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An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on July 14, 2009 at 17:30

In Reply to: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth posted by ESC on July 14, 2009 at 15:25:

: : An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I always viewed it as a form of promised revenge, but someone recently told me that it is really a limiter of revenge, meaning do no worse to someone than what they did to you. Don't escalate the revenge. I hadn't thought of it that way. Anyone else find this enlightening?

: Yes, I do find that interesting. Never thought of it that way. "REVENGE. The returning of evil for evil -- retaliation. Although the Law of Moses sanctioned the principle of 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' as a deterrent to aggressive action, the general tenor of scripture is against retaliation, instructing us that vengeance for wrongs committed against us should be left in the hands of the Lord." The Layman's Bible Encyclopedia by William C. Martin (1964, The Southwestern Co., Lakeside Press, Chicago) Page 700.

Me, too. I heard this in church a few years ago. The idea goes back to King Hammurabi in about the year 1750 BC/BCE and is probably older than that. For the society to function under a rule of law it was necessary to limit feuds and vendettas by codifying revenge and having punishments meted out by the King's courts. Nowadays we've advanced, theoretically at least, even beyond in-kind retribution with such sayings as "an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind" and "turn the other cheek".