Exodus 22 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
22 “How should you punish a man who steals a bull or a sheep? If the man kills the animal or sells it, then he cannot give it back. So he must pay five bulls for the one he stole. Or he must pay four sheep for the one he stole. He must pay for stealing. 2-4 If he owns nothing, then he will be sold as a slave. But if the man still has the animal and you find it, that man must give the owner two animals for every animal he stole. It doesn’t matter if the animal was a bull, a donkey, or a sheep.
“If a thief is killed while trying to break into a house at night, then no one will be guilty for killing him. But if this happens during the day, the one who killed him will be guilty of murder.
5 “A man might let his animal loose to graze in his field or vineyard. If the animal wanders into another person’s field or vineyard, then the owner must pay. The payment must come from the best of his crop.[a]
6 “A man might start a fire to burn thornbushes on his field. But if the fire grows and burns his neighbor’s crops or the grain growing on the neighbor’s field, the man who started the fire must pay for what he burned.
7 “Someone might give some money or tools to a neighbor for safekeeping. What should you do if someone steals those things from the neighbor’s house? If you find the one who stole them, then that thief must pay twice as much as the things are worth. 8 If you don’t find the thief, then the owner of the house must go before the judges[b] who will decide if that person is guilty.
9 “What should you do if two men disagree about a bull or a donkey or sheep or clothing or something that is lost? One man says, ‘This is mine,’ and the other says, ‘No, it is mine.’ Both men should go before the judges who will decide who is guilty. The one who was wrong must pay the other man twice as much as the thing is worth.
10 “A man might ask his neighbor to take care of an animal for a short time. It might be a donkey, a bull, or a sheep. But what should you do if that animal is hurt or dies or someone takes the animal while no one is looking? 11 That neighbor must explain that he did not steal the animal. If this is true, the neighbor will promise to the Lord that he did not steal it. The owner of the animal must accept this promise. The neighbor does not have to pay the owner for the animal. 12 But if the neighbor stole the animal, then he must pay the owner for the animal. 13 If wild animals killed the animal, then the neighbor should bring the body as proof. The neighbor will not have to pay the owner for the animal that was killed.
14 “If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor, and the animal is hurt or dies, then the neighbor must pay the owner for the animal. The neighbor is responsible, because the owner was not there himself. 15 But if the owner was there, then the neighbor does not have to pay. Or if the neighbor was paying money to use the animal for work, he will not have to pay if the animal dies or is hurt. The money he paid to use the animal will be enough payment.
16 “If a man has sexual relations with a virgin who he is not engaged to,[c] then he must pay her father the full amount necessary to marry her. 17 If the father refuses to allow his daughter to marry him, then the man must still pay the full amount for her.
18 “You must not allow any woman to do evil magic. If she does magic, you must not let her live.
19 “You must not allow anyone to have sexual relations with an animal. If this happens, that person must be killed.
20 “Whoever makes a sacrifice to a false god should be destroyed. The Lord is the only one you should make sacrifices to.
21 “Remember, in the past you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. So you should not cheat or hurt anyone who is a foreigner in your land.
22 “You must never do anything bad to women whose husbands are dead or to orphans. 23 If you do anything wrong to these widows or orphans, I will know it. I will hear about their suffering. 24 And I will be very angry. I will kill you with a sword. Then your wives will become widows, and your children will become orphans.
25 “If you loan money to any of my people, that is, the poor among you, don’t be like a moneylender and charge them interest. 26 You might take their cloak to make sure they pay the money back, but you must give that cloak back to them before sunset. 27 That cloak might be their only protection against the cold when they lie down to sleep. If they call to me for help, I will listen because I am kind.
28 “You must not curse God or the leaders of your people.
29 “At harvest time you should give me the first grain and the first juice from your fruit. Don’t wait until late in the year.
“Give me your firstborn sons. 30 Also, give me your firstborn cattle and sheep. Let the firstborn stay with its mother for seven days. Then on the eighth day, give him to me.
31 “You are my special people. So don’t eat the meat from something that was killed by wild animals. Let the dogs eat that dead animal.