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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Exodus 22:1-6

Here are the laws, I. Concerning theft, which are these:?1. If a man steal any cattle (in which the wealth of those times chiefly consisted), and they be found in his custody, he must restore double, Exod. 22:4. Thus he must both satisfy for the wrong and suffer for the crime. But it was afterwards provided that if the thief were touched in conscience, and voluntarily confessed it, before it was discovered or enquired into by any other, then he should only make restitution of what he had... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Exodus 22:1

If a man shall steal an ox or a sheep ,.... In which the substance of men chiefly lay in those times, and particularly the people of Israel, who were now come out of Egypt, with their flocks and herds, and these lying near together, were the more liable to be stolen; and hence also the laws in the preceding chapter concerning oxen and damages done by them, and oxen and sheep are only mentioned; perhaps chiefly because used in sacrifice, as well as serviceable for other things; not but that... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Exodus 22:2

If a thief be found breaking up ,.... An house, in order to steal money, jewels, household goods, &c.; or breaking through any fence, hedge, or wall of any enclosure, where oxen, or sheep, or any other creatures are, in order to take them away: the Targum of Jonathan is,"if in the hole of a wall (or window of it) a thief be found;'that is, in the night, as appears from the following verse, "if the sun", &c.; to which this is opposed, as Aben Ezra observes; some render it, with a... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Exodus 22:1

If a man shall steal - This chapter consists chiefly of judicial laws, as the preceding chapter does of political; and in it the same good sense, and well-marked attention to the welfare of the community and the moral improvement of each individual, are equally evident. In our translation of this verse, by rendering different Hebrew words by the same term in English, we have greatly obscured the sense. I shall produce the verse with the original words which I think improperly translated,... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Exodus 22:2

If a thief be found - If a thief was found breaking into a house in the night season, he might be killed; but not if the sun had risen, for then he might be known and taken, and the restitution made which is mentioned in the succeeding verse. So by the law of England it is a burglary to break and enter a house by night; and "anciently the day was accounted to begin only from sunrising, and to end immediately upon sunset: but it is now generally agreed that if there be daylight enough begun... read more

John Calvin

John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible - Exodus 22:1

Verse 1 Thus far God has proclaimed Himself the avenger of iniquities, and, citing thieves before His tribunal, has threatened them with eternal death. Now follow the civil laws, the principle of which is not so exact and perfect; since in their enactment God has relaxed His just severity in consideration of the people’s hardness of heart. What God formerly delivered to His people the heathen legislators afterwards borrowed. Draco, indeed, was more severe, but his extreme rigor became obsolete... read more

John Calvin

John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible - Exodus 22:2

Verse 2 2.If a thief be found breaking up. This clause is to be taken separately, and is inserted by way of parenthesis; for, after having decreed the punishment, God adds in connection, “he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he should be sold for his theft;” and this exception as to the thief in the night is introduced parenthetically. But although the details are not expressed with sufficient distinctness, still the intention of God is by no means ambiguous, viz., that if... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Exodus 22:1

If a man shall steal an ox . The principal property possessed by the Israelites in the wilderness was their cattle; whence this occurs to the legislator as the thing most likely to be stolen. It required more boldness in a thief to carry off an ox than a sheep or goat; and so the crime was visited with a heavier penalty. read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Exodus 22:1-4

Punishment, even for one and the same offence, should be graduated. Some codes treat a crime which can be given a single definite name, e.g; theft, as if it were in all cases uniform, and prescribe a single penalty—death, the bastinado, a month's imprisomnent. The Mosaic Law, with greater refinement and greater propriety, graduated the punishment according to the special character of the offence. The worst form of theft proper is burglary. Burglary destroys the repose of the household,... read more

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