Exodus 23:4

4 1"If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him

Exodus 23:4 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 23:4

If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray
Or any other beast, as the Samaritan version adds; for these are only mentioned for instances, as being more common, and creatures subject to go astray; now when such as these are met going astray, so as to be in danger of being lost to the owner, though he is an enemy; or as the Targum of Jonathan,

``whom thou hatest because of a sin, which thou alone knowest in him;''

yet this was not so far to prejudice the finder of his beasts against him, as to be careless about them, to suffer them to go on without acquainting him with them, or returning them to him, as follows:

thou shalt surely bring it back to him again;
whether it be an ox, or an ass, or any other beast, the law is very strong and binding upon the finder to return it to his neighbour, though an enemy, and bring it either to his field or to his farm.

Exodus 23:4 In-Context

2 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice,
3 nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.
4 "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him
5 If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.
6 "You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit.

Cross References 1

  • 1. [Deuteronomy 22:1, 4; Proverbs 25:21; Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:15]