Deuteronomy 25:11-12, (DRB):

11 If two men have words together, and one begin to fight against the other, and the other's wife willing to deliver her husband out of the hand of the stronger, shall put forth her hand, and take him by the secrets, 12 Thou shalt cut off her hand, neither shalt thou be moved with any pity in her regard.

Is this punishment to be taken literally (according to the Old Testament)?

What about this case in the New Testament?

  • In a single word, "NO" - that was part of the OT jurisprudence which no longer applies because of the delicate functioning of the covenant system.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 22:37
  • @Dottard could you post an answer?
    – salah
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 22:58
  • 2
    Please indicate which NT passage you are referring to. Are you thinking of "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away" from Matt 5:30? Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 2:10

2 Answers 2


The lex talionis, (the law of retaliation), 11-12

“If two men are fighting, and the wife of one steps in to rescue her husband from the one striking him, and she reaches out her hand and grabs his genitals, you are to cut off her hand. You must show her no pity.”

This is represented as a deliberate calculated act. This was not something done by accident. The man’s genitals are clearly the target of her aggression. Whoever may have been at fault in this scenario, we are not told. This fact then has no bearing on the case. The stranger is the aggressor, and the husband is the one in distress. The only thing that is of concern however, is the deliberate actions of the woman in defense of her husband.

This law is among the list of laws that are referred to in Latin as the lex talionis which means “the law of retaliation.” These are laws that require an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, or a foot for a foot.

Some commentators insist this is not to be taken literally but instead required monetary compensation to be levied against the woman because she had defiled the man. Often, people feel compelled to soften the law in some instances in order to lessen its severity when they feel a particular law somehow offends their sense of justice. The force of the last sentence however, seems to defy all human attempts to rationalize the commandment. The Lord said regarding the cutting off of the woman’s hand, “You must show her no pity.” This is a statement we hear often from the Lord when sever consequences are required to be administered, but never in connection with the payment of fines or monetary compensation. For example:

  1. Deuteronomy 7:16,

“You shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, nor shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.”*

  1. Deuteronomy 13:6-10,

“If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’…you shall not yield to him or listen to him; and your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare or conceal him. But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. So, you shall stone him to death….”

  1. Deuteronomy 19:11-13,

“But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. You shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.”

  1. Deuteronomy 19:16-21,

“If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, … and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus, you shall purge the evil from among you. The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. Thus, you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

  1. Ezekiel 9:3-6, in Ezekiel’s vision,

“Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. The Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.’ But to the others He said in my hearing, ‘Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.’”

“You shall show her no pity” reinforces the consequences to be levied against the woman and serves as a charge to those responsible for carrying out the judgment not to shrink from the task out of pity, perhaps because she is a woman or for any other reason. They were not to think the sentence too harsh or inhumane for the offense.

There is nothing in the text that would suggest the severity of harm done to the man, though it would seem to imply that that damage was the intent. The level of injury has no bearing on the consequences to the woman. But just for our own speculation, what would you think the effects could have been to the man? Depending on the extent of the damage done to the man, this could have serious ramifications. If his testicles were crushed in the assault, this could render him unable to produce children, but more importantly, it would certainly limit his access to the tabernacle.

“No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord. No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 23:1-2.

This would not of course exclude him from the privilege of worship, but it would limit how far he could approach God.

If he was a priest, he would never again be able to come near the altar or the sanctuary. In Leviticus 21:17-23, the Lord told Moses,

“Speak to Aaron, saying, ‘No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the food of his God. For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles. No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the food of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy, only he shall not go in to the veil or come near the altar because he has a defect, so that he will not profane My sanctuaries.”

This would render him forever unable to function as a priest. Regardless of the severity of damage done to the man, the consequences to the woman are the same. Her hand is to be cut off. Apart from scourging, this is the only punishment under the Law that demanded the mutilation of the body. On the positive side, there is no record in scripture to show that this law ever had to be put into practice. Apparently, the woman could have struck the man in the head with a club and she may have been justified. But to deliberately reach out her hand and grab his genitals was inexcusable. She could have perhaps killed the man in defense of her husband, but she could not defile him.


