Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shall Surely Make Restitution

Exodus 22 contains a number of laws governing situations in which one Israelite will be required to make restitution to another (for instance, if your animal gets into someone else's field (v. 4), if a fire on your land spreads to a neighbor's (v. 5), if an animal in your care is stolen (v. 11)).

In English, this stuff is dry and doesn't seem relevant, but a look at the Hebrew shows something interesting.  "Restitution" comes from the root SH-L-M, and the repeated phrases in Exodus 22 are yeshalem (he shall make restitution) and shalem yeshalem (he's really going to make restitution, emphatic).  Restitution is paying back, making whole, redeeming.

This is really interesting, because I think that Matthew 5:48 in Hebrew, as Nephi knew it, had people pronounced shalems as they transitioned to the second room of the temple.  With Exodus 22 as the background, one of the associations the initiates made must have been that they were becoming redeemers.  Similarly, Melchizedek, melekh shalem, must have been heard to be the redeeming king, as well as the initiated king and the peaceable king.

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