Words from the Weary Wilderness - Lenten Journey Day 7
Day Seven - Wednesday, March 9
When Children Curse or Hit their Parents
Read: Exodus 21:12-17 (See also Leviticus 20:9)
The Law concerning Violence
12 Whoever strikes a person mortally shall be put to death. 13 If it was not premeditated, but came about by an act of God, then I will appoint for you a place to which the killer may flee. 14 But if someone willfully attacks and kills another by treachery, you shall take the killer from my altar for execution.
15 Whoever strikes father or mother shall be put to death.
16 Whoever kidnaps a person, whether that person has been sold or is still held in possession, shall be put to death.
17 Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death.
9 All who curse father or mother shall be put to death; having cursed father or mother, their blood is upon them.
Today’s Word from the Weary Wilderness: Whoever strikes father or mother shall be put to death… Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15,17 – verse 16 is for tomorrow)
Reflection: We are getting a glimpse of how hard life in the wilderness can be. It is likely that these commands are coming out of true-life examples of how people are treating each other under the strains of desert life. Both Exodus and Leviticus share this concern. Many parents and children are startled that the Bible calls for a death penalty for striking or cursing a parent. Yet it does. In my own ministry, I have heard many confessions of lost tempers, shoves, slaps, and cursing among people who call themselves family. The biblical penalty is death. How does that feel to you? Would you have lived to read this reflection, if we were to take this scripture literally in our world today?
Prayer: God of the Wilderness, in this passage you remind us that the struggle to be family is real. We all, in one way or another, have fallen short here. Forgive us for the ways we may not have honored our parents as much as they deserved. Forgive them when they have abused us and angered us to the point of abuse or harsh words. You reveal to us today not only the struggle of the wilderness, but the everyday struggle of life together. Amen.
Blessings of Peace and Health,
Rev. Beverly B. Coppley
& Chief Missional Strategist