Exodus 23:4

4 “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it.

Exodus 23:4 in Other Translations

KJV
4 If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again
ESV
4 "If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him
NLT
4 “If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has strayed away, take it back to its owner.
MSG
4 "If you find your enemy's ox or donkey loose, take it back to him
CSB
4 "If you come across your enemy's stray ox or donkey, you must return it 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 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd,
3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.
4 “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it.
5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.
6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Romans 12:20
  • 2. Leviticus 6:3; Leviticus 19:11; Deuteronomy 22:1-3