Biblical Principle #261: Law’s Penalty for Wrongful Taking

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Under the Law of Moses, God prescribed the penalty for an Israelite who wrongfully took another’s property.


In the Law of Moses, we read:

5 Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘When a man or woman commits one of the sins that humans commit, and actually disregards a neighbor, that soul has committed a trespass. 7 Then he shall confess openly the sin he committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in the capital amount, plus one-fifth of it, and repay the one he wronged. 8 But if the man has no close relative to make restitution on his behalf for the trespass, the restitution for the wrong shall go to the Lord for the priest, in addition to the ram of the atonement with which atonement is made for him. 9 Every offering that is sanctified among the children of Israel, which they bring to the Lord for the priest, shall be his. 10 So the sanctified offerings of each man shall be his; whatever any man gives the priest shall be his.’”

Numbers 5:5-10 OSB

In addition to returning what had been stolen or taken, the taker had to pay a 20% fine for their crime.

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