Exodus Chapter 22

Exodus Chapter 22 talks about laws about property and restitution that God created for Israel. There are also laws in this chapter dealing with those who practiced sorcery and sacrificing children.

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Laws Regarding Theft of Animals

The first set of laws in Exodus Chapter 22 deals with property and ownership rights. God said that any person who violated the eighth commandment by stealing would be punished accordingly.

As examples, if someone was caught taking a sheep or ox to sell or slaughter, that person would have to repay the victim by reimbursing them with four sheep for each one stolen or five oxen for each stolen oxen. Oxen provided more valuable work which is why the price for stealing those was higher.

If the guilty party is killed while in the act of the crime, so be it. If the thief was unable to provide proper compensation for the animals he stole, he had to work off the offense as a slave.

Laws Regarding Other Property

Other crimes covered in Exodus Chapter 22 include damage done by fire and stealing from one’s neighbor. These cases were to be adjudicated before a judge with the guilty party normally responsible for repaying the loss with double the merchandise or enslavement.

If two neighbors entered into an agreement in which one is responsible for the care of the other’s property, a judge had to determine if willful neglect was the cause of any loss. However, if the property was proven to have been stolen, the neighbor who took on the responsibility of caring for it was guilty of breaking the law. Any lesser damages not resulting in a real loss or in the case of an animal’s death would be handled based on the evidence.

Laws Regarding Sorcery and Sacrifice

The latter section of Exodus chapter 22 addresses subjects such as infidelity, sorcery, betrayal and child sacrifice. Any man found guilty of seducing a virgin who was not engaged to be married would have to pay the father of said woman and take her as his bride. If the virgin was scheduled to be wed, the punishment for being with her was death.

Anyone who practiced sorcery would also be executed. Betraying an orphan or widow was also strictly prohibited. God also addressed restrictions concerning loaning money to others and charging interest on the loan.

Finally, Exodus Chapter 22 ends with laws condemning child sacrifices which were rather common at that time. Instead of sacrifices, the Lord told the people to offer their firstborn son and firstborn animals for the purpose of being of service to God.

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Exodus 22 (King James Version)

1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.

3 If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

4 If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double.

5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.

6 If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.

7 If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.

8 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods.

9 For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.

10 If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it:

11 Then shall an oath of the LORD be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.

12 And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof.

13 If it be torn in pieces, then let him bring it for witness, and he shall not make good that which was torn.

14 And if a man borrow ought of his neighbour, and it be hurt, or die, the owner thereof being not with it, he shall surely make it good.

15 But if the owner thereof be with it, he shall not make it good: if it be an hired thing, it came for his hire.

16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.

17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.

20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.

23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;

24 And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

26 If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:

27 For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.

28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

29 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.

30 Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.

31 And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs.

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