Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Five oxen; because they are of greater value than sheep. (Theodoret) --- As these things may easily be stolen, a heavier fine is imposed than on those who steal money. The Scythians punish theft with the utmost severity. (Grotius) --- All these punishments, till the 25th chapter, were inflicted by the judge. (Tirinus)
Blood. The reason is, because it could not easily be known whether the thief had not a design upon the life of the people in the house; and therefore, the law gave them authority to defend themselves. But they were not authorized to kill the thief designedly. the laws of Athens and of Rome, permitted nocturnal robbers to be slain, at least when they came armed. (Plato, de leg. ix. &c.) To defend our goods or honour, by killing the aggressor, is contrary to justice and reason. (Calmet)
Double. This is an exception from the general law, ver. 1, (Calmet) because he can more easily make restitution, as he has not sold or destroyed the thing. (Du Hamel)
Gods. "In the presence of the Lord," Septuagint.
Damage. Hebrew, "thing lost, which another challengeth.…and whom the judges condemn, he," &c. If the person who had deposited a thing, pretended that the one produced was not the same, or not equally good, and failed in proving the charge, he was liable to pay double its value. (Calmet)
Stealth, of the person to whom it was entrusted, or by his connivance, as the Hebrew mamu, (de cum eo) "from with him," intimates. (Menochius)
Slain. Or any part of its mangled remains, in proof of his assertion. (Syriac)
Restitution. It is to be presumed he was guilty of some negligence. (Calmet)
Especially, &c. This is a third case, in which the person who lends, suffers all the loss, in consideration of the money which he had received. Others explain, "If he be a hired servant, he shall pay out of his wages," Syriac. (Grotius)
Money. Fifty sicles, as it is expressed, Deuteronomy xxi. 29. If the maid were of high birth, the magistrates might inflict other punishments on the seducer.
Wizards. Hebrew, "a witch." Women are more given to such delusions, which imply an apostacy from God to serve the devil, and disturb the republic.
Death. Hebrew, "shall be anathema," (erom) which denotes utter destruction both of the person and of his goods. (Jonathan) (1 Kings xv. 3.)
Were strangers. The Celtes punished with death the murderer of a stranger, which they only banished him who murdered a citizen. (Calmet)
Fatherless. Thus God will retaliate upon the oppressors of the poor. (Haydock)
Poor. Such are often most in want. Usury is not lawful, even with respect to the rich. The Hebrew terms it a bite. (Menochius) --- "What is usury, said Cato, but to kill a man." The Romans required thieves to restore double, but usurers were to render four times as much as they had taken. (Varro Rustic. i.) --- Restitution is prescribed, 2 Esdras v. 11. Some Calvinists have stood up in its defence, in opposition to the Scriptures, fathers, and Councils of the Catholic Church. Lend, hoping to gain nothing by it, Luke vi. 35. "Let him who loves money,.…lend (in the persons of the poor) to Him who says, Give, and it shall be given to you." (St. Leo, ser.) The Jews themselves have reprobated usury in any use. (Calmet)
Gods. Judges, priests, &c. Josephus and Philo say, we must not speak ill of strange gods, lest the Gentiles should take occasion to blaspheme the true God, and that we may be farther removed from the danger of taking the name of God in vain, and losing that respect which we owe to it.
Tithes. Hebrew, "thy plentitude, (first-fruits and tithes) and thy tears;" (or liquors distilled form odoriferous trees) in a word, all that is most excellent. Censorinus (de die nat.) says, excellently well: "They who acknowledged that they had received food, a country, light, and even their very persons, from the bounty of the gods, failed not to consecrate a part of all to the gods,....to the temples and chapels, where they worshipped them." (Calmet)
Beasts. "Wild beasts," Septuagint. --- This was to encourage humanity. (Theodoret)