Exodus 21:35
And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide.
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(35-36) if one man’s ox hurt another’s.—Where no blame attached to the owner, the loss was to be equally shared. Where the dangerous character of the animal was, or ought to have been, known, the man whose ox was killed received its full value.

21:22-36 The cases here mentioned give rules of justice then, and still in use, for deciding similar matters. We are taught by these laws, that we must be very careful to do no wrong, either directly or indirectly. If we have done wrong, we must be very willing to make it good, and be desirous that nobody may lose by us.The dead ox in this case, as well as in the preceding one, must have been worth no more than the price of the hide, as the flesh could not be eaten. See Leviticus 17:1-6. 30. If there be laid on him a sum of money, &c.—Blood fines are common among the Arabs as they were once general throughout the East. This is the only case where a money compensation, instead of capital punishment, was expressly allowed in the Mosaic law. They shall divide the money; not equally, for so the owner of the mischievous ox might be gainer by the mischief, his ox being much worse than that which was killed; but in such proportions as the judges shall think fit, considering the worth of the cattle, and the circumstances of the action.

And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die,.... By pushing with his horns, or his body, or by biting with his teeth, as Jarchi, or by any way whatever:

then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money; the Scripture speaks, as the same writer observes, of one of equal value, otherwise the man that had his ox killed might be greatly a gainer by it; for if his ox was a poor one, and of little value, and the ox that killed his a good one, of value greatly superior, which according to this law was to be sold, and the money divided between the two owners, the man that lost his ox might have double the worth of it, or more, which was not equitable. On the other hand, according to the Jewish canons (t), the case stood thus,"when an ox of the value of one pound strikes an ox of the value of twenty, and kills him, and, lo, the carcass is of the value of four pounds, the owner of the ox is bound to pay him eight pounds, which is the half of the damage, (added to the half part of the price of the carcass,) but he is not bound to pay, but of the body of the ox which hurts, because it is said, "they shall sell the live ox"; wherefore if an ox of the value of twenty pieces of money should kill one of two hundred, and the carcass is valued at a pound, the master of the carcass cannot say to the master of the live ox, give me fifty pieces of money; but it will be said to him, lo, the ox which did the hurt is before thee, take him, and go thy way, although he is worth no more than a penny:"

and the dead ox also they shall divide; the money the carcass is worth; or it is sold for.

(t) Maimon. Hilchot Niske Mammon, c. 1. sect. 1.

And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide.
35. ‘If this admirable statute were faithfully administered now, it would prevent many angry, and sometimes fatal, feuds between herds-men, and at the same time would be a very fair adjustment of the questions of equity that grow out of such accidents’ (Thomson, L. and B. ii. 283). It is now the ‘custom of the desert’ (Doughty, Arab. Deserta, i. 351).

35, 36. Injury done by an ox to one belonging to another person. If no neglect can be proved against the owner of the vicious ox, the damage is to be divided equally between the owners of the two animals (v. 35): but if the owner of the vicious ox culpably neglects to keep it in, he is to make full compensation to the owner of the ox which has been killed.

Verses 35, 36. - If one man s ox hurt another s, etc. The hurt might be purely accidental, and imply no neglect. In that ease the two parties were to divide the value of the living, and also of the dead ox - i.e., they were to share between them the loss caused by the accident equally. If, however, there was neglect, if the aggressive animal was known to be of a vicious disposition, then the man who had suffered the loss was to receive the full value of the slain animal, but to lose his share of the carcase. This explanation, which the words of the text not only admit, but invite, seems better than the Rabbinical one, "that the dead ox should also be the property of the injured party."

Exodus 21:35Passing from life to property, in connection with the foregoing, the life of the animal, the most important possession of the Israelites, is first of all secured against destruction through carelessness. If any one opened or dug a pit or cistern, and did not close it up again, and another man's ox or ass (mentioned, for the sake of example, as the most important animals among the live stock of the Israelites) fell in and was killed, the owner of the pit was to pay its full value, and the dead animal to belong to him. If an ox that was not known to be vicious gored another man's ox to death, the vicious animal was to be sold, and its money (what it fetched) to be divided; the dead animal was also to be divided, so that both parties bore an equal amount of damage. If, on the other hand, the ox had been known to be vicious before, and had not been kept in, carefully secured, by its possessor, he was to compensate the owner of the one that had been killed with the full value of an ox, but to receive the dead one instead.
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