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Exodus 22New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 22

[If a thief is caught[a] in the act of housebreaking and beaten to death, there is no bloodguilt involved. But if after sunrise he is thus beaten, there is bloodguilt.] He must make full restitution. If he has nothing, he shall be sold to pay for his theft. If what he stole is found alive in his possession, be it an ox, a donkey or a sheep, he shall make twofold restitution.

When someone causes a field or a vineyard to be grazed over, by sending his cattle to graze in another’s field, he must make restitution with the best produce of his own field or vineyard. If a fire breaks out, catches on to thorn bushes, and consumes shocked grain, standing grain, or the field itself, the one who started the fire must make full restitution.

Trusts and Loans. When someone gives money or articles to another for safekeeping and they are stolen from the latter’s house, the thief, if caught, must make twofold restitution. If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house shall be brought to God,[b] to swear that he himself did not lay hands on his neighbor’s property. In every case of dishonest appropriation, whether it be about an ox, or a donkey, or a sheep, or a garment, or anything else that has disappeared, where another claims that the thing is his, the claim of both parties shall be brought before God; the one whom God convicts must make twofold restitution to the other.

When someone gives an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any other animal to another for safekeeping, if it dies, or is maimed or snatched away, without anyone witnessing the fact, 10 there shall be an oath before the Lord between the two of them that the guardian did not lay hands on his neighbor’s property; the owner must accept the oath, and no restitution is to be made. 11 But if the guardian has actually stolen from it, then he must make restitution to the owner. 12 If it has been killed by a wild beast, let him bring it as evidence; he need not make restitution for the mangled animal.

13 When someone borrows an animal from a neighbor, if it is maimed or dies while the owner is not present, that one must make restitution. 14 But if the owner is present, that one need not make restitution. If it was hired, this was covered by the price of its hire.

Social Laws. 15 When a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall make her his wife by paying the bride price. 16 If her father refuses to give her to him, he must still pay him the bride price for virgins.[c]

17 You shall not let a woman who practices sorcery live.

18 Anyone who lies with an animal shall be put to death.

19 Whoever sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord alone, shall be put under the ban.

20 You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt. 21 You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. 22 If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely listen to their cry. 23 My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans.

24 If you lend money to my people, the poor among you, you must not be like a money lender; you must not demand interest from them. 25 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset; 26 for this is his only covering; it is the cloak for his body. What will he sleep in? If he cries out to me, I will listen; for I am compassionate.

27 You shall not despise God,[d] nor curse a leader of your people.

28 You shall not delay the offering of your harvest and your press. You shall give me the firstborn of your sons. 29 You must do the same with your oxen and your sheep; for seven days the firstling may stay with its mother, but on the eighth day you must give it to me.

30 You shall be a people sacred to me. Flesh torn to pieces in the field you shall not eat; you must throw it to the dogs.


  1. 22:1–2 If a thief is caught: this seems to be a fragment of what was once a longer law on housebreaking, which has been inserted here into the middle of a law on stealing animals. At night the householder would be justified in killing a burglar outright, but not so in the daytime, when the burglar could more easily be caught alive. He must make full restitution: this stood originally immediately after 21:37.
  2. 22:7 Brought to God: either within the household or at the sanctuary, the owner of the house is required to take an oath before God.
  3. 22:16 The bride price for virgins: fifty shekels according to Dt 22:29.
  4. 22:27 Despise God: a turning away from God’s authority and so failing to honor God (cf. 1 Sm 2:30).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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