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Whether the judicial precepts were figurative?

Objection 1: It would seem that the judicial precepts were not figurative. Because it seems proper to the ceremonial precepts to be instituted as figures of something else. Therefore, if the judicial precepts are figurative, there will be no difference between the judicial and ceremonial precepts.

Objection 2: Further, just as certain judicial precepts were given to the Jewish people, so also were some given to other heathen peoples. But the judicial precepts given to other peoples were not figurative, but stated what had to be done. Therefore it seems that neither were the judicial precepts of the Old Law figures of anything.

Objection 3: Further, those things which relate to the divine worship had to be taught under certain figures, because the things of God are above our reason, as stated above (Q[101], A[2], ad 2). But things concerning our neighbor are not above our reason. Therefore the judicial precepts which direct us in relation to our neighbor should not have been figurative.

On the contrary, The judicial precepts are expounded both in the allegorical and in the moral sense (Ex. 21).

I answer that, A precept may be figurative in two ways. First, primarily and in itself: because, to wit, it is instituted principally that it may be the figure of something. In this way the ceremonial precepts are figurative; since they were instituted for the very purpose that they might foreshadow something relating to the worship of God and the mystery of Christ. But some precepts are figurative, not primarily and in themselves, but consequently. In this way the judicial precepts of the Old Law are figurative. For they were not instituted for the purpose of being figurative, but in order that they might regulate the state of that people according to justice and equity. Nevertheless they did foreshadow something consequently: since, to wit, the entire state of that people, who were directed by these precepts, was figurative, according to 1 Cor. 10:11: "All . . . things happened to them in figure."

Reply to Objection 1: The ceremonial precepts are not figurative in the same way as the judicial precepts, as explained above.

Reply to Objection 2: The Jewish people were chosen by God that Christ might be born of them. Consequently the entire state of that people had to be prophetic and figurative, as Augustine states (Contra Faust. xxii, 24). For this reason even the judicial precepts that were given to this people were more figurative that those which were given to other nations. Thus, too, the wars and deeds of this people are expounded in the mystical sense: but not the wars and deeds of the Assyrians or Romans, although the latter are more famous in the eyes of men.

Reply to Objection 3: In this people the direction of man in regard to his neighbor, considered in itself, was subject to reason. But in so far as it was referred to the worship of God, it was above reason: and in this respect it was figurative.

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