Exodus 22

When a man takes something that is not his own

1 Perhaps a bad man may take a cow or a sheep. He may kill it or he may sell it. Then he must pay the animal's master. He must pay five cows for the one cow that he took. And he must pay four sheep for the one sheep that he took.

2 Perhaps someone may catch a bad man, just as he goes into another man's house. He hits the bad man and the bad man dies. This thing is not murder, if it happens at night. But if it happens during the day, it is murder.

3 A man who takes another man's animal must certainly give it back. If he cannot do this, then someone must buy him as a slave. And he must give the money to the man whose animal he took.

4 Perhaps someone will find the animal alive, in the man's field. Then the man must give back two animals. He must do this, whether it was a cow, or a donkey, or a sheep.

5 A man's animals may eat grass in his field or in his garden of grapes. But perhaps he may let them go and eat grass in another man's field. This is a wrong thing to do. So he must pay back to the other man the best food from his own field.

6 Someone may light a fire in a field and it begins to burn the bushes. Then the fire becomes bigger and hotter. It burns some of the food that is growing in the field. It may even burn the whole field. Then the person who lit the fire must pay money to the farmer. He has destroyed the farmer's food.

7 Perhaps a man may give some silver or other things to his neighbour. He asks his neighbour to keep them safe for him. But a bad man comes and he takes the things from the neighbour's house. If you catch the bad man, then he must pay for these things. He must pay twice the value of the things that he took. 8 But if you do not find the bad man, then take the neighbour to the judges. They must agree whether he has taken the other man's things for himself.

9 The judges must judge when there is a quarrel between two people about things.

They may argue about an animal or some clothes or anything that is lost. If one of them says: “This is mine!” they must both come to the judges. The judges will choose which man is wrong. Then that man must pay back twice the value to his neighbour.

10 Perhaps a man may ask his neighbour to keep one of his animals for him. Then someone hurts the animal or it may die. Or perhaps a bad man takes it away while nobody sees him. 11 This problem has an answer. The neighbour can make a special promise, in front of the LORD. He can promise to say what is true. He can say that he did not take the other man's animal for himself. The other man must believe these words. He must not ask his neighbour to pay him any money. 12 But if a bad man did take the animal, then the neighbour must pay for the loss. 13 But perhaps a wild animal killed it. Then the neighbour must show the pieces that are left. Then he will not have to pay for the loss of the animal.

14 Perhaps a man may lend an animal to his neighbour. Then the animal dies while the man is not present. Or someone may hurt the animal. The neighbour must pay for the loss of the animal. 15 But if the man is with his animal, then the neighbour does not have to pay. Perhaps the neighbour gave the man some money, so that he could use his animal. If the animal dies, then that money will pay him back for his loss.

16 Perhaps a man may have sex with a young girl. She has not yet promised to marry anyone. Then that man must marry her. He must pay the bride-price to her father. 17 Her father may completely refuse to give her to the man. But the man must still pay the bride-price for a girl who is not married.’

22:17The ‘bride-price’ is the price that a man had to pay, if he wanted to marry a girl. He paid it to her father, who decided the price. It was often cows, sheep or donkeys.

18 ‘You must kill any woman who is a magician.

19 You must kill anyone who has sex with an animal.

20 You must kill any person who gives gifts to a false god. People must only bring gifts to the LORD.

21 Always be kind to a foreign person. Do not be cruel to him, because you were strangers in the country called Egypt.

22 Always be fair to a woman whose husband is dead. Be fair also to children whose parents are dead. 23 If you are not fair to them, they will shout aloud to me. I will certainly hear their voices 24 and I will be angry with you. I will kill you in a war. You will leave your wives and children without husbands and fathers.

25 You may lend money to one of my people who needs help. But do not be like the people in other countries. They cause poor people to pay extra money for the help. 26 If you take your neighbour's coat as a pledge, you must return it to him by sunset. 27 He needs his coat, to keep him warm at night. It is the only warm thing that he has. When he shouts aloud to me, I will hear him. I am a kind God and I love men and women.

28 Do not use my name in a bad way and do not curse your ruler.

29 Do not refuse to offer grain or oil from olives to me. 30 You must give your firstborn sons to me.

Do the same thing with your cows and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for 7 days. But on the eighth day, you must give them to me.

31 You will be my special people. So do not eat any meat that wild animals have killed. Instead, you must throw it to the dogs. They can eat it.