24:20eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Designed to curb exaggerated revenge (cf. Gen. 4:24), this formula vividly expressed the principle that punishment should be proportionate to the offense. It seems not to have been enforced literally (Ex. 21:26, 27; Deut. 19:21 note). Jesus’ opposition to the misuse of this phrase (Matt. 5:38) involved, not an abrogation of this principle of equivalence, but a call to temper its application in light of the love commandment (19:18; cf. Matt. 7:12), in the interests of the kingdom (Matt. 5:10–12), and in the knowledge of God’s coming wrath (Rom. 12:17–21; cf. Deut. 32:35).
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