Exodus 22:7
If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man's house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.
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(7-13) Property deposited in the hands of another for safe keeping might be so easily embezzled by the trustee, or lost through his negligence, that some special laws were needed for its protection. Conversely the trustee required to be safe-guarded against incurring loss if the property intrusted to his care suffered damage or disappeared without fault of his. The Mosaic legislation provided for both cases. On the one hand, it required the trustee to exercise proper care, and made him answerable for the loss if a thing intrusted to him was stolen and the thief not found. Embezzlement it punished by requiring the trustee guilty of it to “pay double.” On the other hand, in doubtful cases it allowed the trustee to clear himself by an oath (Exodus 22:10), and in clear cases to give proof that the loss had happened through unavoidable accident (Exodus 22:12).

(7) If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep.—The practice of making deposits of this kind was widespread among ancient communities, where there were no professional bankers or keepers of warehouses. The Greeks called such a deposit παρακαταθήκη. It was usually made in money, or at any rate in the precious metals. A refusal to restore the thing deposited was very rare, since a special nemesis was considered to punish such conduct (Herod, vii. 86). However, at Athens it was found necessary to have a peculiar form of action for the recovery of deposits (παρακαταθήκης δίκη).

Exodus 22:7-13. If a man deliver goods, suppose to a carrier to be conveyed, or to a warehouse-keeper to be preserved, or cattle to a farmer to be fed, upon a valuable consideration, and a special confidence reposed in the person they are lodged with, in case these goods be stolen or lost, perish or be damaged, if it appear that it was not by any fault of the trustee, the owner must stand to the loss; otherwise, he that has been false to his trust must be compelled to make satisfaction.

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.Shall put in his beast, and shall feed - Rather, shall let his beast go loose, and it shall feed. 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.

Stuff, Heb. vessels, garments, utensils, or any kind of household stuff.

If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stock to keep,.... Without any reward for keeping it, as the Targum of Jonathan; and so other Jewish writers (p) understand this passage of such as keep a deposit freely, having nothing for it; whether it be money or goods, gold, silver, jewels, raiment, household stuff or any kind of vessels or instruments used in the house, or in trade; and also cattle, as appears from Exodus 22:9.

and if it be stolen out of the man's house; into whose custody it was delivered:

if the thief be found, let him pay double: the worth of what is stolen, agreeably to the law in Exodus 22:4 that is, if it was found in his hands; but if he had disposed of it, then he was to pay five fold or four fold, as in Exodus 22:1, and so runs the Jewish canon (q),"if anyone delivers to his neighbour a beast or vessels, and they are stolen or lost, he shall make restitution; but if he will not swear, for they say, one that keeps for nothing, may swear and be free; then if the thief should be found he shall pay double; if he has killed or sold, he shall pay four fold or five fold: to whom shall he pay? to him with whom the depositum is: if he swears, and will not pay, and the thief is found, he shall pay double; if he has killed or sold he shall pay four fold and five fold: to whom shall he pay? to the owner of the depositum.''

(p) Jarchi in ver. 10. Bartenora in Misn. Shebuot, c. 6. sect. 5. (q) Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 3. sect. 1.

If a man shall deliver unto his neighbor money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man's house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.
7. stuff] Heb. kçlim, plur. of keli, a very general term, including both household articles (Genesis 45:20; Joshua 7:11 ‘stuff,’ as here; Leviticus 13:49 ‘thing’), vessels (ch. Exodus 27:3; 2 Kings 4:3), jewels or ornaments (ch. Exodus 3:22), as also weapons or armour (Genesis 27:3, 1 Samuel 14:1, &c.), instruments (Exodus 27:19 al.; Amos 6:5), &c.

to keep] for safety (cf. the story of the παρακαταθήκη, or ‘deposit,’ entrusted to the Spartan, Glaucus, in Hdt. vi. 86).

7, 8. If a man receives money or any household article for safe custody, and it is stolen, the thief, if he can be discovered, is to repay twofold (v. 7); if the thief cannot be discovered, the man to whom the property was entrusted must be acquitted at a sanctuary of the suspicion which will then naturally light upon him (v. 8).

7–13. Compensation for loss or damage in various cases of deposit. At the present day, among the Bedawin, a man going on a journey for instance will deposit money or goods with another for safety during his absence. Such a deposit is regarded by the Arabs as a sacred trust (Cook, p. 227; Doughty, i. 176, 267, 280, ii. 301).

Verses 7-13. - LAW OF DEPOSITS. - Deposition of property in the hands of a friend, to keep and guard, was a marked feature in the life of primitive societies, where investments were difficult, and bankers unknown. Persons about to travel, especially merchants, were wont to make such a disposition of the greater part of their movable property, which required some one to guard it in their absence. Refusals to return such deposits were rare; since ancient morality regarded such refusal as a crime of deep dye (Herod. 7:86). Sometimes, however, they took place; and at Athens there was a special form of action which might be brought in such cases called παρακαταθήκης δίκη. The penalty, if a man were east in the suit, was simple restitution, which is less satisfactory than the Mosaic enactment - "He shall pay double" (ver. 9). Verse 7. - Stuff. - Literally "vessels" - but the word is used in a very wide sense, of almost any inanimate movables. Exodus 22:7In cases of dishonesty, or the loss of property entrusted, the following was to be the recognised right: If money or articles (כּלים, not merely tools and furniture, but clothes and ornaments, cf. Deuteronomy 22:5; Isaiah 61:10) given to a neighbour to keep should be stolen out of his house, the thief was to restore double if he could be found; but if he could not be discovered, the master of the house was to go before the judicial court (האלהים אל, see Exodus 21:6; אל נקרב to draw near to), to see "whether he has not stretched out his hand to his neighbour's goods." מלאכה: lit., employment, then something earned by employment, a possession. Before the judicial court he was to cleanse himself of the suspicion of having fraudulently appropriated what had been entrusted to him; and in most cases this could probably be only done by an oath of purification. The Sept. and Vulg. both point to this by interpolating καὶ ὀμεῖται, et jurabit ("and he shall swear"), though we are not warranted in supplying ויּשּׁבע in consequence. For, apart from the fact that אם־לא is not to be regarded as a particle of adjuration here, as Rosenmller supposes, since this particle signifies "truly" when employed in an oath, and therefore would make the declaration affirmative, whereas the oath was unquestionably to be taken as a release from the suspicion of fraudulent appropriation, and in case of confession an oath was not requisite at all; - apart from all this, if the lawgiver had intended to prescribe an oath for such a case, he would have introduced it here, just as he has done in Exodus 22:11. If the man could free himself before the court from the suspicion of unfaithfulness, he would of course not have to make compensation for what was lost, but the owner would have to bear the damage. This legal process is still further extended in Exodus 22:9 : על־כּל־דּבר־פּשׁע, "upon every matter of trespass" (by which we are to understand, according to the context, unfaithfulness with regard to, or unjust appropriation of, the property of another man, not only when it had been entrusted, but also if it had been found), "for ox, for ass, etc., or for any manner of lost thing, of which one says that it is this ("this," viz., the matter of trespass), the cause of both (the parties contending about the right of possession) shall come to the judicial court; and he whom the court (Elohim) shall pronounce guilty (of unjust appropriation) shall give double compensation to his neighbour: only double as in Exodus 22:4 and Exodus 22:7, not four or fivefold as in Exodus 22:1, because the object in dispute had not been consumed.
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