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Exodus 22:1

Context
Laws about Property

22:1 1 (21:37) 2  “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and kills it or sells it, he must pay back 3  five head of cattle for the ox, and four sheep for the one sheep. 4 

Exodus 22:3

Context
22:3 If the sun has risen on him, then there is blood guilt for him. A thief 5  must surely make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he will be sold for his theft.

1 sn The next section of laws concerns property rights. These laws protected property from thieves and oppressors, but also set limits to retribution. The message could be: God’s laws demand that the guilty make restitution for their crimes against property and that the innocent be exonerated.

2 sn Beginning with 22:1, the verse numbers through 22:31 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 22:1 ET = 21:37 HT, 22:2 ET = 22:1 HT, etc., through 22:31 ET = 22:30 HT. Thus in the English Bible ch. 22 has 31 verses, while in the Hebrew Bible it has 30 verses, with the one extra verse attached to ch. 21 in the Hebrew Bible.

3 tn The imperfect tense here has the nuance of obligatory imperfect – he must pay back.

4 tn בָּקַר (baqar) and צֹאן (tson) are the categories to which the ox and the sheep belonged, so that the criminal had some latitude in paying back animals.

5 tn The words “a thief” have been added for clarification. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 224) thinks that these lines are out of order, since some of them deal with killing the thief and then others with the thief making restitution, but rearranging the clauses is not a necessary way to bring clarity to the paragraph. The idea here would be that any thief caught alive would pay restitution.



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