Exodus 22

Laws About Keeping Property Safe

1 "Suppose a man steals an ox or a sheep. And suppose he kills it or sells it. Then he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox. Or he must pay back four sheep or goats for the sheep.
2 "Suppose you catch a thief breaking into your house. And suppose you hit the thief and kill him. Then you are not guilty of murder.
3 But suppose it happens after the sun has come up. Then you are guilty of murder. "A thief must pay for what he has stolen. But suppose he does not have anything. Then he must be sold to pay for what he has stolen.
4 "What if the stolen ox, donkey or sheep is found alive with him? Then the thief must pay back twice as much as he stole.
5 "Suppose a man lets his livestock eat grass in someone else's field or vineyard. Then he must pay that person back from the best crops of his own field or vineyard.
6 "Suppose a fire breaks out and spreads into bushes. It burns grain that has been cut and stacked. Or it burns grain that is still growing. Or it burns the whole field. Then the one who started the fire must pay for the loss.
7 "Suppose a man gives his neighbor silver or other things to keep safe. And suppose they are stolen from the neighbor's house. If the thief is caught, he must pay back twice as much as he stole.
8 "But suppose the thief is not found. Then the neighbor must go to the judges. They will decide whether the neighbor has stolen the other person's property.
9 "Suppose you have an ox, donkey, sheep or clothing that does not belong to you. Or you have other property that was lost by someone else. And suppose someone says, 'That belongs to me.' Then both people must bring their case to the judges. The one the judges decide is guilty must pay back twice as much to the other person.
10 "Suppose a man asks his neighbor to take care of a donkey, ox, sheep or any other animal. And suppose the animal dies or gets hurt. Or suppose it is stolen while no one is looking.
11 Then the problem will be settled by taking an oath and promising the LORD to tell the truth. "Suppose the neighbor takes an oath and says, 'I didn't steal your property.' Then the owner must accept what the neighbor says. No payment is required.
12 "But suppose the animal really was stolen. Then the neighbor must pay the owner back.
13 "Or suppose it was torn to pieces by a wild animal. Then the neighbor must bring in what is left as proof. No payment is required.
14 "Suppose a man borrows an animal from his neighbor. And it gets hurt or dies while the owner is not there. Then the man must pay for it.
15 "But suppose the owner is with the animal. Then the man will not have to pay. If he hired the animal, the money he paid to hire it covers the loss.

Laws About Social Problems

16 "Suppose a man meets a virgin who is not engaged. And he talks her into having sex with him. Then he must pay her father the price for a bride. And he must get married to her.
17 "But suppose her father absolutely refuses to give her to him. Then he must still pay the price for getting married to a virgin.
18 "Do not let a woman who does evil magic stay alive. Put her to death.
19 "Anyone who has sex with an animal must be put to death.
20 "Anyone who sacrifices to any god other than me must be destroyed.
21 "Do not treat outsiders badly. Do not beat them down. Remember, you were outsiders in Egypt.
22 "Do not take advantage of widows. Do not take advantage of children whose fathers have died.
23 "If you do, they might cry out to me. Then I will certainly hear them.
24 And I will get angry. I will kill you with a sword. Your wives will become widows. Your children's fathers will die.
25 "Suppose you lend money to one of my people among you who is in need. Then do not be like those who lend money and charge interest. Do not charge any interest.
26 "Suppose your neighbor owes you money and gives you a coat as a promise to pay it back. Then return it to him by sunset.
27 That coat is the only thing he owns to wear or sleep in. When he cries out to me, I will listen, because I am loving and kind.
28 "Do not speak evil things against me. Do not call down a curse on the ruler of your people.
29 "Do not hold back your grain offerings or wine offerings. "You must give me the oldest of your sons.
30 Do the same with your cattle and sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days. But give them to me on the eighth day.
31 "I want you to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of any animal that has been torn by wild animals. Throw it to the dogs.

Exodus 22 Commentary

Chapter 22

Judicial laws.

- The people of God should ever be ready to show mildness and mercy, according to the spirit of these laws. We must answer to God, not only for what we do maliciously, but for what we do heedlessly. Therefore, when we have done harm to our neighbour, we should make restitution, though not compelled by law. Let these scriptures lead our souls to remember, that if the grace of God has indeed appeared to us, then it has taught us, and enabled us so to conduct ourselves by its holy power, that denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, ( Titus 2:12 ) . And the grace of God teaches us, that as the Lord is our portion, there is enough in him to satisfy all the desires of our souls.

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains various laws concerning theft, Ex 22:1-4, concerning damage done to fields and vineyards by beasts, and to corn in stacks or standing, by fire, Ex 22:5,6, concerning anything or creature deposited in the hands of a neighbour, and they be stolen or lost by one means or another, Ex 22:7-13, concerning anything borrowed, and it comes to any damage, Ex 22:14,15, concerning fornication, Ex 22:16,17 concerning witchcraft, bestiality, and idolatry, Ex 22:18-20 concerning oppression, and affliction of the stranger, fatherless, and widow, Ex 22:21-24 concerning taking usury and pledges, Ex 22:25-27, concerning irreverence to magistrates, Ex 22:28, concerning the offering of firstfruits to God, Ex 22:29,30 and the chapter is concluded with a prohibition of eating anything torn by beasts, Ex 22:31.

Exodus 22 Commentaries

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