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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 22


1 "(If a thief is caught in the act of housebreaking and beaten to death, there is no bloodguilt involved.


But if after sunrise he is thus beaten, there is bloodguilt.) He must make full restitution. If he has nothing, he shall be sold to pay for his theft.


If what he stole is found alive in his possession, be it an ox, an ass or a sheep, he shall restore two animals for each one stolen.


2 "When a man is burning over a field or a vineyard, if he lets the fire spread so that it burns in another's field, he must make restitution with the best produce of his own field or vineyard.


If the fire spreads further, and catches on to thorn bushes, so that shocked grain or standing grain or the field itself is burned up, the one who started the fire must make full restitution.


"When a man gives money or an article to another for safekeeping and it is stolen from the latter's house, the thief, if caught, must make twofold restitution.


3 If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house shall be brought to God, to swear that he himself did not lay hands on his neighbor's property.


In every question of dishonest appropriation, whether it be about an ox, or an ass, or a sheep, or a garment, or anything else that has disappeared, where another claims that the thing is his, both parties shall present their case before God; the one whom God convicts must make twofold restitution to the other.


"When a man gives an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any other animal to another for safekeeping, if it dies, or is maimed or snatched away, without anyone witnessing the fact,


the custodian shall swear by the LORD that he did not lay hands on his neighbor's property; the owner must accept the oath, and no restitution is to be made.


But if the custodian is really guilty of theft, he must make restitution to the owner.


If it has been killed by a wild beast, let him bring it as evidence, and he need not make restitution for the mangled animal.


"When a man borrows an animal from his neighbor, if it is maimed or dies while the owner is not present, the man must make restitution.


But if the owner is present, he need not make restitution. If it was hired, this was covered by the price of its hire.


"When a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall pay her marriage price and marry her.


4 If her father refuses to give her to him, he must still pay him the customary marriage price for virgins.


"You shall not let a sorceress live.


"Anyone who lies with an animal shall be put to death.


"Whoever sacrifices to any god, except to the LORD alone, shall be doomed.


"You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.


You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.


If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.


My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.


"If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him by demanding interest from him.


If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset;


for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. What else has he to sleep in? If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.


5 "You shall not revile God, nor curse a prince of your people.


"You shall not delay the offering of your harvest and your press. You shall give me the first-born of your sons.


You must do the same with your oxen and your sheep; for seven days the firstling may stay with its mother, but on the eighth day you must give it to me.


"You shall be men sacred to me. Flesh torn to pieces in the field you shall not eat; throw it to the dogs.



1 [1-2] If a thief is caught: this seems to be a fragment of what was once a longer law on housebreaking, which has been inserted here into the middle of a law on stealing animals. At night the householder would be justified in killing a burglar outright, but not so in the daytime, when the burglar could more easily be caught alive. He must make full restitution: this stood originally immediately after Exodus 21:37.

2 [4] The Greek and Latin versions understood this verse as a prohibition against allowing one's cattle to graze in the field of another.

3 [7] Brought to God: see note on Exodus 21:6. Cf also Exodus 22:10.

4 [16] The customary marriage price for virgins: fifty shekels according to Deut 22:29.

5 [27] God: or perhaps "the gods," in the sense of "the judges," as the parallel with a prince of your people suggests.

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