But [if] he be found, he shall restore sevenfold
According to the law in ( Exodus 22:1 Exodus 22:4 ) ; in case of theft double was to be restored, if the theft was found alive in his hand; and in some cases fourfold and fivefold. Aben Ezra observing that double and fivefold being near together in the law, joins them, and so makes sevenfold. Some think Solomon has reference to a law in other nations, which obliged to a sevenfold restoration; or that the penalty was increased in his time, but neither appears; rather the meaning is, that a thief should make restoration according to law as often as he is found guilty, be it seven times, or seventy times seven, ( Matthew 18:21 Matthew 18:22 ) ; or the sense is, that be should make perfect restoration, full restitution as the law requires: but then this finding: him is not to be understood of finding him in the fact, stealing to satisfy hunger, for then to insist upon a legal restitution, as it is incompatible with such a man's circumstances, so would contradict what is before said, that such an one is not usually reproached and found fault with; but the sense is, if it should be found otherwise, or it should be found that he has food to satisfy his soul, as Gersom observes, and has no need to steal; or if he is found in a man's house, then he shall make restitution as the law directs, even a full one, ( Exodus 22:2 Exodus 22:3 ) ; he shall give all the substance of his house:
to pay the sevenfold, or to make full restitution; nay, if necessary, he himself may be sold, as the above law requires.