Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Exodus 22 and The Didache 10

Exodus 22 – More laws are presented that give us a perspective on how the Mosaic law dealt with morally complex cases: thefts of animals by those who can pay fines and by those who can’t; cattle that “wander” away from grazing lands and into crop-lands where they do damage to others; fires that are started for proper reasons but that get out of control; injuries to animals in the custody of people who are not their owners; seduction of virgin girls who are engaged to someone and those who are not engaged; sorcery practiced by women – especially worrisome, I guess; cases of bestiality; mistreatment of sojourners, widows, orphans; money lending; cursing leaders and speaking evil of God; etc.

One of the crimes mentioned caught my interest – “If a thief is caught breaking into a house at night and is killed, the one who killed him is not guilty of murder. But if it happens during the day, he is guilty of murder” (22:4).

It reminded me of the Florida case in the early to mid-2000s where a man who shot an invader of his home was convicted of murder or manslaughter because the law at that time forbade people from using deadly force unless the invader had a weapon. I think the case angered people and had a role in passage of the now controversial “Stand Your Ground” law that is involved in the case of Trayvon Martin. I can’t find the case, but it deals with some of the very complicated legal situations that can arise – similar to the ones described in Exodus.

The Didache
Eucharist (Continued)
10 – When everyone has partaken of the Eucharist, “give thanks in these words: ‘Thanks be to thee, holy Father, for thy sacred Name which thou has caused to dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou has revealed to us through thy servant Jesus.’

‘Glory be to thee for ever and ever.’

‘Thou, O Almighty Lord, has created all things for thine own Name’s sake; to all men thou has given meat and drink to enjoy, that they may give thanks to thee, but to us thou hast graciously given spiritual meat and drink, together with life eternal, through they Servant. Especially, and above all, do we give thanks to thee for the mightiness of thy power.’

‘Glory be to thee for ever and ever.’

‘Be mindful of thy Church, O Lord; deliver it from all evil, perfect it in thy love, sanctify it, and gather it from the four winds into the kingdom which thou has prepared for it.

‘Thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever.’

‘Let Grace [Christ] come, and this present world pass away.

‘Hosanna to the God of David.’

‘Whosoever is holy, let him approach. Whoso is not, let him repent.’

‘Marantha [Our Lord, Come]. Amen.’

(Prophets, however, should be free to give thanks as they please.) (195)

Again, I have included the entire section, because it is so formally presented as the very words that must be spoken. It is also interesting the freedom they give to “prophets.” The place of prophets will be presented in detail in the next sections.

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