The answer to this involves what is broadly known as "Covenant Theology". There has been much too much ink (and modern electrons) wasted on these ideas. Covenant theology is both complex and simple. It is simple because it summarises God’s salvation initiative; it is complex because accumulated theological barnacles obscure the Bible message.

In the New Testament, the English word “covenant” is a translation of the Greek, “diatheke”. In Hellenistic (non-biblical) Koine Greek, the exclusive meaning of diatheke is “last will and testament” (see BDAG), that is, a series of instructions about what to do with a person’s property when they die. Thus it is used in Heb 9:16, 17, (and possibly Gal 3:15?).

However, in all other 30 instances, it appears to be heavily influenced by the meaning in the Septuagint where it translates the Hebrew, “berith”, all of which fall into two obvious categories:

(a) Covenants between various people, Gen 14:13, 21:27, 32, 26:28, 34:44, Ex 23:32, Josh 9:6ff, etc. In this sense, “berith” means an agreement for mutual peace between equal parties, ie, ‘compact’, ‘agreement’ or ‘contract’.

(b) Covenants initiated by God for His chosen people, eg, Gen 6:8, 9:9ff, 15:18, 17:2ff, Ex 2:24, 6:4, 5, 19:5, 24:7, 8, 31:16, 34:10, 12ff, Lev 2:13, 24:8, 26:9ff, Num 10:33, 14:44, 18:19, 25:12, 13, 4:13ff, 5:2, 3, 7:2ff, 8:18, 9:9, 11, 15, 10:8, 17:2, 29:1ff, 31ff, 33:9, Josh 3:3ff, 23:16, 24:25, etc. In this sense, “berith” means, ‘decree’, ‘declaration of purpose’, ‘set of regulations’ (BDAG), which God alone initiates, and God alone sets the regulations. In all cases, a “berith” from God is part of declaration of intent to save His chosen people and thus not an agreement between two parties.

With the exception of Heb 9:16, 17, “diatheke” in the NT appears to be given the second meaning (b) above under the influence of the Septuagint which translates the Hebrew OT. It is this second meaning that is discussed below.

Each of these covenants has the same structure - (1) a series of promises by God of His benefits to the recipients, (2) some requirements of the recipients (sometimes called the law of the relationship), (3) a symbol of the covenant of some kind, (4) a sacrifice to seal or confirm the covenant.

By My count, there are at least six Covenants initiated between God and various parties in the OT concerning salvation. While I list all of them below, I will not discuss them all in equal detail.

1. Noahide Covenant: Gen 8:20 – 9:17.

2. Abrahamic Covenant: Gen 15, 17, 18:9-15, 22:15-18

3. Israelite Covenant: Exodus 19-24 plus parts of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy – often called, “The Old Covenant”, or, “Moral Covenant”, or, sometimes incorrectly called, “The Mosaic Covenant”.

This Israelite Covenant consisted of the following:

  • God promises to “save” Israel from Egyptian slavery and deliver them to the Promised Land as stated in the preamble to the 10 commandments, Ex 20:1, 2, 23:23, Deut 5:6. This was to fulfil God’s earlier promise to Abraham and others to give the Promised Land to Abraham’s descendants, Ex 2:24, 6:4, 5, forever, 1 Chron 16:15, Ps 105:8, 111:9.
  • God promises to protect His people by sending a protecting angel, Ex 23:19, 20, and establish their borders, Ex 23:31.
  • The purpose the Covenant (Ex 20:1-17) is stated clearly in Ex 19:5, 6 – to make the Israelites God’s peculiar treasure, his special people, distinguished by the way they conducted themselves. Ps 50:16-18, 74:20, 78:36, 37. This purpose of the covenant was stated in other ways as, “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, … ” Ex 6:7. This is stated repeatedly: Lev 26:9-12, Deut 29:9-13, 2 Sam 7:24, 1 Chron 11:2, Ps 50:7, 95:7, 100:3, Isa 40:1, Jer 7:23, 11:1-4, 24:7, 30:9, 22, 31:1, 33, 32:38-40, Eze 11:20, 34:30, 31, 36:26-28, 37:23, 24, Hos 1:9, 4:6, Joel 2:26, 27, Zech 8:8. It is significant that the first of the 10 Commandments is a decree to have only ONE God, the LORD, Ex 20:3, Deut, 5:7, 6:4-6.

