Exodus 22:9
For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.
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(9) For all manner of trespass.—Rather, in every case of fraud. The context limits the expression to cases of fraud, or alleged fraud, in connection with a deposit.

For ox, for ass, for sheep.—The deposit of animals is unknown in classical antiquity, but might well be the custom of a people whose wealth consisted in flocks and herds. In the wilderness small proprietors might have been glad to intrust their few animals to the herdsmen who guarded the flocks and herds of their wealthier neighbours.

Which another challengeth to be his.—The case is supposed of the trustee saying a thing is lost which the depositor declares he can identify, and show to be still in his (the trustee’s) possession.

The cause of both parties shall come before the judges.—This seems to mean that the challenge was to be made at the challenger’s risk. If he proved his point to the satisfaction of the judges, he was to recover double; if he failed, he was to forfeit double of what he had claimed.

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.All manner of trespass - He who was accused, and he who had lost the stolen property, were both to appear before the judges Exo 18:25-26. 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.

All manner of trespass, to wit, about matters deposited upon trust, and lost, of which alone this place speaks.

Which another challengeth to be his; or, when, or concerning which he shall say, This is it, viz. the thing that I have lost; or rather, This is he, to whom I committed it, and whom I suspect and charge as guilty.

Whom the judges shall condemn; whether the person with whom the things were deposited, if they judged him guilty of theft, or the depositor, if he were convicted of a false accusation.

For all manner of trespass,.... With respect to what is committed to a man's trust, and it is lost to the owner of it, there must be somewhere or other a trespass committed, either by the person into whose hands it was put, or by a thief that has stolen it from him:

whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing by which it appears that either of these, or any other cattle not named, as well as money and vessels, or household goods, or goods in trade, were sometimes, or might be lodged in the hands of another as a depositum for safety or convenience; and for which, or any other so deposited, and lost:

which another challengeth to be his, or affirms that he put into the hands of his neighbour, to be kept by him for him; "or who shall say this is he", or "he is" the person into whose hands I put it, or this is "it" (r); such and such were the thing or things I delivered to him:

the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; who were to hear what each party had to say, and to examine the witnesses each of them brought, and consider the nature of the evidence given, and to judge and determine:

and whom the judges shall condemn; or "pronounce wicked" (s), as having done a wicked thing; either the one as having brought a false accusation against his neighbour, charging him with a depositum he never had, or the other as having converted it to his own use:

he shall pay double unto his neighbour; either the depositor, who pretended to be so and was not, but brought a false charge against his neighbour, or a false witness, as Jarchi, such as one was to pay double to the person charged wrongfully; or, on the other hand, the person with whom the depositum was put, if it appeared that he had acted a fraudulent part, and abused his trust, then he was to pay double to the depositor.

(r) "qui dixerit quod illud hoc", Montanus; "quum dixerit illud ipsum esse", Junius & Tremellius; "de qua dixerit aliquis illum ipsum esse", Piscator; so Ainsworth. (s) Vid. Ainsworth.

For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbor.
9. Extension of the principle of v. 8 to all cases of suspected misappropriation of property, whether arising out of a ‘deposit,’ or not.

any manner of lost thing] which is found, it is implied, suspiciously in the possession of another.

This is it] viz. the thing that I have lost.

he whom, &c.] i.e. whoever, in such a case, is convicted of being in the unlawful possession of property. How the conviction was effected, is not stated: perhaps the oath was only one element in a judicial enquiry; perhaps it was accompanied by an ordeal, and if this was not passed successfully, it was regarded as God’s condemnation.

double] as in vv. 4, 7; not fourfold (v. 1), the disputed article being still, in the general case assumed in v. 9, in the possession of the party accused.

Verse 9. - For all manner of trespass. - It has been supposed that this refers to "every case of theft;" but Kalisch is probably right in restricting it to cases where a person was accused of having embezzled property committed to his care. He was in that case to appear before the judges (Exodus 18:23), together with his accuser, and to clear himself if he could. When he failed to do so, and was "condemned," he was bound to restore double. Which another challenges to be his. - Rather, "which a man challenges to be the very thing" (that he deposited). The case is supposed of the depositor being able to point out that the person to whom he entrusted the deposit has it still in his keeping. Exodus 22:9In 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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