About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter 22
This chapter is often
sited for the purpose to prove private ownership of material goods,
including land for people. You
might wonder why someone needs to defend the idea that it is alright to
own things. This discussion
hasn't been heard much of late, but a few decades ago with the rise of
communism in the world, it was an important debate.
Of course, communism and private ownership of property didn't
mix. In some parts of the
church during those years, communism was influencing the church.
I'm not speaking of communes where hippies lived.
I'm speaking of a philosophy that promoted the ideals of
communism in the church.
This philosophy began in
the 1950's in Catholic Central America.
It is called Liberation Theology.
I see no such thinking in
the New Testament. Equality
is a Biblical issue, but it comes from the heart and can't be forced.
When the early church shared all they had, this sharing was not a
church doctrine. Neither was
it forced. It was simply a
product of the believers love for his brother in Christ.
Thus this chapter is
important in this discussion because it assumes people have the right to
own their own property.
Verse 1 addresses the
issue of someone steeling sheep and ox, someone steeling one's private
property. Again, the
principle of restitution is applied to the theft.
Verse 2 speaks to the
rights of a property owner. If
someone breaks in a steels from the property owner, and if the property
owner defends himself and his property, but kills the thief, he is not
guilty if this takes place at night in the dark.
But, if this takes place in the day time, then the property owner
is guilty. The implication
is that the property owner should not kill the thief.
At night he may not be able to see what he is doing, so the
property owner has an excuse, but in the day time, when there is light,
he has no excuse.
Verse 3 speaks to the
issue of the thief who breaks into steel the property.
He is to pay back all that he took.
If he no longer has it, and if he is too poor to pay it back, he
must pay with his life and be sold as a slave.
God views steeling as a serious offense. Verse
4 states the penalty of the stolen animal is found in the thief's
possession. He is to pay
Verses 5 and 6 continue
the theme of restitution. These
verses speak to the issue of one man destroying another mans field of
crops or cattle.
In verses 7 through 9 we
see a bit of a departure in the penalty.
These verses concern the safekeeping of another man's property.
If the property is stolen, and if the thief is caught, then the
thief pays back double. If
the thief isn't caught, then the two parties go to a judge and he
determines what should be done. The
point here is that the one who is suppose to keep the property safe, may
have actually stolen the property. We
see judges being involved in the issuing of the penalty.
Verses 10 to 16 carry on
in the same vain concerning two men and their possessions.
I will not comment on this passage. It is pretty self evident.
In verses 16 and 17 we
see what should happen when a man seduces a virgin.
Note the word "seduce".
This does not seem to be consensual sex.
In such cases, the man must marry the virgin, pay the father what
is owed for the daughter. In
these cultures men paid money to the father in order to marry his
daughter. This was not seen
as buying the girl. It was
more of an insurance policy. The
father would keep the money in case the girl was returned to him for any
Verse 17 states that if
the father did not want to give the daughter away, the man would still
have to pay the money as if he were marrying the girl.
There is a good chance that the father would not want to give his
daughter away to such a man. At
least he would receive some money for the offense.
We see in verse 18 how
God feels about sorceresses. The KJV uses the word "witch".
She must die. Again,
these are severe penalties, but we must realize that God is just, and He
is just to the one hundredth degree so to speak.
This is why Jesus came to save us from God's wrath.
We all deserve to die, just as it says here about the witch.
What God hates, He really hates.
What He loves, He really loves.
Verses 19 and 20 continue
in the same vain. Those who
have sex with animals and those who serve other gods must die.
Concerning sex with animals, that sounds repulsive but many
cultures practiced such activity back then.
God was simply speaking to the issues of the day.
If these commands and laws were written today, we would probably
see other things added to the list.
Verses 21 to 24 tells Israel
how to treat aliens and widows. They
are to be treated with respect. Notice
verse 24, and how God feels about the mistreatment of aliens and widows.
He says that such treatment causes His anger to rise and He will
Even though Christ is the
end of the law as seen in Romans 10:4, in these civil laws we do get a
clear picture of how God views certain things.
I would think that if any nation today mistreats aliens and
widows, God would feel the same way towards them as He did towards Israel. For that reason, such
actions by countries today might have helped led to their demise, or,
will possibly lead to their demise.
There are many things that a nation can do that will bring that
The church today would do
well to learn some things from the Law of Moses, not to institute it,
but to understand how God feels about certain things as is demonstrated
in these laws. The church
should be involved in reaching out and helping the poor, the widows, and
those in need, because this is what God wants, and is easily seen in
Verse 25 speaks of the
poor. O how this verse could
be used today, but isn't. God says to lend money to the poor, and don't
charge him interest. Can you
believe that, In North
America as I type, there are many little store front money lenders who
lend money to the poor at an extreme amount of interest, way higher than
credit cards. Obviously this
verse means nothing to them.
All these laws that we
see here show both the Jew and the Christian how to live.
And really, if you show real love, as the New Testament says, you
will obey all these laws. The
laws also show us how God thinks about certain things.
We are not under the law any more, but we are still under God's
authority, and how He thinks still applies to us.
I wish more people would
follow verses 26 and 27. It
says that if you borrow your neighbor's coat, give it back to him by
evening. I personally think
that we should be very prompt in returning things we borrow, but many
Note the word
"pledge" in verse 26. What
is happening in this verse is that a poor person will pledge, or, use
his coat for collateral. The
one who lends this poor person money should give that coat back to him
at the end of the day because that is probably the only coat he has and
he uses it as a blanket or a covering to sleep in.
Once again, God is acting as an advocate for the poor.
Verse 28 has two parts.
The first is "don't blaspheme God."
I think this can be taken many ways.
Just using the name of God in swearing is one way we can
blaspheme God. I think we
blaspheme God by misrepresenting Him to the world.
We do that by promoting ourselves instead of Him.
Disobedience is blaspheming God.
We blaspheme God in many ways.
The next phrase is really
interesting in light of today's world.
It says not to curse your leaders.
How often do we do that? How
often do we speak evil of our leaders?
One thing we need to note, that many of the leaders back then,
even in Israel, except not for Moses, weren't all that nice.
We are not to curse a leader, even if he is evil.
We can stand up to him like John the Baptist did, but cursing is
another thing altogether. John
the Baptist, and Paul as well, along with all the early apostles,
respectfully stood up to their leaders, showed them their sin and
preached repentance and faith in the name of Jesus.
This is the example for us to follow.
Verses 29 and 30 speak of
not holding back offerings or your first born.
Some of these offerings have not yet been instituted, or even
commanded by God as yet.
In verse 31 God tells Israel
that they are to be His holy people.
They are to represent Him to the world.
They are to be an example. Therefore
they are not to eat meat from a wild animal.