Exodus 22:10
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:
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(10) And it die, or be hurt, or driven away.—The animal might “dienaturally, or “be hurt” by a wild beast or a fall down the rocks, or “be driven away” by the marauding tribes of the desert. Both parties might be agreed on the fact of its disappearance; the dispute would be as to the mode of the disappearance. Here the trustee might bring proof, if he could (Exodus 22:13); if not, he might clear himself by an “oath of the Lord” (Exodus 22:11).

22; 1 - 31 Judicial laws. - The people of God should ever be ready to show mildness and mercy, according to the spirit of these laws. We must answer to God, not only for what we do maliciously, but for what we do heedlessly. Therefore, when we have done harm to our neighbour, we should make restitution, though not compelled by law. Let these scriptures lead our souls to remember, that if the grace of God has indeed appeared to us, then it has taught us, and enabled us so to conduct ourselves by its holy power, that denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Titus 2:12. And the grace of God teaches us, that as the Lord is our portion, there is enough in him to satisfy all the desires of our souls.This law appears to relate chiefly to herdsmen employed by the owners of cattle. When an animal was stolen Exodus 22:12, it was presumed either that the herdsman might have prevented it, or that he could find the thief and bring him to justice (see Exodus 22:4). When an animal was killed by a wild beast, the keeper had to produce the mangled carcass, not only in proof of the fact, but to show that he had, by his vigilance and courage, deprived the wild beast of its prey. 6. If fire break out, and catch in thorns—This refers to the common practice in the East of setting fire to the dry grass before the fall of the autumnal rains, which prevents the ravages of vermin, and is considered a good preparation of the ground for the next crop. The very parched state of the herbage and the long droughts of summer, make the kindling of a fire an operation often dangerous, and always requiring caution from its liability to spread rapidly.

stacks—or as it is rendered "shocks" (Jud 15:5; Job 5:26), means simply a bundle of loose sheaves.

To keep, as his servant, not freely, but for wages.

If a man deliver to his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast to keep,.... And he keeps it without a reward, as the Targum of Jonathan; but Jarchi and Aben Ezra more rightly interpret this of one that keeps for hire, as herdsmen, shepherds, &c. The Jews say (t) there are"four sorts of keepers; he that keeps for nought (or freely), he that borrows, he that takes hire, and he that hires; he that keeps for nought swears in all cases (and is free), he that borrows pays for all (that is lost or stolen, &c.) he that takes hire, and he that hires, swear on account of that which is torn, or carried away, or dies, and they pay for that which is lost or stolen,''which are the cases after supposed:

and it die; either of the above, or any other under the care of another; that is, dies of itself, not being killed by any, and its death sudden, and not easily accounted for:

or be hurt; receive any damage in any part, though it die not; or "be broken" (u); have any of its limbs or bones broken; or be torn by a wild beast, as the Targum of Jonathan adds:

or driven away; from the flock or herd by thieves or robbers, or rather carried captive by an enemy in an hostile way, see Exodus 22:12,

no man seeing it; die, or be hurt, or carried off; and so, as the above Targum paraphrases it, there is no witness that sees and can bear witness, that is, to any of the said things which have happened to it.

(t) Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 7. sect. 8. (u) "confractum", Pagninus, Montanus; "fractum", Junius & Tremelius, Piscator, Drusius; so Ainsworth.

If a man deliver unto his neighbor 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:
10. be hurt] lit. be broken, i.e. be maimed or wounded: so v. 14, Ezekiel 34:4; Ezekiel 34:16, Zechariah 11:16, Leviticus 22:22.

or driven away] better, carried away, viz. by raiders (Job 1:15; Job 1:17); 1 Chronicles 5:21 Heb., 2 Chronicles 14:15. The word commonly rendered taken captive, 1 Samuel 30:3; 1 Samuel 30:5, &c.

10–13. Procedure to be followed, when the property deposited, and afterwards injured or lost, is an animal.

Verses 10, 11. - If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass or an ox, etc. - The deposit of cattle is unheard of in classical antiquity; but it might well be the usage of a pastoral race (Genesis 47:3). The parallelism of the verse with verse 6 indicates that a deposit of the same kind is intended. If it die, or be hurt, or driven away. - The deposited beast might "die" naturally; or "he hurt" by a wild beast or a fall; or be "driven away "by thieves, without anyone seeing what had happened. In that case, if the man to whom the animal was entrusted would swear that he was no party to its disappearance, the owner had to put up with the loss. Exodus 22:10If an animal entrusted to a neighbour to take care of had either died or hurt itself (נשׁבּר, broken a limb), or been driven away by robbers when out at grass (1 Chronicles 5:21; 2 Chronicles 14:14, cf. Job 1:15, Job 1:17), without any one (else) seeing it, an oath was to be taken before Jehovah between both (the owner and the keeper of it), "whether he had not stretched out his hand to his neighbour's property," i.e., either killed, or mutilated, or disposed of the animal. This case differs from the previous one, not only in the fact that the animal had either become useless to the owner or was altogether lost, but also in the fact that the keeper, if his statement were true, had not been at all to blame in the matter. The only way in which this could be decided, if there was ראה אין, i.e., no other eye-witness present than the keeper himself at the time when the fact occurred, was by the keeper taking an oath before Jehovah, that is to say, before the judicial court. And if he took the oath, the master (owner) of it (the animal that had perished, or been lost or injured) was to accept (sc., the oath), and he (the accused) was not to make reparation. "But if it had been stolen מעמּו from with him (i.e., from his house or stable), he was to make it good," because he might have prevented this with proper care (cf. Genesis 31:39). On the other hand, if it had been torn in pieces (viz., by a beast of prey, while it was out at grass), he was not to make any compensation, but only to furnish a proof that he had not been wanting in proper care. עד יבאהוּ "let him bring it as a witness," viz., the animal that had been torn in pieces, or a portion of it, from which it might be seen that he had chased the wild beast to recover its prey (cf. 1 Samuel 17:34-35; Amos 3:12).
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