Exodus 22:7
If a man shall deliver to 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.
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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. With regard to cattle-stealing, the law makes a distinction between what had been killed or sold, and what was still alive and in the thief's hand (or possession). In the latter case, the thief was to restore piece for piece twofold (Exodus 22:4); in the former, he was to restore an ox fivefold and a small animal (a sheep or a goat) fourfold (Exodus 22:1). The difference between the compensation for an ox and a small animal is to be accounted for from the comparative worth of the cattle to the possessor, which determined the magnitude of the theft and the amount of the compensation. But the other distinctions of twofold, fourfold, and fivefold restitution cannot be accounted for, either by supposing "that the animal slain or sold was lost to its master, and might have been of peculiar value to him" (Knobel), for such a consideration of personal feelings would have been quite foreign to the law-not to mention the fact that an animal that had been sold might be recovered by purchase; or from the fact that "the thief in this case had carried his crime still further" (Baumgarten), for the main thing was still the theft, not the consumption or sale of the animal stolen. The reason can only have lain in the educational purpose of the law: viz., in the intention to lead the thief to repent of his crime, to acknowledge his guilt, and to restore what he had stolen. Now, as long as he still retained the stolen animal in his own possession, having neither consumed nor parted with it, this was always in his power; but the possibility was gone as soon as it had either been consumed or sold (see by Archologie, 154, Note 3).

(Note: Calvin gives the same explanation: Major in scelere obstinatio se prodit, ubi res furtiva in quaestum conversa est, nec spes est ulla resipiscentiae, atque ita continuo progressu duplicatur malae fidei crimen. Fieri potest ut fur statim post delictum contremiscat: qui vero animal occidere ausus est, aut vendere, prorsus in maleficio obduruit.)

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