It is said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” represents justice, that each person should bear the consequences of deliberately hurting another human being. We do not see this happening in real life because people cause all sorts of harm to others and still retain both their eyes and all their teeth. But what if it the saying was literally true? What if people did bear in their bodies the pain they inflicted on others? What if a master felt the sting of the whip on his back whenever he lashed out at his slave? What if a bully felt the blow to his stomach that he inflicted on his victim? I imagine that would be a powerful deterrent to war.
We are told that Joshua commanded the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho until the walls crumbled. Then Joshua and his army entered the city and utterly destroyed all that was within, both man and woman, young and old, with the edge of the sword. But suppose the walls fell on the Hebrews instead? What if Joshua felt each thrust of the sword in his own body? How eager would he then be to march around those walls?
History is filled with accounts of kings, warlords, and tyrants who invaded lands and homes, reigning carnage and destruction on innocent people. But if each person bore the consequences of his or her own hurtful actions against another, history might tell a different story. The walls of Jericho might still be standing.