Deuteronomy 22:1
You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide yourself from them: you shall in any case bring them again to your brother.
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Deuteronomy 22:1-4. LOST PROPERTY.

(1) Go astray.—Literally, being driven away, as by wild beasts (Jeremiah 1:17), or by robbers. It is not simply straying. “I will seek that which was lost and bring again that which was driven away” (Ezekiel 34:16), and so in many other passages.

Thou shalt not . . . hide thyself from them.—Comp. Proverbs 24:12. “If thou sayest, Behold we knew it not . . . doth not He know it?” And Isaiah 58:7, “that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.”

(3) In like manner . . . with all lost thing of thy brother’s.—This is only a particular case of the second great commandment. “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

(4) Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down . . . and hide thyself.—In Exodus 23:4-5, this is put even more strongly. “If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden . . . thou shalt surely help with him.”

Deuteronomy 22:1-2. Thy brother’s — Any man’s, this being a duty of common justice and charity, which the law of nature taught even heathen. Hide thyself from them — Dissemble, or pretend that thou dost not see them, or pass them by as if thou hadst not seen them. If thy brother be not nigh unto thee — Which may make the duty more troublesome or chargeable. Or if thou know him not — Which implies that, if they did know the owner, they should restore it. Bring it unto thy own house — To be used like thy other cattle. Thou shalt restore it again — The owner, as it may be presumed, paying the charges.22:1-4 If we duly regard the golden rule of doing to others as we would they should do unto us, many particular precepts might be omitted. We can have no property in any thing that we find. Religion teaches us to be neighbourly, and to be ready to do all good offices to all men. We know not how soon we may have occasion for help.On the general character of the contents of this chapter see Deuteronomy 21:10 note. CHAPTER 22

De 22:1-4. Of Humanity toward Brethren.

1. Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them, &c.—"Brother" is a term of extensive application, comprehending persons of every description; not a relative, neighbor, or fellow countryman only, but any human being, known or unknown, a foreigner, and even an enemy (Ex 23:4). The duty inculcated is an act of common justice and charity, which, while it was taught by the law of nature, was more clearly and forcibly enjoined in the law delivered by God to His people. Indifference or dissimulation in the circumstances supposed would not only be cruelty to the dumb animals, but a violation of the common rights of humanity; and therefore the dictates of natural feeling, and still more the authority of the divine law, enjoined that the lost or missing property of another should be taken care of by the finder, till a proper opportunity occurred of restoring it to the owner.Laws about stray cattle, Deu 22:1-3. About thy neighbor’s ox fallen in the way, Deu 22:4. Woman’s wearing of apparel distinct from man’s, Deu 22:5. Of birds caught, Deu 22:6,7. Of battlements for houses, Deu 22:8. Of divers seeds sown, Deu 22:9. Of ploughing with an ox and ass, Deu 22:10. Of garments of divers colours, Deu 22:11. Of fringes upon the four quarters of a garment, Deu 22:12. The punishment of him that slandereth his wife. Deu 22:13-19. Her punishment if the scandal be true, Deu 22:20,21. The punishment of adultery, Deu 22:22-24; of rape, Deu 22:25-27; of fornication, Deu 22:28,29. Against incest, Deu 22:30.

Thy brother; so called by communion not of religion, but of nature, as having one Father, even God, Malachi 2:10; as appears,

1. Because the same law is given about their enemy’s ox, &c., Exodus 23:4.

2. Because else the obligation of this law had been uncertain, seeing men could not ordinarily tell whether the straying ox or sheep belonged to a Jew or to a stranger.

3. Because this was a duty of common justice and charity, which the law of nature taught even heathens, and it is absurd to think that the law of God delivered to the Jews should have less charity in it than the law of nature given to the Gentiles.

Hide thyself from them, i.e. dissemble or pretend that thou dost not seen them; or neglect or pass them by as if thou hadst not seen them.

Thou shall not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray,.... Or "driven away" (r); frightened and starved away from the herd or from the flock by a wolf or dog; and the ox and sheep are put for every other creature a man has, as camels, asses, &c. which last sort is after mentioned; and a brother means not one in the natural relation of kindred only, for it is supposed, in the next verse, that he might not only be at a distance, but unknown; nor by religion only, or one of the commonwealth or church of the Jews, for what is enjoined is a piece of humanity the law of nature requires and directs unto, and is even to be done to enemies, Exodus 23:4 and hide thyself from them; make as if he did not see them, and so be entirely negligent of them, and takes no care and show no concern about them, but let them go on wandering from the herd and flock from whence they were driven, and to which they cannot find the way of themselves:

thou shalt in any case bring them again to thy brother: to his herd or flock, or to his house, and deliver them into his own hands, or to the care of his servants.

(r) "expulsos", Montanus; "impulsos", Munster; "depulsos", Piscator.

Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and {a} hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.

(a) As though your did not see it.

1. go astray] Heb. niddaḥim, usually rendered as a passive part., has here, probably, as in Micah 4:6, Zephaniah 3:19, Ezekiel 34:4; Ezekiel 34:16, a reflexive sense like the Scot. pass. part. wandered: LXX πλανώμενα ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ. Exodus 23:4 : if thou come upon thine enemy’s ox or his ass straying.

and hide thyself from them] Deuteronomy 22:4, Isaiah 58:7 (from thine own flesh), Psalm 55:1 (2); LXX, ὑπεριδεῖν. Cp. Luke 10:31 f., passed by on the other side.

1–3. Of Restoring Lost Property. No Israelite shall see a brother’s ox or sheep go astray without returning it, or caring for it till it is claimed, and so with an ass or garment or anything lost; D’s expansion of a law by E, Exodus 23:4 f., which is (remarkably) of an enemy’s property. As is evident from the parallel phrase, him that hateth thee, in E’s next law, this is not a foreign, but a private, enemy. Therefore D’s substitution of the term brother renders his law not narrower (so Marti and others), but wider, than E’s. P, Leviticus 6:1-7, gives details for the treatment of a man who has not restored lost property found by him.

Ḫammurabi has four laws, §§ 9–12, on cases in which the finder has sold the lost property of another. For the Arabs see Doughty Ar. Des. i. 345 and Musil, Ethn. Ber. 282 ff.: If a man find an animal, this must be confirmed by two witnesses, that the owner may not charge him with theft and exact fourfold compensation. Among the Ṣekhûr the animal remains with the finder till the owner appears, when it is returned; but after 3 years it belongs to the finder. Some forms of denouncing finders, who do not restore, are given.Verse 1. - Go astray; wandering at large. The Hebrew verb means primarily to seduce, draw aside, or entice (cf. Deuteronomy 13:6); and in the passive conveys the idea of wandering through being drawn away by some enticement. Hide thyself from them; i.e. withdraw thyself from them, avoid noticing them or having to do with them. In any case; certainly, without fail. Punishment of a Refractory Son. - The laws upon this point aim not only at the defence, but also at the limitation, of parental authority. If any one's son was unmanageable and refractory, not hearkening to the voice of his parents, even when they chastised him, his father and mother were to take him and lead him out to the elders of the town into the gate of the place. The elders are not regarded here as judges in the strict sense of the word, but as magistrates, who had to uphold the parental authority, and administer the local police. The gate of the town was the forum, where the public affairs of the place were discussed (cf. Deuteronomy 22:15; Deuteronomy 25:7); as it is in the present day in Syria (Seetzen, R. ii. p. 88), and among the Moors (Hst, Nachrichten v. Marokkos, p. 239).
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