Procedures for an Unsolved Murder
When an unsolved murder has been committed the procedure to gain forgiveness is different than the usual practice. The sacrifice for this killing did not take place at the tabernacle and there was nothing said as to what to do with the blood. This particular procedure seem to be an old procedure taken over by the Israelites upon entering the Promised Land.
The reason for the sacrifice is clear. The sin of murder makes the land unclean. The Israelites cannot practice true worship in an unclean land. This unusual sacrifice was carried out to receive forgiveness for the blood guilt of the unknown murderer. This formula was seemingly the right way to please God.
Captive Women and Human Dignity
Women who had been captured were to be treated with respect. In the history of war the treatment of women who have been captured has been an embarrassment in history. But in Israel if one saw attraction to a captive woman that person was not to molest her. The captive woman was brought to one’s home where she would be purified in purification rites. Only after that could the warrior merry her. This came with this reservation, “It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes.” The woman could not be sold into slavery, “but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.”
Preaching on Morality in Conduct
The legal section which extends from Chapter 21 through Chapter 25 is composed of a wide variety of stipulations which focus on morality in conduct. Common life was regulated by divine law, (21:1 to 22:12) and purity of sexual standards was to characterize the covenant community. (22:13-30) Holiness necessary for God’s presence was protected, (23:1-14) and personal morality was governed by covenant stipulation. (23:15 to 25:19)
Regulating Common Life by Divine Principles
Though the stipulations vary they focus on corporate life by divine law. All of corporate life was a concern for the covenant faith such that unsolved murder which assumes corporate responsibility, (21:1-2) the inheritance rights of a person, (21:15-17) or the worthless son who disgraced his parents. (21:18-21) There were even stipulations for the removal of convicted criminals, so that the accursed man would not defile the land, as hanging on a tress was a symbol of divine curse. (21:22-23)