[This same idea is also expressed another way – creating a people who would be “called by the name of the LORD”, or, “called by my name”, 2 Chron 7:14, Isa 43:7, 65:1; that is, to bear the character of a gracious, loving, kind God. The Jerusalem Temple was also a symbol of this covenant because it was “called by my Name”, 1 Kings 8:13, Jer 7:10, 11, 14, 32:34, 34:15. Such people, God declared, “out of all nations you will be my treasured possession … a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Ex 19:5, 6.]

  • The requirements of the Israelite covenant are the 10 Commandments as recorded on the tablets of stone and amplified in Ex 20:22-23:33, the book of Deuteronomy and elsewhere such as Lev 17-19, 26. This is shown by the following facts:

o Ex 24:7 introduces the “Book of the Covenant” (which see) as already existing, ie, Ex 20:22 – 23:33. It served as an expansion and legal context in which to place the Israelite Covenant of the 10 Commandments.

o These tablets of stone with the 10 Commandments are called “the covenant” (Ex 34:27, 28, Deut 9:9, 11, 15) and placed inside the ark (Ex 25:16, 21, 40:20, Heb 9:4). [The tables of stone were also called “the tables of Testimony” (Ex 31:18, 32:15, 34:29), or just, “The Testimony” (Ex 25:16, 21).]

o The “Ark of the Covenant” (Num 10:33, 14:44, Deut 10:8, 31:9, 25, 26, Josh 3:3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, 4:7, 9, 18, 6:6, 8:33, etc) or, “Ark of the Testimony” (Ex 25:22, 26:33, 34, 30:6, 26, 31:7, 39:35, 40:3, 5, 21, Lev 16:13, Num 4:5, 7:89, Josh 4:16, etc) is described thus precisely because it contained the stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God (Ex 31:18, Deut 9:10) with the Israelite Covenant of the 10 Commandments. 1 Kings 8:9, 2 Chron 5:10.

o The re-statement and expansion of the 10 Commandments as the covenant in Deut 4:13, 23, 31, 5:2, 3 includes a reference back to the Covenant at Horeb, ie, Mt Sinai (See Ex 3:1, 17:6, 33:6, etc, and the statement of the covenant in Ex 19, 20, and restated in Ex 24).

o The 10 Commandments Covenant is distinct from the Levitical law and Davidic Covenant.

  • The benefits of the covenant are clearly set out in Lev 26:1-13, Deut 28:1-14 (blessings for obedience), and, Lev 26:14-39, Deut 28:15-68 (curses for disobedience).

  • The visible symbols of the Israelite Covenant solemnity and importance included: an altar of 12 stones (Ex 24:4), a sacrifice (Ex 24:5), sprinkled blood of the covenant (Ex 24:8). The blood of the covenant was used dramatically when painted on the door posts in Egypt at the first Passover (Ex 12).

  • The tokens/signs of the covenant (Heb: “oth”) appear to have been the law of the 10 Commandments themselves (Deut 6:8, 11:18), and especially the Sabbath (Ex 31:13, 16, 17, Isa 56:4, 6, Exe 20:12, 20, see “Sabbath”); the blood of the covenant from the Passover Lamb is also used as a sign in Ex 12:13; the famous “Ark of the Covenant” containing the 10 Commandments on tablets of stone (Ex 16:34, 24:12, 25:16, 21, 31:18, 32:15, 19, 34:1, 4, 28, 40:20, Deut 4:13, 9-11, etc).

