Exodus 22:1-15

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.

22:8to 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.