Daily Devotions


Day 181

"Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors." Psalm 119:24

Text: Exodus 22 : 5-6


It is all too easy to disclaim responsibility! An individual can claim that his animal got lost and wandered out on its own. Animals being what they are would respond to one of the most powerful of basic instincts – hunger! What happens if an animal strays and grazes in the field of a neighbour?

“If a man causes a field or a vineyard to be grazed,
and lets loose his animal, and it feeds in another man’s field,
he shall make restitution from the best of his own field
and the best of his own vineyard.”

1. Owners held responsible for the movements of their animals

Owners cannot disclaim responsibility for the activities of their animals! The law clearly makes the owner responsible for the movements of his animals. If the animals were loose, he is said to have “caused” it!

2. Loopholes plugged up

The Lord knew the cunning hearts of wicked people! They would try and find “loopholes” even in the laws given by God! Divine law stipulates that owners are fully responsible for the actions of their animals!

3. Restitution must be made

The owner may think that he could get away with misdeed, by claiming that he did not know that his animals had wandered away! Even if that is true, the law still holds him responsible. Restitution must be made! All that the stray animals had eaten must be charged to their owners.

4. Punitive element

The stray animals may have eaten “low quality” food in neighbouring fields. Nevertheless, their owners must pay “from the best of his own field, and the best of his vineyard”. This punitive clause should cause owners to re-think his schemes to get around the laws of God! Attempting to take advantage does not pay!


Another way mischief may occur could be through arson. It is not easy to prove that an act of arson had been committed. The Law of God takes a very dim view of arson!

“If fire breaks out and catches in thorns; so that stacked grain,
standing grain, or the field is consumed, he who kindled the fire
shall surely make restitution.”

The court of law would order an investigation of the cause of fire. If arson is proven, the arsonist would have to make restitution. No one in Israel must think that the courts of the nation are weak and powerless!