Protecting Victims

followFollow Me: Law[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 20:15; 22:1-4[2]

God had more to say about stealing than “You shall not steal.” The consequences he imposed compensated the inconvenience to the victim. The judgments deal primarily with animals but we will consider more generic aspects in a quest to understand God.

If a man steals and the item cannot be restored he must restore more than he took – five oxen for an ox or four sheep for a sheep. If the theft takes place at night, and the thief is killed, no one is guilty of murder. If the theft takes place during the day, killing the thief will not be excused. If the thief is caught with the property in hand he must restore double. A thief can be sold to repay his debt.

I have suffered at the hands of thieves on several occasions. I have been compensated once. A friend of my sons decided to snoop around my bed room while my son was in the shower. He found a jar where we kept cash my husband made from a side job. The friend was gone when I discovered the theft and questioned my son. Circumstances pointed to the friend, but could not be proved.

Fearful his friend would get in trouble, my son asked me not to call the police. I explained that I was not the cause of trouble. His friend, if guilty, caused his own trouble when he took what did not belong to him. The police informed me, if the thief were caught he could spend three years in jail, but said nothing about restitution. The friend was summoned and questioned. He denied knowledge of the theft, and that would have been the end of the matter since nothing could be proved.

After the police and friend departed, we prayed for the friend. Early the next morning my son’s friend returned with tears streaming down his face. He admitted the theft and that he already spent the money. He gave me one of his most prized possessions to compensate. I told him that his repentance was enough and forgave the debt. He insisted that I take the only thing he had of value to repay us for the theft. Accepting the item was the only way to free him from the guilt causing his emotion distress. I sold the item and made a $50 profit.

The profit fell short of God’s judgment. If we lived under God’s law, he would have owed me five or four times what he took since he had already disposed of the item. That seems a little harsh, but that is the difference between the man and God. God protects the victim. The culture I live in does more to protect the guilty than the victim. If we had pursued charges against the friend, I doubt he would have spent any time in an already overcrowded jail for a minor offence. He would have gotten a slap on the hand, and I would have got nothing.

[1] In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul warns us that the things that happened in the wilderness were recorded as a warning to the church because Moses preached the same gospel about Jesus that was preached after Jesus resurrection. For this reason Israel/Jacob will be called the church in this series.

[2] All Scripture is from the NKJ Bible unless otherwise noted.

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of Southern Christian Writers, a freelance writer and author of three books.
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