Exodus 22

Rules about things that belong to people

1 Perhaps someone may take another person's cow or sheep for himself. He may kill it or he may sell it. As punishment, he must pay the owner five cows for each cow that he has taken. He must pay four sheep for each sheep that he has taken.

2 Perhaps someone may catch a robber as he goes into another person's house. The owner of the house might knock down the robber so that he dies. If this happens at night, the owner of the house is not guilty of murder. 3 But if the owner of the house kills the robber after sunrise, he is guilty of murder.

Anyone who takes something that belongs to someone else must pay back the owner. If he cannot pay for everything that he has taken, he must become a slave. The owner will receive the money that someone has paid for the slave.

4 You may find an animal that someone has taken for himself. If the animal is still alive, the person who took it must pay back to the owner twice its value. He must do this, whether it was a cow, a donkey, or a sheep.

5 A man's animals might go into someone else's field or vineyard to eat what is growing there. Then the owner of those animals must pay back the value of what they have eaten. He must give his best grain and his best grapes to pay back the other man.

6 Someone might light a fire in his field to burn thorn bushes. But the fire might grow and it might burn the crops in another farmer's field. It may destroy the crops that are growing there or the grain that is ready for harvest. It might even destroy the whole field. Then the person who lit the fire must pay the farmer for the crops that the fire has destroyed.

7 Perhaps you may give some of your money or your valuable things to your neighbour. You may ask your neighbour to keep them safe for you. But a robber might take those things from your neighbour's house. If you catch the robber, he must pay back twice the value of the things that he took. 8 But if you do not find the robber, you must take your neighbour to stand in front of the judges. They must decide if your neighbour has taken your things for himself.

22:8‘to stand in front of the judges’ or ‘to stand in front of God’. Also in other verses that follow.

9 Perhaps two people both say that something belongs to them. They may argue about a cow, a donkey, a sheep, some clothes or anything else that they have lost. Then both of them must go to stand in front of the judges. The judges will decide which of them is guilty. The guilty person must pay back twice the value of the thing to the other person.

10 Perhaps you may ask your neighbour to keep one of your animals safe for you. It may be a donkey, a cow, a sheep or any other animal that belongs to you. Then the animal may die, or something may hurt it. Or perhaps a robber takes it for himself. If nobody has seen what really happened, you must do this: 11 Your neighbour must make a serious promise to the Lord. He must promise that he did not take your animal for himself, or hurt it. Then you must accept what he has said. Do not ask your neighbour to pay you any money. 12 But if a robber did take the animal from your neighbour, then your neighbour must pay you for it. 13 But perhaps a wild animal attacked it. Then your neighbour must show the pieces of your animal that are left. Then he will not have to pay you for the loss of your animal.

14 Your neighbour might lend one of his animals to you to do some work. Something bad might happen to the animal while its owner is not with it. It might die, or something might hurt it. Then you must pay your neighbour for the loss of the animal. 15 But if the owner is with his animal when something bad happens to it, you do not have to pay anything. And if you already paid your neighbour some money to use his animal, that will be enough to pay him for the loss.

Rules about life

16 Perhaps a man may meet a young girl who has not had sex with any man before. He might deceive her to have sex with her. If she has not yet promised to marry another man, he must marry her. He must give the right gifts to her parents. 17 Her father might refuse to give her to the man to be his wife. But the man must still give the right gifts for a girl who is not married.

22:17If a man wanted to marry a girl, he gave gifts or money to her parents. They would agree together the right amount.

18 You must punish with death any woman who is a magician.

19 You must punish with death anyone who has sex with an animal.

20 You must completely destroy anyone who offers a sacrifice to a false god. You must only offer sacrifices to the Lord.

21 Never be cruel to a foreign person or give them trouble. Remember that you yourselves lived in Egypt as foreigners.

22 Never give trouble to any widow or to any children who have no family. 23 If you are cruel to them, I will hear them when they call out to me for help. 24 I will be very angry with you. I will kill you in war. Your wives will become widows. Your children will no longer have any family.

25 You may lend money to any of my people who need help. But do not ask them to pay back more money than you have lent to them. That is what traders in money do. 26 You may take someone's coat as a guarantee that he will pay you back. But you must always return his coat to him before sunset. 27 He needs his coat to keep him warm at night. It is the only warm thing that he has to sleep in. If you keep his coat, I will hear him when he calls out to me for help. And I will help him, because I am very kind to people.

28 Never insult God. Never curse anyone who is a leader of your people.

29 Do not refuse to offer your grain, your wine or your olive oil to me.

You must give your firstborn sons to me.

30 Do the same thing with your cows and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days. But on the eighth day, you must give them to me.

31 You must live as my special people. So do not eat any meat from your animals that wild animals have killed. Instead, you must give it as food to the dogs.