Exodus 22:4

4 If the stolen animal is found alive in their possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—they must pay back double.

Exodus 22:4 in Other Translations

4 If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double.
4 If the stolen beast is found alive in his possession, whether it is an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.
4 If someone steals an ox or a donkey or a sheep and it is found in the thief’s possession, then the thief must pay double the value of the stolen animal.
4 If caught red-handed with the stolen goods, and the ox or donkey or lamb is still alive, the thief pays double.
4 If what was stolen-whether ox, donkey, or sheep-is actually found alive in his possession, he must repay double.

Exodus 22:4 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 22:4

If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive
Or, "in finding be found" F9, be plainly and evidently found upon him, before witnesses, as the Targum of Jonathan; so that there is no doubt of the theft; and it is a clear case that he had neither as yet killed nor sold the creature he had stolen, and to could be had again directly, and without any damage well as it would appear by this that he was not an old expert thief, and used to such practices, since he would soon have made away with this theft in some way or another:

whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep,
or any other creature; and even, as Jarchi thinks, anything else, as raiment, goods

he shall restore double;
two oxen for an ox, two asses for an ass, and two sheep for a sheep: and, as the same commentator observes, two living ones, and not dead ones, or the price of two living ones: so Solon made theft, by his law, punishable with death, but with a double restitution F11; and the reason why here only a double restitution and not fourfold is insisted on, as in ( Exodus 22:1 ) is, because there the theft is persisted in, here not; but either the thief being convicted in his own conscience of his evil, makes confession, or, however, the creatures are found with alive, and so more useful being restored, and, being had again sooner, the loss is not quite so great.


F9 (aumt aumh) "inveniendo inventum fuerit", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator.
F11 A. Gell, l. 11. c. 18.

Exodus 22:4 In-Context

2 “If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed;
3 but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed. “Anyone who steals must certainly make restitution, but if they have nothing, they must be sold to pay for their theft.
4 If the stolen animal is found alive in their possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—they must pay back double.
5 “If anyone grazes their livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in someone else’s field, the offender must make restitution from the best of their own field or vineyard.
6 “If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution.

Cross References 2

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