• I liked one activist's response to this statement: "an eye for an eye makes the entire world blind." Forgot who said it.
  • I wasn't too sure. I found this: "From the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi was King of Babylon, 1792-1750BC. The code survives today in the Akkadian language. Used in the Bible, Matthew 5:38 (King James Version): Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." Source:
  • The proverb 'an eye for an eye' stems from a passage in Exodus of the Old Testament in the Bible (also of the Torah and Tanahk): "If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. When a slave-owner strikes the eye of a male or female slave, destroying it, the owner shall let the slave go, a free person, to compensate for the eye. If the owner knocks out a tooth of a male or female slave, the slave shall be let go, a free person, to compensate for the tooth." However, I'm sure the sentiment of retribution extended long before that was written. It seems a common theme in human existence that justice is translated into practical terms as revenge. I also believe that 'retributive justice' is immoral as the state or punishing body effectively commits the crime/atrocity that the individual did and I don't see how that can ever be acceptable.
  • The simple answer is that it came from the Bible. It's in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 21, Verses 22-27 ( 22 "If people are fighting and a pregnant woman is hit and gives birth prematurely [e] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 26 "An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. 27 And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth. To summarize, it's basically mirror punishment as described further in:
  • I think "Eye for an eye" can keep people in line. If they know they will be struck back upon, they are FAR less likely to hurt you.
  • I usually never answer my own questions,though need to clarify.I find this proverb highly offensive and has no place in todays society.It represents hate,distrust,revenge,and many other of the worst traits that humans have.With such idioms flying around it is no wonder the world is in the state it is in.With these traits there is no place left in the heart for trust,forgiveness and other godlike traits.Whatever happed to turn the other cheek?
  • Is it not biblical in origin?I think it is.
  • On a slightly different thread, Granted its a highly offensive concept, but its not the idiom's fault that it gets invoked. Its teaching people that it is a good idiom which is the problem. Blotting out offensive ideas from society would be fine if it actually worked, but its a pretty simplistic view of humanity.
  • to me it represents nothing but justice... an eye for an eye you cant take two eyes for one.. and to whom it represents anything other than justice, i would like to remind you that there is a saying that means forgiving is good (sorry but i dont seem to remmeber it!!) keep in mind ... all old idioms, and sayings are far more sophisticated and deep in meaning than what we think and understand.. some might be very crapy or nonsense...but it carries a very deep phelosiphy
  • It means that if you destroy something of somebody elses then you pay recompence. Not with an eye but to be the eye for that person metaphorically speaking. You compensate what is lost in their life is the principal I believe. It is a shame that in the modern justice system there is no paying for the damage done!
  • It's important to note that it comes from a culture (or cultures) that didn't have a justice system as we think of it (if it's from Exodus, then it's the ancient Hebrews). From there we can go two ways with it: it could be used as an excuse for personal retribution or: this is a punishment determined by the society for the greater good. In this second scenario, we are really saying that the punishment should fit the crime (not necessarily that a crime should be literally mirrored). Further, if the former victim does not dole the punishment but leaves it to society, the offender does not then have cause to re-visit retribution upon the former victim. Leviticus 19:18 forbids personal retribution, ergo the societal punishment interpretation of the Exodus passage is most correct. Another angle to take is that this regulation would make it so that a criminal would not bear a punishment greater than that of the crime. Hope that sheds some light and provides a different perspective.
  • From the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi was King of Babylon, 1792-1750BC. The code survives today in the Akkadian language. Used in the Bible, Matthew 5:38 (King James Version): Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. - Mahatma Ghandi Other belief systems adhere to similar concepts, such as the Taoist wu wei which encourages a wronged individual to simply accept the infraction and to take the least "resistive" action to correct it, if any action need to be taken at all. Buddhism stresses the weight of karma: one can take retributive action, but that retributive action is not without its consequences, and living on a finite planet guarantees that the suffering incurred by a retributive action will return to the individual who was wronged (as well as the one who did the wrong-doing). Some subscribe to the Golden Rule of ethics rather than any law of retaliation. An Eye for an Eye Leaves Everyone Blind: Teaching Young Children to Settle Conflicts Without Violence “Eye for an Eye” Leaves Everyone Blind (Ghandhi): Preventing and Responding to Bullying Behavior in Children and Adolescents
  • The Bible : ) But to be fair, it's taken out of context and misused quite a lot really, it's meant to be more about being fair than taking revenge... I think the idea was that if you took someone else's eye (so-to-speak) then you would have to take your own (so-to-speak) to make it fair, NOT that if someone took your eye you would go and take theirs.
  • The legal statement "an eye for an eye" comes into Western society via the Old Testament of the Bible. Specifically Exodus 21:23–27 But, as someone pointed out, the phrase is taken out of context most times it is quoted and turned on its head when you consider what was being advocated by it in OT times. Most cultures at the time this phrase was written (c 16000-1400 BC) worked on a retributive vendetta system. This meant that, if your kinsman was harmed in any way, your duty was to take revenge and up the ante to get the message across not to mess with your people (much as in modern gang mentality). The Mosaic system (ie the system laid down under Moses) stopped vendetta and forbade it. If your kinsman was harmed, you had to come to a judge for justice, not take it upon yourself. And the judge would mete out the sentence. If your kinsman was given a black eye, then the sentence to his attacker was commensurate (equal) to that, not more. And you were required to abide by the judge's ruling. This is the basis for our modern legal system, whereby we rely on the law to apprehend, judge and sentence justly and impartially, not on our own emotions and ties to the victim, strong though they may be. The same Mosaic system also gave a possibility for accidental crimes to be dealt with by providing sanctuary cities where a person could run from a kinsman-avenger, if the crime was accidental or in self-defence. This gave opportunity for a judge to step in and make a ruling on the crime, which had to be abided by. Israel was remarkably free of hate crimes because of this, and so has every other society which based its legal code on the Judeo-Christian system. It is always useful to look at a phrase in context, AND to make sure it is being used correctly in modern society (which, in this case, it is usually many times I have had to step in and correct the usage of "an eye for an eye"!)

Copyright 2020, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy