Homilies on Genesis and Exodus

By Origen; Ronald E. Heine | Go to book overview

HOMILY X
On the woman with child who miscarried because of two
quarreling men

BUT IF TWO MEN SHALL QUARREL AND STRIKE A WOMAN with child and her infant issues forth yet unformed, he shall be liable for so much damage as the woman's husband shall determine, and he shall pay it with honor. But if the infant was fully formed, he shall render life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.1

I think the first thing to be investigated is under what category of law decrees of this kind are considered. For all things which are decreed are not, as the simple think, called law, but some for example are called law, some testimonies, others mandates and ordinances, some judgments. The eighteenth Psalm teaches this clearly in one collection of categories when it says, "The law of the Lord is blameless, converting souls; the testimony of the Lord is faithful, giving wisdom to the little ones. The ordinances of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts; the commandment of the Lord is luminous, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever and ever; the judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves."2 When we observe these differences between the decrees in the Law, the passage which we now have in hand falls under the category of ordinances or justifications. For thus the Scripture says above, "And these are the ordinances which you shall set before them."3 We are not concerned at the present, however, to expound the differences between each of

____________________
1
Ex 21.22-25.
2
Ps 18.8-10.
3
Ex 21.1.

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