Compassion ruins everything!
Okay, I know it’s a silly title, but it’s true, at least as far as humans are concerned. Justice under the Mosaic Law was harsh for those that could not help but violate it. This verse comes at the end of a chapter full of what to do about people that kill other people or try to kill their reputations. It puts forward the idea that whatever they did, or were going to do (assuming the plot could be discovered ahead of time), should be done to them in return or instead.
What’s so wrong with that? Well, we are all created in the image of God, and God loves each of us, for starters. We have no right to impose our will on anyone else, ever. In nations with laws, that’s called rape, whether physical, emotional, intellectual, financial, or spiritual. God won’t do that (despite what some think and practise), and neither should any of us. That’s the first problem.
The second problem is us. We have hearts (by design I might add), and our hearts feel for the individual that we are subjecting to the penalty of law, and we can empathize with the guilty, being guilty of something ourselves, even if we are “good people” (everyone has a skeleton in the closet, no exceptions). We will feel pity, and that will move us to compassionate acts…like maybe looking the other way because dude had reasons. This turns justice aside. Do it just once for whatever reason, and you have a huge judicial mess (like today).
Now consider who this was written to – people to whom was given the very Law of God, at the time, the supposed means of salvation (not really, salvation has always been a gift of God by grace through faith, even ask Abraham in Gen. 15). No one could not have pity. Is it any wonder the law has no power to save?
Yet Jesus, the God-man, the second being in the Trinity, lived perfectly under that law, and then accepted capital punishment in order to pay our price of redemption. Why? Well, if I was a betting man, I’d say compassion had something to do with it.