Exodus Chapter 22 to 23 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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22 “How should you punish a man who steals a bull or a sheep? If the man kills the animal or sells it, then he can’t give it back. So he must pay five bulls for the one he stole. Or, he must pay four sheep for the one he stole. He must pay for stealing. 2–4If he owns nothing, then he will be sold as a slave. But if the man still has the animal and you find it, then that man must give the owner two animals for every animal he stole. It doesn’t matter if the animal was a bull or a donkey or a sheep. “If a thief is killed while trying to break into a house {at night}, then no one will be guilty for killing him. But if this happens during the day, then the person who killed him will be guilty {of murder}. 5“A man might start a fire in his field or vineyard. If he lets the fire spread and it burns his neighbor’s field or vineyard, then he must use his best crops to pay his neighbor for his loss.* 6“A man might start a fire to burn thorn bushes on his field. But if the fire grows and burns his neighbor’s crops or the grain growing on the neighbor’s field, then the man that started the fire must pay for the things he burned. 7“A man might ask a neighbor to keep some money or other things for him in his neighbor’s house. What should you do if that money or those things are stolen from the neighbor’s house? You should try to find the thief. If you find the thief, then he must pay twice as much as the things are worth. 8But if you can’t find the thief, then God will judge if the owner of the house is guilty. The owner of the house must go before God, and God will decide if the person stole something. 9“What should you do if two men disagree about a bull or a donkey or sheep or clothing or something that is lost. One man says, ‘This is mine,’ and the other says, ‘No, it is mine.’ Both men should go before God. God will decide who is guilty. The person who was wrong must pay the other man twice as much as the thing is worth. 10“A person might ask his neighbor to take care of an animal for a short time. It might be a donkey or a bull or a sheep. But what should you do if that animal is hurt or dies or someone takes the animal while no one is looking? 11That neighbor must explain that he did not steal the animal. If this is true, then the neighbor will promise to the Lord that he did not steal it. The owner of the animal must accept this promise. The neighbor does not have to pay the owner for the animal. 12But if the neighbor stole the animal, then he must pay the owner for the animal. 13If wild animals killed the animal, then the neighbor should bring the body as proof. The neighbor will not have to pay the owner for the animal that was killed. 14“If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, he is responsible for that thing. If an animal is hurt, or if the animal dies, then the neighbor must pay the owner for the animal. The neighbor is responsible, because the owner was not there himself. 15But if the owner was there with the animal, then the neighbor does not have to pay. Or, if the neighbor was paying money to use the animal for work, then he will not have to pay if the animal dies or is hurt. The money he paid to use the animal will be enough payment. 16“If a man has sexual relations with a pure young woman who is not married,* then he must marry her. And he must pay her father the full dowry.* 17If the father refuses to allow his daughter to marry him, then the man must still pay the money. He must pay the full amount for her. 18“You must not allow any woman to do evil magic. If she does magic, then you must not let her live. 19“You must not allow any person to have sexual relations with an animal. If this happens, then that person must be killed. 20“If any person makes a sacrifice* to a false god, then that person should be destroyed. The Lord God is the only one you should make sacrifices to. 21“Remember, in the past you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. So you should not cheat or hurt any person who is a foreigner in your land. 22“You must never do anything bad to women whose husbands are dead or to children without parents. 23If you do anything wrong to those widows or orphans, then I will know it. I will hear about their suffering. 24And I will be very angry. I will kill you with a sword. Then your wives will become widows. And your children will become orphans. 25“If one of my people is poor, and you lend him money, then you must not charge him for that money. And you must not force him to pay you quickly. 26Someone might give you his coat as a promise that he will pay you the money he owes you. But you must give that coat back to him before the sun goes down. 27If that person doesn’t have his coat, then he will have nothing to cover his body. He will get cold in his sleep. And if he cries to me, I will hear him. I will listen, because I am kind. 28“You must not curse* God or the leaders of your people. 29“At harvest time you should give me the first grain and the first juice from your fruit. Don’t wait until late in the year. “Give me your firstborn* sons. 30Also, give me your firstborn cattle and sheep. Let the firstborn stay with its mother for seven days. Then on the eighth day, give him to me. 31“You are my special people. So don’t eat the meat from something that was killed by wild animals. Let the dogs eat that dead animal.

A man … loss Or, “5A man might let his animal graze in his field or vineyard. If the animal wanders into another person’s field or vineyard, then the owner must pay. The payment must come from the best of his crop.” married Or, “engaged.” In ancient Israel, many of the rules concerning an engaged woman were the same as the rules for a married woman. dowry The money a man gave the father of the bride so the man could marry the woman. sacrifice(s) A gift to God. Usually, it was a special animal that was killed and burned on an altar. curse To say bad things about someone or to ask for bad things to him. firstborn The first child born in a family. The firstborn son was very important in ancient times.

