Protection of property1 ‘Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep. 2 ‘If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; 3 but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed. ‘Anyone who steals must certainly make restitution, but if they have nothing, they must be sold to pay for their theft. 4 If the stolen animal is found alive in their possession – whether ox or donkey or sheep – they must pay back double. 5 ‘If anyone grazes their livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in someone else’s field, the offender must make restitution from the best of their own field or vineyard. 6 ‘If a fire breaks out and spreads into thorn-bushes so that it burns sheaves of corn or standing corn or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution. 7 ‘If anyone gives a neighbour silver or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbour’s house, the thief, if caught, must pay back double. 8 But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges, and they must ▼
▼ Or before God, and he willdetermine whether the owner of the house has laid hands on the other person’s property. 9 In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any other lost property about which somebody says, “This is mine,” both parties are to bring their cases before the judges. ▼
▼ Or before GodThe one whom the judges declare ▼
▼ Or whom God declaresguilty must pay back double to the other. 10 ‘If anyone gives a donkey, an ox, a sheep or any other animal to their neighbour for safekeeping and it dies or is injured or is taken away while no one is looking, 11 the issue between them will be settled by the taking of an oath before the Lord that the neighbour did not lay hands on the other person’s property. The owner is to accept this, and no restitution is required. 12 But if the animal was stolen from the neighbour, restitution must be made to the owner. 13 If it was torn to pieces by a wild animal, the neighbour shall bring in the remains as evidence and shall not be required to pay for the torn animal. 14 ‘If anyone borrows an animal from their neighbour and it is injured or dies while the owner is not present, they must make restitution. 15 But if the owner is with the animal, the borrower will not have to pay. If the animal was hired, the money paid for the hire covers the loss.
Social responsibility16 ‘If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins. 18 ‘Do not allow a sorceress to live. 19 ‘Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal is to be put to death. 20 ‘Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed. ▼
▼ The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.21 ‘Do not ill-treat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. 22 ‘Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless. 25 ‘If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. 26 If you take your neighbour’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbour has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate. 28 ‘Do not blaspheme God ▼
▼ Or Do not revile the judgesor curse the ruler of your people. 29 ‘Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. ▼
▼ The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.‘You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 30 Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day. 31 ‘You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.
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