Exodus 22:13
If it be torn in pieces, then let him bring it for witness, and he shall not make good that which was torn.
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(13) Let him bring it for witness.—This would not always be possible. Where it was not, the trustee could fall back on the oath.

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.

Let him bring it; it, i.e. some part of the torn creature, which the wild beast haply had left, Amos 3:11,12.

Quest. What if the whole creature were carried away, as a sheep or lamb is sometimes by the wolf?

Answ. 1. I suppose this was not frequent, and that those ravenous creatures did speedily fall to their meal, and that something was left not far from the place, which the shepherd might easily procure.

2. The words may Be otherwise rendered, he shall bring a witness, as the Chaldee and Samaritan render it; or a testimony, i.e. some evidence whereby the judge might be satisfied; as for instance, that some wolf or lion, &c. was seen in those parts, &c., or some witness of his diligence and Faithfulness in all other things, which therefore might well be presumed in this.

If it be torn in pieces,.... By some wild beast, at least as pretended:

then let him bring it for witness; part of that which is torn, that it may be witness for him that it was torn, as in Amos 3:12 as Aben Ezra observes; and so the Jerusalem Targurn,"let him bring of the members of it a witness,''which would make it a clear case that it had been so used; but it is possible that the whole carcass might be carried off, and nothing remain to be brought as a proof of it; wherefore the Targum of Jonathan is,"let him bring witnesses;''and so some versions render it (z); and to this agrees Jarchi, whose note is,"let him bring witnesses of its being torn by violence, and he is free,''such who saw it done; but it is before supposed, that such cattle may be hurt, broken, or maimed, no man seeing it, Exodus 22:10 and therefore in such a case no witnesses could be brought, wherefore the first sense seems best:

and he shall not make good that which was torn; or shall not pay for it, pay the price of it, as much as it is worth. Here Jarchi distinguishes,"there is that which is torn, for which a man pays, and there is that which is torn, for which he does not pay; that which is torn by a cat, or a fox, or a marten (a kind of weasel), he pays for, but that which is torn by a wolf, a lion, or a bear, he does not pay for:''the reason of which is, because it is thought the keeper might have preserved and delivered from the former, and therefore was culpable, when it was not in his power to save from the latter; and the Misnic doctors observe, that one wolf is not violence, but two are; so that what is torn by one, the keeper is bound to pay for, but not what is torn by more. But two dogs are not violence, unless they come from two different quarters, and then they are: a single thief is violence, and so is a lion, a bear, a leopard, a basilisk, and a serpent, and this only when they come willingly, and of themselves; but if they (the cattle) are brought to places where there are troops of wild beasts, and thieves, it is no violence (a), and in such a case the keepers are liable to pay; and so unless he makes use of staves, and calls in other shepherds to his assistance, as Maimonides (b) observes, when it is in his power to do it; and so at least might make an attempt to save or rescue the cattle.

(z) "adducet eum testem", Pagninus, Montanus; "adducat ille testem", Munster, Fagius. (a) Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 7. sect. 9. (b) Hilchot Shecirat, c. 3. sect. 6.

If it be torn in pieces, then let him bring {f} it for witness, and he shall not make good that which was torn.

(f) He shall show some part of the beast or bring in witnesses.

13. If the animal be torn by wild beasts, the man entrusted with it has only to produce its torn flesh as evidence of the fact, and he need make no compensation. No reasonable precautions could guard against this most common misfortune to cattle in the East (cf. Genesis 31:39); and the fact that the remains of the flesh could be produced would show that the shepherd had been watchful, and had even driven off the wild beast before it had completely consumed the carcase (1 Samuel 17:35, Amos 3:12). Cf. Ḥamm. § 244 (a hired animal); and Manu viii. 235 f.

Verse 13. - If it be torn in pieces. - If again there was evidence that the creature had been killed by a wild beast, this evidence had to be produced, before the owner or the judges, for the trustee to be exonerated from blame. A similar proviso is found in the laws of the Gentoos (Rosenmuller, Orient. vol. 1. p. 148).

CHAPTER 22:14, 15 Exodus 22:13If 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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