Q&A: The Laws of Moses Look So Hard and Inhumane!

Ques: The laws of Moses look so hard and inhumane. He allowed social evils such as slavery and revenge. See for instance theses verses:
"if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do." (Ex.21:7)
"eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Ex.21:24)

Ans: When Jesus came, He said that He came to bring the Law of Moses to perfection (Matt.5:17). He didn't come to annihilate it but to bring it to perfection. It certainly implies that the Old Testament Law was not in a perfect state. Jesus said that Moses gave that Law because of the hardness of human hearts (Matt.19:8). The Old Testament itself stressed the importance of Mercy as the spirit of the Law; Jesus quoted it when He taught the key to the right practice of the Law:
"But if you had known what this means, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice,'you would not have condemned the guiltless." (Matt.12:7)

He highlighted the spirit of the Law:
Jesus said to him, ""You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Mat 22:37-40)

And His Sermon on the Mount laid the foundation for Christian Morality; for instance:
--You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Mat 5:21-22)
--You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Mat 5:27-28)
--You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Mat 5:38-39)

The Old Covenant Law was not bad. But, the problem was with the human heart and its hardness:
"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin." (Rom 7:14)

When Jesus came, He brought the Law to its perfect state through another Covenant, which He called the New Covenant:

Heb 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
Heb 8:13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.


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