it was simply an accident permitted by God..." caught my eye because of the phrase "accident permitted by God". Accidents are neither caused nor overlooked by God. They are permitted by Him. Of course there are many other potential accidents that God does not permit and we never have any inkling of, but the ones that do cross our paths, are permitted by our Heavenly Father. Now, an accident resulting in death must be punished, but it was weighted on a scale much differently than murder. Another interesting passage outlines the consequences of a pregnant woman accidentally being struck resulting in premature birth. The word used for premature birth clearly describes a live birth and is not a word used for miscarriage, a word which existed in the Hebrew language. Pro-choice advocates have tried to use this verse as proof that God does not consider a baby in-utero as a person, by translating the word as "miscarriage". This changes the meaning of the text in that if a woman miscarries but no further injury (to the woman) results, then a simple fine was sufficient. Naturally this way of thinking devalues the life of the baby. The baby dies, but no big deal. But since the word cannot logically be translated as "miscarriage", the meaning of the text is that if the baby and mother are unharmed due to the premature delivery, a simple fine would be required. If either is injured as a result of the premature delivery, payment along the lines of "eye for an eye" would be required. Mother and baby were therefore given equal value. This expression, "eye for an eye", did not literally describe physical mutilation (as in some cultures then and now), but metaphorically outlined the concept that the punishment must fit the crime.

In the section on social responsibility, the law requiring a man to marry a virgin he seduced, is put in place to protect the woman. A woman's only financial security came from getting married and producing children . If men were allowed to have sex with virgins (making them undesirable as marriage material) without marrying them, such women would have no hope of securing a mate. It forced men to take responsibility for their actions.

Finally, the Lord promises his blessing on Israel if they would serve Him only, make no treaties with the pagan people of the land, and not allow the pagan peoples to live among them. The blessing specified having plenty of food and water, protection from illness, no miscarriage or infertility, and protection from their enemies. Naturally, this sounded like a great deal and the Israelites agreed to the covenant relationship with God. Moses wrote down the laws and made a sacrifice on the altar. Then he, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu (Aaron's sons) went up the mountain where it says they saw God. This is interesting because the Bible is clear that no one can see God and live. Moses seemed surprised himself, as he marvelled that God did not destroy them for seeing Him. The translation of the text is tricky, indicating that they saw His "form or likeness" which may imply something other than God Himself. Additionally, they describe only His feet and they place where He stood. It is quite possible that they did not see the Lord in his fullness because no man can see God and live...

About Melissa Gibbs:

 Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD.  He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.  JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries.  Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family.  Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches.

 Visit Melissa at

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