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Exodus 22:3 English Standard Version

but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

New International Version

but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed. "Anyone who steals must certainly make restitution, but if they have nothing, they must be sold to pay for their theft.

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  • Trick Question? :) Neither of the ESV or NIV translations is correct, since they are translating Exodus 22:2 not Exodus 22:3. * Also - The conjunction "but" (Va-) is not included in the Hebrew [MT]. * Shemot 22:2 [MT] begins with "If" (Im, אִם). – חִידָה Sep 10 '20 at 16:38
  • biblehub.com/exodus/22-3.htm – Tony Chan Sep 10 '20 at 16:57
  • I don't perceive any meaningful difference. Could you stipulate more clearly what exactly it is that you have in mind ? – Lucian Sep 10 '20 at 19:06
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    I agree - what is the problem you have between these two versions. They convey the same meaning to me. – Dottard Sep 10 '20 at 22:06
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The NIV translation gives a clearer explanation of the meaning. Verse 3 relates to verse 2 where a thief who breaks in at night is caught, and if the thief is struck so that he dies, then there is no bloodguilt on the defender of the property. If it happens after sunrise and the thief is struck so that he dies, then the defender of the property is guilty of bloodshed. That is because the law provides for the restitution of stolen property, “but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft.”

Kill the thief during daylight hours, when he can be identified, then there is no restitution possible.

It’s not that the ESV translation is wrong – it simply isn’t as clear.

Having said that, the ESV runs more true to the New King James translation which shows additional English words in italics:

Exodus 22:3 New King James Version: If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

I'm not sure if that answers your question to your satisfaction, but I'm struggling to spot any subtle nuances between the ESV and the NIV.

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  • +1 Thanks for the clarification. I still have a bit of trouble with it. "Anyone who steals must certainly make restitution, but if they have nothing, they must be sold to pay for their theft." But the defender didn't steal. How is this applied to the defender? – Tony Chan Dec 22 '20 at 16:34
  • My understanding is that the rule about making restitution applies to the thief, not the defender. But if the thief is apprehended and is not killed, then what is there to make restitution for? Unless for damage caused? Hmmm... One thing is clear - it is unlawful for the householder to kill the would-be-thief if he is caught in daylight hours. That's why I think the NIV is easier to understand - if the defender kills the thief the defender is guilty of unlawful bloodshed. – Lesley Dec 22 '20 at 16:45
  • Thanks. At least that makes some sense. – Tony Chan Dec 22 '20 at 16:49

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