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Exodus 22

Property Laws

1 “If a man steals an ox a or a sheep and slaughters or sells it, he must repay five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.

2 If a thief is caught breaking in and is beaten to death, no one shall be guilty of bloodshed. 3 But if it happens after sunrise, there is guilt for his bloodshed.

A thief must make full restitution; if he has nothing, he himself shall be sold for his theft. 4 If what was stolen is actually found alive in his possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—he must pay back double.

5 If a man grazes his livestock in a field or vineyard and allows them to stray so that they graze in someone else’s field, he must make restitution from the best of his own field or vineyard.

6 If a fire breaks out and spreads to thornbushes so that it consumes stacked or standing grain, or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make full restitution.

7 If a man gives his neighbor money or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house, the thief, if caught, must pay back double. 8 If the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges b to determine whether he has taken his neighbor’s property.

9 In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any lost item that someone claims, ‘This is mine,’ both parties shall bring their cases before the judges. The one whom the judges find guilty c must pay back double to his neighbor.

10 If a man gives a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any other animal to be cared for by his neighbor, but it dies or is injured or stolen while no one is watching, 11 an oath before the LORD shall be made between the parties to determine whether or not the man has taken his neighbor’s property. The owner must accept the oath and require no restitution.

12 But if the animal was actually stolen from the neighbor, he must make restitution to the owner.

13 If the animal was torn to pieces, he shall bring it as evidence; he need not make restitution for the torn carcass.

14 If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor and it is injured or dies while its owner is not present, he must make full restitution. 15 If the owner was present, no restitution is required. If the animal was rented, the fee covers the loss.

Laws of Social Responsibility

16 If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged in marriage and sleeps with her, he must pay the full dowry for her to be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, the man still must pay an amount comparable to the bridal price of a virgin.

18 You must not allow a sorceress to live.

19 Whoever lies with an animal must surely be put to death.

20 If anyone sacrifices to any god other than the LORD alone, he must be set apart for destruction. d 

21 You must not exploit or oppress a foreign resident, for you yourselves were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

22 You must not mistreat any widow or orphan. 23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to Me in distress, I will surely hear their cry. 24 My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; then your wives will become widows and your children will be fatherless.

25 If you lend money to one of My people among you who is poor, you must not act as a creditor to him; you are not to charge him interest.

26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as collateral, return it to him by sunset, 27 because his cloak is the only covering he has for his body. What else will he sleep in? And if he cries out to Me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

28 You must not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people. e 

29 You must not hold back offerings from your granaries or vats. You are to give Me the firstborn of your sons. 30 You shall do likewise with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but on the eighth day you are to give them to Me.

31 You are to be My holy people. You must not eat the meat of a mauled animal found in the field; you are to throw it to the dogs.



1 a Or a bull or a cow ; also in verses 4, 9, and 10
8 b Or before God ; also in verse 9
9 c Or whom God condemns
20 d Forms of the Hebrew cherem refer to the giving over of things or persons to the LORD, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.
28 e LXX or speak evil about the ruler of your people ; cited in Acts 23:5

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