Exodus 21:33

33 “Suppose someone digs or uncovers a pit and fails to cover it, and then an ox or a donkey falls into it.

Exodus 21:33 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 21:33

If a man shall open a pit
That has been dug in time past, and filled up again, or take the covering from it, and leave it uncovered: "or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it": a new one, in the street, as the Targum of Jonathan; or in a public place, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra; otherwise a man might dig one for water, in his own fields, in enclosed places, where there was no danger of cattle coming thither, and falling therein:

and an ox or an ass fall therein;
or any other beast, as Jarchi observes; for these are mentioned only as instances, and are put for all others. Maimonides F19 says,

``if a man digs a pit in a public place, and an ox or ass fall into it and die, though the pit is full of shorn wool, and the like, the owner of the pit is bound to pay the whole damage; and this pit (he says) must be ten hands deep; if it is less than that, and an ox, or any other beast or fowl fall into it and die, he is free,''


F19 Hilchot Niske Maimon. c. 12. sect, 1, 10. so Bartenora in Misn. Bava Kama, c. 1. sect. 1.

Exodus 21:33 In-Context

31 “The same regulation applies if the ox gores a boy or a girl.
32 But if the ox gores a slave, either male or female, the animal’s owner must pay the slave’s owner thirty silver coins, and the ox must be stoned.
33 “Suppose someone digs or uncovers a pit and fails to cover it, and then an ox or a donkey falls into it.
34 The owner of the pit must pay full compensation to the owner of the animal, but then he gets to keep the dead animal.
35 “If someone’s ox injures a neighbor’s ox and the injured ox dies, then the two owners must sell the live ox and divide the price equally between them. They must also divide the dead animal.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.