The law of retaliation can be found in Exodus 21:22-25 (ESV):
22 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
On the one hand, Jesus seems to leave no room for doubt that he is utterly against it:
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. [Matthew 5:38-42 ESV]
Yet, in the same chapter of Matthew, Jesus expresses his full support for the entire Mosaic Law in general and, by logical implication, the law of retaliation in particular:
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5:17-20 ESV]
So, is Jesus against or in favor of the law of retaliation? Should we trust Matthew 5:38-42 in leading us to conclude that Jesus is against it, or should we rather pay attention to Matthew 5:17-20 and see how Jesus fully supports it? How can we overcome this apparent contradiction?