23 “Don’t tell lies against other people. If you are a witness in court, then don’t agree to help a bad person tell lies. 2“Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. If a group of people are doing wrong, don’t join them. You must not let those people persuade you to do wrong things—you must do what is right and fair. 3“If a poor man is being judged, sometimes people will support him because they feel sorry for him. You must not do that. {Support him only if he is right.} 4“If you see a lost bull or donkey, then you must return it to its owner. You must do this even if the owner is your enemy. 5“If you see an animal that can’t walk because it has too much to carry, you must stop and help that animal. You must help that animal even if it belongs to one of your enemies. 6“You must not let people be unfair to a poor man. He must be judged the same as any other person. 7“Be very careful if you say that a person is guilty of something. Don’t make false charges against a person. Never allow an innocent person to be killed as punishment for something he did not do. Any person who kills an innocent man is evil, and I will not pardon (forgive) that person. 8“If a person tries to pay you to agree with him when he is wrong, don’t accept that payment. A payment like that can blind judges so that they can’t see the truth. And a payment like that can make good people tell lies. 9“You must never do wrong things to a foreigner. Remember, at one time you were also foreigners when you lived in the land of Egypt.

The Special Holidays

10“Plant seeds, harvest your crops, and work the ground for six years. 11But the seventh year, don’t use your land. {The seventh year must be a special time of rest for the land.} Don’t plant anything in your fields. If any crops grow there, then allow the poor people to have it. And allow the wild animals to eat the food that is left. You should do the same with your vineyards and with your fields of olive trees. 12“Work for six days. Then on the seventh day, rest! This will allow your slaves and other workers a time for rest and relaxation. And your bulls and donkeys will also have a time of rest. 13“Be sure that you obey all these laws. Don’t worship false gods. You should not even speak their names! 14“You will have three special holidays each year. On these holidays, you will come to my special place to worship me. 15The first holiday will be the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This is like I commanded you. At this time you will eat bread that is made without yeast. This will continue for seven days. You will do this during the month of Abib,* because this is the time when you came out of Egypt. Every person must bring a sacrifice to me at that time. 16“The second holiday will be the Festival of Pentecost. This holiday will be {during the early summer time} when you begin harvesting the crops you planted in your fields. “The third holiday will be the Festival of Shelters.* This will be in the fall* when you gather all the crops from your fields. 17“So three times each year all the men will come {to the special place} to be with the Lord your Master. 18“When you kill an animal and offer its blood as a sacrifice,* you must not offer bread that has yeast in it. {And when you eat the meat from this sacrifice, you must eat all of the meat in one day.} Don’t save any of the meat for the next day. 19“When you gather your crops at harvest time, you should bring the first of everything you harvest to the house* of the Lord your God. “You must not eat the meat from a young goat that is boiled in its mother’s milk.”

God Will Help Israel Take Their Land

20{God said,} “I am sending an angel before you. This angel will lead you to the place that I have prepared for you. The angel will protect you. 21Obey the angel and follow him. Don’t rebel against him. The angel will not forgive the wrong things you do to him. He has my power in him. 22You must obey everything he says. You must do everything that I tell you. If you do this, then I will be with you. I will be against all of your enemies. And I will be an enemy to every person who is against you.” 23{God said,} “My angel will lead you through the land. He will lead you against many different people—the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I will defeat all of those people. 24“Don’t worship the gods of those people. Don’t ever bow down to those gods. You must never live the way those people live. You must destroy their idols.* And you must break the stones that help them remember their gods.* 25You must serve the Lord your God. If you do this, I will bless you with plenty of bread and water. I will take away all sickness from you. 26Your women will all be able to have babies. None of their babies will die at birth. And I will allow you to live long lives. 27“When you fight against your enemies, I will send my great power before you.* I will help you defeat all your enemies. The people that are against you will become confused in battle and run away. 28I will send the hornet* in front of you. He will force your enemies to leave. The Hivite people, the Canaanite people, and the Hittite people will leave your country. 29But I will not force all those people out of your land quickly. I will not do this in only one year. The land will be empty if I force the people out too fast. Then all the wild animals would increase and control the land. And they would be much trouble for you. 30So I will force those people out of your land very slowly. You will continue to move across the land. And wherever you go I will force the other people to leave. 31“I will give you all the land from the Red Sea to the Euphrates River. The western border will be the Philistine Sea (Mediterranean Sea), and the eastern border will be the Arabian Desert. I will let you defeat the people living there. And you will force all those people to leave. 32“You must not make any agreements with any of those people or their gods. 33Don’t let them stay in your country. If you let them stay, they will be like a trap to you—they will cause you to sin against me. And you will begin worshiping their gods.”

month of Abib Or, “the spring month,” that is, Nisan. This is about March-April. Festival of Shelters Also called “Succoth” and “Feast of Tabernacles.” At this time, the people lived in tents or shelters for seven days to help them remember the time in the Sinai desert. in the fall Literally, “at the end of the year.” This means the end of the growing season. sacrifice(s) A gift to God. Usually, it was a special animal that was killed and burned on an altar. house The “Holy Tent” where the people went to meet with God. See Ex. 25:8,9. idols Statues of false gods that people worshiped. stones that help them remember their gods Or, “memorials.” Here, these were stone markers that people used in worshiping their gods. When you fight … you Or, “News of my power will go before you, and your enemies will be frightened.” hornet A stinging insect like a wasp or bee. This might be a real hornet or it might mean God’s angel or his great power.

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