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22. Protection of Property

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.

2If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. 3If 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. 4If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double.

5If 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.

6If 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.

7If 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. 8If 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. 9For 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. 10If 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. 12And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof. 13If it be torn in pieces, then let him bring it for witness, and he shall not make good that which was torn.

14And 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.

16And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

18Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

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

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

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

22Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. 23If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; 24And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

25If 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. 26If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: 27For 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.

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

29Thou 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. 30Likewise 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.

31And 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.

2. If a thief be found breaking up. This clause is to be taken separately, and is inserted by way of parenthesis; for, after having decreed the punishment, God adds in connection, “he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he should be sold for his theft;” and this exception as to the thief in the night is introduced parenthetically. But although the details are not expressed with sufficient distinctness, still the intention of God is by no means ambiguous, viz., that if a thief should be killed in the dark, his slayer should be unpunished; for he can then hardly be distinguished from a robber, especially when he proceeds with violence; because he cannot enter another man’s house by night without either digging through a wall or breaking down a door. The Twelve Tables 135135     This provision of the Twelve Tables is thus given by A. Gell. 11. ult., “Si nox furtum faxit, sim (si eum) quis occisit, jure caesus esto: si luci furtum faxit, sim aliquis endo (in) ipso furto capsit, verberator, illique, cui furtum factum escit (erit) addicitor, sed non nisi is, qui interemturus erat, quiritaret,” i.e., shall have called out for assistance. differ slightly from this; for they permit the killing of a thief by night, and also by day if he should defend himself with a weapon. But, since God had sufficiently repressed by other laws murders and violent assaults, He is silent here respecting robbers who use the sword in their attempts at plunder. He therefore justly condemns to death those who have avenged by murder a theft in open day.


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