RABBI MISREPRESENTS BIBLE ON ABORTION

RABBI MISREPRESENTS BIBLE ON ABORTION

The purpose of this article, and indeed this website, is not to get involved in any partisan politics, but to advocate for God’s Word, the Bible. As the late Billy Graham said late in life, he wished he’d stayed out of politics. Yet, the Bible is very “useful for . . . correction” (2 Tim 3:16 NIV).

In an opinion column in the Tallahassee Democrat on March 6, 2018, Rabbi Jack Romberg says that “Jewish tradition . . . considers a fetus a life, but not equivalent to a fully formed human life”. That may be true about Jewish tradition. He should know, being a Rabbi. But, he unfortunately goes on to make a false statement about the Bible. He claims “This is based on Exodus 21:22 through 25, which makes clear the loss of a fetus by human misconduct is not punished the same way as murder”. Since the Rabbi probably uses the TANAKH, which is a Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament, let’s quote these verses from there:

“When men fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact from him, the payment based on reckoning. But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

You can easily see that the loss of even the “fetus”, or unborn child is “punished the same way as murder” since it clearly says “the penalty shall be life for life”. Either the Rabbi has not really read these scriptures, or more likely, he’s putting a popular spin on them, so as to “follow the crowd” (Exodus 23:2 NIV). This is the principle of the Mosaic Law, “life for life”. This principle is even followed, under the law, for a malicious false witness (Deuteronomy 19:16-21), “life for life” (vs 21). Murders were to be “put to death” (Deuteronomy 19:11-13 Tanakh).

The Mosaic Law was cancelled with the death of Christ (Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:13-16), but since God does not change (Malachi 3:6), He still views wrongful, or deliberate taking of human life, even the unborn as murder (Revelation 21:8; 22:15).

3 thoughts on “RABBI MISREPRESENTS BIBLE ON ABORTION

  1. Ross, I am happy to provide a rebuttal of your essay here.

    RT1: The purpose of this article, and indeed this website, is not to get involved in any partisan politics, but to advocate for God’s Word, the Bible. As the late Billy Graham said late in life, he wished he’d stayed out of politics. Yet, the Bible is very “useful for . . . correction” (2 Tim 3:16 NIV).

    GW1: We all wish that Billy Graham would have stayed out of politics.

    RT1: In an opinion column in the Tallahassee Democrat on March 6, 2018, Rabbi Jack Romberg says that “Jewish tradition . . . considers a fetus a life, but not equivalent to a fully formed human life”. That may be true about Jewish tradition. He should know, being a Rabbi.

    GW1: I read Romberg’s column and thought it was quite good.

    RT1: But, he unfortunately goes on to make a false statement about the Bible. He claims “This is based on Exodus 21:22 through 25, which makes clear the loss of a fetus by human misconduct is not punished the same way as murder”. Since the Rabbi probably uses the TANAKH, which is a Jewish translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament, let’s quote these verses from there:

    “When men fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact from him, the payment based on reckoning. But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

    RT1: You can easily see that the loss of even the “fetus”, or unborn child is “punished the same way as murder” since it clearly says “the penalty shall be life for life”.

    GW1: First, the term “unborn child” is inaccurate and inappropriate in a discussion about abortion. “Fetus” is the correct term to use. Secondly, Rabbi Romberg is interpreting the verses correctly, whereas you are interpreting them incorrectly. When a miscarriage occurs, the fetus dies. According to the verses, the man who caused the miscarriage is only to be fined, and the amount of the fine is to be determined by the woman’s husband. On the other hand, under ancient Jewish law the man who causes the death of an adult human person must be punished with the death penalty. Therefore, the two punishments are not the same in the two instances. If God existed, he did not value the life of the fetus as great as the life of an adult human person. The part starting with “but if other damage ensues…” refers to damage suffered by any of the adults in the situation (and even there probably only the men).

    RT1: Either the Rabbi has not really read these scriptures, or more likely, he’s putting a popular spin on them, so as to “follow the crowd” (Exodus 23:2 NIV). This is the principle of the Mosaic Law, “life for life”. This principle is even followed, under the law, for a malicious false witness (Deuteronomy 19:16-21), “life for life” (vs 21). Murders were to be “put to death” (Deuteronomy 19:11-13 Tanakh).

    GW1: I suspect that both you and Romberg have read the relevant verses, but he has interpreted them correctly, whereas you have not. Clearly, according to the verses the punishment for causing the death of a fetus is different, much more lenient, than the punishment for causing the death of an adult human person. But even the situation described in these verses is much different from the one in modern abortion where the pregnant woman chooses to cause the death of her own fetus. This is not due to carelessness.

    RT1: The Mosaic Law was cancelled with the death of Christ (Romans 10:4; Colossians 2:13-16), but since God does not change (Malachi 3:6), He still views wrongful, or deliberate taking of human life, even the unborn as murder (Revelation 21:8; 22:15).

    GW1: First, the term “the unborn” is an inaccurate term and should not be used in a discussion of abortion. Secondly, according to the NT, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to cancel it. Thirdly, “a human life” is not equivalent to “the life of a human person.” A fetus is not a person until late in its development. And lastly, if God exists, he has performed far more abortions than human persons have. They are called “miscarriages.”

    1. You can easily see from the context of Exodus 21:22-25 Tanakh (the very translation that an English speaking Rabbi would use) that it is definitely including the unborn child when it says that ‘one of the fighting men pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage occurs’. The two men fighting are essentially the subjects, and the pregnant woman and her miscarried child, are the objects, who are at risk of “other damage”. But it is especially the miscarried child who would be most at risk.

      1. I have already explained why the rabbi’s interpretation of these verses is correct and your interpretation is incorrect. You are interpreting it the way you WISH it were stated.

        Also, the rabbi is more qualified than you to interpret these verses. He has the requisite education and he is interpreting the text of his own religion.

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