KJV Exodus 22 : 4

If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double.

But earlier on in the text it was said that the thief reimburse the owner four or five times depending on what he had stolen which was different from the latter judgement

KJV Exodus 22 : 1

If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

Seeing that the intention was to deprieve the owner of his property whether it was recovered or not, why then do we have different judgements

Why different judgements in the above texts?

1 Answer 1


The situations are different in Ex 22.

V1 - the stolen animals have been slaughtered/killed or sold

In this case, the restitution must consist of giving back 4 or 5 replacement animals

V4 - the stolen animal is still alive

In this case, the restitution must consist in returning the still living animal plus two extra animals; this effectively restores three animals.

The difference is easy to see - in the first place the crime is greater - property has been both stolen and then destroyed - a double crime; in the second case, property is only stolen but then restored. Hence the penalty in the first case is twice as great because of the double crime.

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