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Exodus 22:1

    Exodus 22:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    If a man takes without right another man's ox or his sheep, and puts it to death or gets a price for it, he is to give five oxen for an ox, or four sheep for a sheep, in payment: the thief will have to make payment for what he has taken; if he has no money, he himself will have to be exchanged for money, so that payment may be made.

    Webster's Revision

    If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

    World English Bible

    "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it, or sells it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

    Clarke's Commentary on 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, because one English term is used for two Hebrew words, which in this place certainly do not mean the same thing. If a man shall steal an ox (שור shor) or a sheep, (שה seh), and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen (בקר bakar) for an ox, (שור shor), and four sheep (צאן tson) for a sheep (שה seh). I think it must appear evident that the sacred writer did not intend that these words should be understood as above. A shor certainly is different from a bakar, and a seh from a tson. Where the difference in every case lies, wherever these words occur, it is difficult to say. The shor and the bakar are doubtless creatures of the beeve kind, and are used in different parts of the sacred writings to signify the bull, the ox, the heifer, the steer, and the calf. The seh and the tson are used to signify the ram, the wether, the ewe, the lamb, the he-goat, the she-goat, and the kid. And the latter word צאן tson seems frequently to signify the flock, composed of either of these lesser cattle, or both sorts conjoined.

    As שור shor is used, Job 21:10, for a bull probably it may mean so here. If a man steal a Bull he shall give five Oxen for him, which we may presume was no more than his real value, as very few bulls could be kept in a country destitute of horses, where oxen were so necessary to till the ground. For though some have imagined that there were no castrated cattle among the Jews, yet this cannot be admitted on the above reason; for as they had no horses, and bulls would have been unmanageable and dangerous, they must have had oxen for the purposes of agriculture. Tson צאן is used for a flock either of sheep or goats, and seh שה for an individual of either species. For every seh, four, taken indifferently from the tson or flock must be given; i.e., a sheep stolen might be recompensed with four out of the flock, whether of sheep or goats: so that a goat might be compensated with four sheep, or a sheep with four goats.

    Barnes' Notes on Exodus 22:1

    The theft of an ox appears to have been regarded as a greater crime than the theft of a sheep, because it showed a stronger purpose in wickedness to take the larger and more powerful animal. It may have been on similar moral ground that the thief, when he had proved his persistency in crime by adding to his theft the slaughter, or sale, of the animal, was to restore four times its value in the case of a sheep (compare the marginal references), and five times its value in the case of an ox; but if the animal was still in his possession alive (see Exodus 22:4) he had to make only twofold restitution.

    Wesley's Notes on Exodus 22:1

    22:1 Five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep - More for an ox than for a sheep, because the owner, besides all the other profit, lost the daily labour of his ox. If we were not able to make restitution, he must be sold for a slave: the court of judgment was to do it, and it is likely the person robbed received the money. Thus with us in some cases, felons are transported to the Plantations, where only, Englishmen know what slavery is. But let it be observed, the sentence is not slavery, but banishment: nor can any Englishman be sold, unless he first indent himself to the captain that carries him over.