  • Lev 26:44, 45, Jer 31:35-37, 32, 40, 33:25 declare the Israelite covenant immutable and irrevocable. See also Heb 13:20, 1 Chron 16:17, Jer 50:5, Ps 105:8, Eze 37:26.

4. Levitical Covenant – Lev 1-9, 16, 21-27 , Num 3, 4, 8, 18, 25:10-13, Deut 33:8-11. This is an eternal covenant (Num 25:12, 13, Ps 106:30) of salt, Num 18:19.

The Levitical covenant is stated in Num 3:11-13 where God takes the Levites instead of the all the firstborn of each family, thus changing the (informal) priesthood from the firstborn of each family to the (formal) priesthood of tribe of Levi. Several Bible writers refer to this Levitical Covenant including:

  • Neh 13:29 – “the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites”
  • Jer 33:18, 21 – “covenant with the Levitical priests.”
  • Mal 2:4-8 – “the covenant with Levi”
  • Num 25:10-13 – the eternal covenant of priesthood was also a covenant of peace and a covenant of “salt” (Num 18:19), ie, very solemn and eternal.
  • Isa 54:10 & Eze 34:25 also describes the covenant of peace with the Levites From other Bible passages we can see what the Levitical covenant was.
  • A promise by God to set them apart, ie, make them “holy” (Num 3:12, 13), to be a substitute for the first born in Israel, and to have the primary responsibility for caring for the sanctuary, its ritual services and sacrifices, maintaining and transporting its equipment. Ex 32:25-29. In this way, they became the priests of Israel. All these regulations were contained in Lev 1-9, 11-12, 16, 20-27.
  • Thus, the Levites enjoyed a “blessed” (and privileged) status. Ex 32:29, Mal 2:5.
  • The book of Leviticus (and Num 1 & 18) sets out the responsibilities of the Levites in operating the ceremonial rites and sanctuary services and caring for the sanctuary equipment. See also Num 1:53, 18:2, Deut 10:8, 31:9, 25, Josh 3:3, 2 Sam 15:24, 1 Chron 15:26.
  • The purpose of the Levitical covenant was to teach and inculcate the plan of salvation (Deut 33:9, 10, Heb 9:8, 9, 11-14, 10:1-3). That is, it symbolically taught about salvation by grace through the coming Messiah via His substitutionary death in the place of the sinner. Thus, the sacrifices, Levites, priests and High Priest became a type of Jesus in various ways.
  • The token/sign (Heb: “oth”) of the Levitical covenant appears to have been the unleavened bread at the annual festival (Ex 13:6, 9, 16, Lev 24:8).

[The Israelite Covenant never mentions a formal priesthood; thus the Israelite covenant was distinct from the Levitical covenant. In the NT, this Levitical Covenant with all its ceremonies was often abbreviated to “the Law of Moses”, or just, “circumcision” and are clearly understood as distinct from the Old Israelite covenant laws, 1 Cor 7:19, Eph 2:15, Acts 15.]

5. Davidic (or Regal) Covenant: 2 Sam 7, 23:5, 1 Kings 6:11, 12, 8:25, 1 Chron 17:11-14, 2 Chron 6:14-16, 7:17, 18, 13:5, Ps 132:11, 12, Eze 37:15-28. This is an eternal covenant.

The provisions of the Davidic Covenant were as follows.

