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Exodus 22:10-15

Context
22:10 If a man gives his neighbor a donkey or an ox or a sheep or any beast to keep, and it dies or is hurt 1  or is carried away 2  without anyone seeing it, 3  22:11 then there will be an oath to the Lord 4  between the two of them, that he has not laid his hand on his neighbor’s goods, and its owner will accept this, and he will not have to pay. 22:12 But if it was stolen 5  from him, 6  he will pay its owner. 22:13 If it is torn in pieces, then he will bring it for evidence, 7  and he will not have to pay for what was torn.

22:14 “If a man borrows an animal 8  from his neighbor, and it is hurt or dies when its owner was not with it, the man who borrowed it 9  will surely pay. 22:15 If its owner was with it, he will not have to pay; if it was hired, what was paid for the hire covers it. 10 

1 tn The form is a Niphal participle from the verb “to break” – “is broken,” which means harmed, maimed, or hurt in any way.

2 tn This verb is frequently used with the meaning “to take captive.” The idea here then is that raiders or robbers have carried off the animal.

3 tn Heb “there is no one seeing.”

4 tn The construct relationship שְׁבֻעַת יְהוָה (shÿvuat yÿhvah, “the oath of Yahweh”) would require a genitive of indirect object, “an oath [to] Yahweh.” U. Cassuto suggests that it means “an oath by Yahweh” (Exodus, 287). The person to whom the animal was entrusted would take a solemn oath to Yahweh that he did not appropriate the animal for himself, and then his word would be accepted.

5 tn Both with this verb “stolen” and in the next clauses with “torn in pieces,” the text uses the infinitive absolute construction with less than normal emphasis; as Gesenius says, in conditional clauses, an infinitive absolute stresses the importance of the condition on which some consequence depends (GKC 342-43 §113.o).

6 sn The point is that the man should have taken better care of the animal.

7 tn The word עֵד (’ed) actually means “witness,” but the dead animal that is returned is a silent witness, i.e., evidence. The word is an adverbial accusative.

8 tn Heb “if a man asks [an animal] from his neighbor” (see also Exod 12:36). The ruling here implies an animal is borrowed, and if harm comes to it when the owner is not with it, the borrower is liable. The word “animal” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

9 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the man who borrowed the animal) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

10 tn Literally “it came with/for its hire,” this expression implies that the owner who hired it out and was present was prepared to take the risk, so there would be no compensation.



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