Exodus Chapter 22

The Israelites have been camped at the base of Mount Sinai. They witnessed the appearance of the Lord in a cloud and the Lord began to instruct them in the commandments of God. After the original 10 commandments, they were also given specific judgments for certain offenses they would have to deal with. The laws and judgments of God continue as follows:

1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

My understanding of this verse, and those which follow, is only based on what I gather from reading it and the footnotes provided in the LDS version of the King James Bible. The judgement against stealing would at most be that the person who stole would be required to return five oxen in the place of one stolen, or four sheep for one sheep stole.

2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.
3 If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
4 If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double.

If a thief was killed in the act of stealing, or breaking in, the person who killed would not be killed for his act against the thief. If he is caught, but not killed, the person who caught him would not be punished. He would be required to make up fully for the theft and if he had nothing to repay the owner, then he would be sold as a servant. If there was not doubt of the theft because he was caught in the act, he would be required to pay twice what it was worth.

5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.

If one man allows his flock to eat in another’s field or vineyard, he would be required to give the best of his own field and vineyard to the other person.

6 If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.

Anyone who started a fire would be required to make up for the loss of grain from that fire.

7 If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.
8 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods.
9 For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.
10 If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it:
11 Then shall an oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.
12 And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof.
13 If it be torn in pieces, then let him bring it for witness, and he shall not make good that which was torn.

If one person was borrowing the property of another, or taking care of it for him, and it is stolen, the thief would make double the restitution. If they cannot find the thief, then the judges would decide if the one who had the property when it was stolen would be required to pay the other back. If there is a fight over who owns something like an ox or a shirt, they were to go to the judges and whoever is found to not be the owner would make restitution up to double. If an animal is lent to another and is lost, hurt or dies; they were to make an oath that they would not take it out by taking something belonging to the other. If it was stolen he was to pay back for the loss. If he could show that it was destroyed, he was to show that thing to the owner and would not be required to make up for it.

14 And if a man borrow ought of his neighbour, and it be hurt, or die, the owner thereof being not with it, he shall surely make it good.
15 But if the owner thereof be with it, he shall not make it good: if it be an hired thing, it came for his hire.

The one who borrows anything and cannot return it because it was hurt or died, then he was to make up for the loss. If the owner was around, then he would not have to make up for it.

16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

Any man who seduced a woman who was not already belonging to another by betrothal, was to ask her to wife. If her father would not allow it, the man was to pay him what would have been paid to a husband for a virgin wife, or her dowry.

18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.

Those who practiced witchcraft or sorcery or bestiality were to be put to death. The Joseph Smith Translation for verse 18, says “witch” references that a murderer should not be allowed to live.

20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

Those who made sacrifices to any other God, was to be destroyed.

21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

If there was a stranger in the land, they were not to be treated unkindly.

22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;
24 And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

The widows and fatherless were not to be treated unkindly either. Those who were not kind to them, would suffer the wrath of the Lord to the point of death.

25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
26 If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:
27 For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.

Giving money to the poor, was not to be used as a way to keep them indebted. They were not to charge interest to the poor. When something needful was borrowed, it was to be returned. The Lord would know of any wrong doing because of the cries, or prayers, to Him.

28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

The Lord deserved respect and so did whomever ruled the people of Israel. The people were not to curse God for the trials of their lives. They were also not to curse the prophets who were God’s chosen leader of his people.

29 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
30 Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.

The Israelites were given a reminder that they were to give of the first fruits and firstborn of their families and flocks.

31 And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs.

They were reminded to be holy men to the Lord. They were not to eat any of the animals determined to be unclean because it had died on its own or by other animals.

Just like the previous chapter, this one does not have a lot in the way of gospel principles. These rules were established to help those who wanted to be covenant people of God, that they could stay worthy of all the blessings the Lord had promised to them. Today we still have laws of God to follow in order to remain faithful and worthy of the blessings of our own covenants.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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