Exodus 22

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 20, 2008


We’re in this section of Exodus called “The Book of the Covenant”.  Moses has already been given the Ten Commandments.  God is now giving Moses a few more details on what those commandments were all about.

The next section has to do with animals, property, and how you deal with various problems.


The old farmer’s mule had finally died of old age just before spring planting, so the farmer made a trip to town to buy another mule. His $125 didn’t buy much, but he was satisfied with his purchase and he made arrangements to return the next day with a horse trailer to pick up the mule and the dealer agreed to keep it overnight for him. Early the next day, the old man returned. “Jim,” said the mule dealer, “that old mule died last night. I’m real sorry to have to tell you this. I know you were counting on it for your spring garden.” The dealer offered Jim his money back, but Jim said a bargain was a bargain, loaded the mule on his truck and left. A couple of months later the mule dealer happened to drive by Jim’s place and was astonished to see Jim working his garden on a NEW $4,000 garden tractor. Honking his horn, he called Jim over and asked him how in the world he had managed to buy a tractor when not to long ago all he had was the $125 that he’d spent on the mule that died. “Well”, Jim explains, “After leaving with the mule, I had this idea. So I stopped off at the local print shop and had 2,000 $2 raffle tickets printed up. Grand prize: Gardening Equipment. I sold all the raffle tickets to people around town.” “Yeah, but where did you get the gardening equipment?” “From you.” “No, I mean the equipment you had as the raffle prize.” “I got it from you.” “Jim, all you got from me was a dead mule.” “I know, that’s what I raffled off.” “My Goodness, Jim! You raffled off a dead mule?! I’ll bet that really made a lot of people mad when they found out about it.” “Naw, not really, the only one really ticked off was the winner, and I gave him his money back.”

I don’t know if the farmer handled that one right…

22:1-15 Property Laws

:1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.

The idea is that the thief has stolen and either killed the animal or gotten rid of it by selling it, when he is caught his penalty is to pay four or five times what he has stolen.

:2 "If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.

:3 "If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

If the thief breaks in at night and you kill him while he’s trying to steal from you, you are not held guilty for his death.

If the thief is caught breaking in and it’s daytime, then you don’t kill the guy, if you do kill they guy, then you are guilty of murder.

If the thief can’t pay for his restitution, then he is sold into slavery to pay his debt – in other words he still has to pay for his debt and now he has to work to pay for it.

:4 "If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double.

If you catch the thief and he hasn’t killed or sold the animal yet, then he still has to pay, but only twice of what he’s stolen.

In other words, the cost for your crime goes up the further you progress and try to profit from it.

If you’ve just stolen the item but still have it, you pay two times the worth.
If you’ve stolen the item but have already sold it or eaten it, you will have to pay four or five times the worth.

:5 "If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed, and lets loose his animal, and it feeds in another man's field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.

You are responsible for what your animals do. If your animals get loose and graze in your neighbor’s field, you have to pay for what your animal eats.

You can’t claim, “It’s not my fault!”

:6 "If fire breaks out and catches in thorns, so that stacked grain, standing grain, or the field is consumed, he who kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.

The idea seems to be that you have decided to burn a pile of thorns, and the fire gets out of control and burns a field of grain, you are responsible.

:7 "If a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the man's house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double.

:8 "If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbor's goods.

You ask your neighbor to watch your car while you’re on vacation. You park the car at your neighbor’s house. While you’re gone, the car gets stolen.

If you didn’t get LoJack and they don’t catch the car thief, some people might begin to wonder if the neighbor might have just stole your hot little roadster.

You bring your neighbor before the judges and see what they say.

:9 "For any kind of trespass, whether it concerns an ox, a donkey, a sheep, or clothing, or for any kind of lost thing which another claims to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whomever the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.

The penalty is double the price.

:10 "If a man delivers to his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep, and it dies, is hurt, or driven away, no one seeing it,

:11 "then an oath of the LORD shall be between them both, that he has not put his hand into his neighbor's goods; and the owner of it shall accept that, and he shall not make it good.

You make an oath swearing that you didn’t kill the dog your neighbor asked you to watch while they were on vacation.