  • God promised to make David, a shepherd, king over Israel. 2 Sam 7:9, 1 Kings 8:25, 2 Chron 21:7.
  • God promised to defeat all David’s enemies and give him peace on all sides, 2 Sam 7:9
  • David’s name would be great, 2 Sam 7:9-11
  • God promised there would always be a blood descendant of David on his throne, by an eternal “covenant of salt” (ie very solemn), 2 Chron 13:5, forever, 2 Sam 7:13, 15, 16, Eze 37:26, (2 Sam 23:5).
  • God promised that the descendant of David would have God as his Father and he would be His son, 2 Sam 7:14.
  • David’s son, Solomon, was the person to build the temple, 2 Sam 7:12, 13.
  • David and his descendants must remain faithful to God and keep all that is written in the Book of the Law (Deuteronomy), Deut 17:18, 31:26.

Note that the Davidic Covenant was distinct from the Israelite and Levitical Covenants – David became a type of the eternal reign of Messiah to come. While David and his successors were earthly kings, they were to recognise that the real king of Israel was God. 1 Sam 8:7, 8, 24:6, 2 Sam 19:21, 1 Chron 28:5, 2 Chron 9:8, 13:8, Ps 5:2, 44:4. See also 1 Sam 12:14.

6. Christian Covenant – often called, “The New Covenant”, Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, 2 Cor 3:6, Heb 8:6-13, 9:15, 10:16, 29, 12:24, (Jer 31:31, 33), an eternal covenant (Heb 13:20). The Christian Communion service celebrates the New Covenant.

[Note that the Old Covenant is called eternal (1 Chron 16:17, Jer 50:5, Ps 105:8), as was the Levitical Covenant eternal (Lev 24:8, Num 25:10-13, Ps 106:30), as was the Davidic Covenant eternal (2 Sam 23:5, 2 Chron 13:5, Eze 37:25, 26), as was the Abrahamic Covenant eternal (Gen 17:13, 19), as was the Noahide covenant eternal (Gen 9:16). Thus, they were not abrogated as confirmed by Matt 5:17.]

According to Heb 8:7, 8, the New Covenant was created, not because the Old was defective but because the people (literal Israelites) did not understand, rejected the old covenant and a New Covenant was made with new people, Christians, who accept the promises by faith. Jesus made the same point in Matt 21:43, “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” See also Gal 3:29, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise”. Paul makes the same point in Rom 9:6-9, 11:11-22 where the old covenant was not revoked (it was immutable, Jer 31:35-37) but Christians, people of faith, were grafted into the original “olive tree”. This is also confirmed by Eph 2:12 where Paul discusses Gentiles being absorbed into spiritual Israel becoming part of the ancient covenant promises, all by faith.

[That the Jews rejected the Old Covenant is amply seen in their actions at Jesus crucifixion when the Jews shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. John 19:15. Thus, they rejected not only the Old Covenant but the Davidic Covenant, the Levitical Covenant, and Jesus as Messiah.]

Thus, the New Covenant and the Old Covenant are the same thing distinguished only by the people to whom God made the promises, namely, Israelites for the Old Covenant and Christians for the New Covenant (without excluding the Israelites!!). The same Moral Law applied in both cases. Indeed, the Old and New Covenant distinction becomes quite blurred when one recalls that the Israelite covenant was always open to all people. See “Israel”. Anyone was free to become a Jew or Israelite by joining their community of faith.

Further, the LXX uses the word “ekklesia” (often thought of as a NT word only) about 77 times, almost all of them refer to Israel, eg, Deut 31:30, Josh 8:35, Judges 21:8, 1 Chron 29:1.

As usual, the key to understanding this is the centrality of Jesus.

