(Exo 22:1 NASB) “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
Exo 22:1: It is interesting that if money is stolen, the thief only pays 20% extra (Lev. 6:1-6). But if it is sheep or oxen stolen, they are to pay four or five times more. The reason is probably because our money is more easily protected since it is kept in the house. Whereas flocks or herds are in the fields and can be stolen more easily, therefore the penalty is more severe.
(Exo 22:2 NASB) “If the thief is caught while breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account.
Exo 22:2: This is self-explanatory. If a thief is caught and killed trying to steal, the victim is the homeowner. And he is guilt-free.
This also helps explain why theft of an animal carries a bigger penalty. One cannot be killed for trying to steal cows or sheep.
(Exo 22:3 NASB) “But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Exo 22:3: A man breaking into a home during the day cannot be killed by the homeowner. The intent of the intruder is probably not homicidal at night as it might be in the daytime. When an intruder enters a house during the day, he is not as likely to find an occupant and there is often help nearby.
The fact is, Elohim guards life. If an intruder enters a house at night, he can be justifiably killed to protect occupants. In the day time, deadly force is not warranted or allowed for just robbery alone. In both cases Elohim protects life, even if it is that of an intruder. Life takes precedence over mere possessions.
(Exo 22:4 NASB) “If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.
Exo 22:4: If he has sold or killed the stolen animals, the penalty is much greater than if he still has them in his possession.
(Exo 22:5 NASB) “If a man lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.
Exo 22:5: This is an equitable and fair solution. A man must be responsible for himself, his family, his animals, and his property. If his animals graze on another man’s land, he should pay full restitution.
(Exo 22:6 NASB) “If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution.
Exo 22:6: It was common in the East to set dry plants or dry herbs on fire. A law to secure responsibility for this is certainly appropriate.
(Exo 22:7 NASB) “If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him, and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double.
Exo 22:7: This law is similar to the one for simply breaking into a man’s house and stealing his goods.
(Exo 22:8 NASB) “If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor’s property.
(Exo 22:9 NASB) “For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.
Exo 22:9: In the case where the thief is not caught, the one who was last in possession of his neighbors goods is possibly under suspicion of stealing or having sold his neighbors possessions. The judges will decide if that is the case. If it is, the man will repay double.
(Exo 22:10 NASB) “If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking,
(Exo 22:11 NASB) an oath before the LORD shall be made by the two of them, that he has not laid hands on his neighbor’s property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution.
Exo 22:11: Livestock is a different matter altogether. Livestock requires care, feeding, grooming, and possibly lots of work. It is common practice to have paid the man for caring for the neighbor’s livestock. Therefore, some liability is incurred by the man.
If the man claims that he has not caused the loss of the animals, that it was caused by a natural occurrence, then the man will make an oath before Elohim and the owner will accept it.
(Exo 22:12 NASB) “But if it is actually stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner.
(Exo 22:13 NASB) “If it is all torn to pieces, let him bring it as evidence; he shall not make restitution for what has been torn to pieces.
Exo 22:13: If the neighbors livestock was stolen from the man, he must make restitution for his lack of service in caring for the animals.
If the animals were torn to pieces by a wild animal, evidence should be given to demonstrate that is the case. If it is, then the man will not be declared responsible.
(Exo 22:14 NASB) “And if a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution.
Exo 22:14: If a man asks to borrow a beast of burden from the owner, he will pay full restitution for any damage or death. Once again, it is usually the case that the animal was rented or some kind of compensation was given to the man it was borrowed from.
(Exo 22:15 NASB) “If its owner is with it, he shall not make restitution; if it is hired, it came for its hire.
Exo 22:15: If a man and his animal were hired, then the man who hired them is not responsible for any damage or death to the animal.
(Exo 22:16 NASB) “And if a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
(Exo 22:17 NASB) “If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.
Exo 22:17: Premarital sex is thoroughly addressed in Torah. Shotgun weddings were not unheard of. The man who seduced the woman must pay the dowry amount (which is not specified). This is in the case of the woman giving some form of consent. Rape is covered in Deut. 22:22-29.
If the father of the girl does not want to let her marry him, the man must pay the father the bride price regardless.
(Exo 22:18 NASB) “You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
(Exo 22:19 NASB) “Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.
Exo 22:19: Anyone engaging in sorcery or bestiality is to be put to death.
(Exo 22:20 NASB) “He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the LORD alone, shall be utterly destroyed.
Exo 22:20: Sacrificing to any other god is worthy of death. This is a common command throughout Scripture.
(Exo 22:21 NASB) “And you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Exo 22:21: According to the Jewish Publication Society, the term “ger” normally denotes a foriegn-born permanent resident whose status is somewhere between a native born resident and a foreigner temporarily residing outside his community. This man could not fall back on his native land because he has broken ties with them. He is to be treated well by all Israelites.
Over time, the ger was usually absorbed into society. The term ger is normally synonymous with “proselyte.” The ger is to be like a native Israelite (Lev. 19:33-34).
(Exo 22:22 NASB) “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.
(Exo 22:23 NASB) “If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry;
(Exo 22:24 NASB) and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
Exo 22:24: The widows and fatherless are to be taken care of by the people. People in this situation have enough problems dealing with that predicament alone. They are to be loved and cared for by Elohim’s people.
If they are not cared for, the wives and children of those who are negligent will become widows and orphans. Yeshua stated this same principle also (Luke 6:38).
(Exo 22:25 NASB) “If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest.
Exo 22:25: If we lend money to a follower of Torah, we are not to charge interest to him or to the poor. However, we may charge interest to an unbeliever (Deut. 23:19-20).
(Exo 22:26 NASB) “If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets,
(Exo 22:27 NASB) for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body. What else shall he sleep in? And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious.
Exo 22:27: This is merely being a gracious human being. Elohim will not tolerate cruelty from His people. If the poor among us must borrow money, we will do it willingly and openly.
(Exo 22:28 NASB) “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
Exo 22:28: Naturally, we are not to curse Elohim. But we are also not to curse a ruler of His people. Paul accidentally did this when he did not know a certain man was a High Priest (Acts 23:3-5).
(Exo 22:29 NASB) “You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The first-born of your sons you shall give to Me.
(Exo 22:30 NASB) “You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.
Exo 22:30: This passage does not really apply because we have no place to offer sacrifices and we do not have Levites among us. But our sacrifices were to be from our firstfruits, not from later harvests. Also, Elohim is also to receive the firstborn of our sons and livestock. But since the Levites were chosen by Elohim instead of the firstborn, we are to pay a tribute to the priesthood on their behalf.
However, since the priesthood is not longer performing their duties, this does not presently apply either.
(Exo 22:31 NASB) “And you shall be holy men to Me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh torn to pieces in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.
Exo 22:31: We are not to eat any flesh torn in the field. We are to be holy (set-apart). This is the second time that “being holy” is tied to dietary laws (Lev. 11:45-47). Peter relates this passage to all believers (1 Peter 1:15-16).
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas