22 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.
K.J.V. Bible Text
Exodus Chapter 22 begins with the rules governing punishment for those who steal. Stealing and killing an animal requires fivefold restitution. If a man sends his animals to feed in another man’s field, he must make restitution from his own best fields and vineyards. Causing a field to be consumed by fire is to be recompensed by the person that started the fire. If a neighbor keeps something for you and it is stolen, the thief should pay double for it but it the thief can’t be found the person who was keeping the item must be brought before the judges to consider whether he took it himself.
Although all of the rules to govern responsibility and restitution among the citizens that were given by the Lord to Moses have the same theme of just compensation for a wrong, the Lord leaves nothing to chance. Each happening and the just response that should be made by the judges is carefully laid out leaving no doubt as to how the judges will treat the perpetrators of misdeeds.
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