:12 "But if, in fact, it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to the owner of it.

If someone stole the animal you were watching from you, you have to pay the owner for it.  It was your job to protect the animal.

:13 "If it is torn to pieces by a beast, then he shall bring it as evidence, and he shall not make good what was torn.

If the animal was simply killed by a wild beast, then it was not your fault.


Ole Bessy

Farmer Joe decided his injuries from the accident were serious enough to take the trucking company (responsible for the accident) to court. In court the trucking company’s fancy lawyer was questioning farmer Joe. Didn’t you say, at the scene of the accident, “I’m fine,” said the lawyer. Farmer Joe responded, “Well I’ll tell you what happened. I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the.......” “I didn’t ask for any details,” the lawyer interrupted, “just answer the question.” “Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, ‘I’m fine!’” Farmer Joe said, “Well I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road...” The lawyer interrupted again and said, “Judge, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question.” By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Joe’s answer and said to the lawyer, “I’d like to hear what he has to say about his favorite mule Bessie.” Joe thanked the Judge and proceeded, “Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my truck right in the side. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting real bad and didn’t want to move. However, I could hear ole Bessie moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape just by her groans. Shortly after the accident a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her then he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the Patrolman came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me. He said, “Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. How are you feeling?”

:14 "And if a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it becomes injured or dies, the owner of it not being with it, he shall surely make it good.

:15 "If its owner was with it, he shall not make it good; if it was hired, it came for its hire.


Make it right

The over-riding principle throughout this section is about making things right.  The thief that stole something has to pay back what he stole, plus a penalty.
We don’t like to have to pay for things.
On Sunday, June 13, 2004, Matt Starr was at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Texas, watching the home team Rangers take on the St. Louis Cardinals. When a foul ball was hit (by Gary Mathews Jr.) toward where he was sitting, the 28-year-old landscaper leapt over the seat in front of him. Even though the ball had landed at the feet of 4-year-old Nicholas O’Brien, Starr knocked the boy against the seats and pounced on the ball. The boy’s mother, insulted by the aggressive behavior, swatted him with her program, while fans chanted, “Give the boy the ball.” But, clutching the ball to himself, Starr returned to his seat unwilling to part with his new souvenir.
Even the ballplayers witnessed Starr’s actions. Between innings, Cardinals’ outfielder, Reggie Sanders, went into the stands to give the boy a bat. Nicholas also received souvenirs from the Texas Rangers, including one signed by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. Video of Starr’s self-serving behavior was shown on television stations across the country.
When interviewed on Good Morning America, Edie O’Brien, Nicholas’ mother, admitted calling Starr a jerk, among other names. “I said, ‘You trampled a 4-year-old boy to get this ball,’ and he said, ‘Oh, well.’”
Four days later, Starr, a former youth minister at a nearby church, expressed sorrow for his behavior. He agreed to send a letter of apology to the O’Brien family. Starr also indicated he would give the boy the ball. In addition, he would buy tickets for the entire family to a future Rangers’ game.

Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois; source: Matt Curry, "Man Will Give Foul Ball to Boy Who He Knocked Aside, AP Sports (6-17-04)

Sometimes as Christians we give the wrong idea when it comes to forgiveness.
We like the idea that if we confess our sins to God, He will forgive us.
We forget that we still need to make things right with the person we may have harmed with our sin.
Jesus said,

(Mat 5:23-24 NKJV)  "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, {24} "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

:16-31 Miscellaneous Laws

:16 "If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife.

:17 "If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins.

surely pay the bride-price – In the Hebrew the word for “paying the bride-price” is repeated twice, kind of like saying, “paying the bride-price, he shall pay the bride-price”.

bride-price of virginsmohar – purchase price for wife, wedding money, the dowry

The idea of the “dowry” was that the husband-to-be would give the father of the bride a certain sum of money.  Some have seen this as a sort of payment in case the husband died or divorced the girl, and she went back to live with her father.  It would be hard for a father to marry off a daughter that was divorced or widowed, so the money was a kind of payment to insure the girl’s future.

