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Oh To Be Wise Meditations

You shall not steal. You must not defraud your neighbor or rob him. You must not withhold until morning the wages due a hired hand. Kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves. You must not steal. You must not lie or deceive one another.

If you steal an ox and slaughter or sell it, you must replace it with five oxen; if you steal a sheep and slaughter it or sell it, you must replace it with four sheep. If anyone catches a thief breaking in and hits him so that he dies, he is not guilty of murder. But if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of murder. Suppose a neighbor asks you to keep some silver or other valuables, and they are stolen from your house. If the thief is caught, the thief must repay double. If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house must be brought to God to find out whether or not he took his neighbor's valuables. "A thief must make up for what he has stolen. If he is unable to do so, he must be sold [as a slave] to pay for what he stole. If someone steals an ox or a donkey or a sheep and it is found in the thief’s possession, then the thief must pay double the value of the stolen animal. Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. If you take part in a crime you are your worst enemy, because even under oath you can't tell the truth. Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. "Stolen water is sweeter. Stolen bread tastes better." But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave. The food you get by cheating may taste delicious, but it turns to gravel. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

Meditate Ex. 20:15



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