Exodus 22 : Laws on possessions and general morality

February 11, 2024 ·

Summary:
Thieves are required to repay more than what they stole. The instigator of a destructive fire must be punished. If someone borrows goods and they are stolen or lost, the cause must be determined, and appropriate punishment applied.

Men who seduce virgins should marry them and pay the bride price. Sorceresses are not tolerated among God’s people. Sexual relations with animals are forbidden. Sacrifices should be made only to God. Treat foreigners kindly. Show compassion to orphans and widows. Do not charge interest on loans. Avoid blasphemy. Be generous with offerings. The firstborn belong to God. Do not eat meat killed by wild animals.

Key verses:
22-23 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, 

My thoughts:
God is deeply concerned with justice for the poor and needy, always defending the oppressed. Often, modern evangelical Christians focus heavily on church numbers and recitations of the sinner’s prayer, neglecting God’s desire for justice for the oppressed.

Most of the laws in this chapter are grounded in common sense, except that freedom of religion does not apply to God’s chosen people. Being a Jew was less about race or nationality and more about devotion to God alone. One had to be devoted solely to Yahweh (God) to be part of His people, a concept that differs from modern national identities.

Another unusual aspect for contemporary times is the prohibition of charging interest on loans. God recognized the trap interest posed for the needy and rejected its practice.

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