Though the actual word (mohar) isn’t used, when Jacob arranged to marry Leah and Rachel, the “dowry” he paid was working for his uncle for seven years for each bride.

It’s kind of interesting that the actual word (mohar) is only used in two other places, and there are strange similarities:

When Jacob’s daughter Dinah was the object of obsession for the Canaanite young man, Shechem, Shechem offered to pay whatever “dowry” Jacob asked (Gen. 34:12).  It was Jacob’s sons that came up with the “dowry”, the request that all the men of Shechem get circumcised.  When the men were all incapacitated from their circumcisions, two of Jacob’s sons went through the city and killed all the men.
When David wanted to marry Michal, the daughter of King Saul, he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to pay the “dowry” (bride-price) because he was a poor man.  Saul said the dowry for his daughter was 100 Philistine foreskins (1Sam. 18:25).  I don’t think the Philistines willingly allowed David to circumcise them.
I find it interesting that in both cases the “dowry” involved circumcision.
Circumcision is a ritual that involves a “cutting away” of the flesh.  It’s a ritual that says that this man is making a choice not to live after the flesh but after the spirit. An interesting thing to connect with a “dowry”.

The idea in these verses have to do with a man who doesn’t ask the father for permission to marry his daughter, but just romances the girl and sleeps with her.  It’s not even clear that his intent is to marry the girl.

But if you follow the commandment, their consensual act of sex sealed the deal and they had to proceed with the marriage anyway.

In the old days we’d call this a “shotgun wedding”
In our society, this would be like a guy and girl having sex and then being made to go to the courthouse and actually getting legally married.
This isn’t talking about the “pretend” marriage that some couples practice – where they say, “we may not have a marriage license, but we’re married before God”

Note:  The father reserves the right to refuse to give the girl to the guy to get married.  And the guy still has the responsibility to pay the “dowry”, even though he isn’t going to marry the girl.


Sex costs more than you think

God’s intent is that sex be reserved for marriage.
The world makes you think that good sex is all finding the person you can do it with best, so you might as well try it with as many people as you can before you decide on one to marry.
The truth is that sex is best when it’s kept within the confines of what it was designed for – marriage – a relationship based on love, commitment and trust.
How do I know?

I’ve read the designer’s notes.  God was the one who designed you and I.  He was the one who invented sex.

Things always work better when they are used in the way they were designed for.

The police like to say, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”.
That kind of works with sex as well.  Don’t do sex until you’ve made the commitment to “do the time”, and have actually been married.

:18 "You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

sorceresskashaph – (Piel) to practice witchcraft or sorcery

The Salem witch trials are something people will bring up as an abuse of religion.  Perhaps.

Our society has made witchcraft pretty appealing.  Or at least pretty harmless.

But God is pretty serious when it comes to things like this. Why? 

Because these are things that take people away from the truth.  The idea of you controlling power through charms or magic words – instead of learning to follow the True God, your Creator.
(Isa 8:19 NLT)  So why are you trying to find out the future by consulting mediums and psychics? Do not listen to their whisperings and mutterings. Can the living find out the future from the dead? Why not ask your God?

:19 "Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.

I don’t think I’ll show any pictures on this one.

:20 "He who sacrifices to any god, except to the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

:21 "You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

strangerger – sojourner; a temporary inhabitant, a newcomer lacking inherited rights

mistreatyanah – (Hiphil) to treat violently, maltreat

oppresslachats – to squeeze, press, oppress

I don’t intend to make a political statement here, but when I read this verse, I can’t help but think of the immigration problem we have in the United States.  I know it is complicated.  We have folks in our church who are having a hard time getting work because of illegal immigrants who can work cheaper.  I also know of immigrants who are constantly being taken advantage of, mistreated, not paid properly, because they are illegal.

I think we need to be people who are compassionate.

:22 "You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child.

:23 "If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry;

:24 "and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

That sound a bit like a threat, doesn’t it?  This is one threat we should pay attention to.


Don’t abuse the helpless

God cares for the helpless.
(Deu 10:18 NKJV)  "He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.
(Psa 146:9 NKJV)  The LORD watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

:25 "If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest.