  • All the promises God made under the Old Covenant to Israelites find their fulfilment in Jesus as mediator of the New Covenant to Christians, Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16, 22, 29, 2 Cor 1:20, Rom 9:8. Thus, the New Covenant promises to save all people. Specifically, God said of the Christian community, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9, 10 (Compare Ex 19:5, 6, Hos 1:9, 4:6). The Jerusalem council resolution in Acts 15:28, 29 is a specific set of requirements that were repeated from the Old Covenant for the New Covenant.
  • Hebrews discusses the same idea that the Moral Law of God is to be written on our hearts, Heb 8:7-13, 10:16, 17, exactly as it should have been under the Old Covenant (compare Deut 6:5, Jer 24:7, 31:1, 33, 34, 32:38-40, 36, 26-28).
  • Christians were to be “called by my Name” as confirmed in Acts 11:26, just as under the Old Covenant (2 Chron 7:14, Isa 43:7, 65:1). Matt 10:22, 24:9, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17, Acts 15:17.
  • Jesus is the promised King of the new Christian Community, ie, the Kingdom of Heaven, or, Kingdom of God, Luke 1:33, John 1:49, Acts 13:23, Rev 11:15. Compare Jer 33:14-17, Eze 37:22. Thus, Jesus inherits the Davidic Covenant. He is also the “Son of David” (Matt 1:1-16) and “Son of God” as predicted in the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7); and His kingdom will never be defeated and is eternal, Luke 1:33, Heb 1:8, Rev 11:15, compare Ps 61:7, Isa 9:7, Psa 146:10.
  • Jesus is now seated on the eternal throne in heaven at the right hand of the Father, Mark 14:62, 16:19, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1, Heb 1;13, 10:12, 1 Peter 3:22, Rev 5:1.
  • Jesus is the high priest of the New Covenant Heb 4:14-16, 7:23-28, 8:1, 2, 9:1-28, 10:1-18. Thus, Jesus inherits and was the fulfilment of the Levitical Covenant (See Mal 3:1). Jesus did this in several ways as well such as: o Jesus was the fulfilment of what the sanctuary/temple typified, John 2:19-21, Heb 9:1-28, 10:1-18

o Jesus represented the foundation of the temple as well, 1 Peter 2:4-8 (Compare Isa 28:16, Ps 118:22)

o Jesus was the bread of life, John 6:35, 41, 48 (compare Ex 25:23-30, Lev 24:8).

o Jesus was the light of life, John 8:12, 9:5 (compare the lampstand Ex 25:31-39, Lev 24:3, 4, Isa 53:11, Ps 56:13, etc)

o Jesus provides the water of life, John 4:13, 14 (Compare the laver Ex 30:17-21. See also 1 Cor 6:11)

o Jesus is the promised seed of the woman Gal 3:16 (compare Gen 3:15, and the Abrahamic Covenant)

o Jesus was the Passover Lamb and thus the promised Messiah, John 1:29, 1 Cor 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19 (compare Ex 12:1-14).

o Jesus is the High Priest of the New Covenant in fulfilment of the Levitical covenant, Heb 4:14-16, 7:23-28, because He was “pure, blameless, set apart” exactly as the Levites were. See also Heb 9:15, 12:24.

o Jesus provided the blood of the new covenant of which the communion ceremony was to be a memorial, Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, Heb 13:20, 1 Peter 1:19 (compare Ex 24:5, 8).

  • Jesus did not abolish the Israelite Covenant and Moral Law but came to fulfil them, Matt 5:17-20, Gal 3:21. The moral law still applies to Christians BUT Jesus fulfils the Levitical and Davidic covenants by being the eternal High Priest and the eternal king of the kingdom of heaven.

One of the best summaries of the New Covenant is found in 1 Peter 1, 2.

  • The promise: Salvation by grace through the promised Messiah, 1 Peter 1:3-12, 20,
  • Moral Requirements: holiness (1 Peter 1:15), Purity (v22), Obey the truth (v22), love (v22), “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (1 Peter 2:1), abstain from sinful desires (1 Peter 2:11), submit to civil authorities (v13-17), see also Rom 13:1-7), etc.
  • Sacrifice: Blood of Jesus, 1 Peter 1:18, 19
  • Purpose: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may express the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light … Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:9, 12


Judicial requirements such as in the OP's question are part of the Davidic/civil law of the land and so no longer required because we do not live in ancient Israel. We should obey the local law of the land, wherever we live (se Rom 13:1-7, etc).

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