Properly Promoting the Principle of Personal PropertyMarch 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Exodus | 3 Comments
Tags: bestiality, commentary on Exodus, Exodus 22, idolatry, sorcery, stealing, Sunday School lessons on Exodus, the Covenant Code, theft, witchcraft
The Decalogue’s 8th Word prohibited stealing, thereby promoting the principle of personal property. The Covenant Code further developed this concept by making application to specific “case law” examples, from which the proper enforcement and spirit of the law could be gleaned.
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. If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods. 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.
Earthly judges are not omniscient like the Divine Judge, so the law made provision for cases where there was no proof of theft.
If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it: Then shall an oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.
There is always this understanding under the Law that it can not be perfectly enforceable by finite humans, but God is all-knowing, so an oath of the Lord could be required, with the faith that God would ultimately accomplish true justice even when the magistrates got it wrong.
In Exodus Chapter 22, the Covenant Code speaks of three offenses other than murder which warranted the death penalty. One was witchcraft or occult practices.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
This was a serious crime because it evidenced such a brazen lack of trust in God.
The next one was bestiality.
Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.
Bestiality was singled out by God as especially heinous even though it was common among the pagans in ancient times, and was even part of pagan worship.
Finally, idolatry was once again addressed and made punishable by death.
He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.
Idolatry is treason against the Creator.