The case here (Exo. 21:18-19) is, as always, exemplary and not exhaustive. Perhaps the escalation to fierce physical violence was relatively gradual, and both men are to blame. Perhaps each injured the other. In such a case each is guilty. Alternatively, perhaps when the first party attacked the second, there was no one to intervene, and the second party was forced to harm the first party in self defense. This would also have to be taken into account. Bystanders could testify as to whether or not the injury was inflicted in self defense. If death results from the fight, the crime is murder. There is no excuse for a “crime of passion,” or any similar rationalizations. If death does not result from the fight, then each man must pay for the medical attention required to dress the wounds of the other, and each man must pay for the other’s loss of time on the job. Payment for loss of time probably means that the man’s employer should be paid for his loss of help during the recuperative period,and probably that the wounded man should as well be provided the pay he was accustomed to receiving, as if he were still working.
Assault/Battery - Fighting/Dueling|Murder|Murder - Defenses|Penology - Monetary Damages|