Deuteronomy 22:2
And if your brother be not near to you, or if you know him not, then you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall be with you until your brother seek after it, and you shall restore it to him again.
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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.

If thy brother be not nigh unto thee, which may make the duty more troublesome or chargeable.

If thou know him not; which implies, that if they did know the owner, they should restore it to him.

Thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, to be used like thine own cattle. Thou shalt restore it to him again, the owner, as it may be presumed, paying the charges. And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee,.... Does not live in the same neighbourhood, but at some considerable distance; so that he cannot soon and easily be informed of his cattle, or they be sent to him:

or if thou know him not; the owner of them, what is his name, or where he lives:

then thou shall bring it into thine house; not into his dwelling house, but some out house, barn, or stable:

and it shall be with thee; remain in his custody, and be taken care of by him; and, as the Targum of Jonathan says, "be fed and nourished by him"; for, according to the Jewish canon (s), whatsoever could work and eat, that should work and eat, and whatsoever did not work and eat was to be sold; for which there was a set time, as the commentators say (t), for large cattle, as oxen, twelve months; for lesser cattle, as sheep, goats, &c. three months, here it is fixed:

until thy brother seek after it; though in the mean while the finder was to make use of means, whereby the owner might be informed of it; for whatsoever was lost, in which were marks and signs by which inquiries might be made, were to be proclaimed (u); (and it is asked) how long a man was obliged to proclaim? until it was known to his neighbours; same say (he must proclaim it) at three feasts, and seven days after the last feast, so that he may go home three days, and return three days, and proclaim one day; if (the owner) tells what is lost, but does not tell the marks or signs, he may not give it him; and a deceiver, though he tells the signs, he may not give it him, as it is said, "until thy brother seek after it"; until thou inquirest of thy brother whether he is a deceiver or not: and elsewhere it is said (w), formerly if a man lost anything, and gave the signs or marks of it, he took it; but after deceivers increased, it was ordered to be said to him, bring witnesses that thou art not a deceiver, and take it; and in the same place it is observed, that there was at Jerusalem a stone, called Eben Toim, "the stone of strays", and whoever had lost or found anything repaired thither, and gave the signs and marks of it, and took it:

and thou shalt restore it to him again; he having made it fully to appear to be his, and having defrayed all expenses in advertising and keeping it; but if no owner appear to claim it, or not to satisfaction, the finder was to keep it as his own; but otherwise he was by all means to restore it, or, as in Deuteronomy 23:1 "in restoring thou shalt restore them" (x), that is, certainly restore them; and continually wherever it so happens: the Jewish canon is (y),"if he restores it, and afterwards it strays away, and he restores it again and it strays away, even though four or five times, he is bound to restore it; as it is said, "in restoring thou shalt restore them"; Maimonides says (z), that even an hundred times he is bound to restore them.''

(s) Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 2. sect. 7. (t) Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (u) Misn. ib. sect. 5, 6, 7. (w) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 28. 2.((x) "reducendo reduces eos", Pagninus, Montanus. (y) Misn. ut supra, (s)) sect. 9. (z) Hilchot Gazelah ve abadah, c. 11. sect. 14.

And if thy brother be not {b} nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.

(b) Showing that brotherly affection must be shown, not only to those who dwell near to us, but also to those who are far off.

2, 3. Wholly (except for his ass) D’s addition to the law.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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