Within the nation of Israel, loans to poor Israelites were supposed to be interest free.

This doesn’t mean you couldn’t charge interest to wealthy businessmen or to foreigners.

:26 "If you ever take your neighbor's garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down.

:27 "For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious.

garmentsalmah – garment, outer garment, wrapper, mantle


You loan your neighbor some money.  You want something of his as a pledge, a promise to repay.

It’s like going to the bowling alley and you give them your $100 Nike’s so they can rent you their old smelly leather bowling shoes. Your shoes are a “pledge” that you’ll return their shoes.

Your poor neighbor gives you his only piece of property as a pledge, his outer coat.

God says you need to return his coat so he won’t freeze at night.

:28 "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

revileqalal – (Piel) to make despicable; to curse

curse‘arar – to curse

(Exo 22:28 NLT)  "Do not blaspheme God or curse anyone who rules over you.

:29 "You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me.

:30 "Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.

These were all examples of things that the people were supposed to be giving to God.  The idea is that you don’t hold on to what belongs to God.  You give it to Him on time.


Give to God on time

The “first fruits”, the beginning of your crops – you gave them back to God as an offering, recognizing that it came from God and that He has blessed you.

I think the offerings we give to God should come from the beginning of the paycheck, not what’s left over when your bills are paid.  It’s an acknowledging that God has given you the ability to make an income.

The firstborn of your sons was something done as a result of the first Passover.  God claimed all the firstborn for Himself.  It was the taking of the firstborn sons that got Israel out of bondage in Egypt.

This didn’t mean that you sacrificed your son, but that you bought him back from God with a sacrifice.

It was a step of remembering that God had brought them out of slavery in Egypt.

The firstborn of your animals were given to God as a sacrifice, but only after seven days.

:31 "And you shall be holy men to Me: you shall not eat meat torn by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.

What is a “holy man”???  The world has some goofy ideas…

holyqodesh – apartness, sacredness; set-apartness, separateness

The Spirit of God, is called the “Holy Spirit” (xwr vdq) (qodesh ruach)

This is one of the things the Holy Spirit does in our lives, He produces “holiness” in us.



Some people have no sense of dignity.  This verse paints a picture to me of someone who would stoop so low as to eat “road-kill”. Do you know what “road-kill” is?
A man was driving along the highway, and saw a rabbit hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the rabbit, but unfortunately the rabbit jumped in front of the car and was hit. The driver, being a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulled over to the side of the road, and got out to see what had become of the rabbit. Much to his dismay, the rabbit was dead. The driver felt so awful, he began to cry. A woman driving down the highway saw the man crying on the side of the road and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man what was wrong. “I feel terrible,” he explained, “I accidentally hit this rabbit and killed it.” The woman told the man not to worry. She knew what to do. She went to her car trunk, and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the limp, dead rabbit, and sprayed the contents of the can onto the rabbit. Miraculously the rabbit came to life, jumped up, waved its paw at the two humans and hopped down the road. 50 yards away the rabbit stopped, turned around, waved and hopped down the road, another 50 yards, turned, waved and hopped another 50 yards. The man was astonished. He couldn’t figure out what substance could be in the woman’s spray can!! He ran over to the woman and asked, “What is in your spray can? What did you spray on that rabbit?” The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label. It said: “Hair spray. Restores life to dead hair. Adds permanent wave.”
It seems to me that this particular law is addressing things like “road-kill”.
God doesn’t want His people stooping so low that they are doing things like eating “road-kill”, things that most of us wouldn’t let our own dogs eat.
The idea of eating road-kill grosses me out.  And yet we can find ourselves doing things that are no less gross in God’s sight – devouring things that aren’t fit for a dog – pornography, alcohol, drugs …
We already understand this concept of being “set apart”.
Would you rather make your morning coffee in a slightly used coffee pot, or a slightly used bed pan?

A coffee pot is “holy”.  Amen?  So is a bed-pan.  They both have special uses.  We don’t like it when they get their uses confused.

Holiness is understanding that you have been given dignity by God.
It’s seeing yourself with a sign around your neck that says, “For God’s use only”.