This chapter is another law/rules chapter. I’m sorry. I’m going to apologize beforehand because there’s gonna be a LOT of these. This chapter is dedicated to the protection of property & social responsibility. I’ll do my best not to make this yawn-worthy. I hope you enjoy the read.
Let’s get into it:
If a man steals livestock & sells or slaughters it, he must pay the owner back 5 heads of cattle for an ox & 4 sheep for sheep.
If a thief is caught, red-handed, breaking in & is struck so that he dies, the owner isn’t guilty of the death. (So if someone breaks into your house & you’re at home, you go & hit the intruder. The intruder dies because you hit ’em, you aren’t guilty of murder, manslaughter, nothing!) If the break-in happens after sunrise, then the owner is guilty. (Of some kind of crime. It doesn’t say death penalty but they are guilty of something.)
A thief MUST make restitution. If he has nothing, he must be sold as a slave to pay his restitution. (Wow. Just wow.) If a stolen animal is found alive in the thief’s possession, he must pay back double.
If a man lets his livestock graze, lets the livestock stray into another’s field & the livestock eats the man’s crops, the owner MUST make restitution from the best of his fields/vineyards.
If a fire breaks out & spreads to the grain that are in reserves, or into the crops still in the fields, the person who set the fire must pay restitution.
If a man gives his neighbor valuables for safekeeping & the valuables are stolen, the thief (if caught) must pay double. If the thief isn’t caught, the owner of the house who got stolen from must appear in court to determine whether they’re guilty of the crime. In all cases of illegal possession of livestock, garments, or other lost property about which a party states, ‘This/That’s mine,’ must bring their cases to court (the text says judges.). The one who the court decides is guilty must pay double to his neighbor.
If a man gives livestock to his neighbor for safekeeping & the animal dies, gets injured, or is stolen, the issue will be settled by taking an oath before God that the neighbor didn’t take the other’s property. (If it were only that easy nowadays!) The owner is to accept this, & no restitution is to be made. (Again, the simplicity of this is astonishing!) But if the animal is stolen from the neighbor, he must make restitution to the owner. If it’s gotten by another animal (like a coyote, wolf, etc.), the neighbor is to bring in the remains as evidence & no restitution is required.
If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor & it’s injured or dies while the owner isn’t there, restitution is to be made. But if the owner is there, the “borrower” (the person doing the borrowing) doesn’t have to pay. If the animal was hired (like “I’ll pay you $50 to use old Betsy to plow my fields” type of deal.), the money for the hire covers the loss of the animal.
Here’s the part for social responsibilities (these cover some interesting & varied topics):
If a man seduces a virgin who isn’t engaged (to be married) & he has sex with her, he must pay the bride-price (Think of this as a reverse dowry. Instead of the woman’s family paying, the man would have to pay. Because let’s be honest, women basically only had their virginity to bargain with back then.) & the woman is to become his wife. If her dad refuses to give her to the man, he still must pay the bride-price for virgins.
Don’t allow a sorceress/witch to live.
Anyone who actually has sex with animals must be put to death. (Sorry zooaphiles. Even back then this was a no-go!)
Whoever sacrifices to other gods must be destroyed.
Don’t mistreat an “alien” (foreigner) or mistreat him. Because you too were foreigners in Egypt.
Don’t take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do & they cry out to God, God will hear their cry. God’s anger will be aroused, & God will kill you with the sword. Then your wives will widows & your children will be orphans.
If you lend money to one of God’s people (the Jews. This is going to reference one Jew lending money to another Jew.) among you who’s needy, don’t charge any interest. If you take your neighbor’s cloak/coat as security (like I’m gonna hold to your ID to make sure that you come back.), return it him by sunset. Because his cloak/coat is the only covering he has for his body. When he cries out to God, God will hear.
Don’t blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people. (This line is also found in Acts 23:5. So this pretty much means: don’t say God damn or don’t do a curse on leader, like Trump (this is not an endorsement or anything negative.))
Don’t hold back offerings from your granaries or vats.
You must give God the firstborn of your sons. Do the same with your livestock (specifically cattle & sheep). Let them stay with their moms for 7 days. But give them to God on the 8th day.
You’re to be God’s holy people. So don’t eat the meat of an animal torn by wild animals; throw it to the dogs.