"I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me your statutes." Psalm 119:26
Text: Exodus 22 : 7-8
ENTRUSTING VALUABLE THINGS TO FRIENDS
At times, people may have to travel from one place to another. (Perhaps it is to visit an ailing relative. It might also be for business reasons, or even for marriage). What does one do when travel plans must be made? In the early days, it was not uncommon practice to entrust valuable things to friends. People were known to have entrusted money and family treasures to “trusted friends”. But what happens when the traveler returns and he is told by his friend that his goods had been stolen.
“If a man delivers to his neighbour money or articles to keep,
and it is stolen out of the man’s house, if the thief is found,
he shall pay double.”
It might well be true that the entrusted goods were stolen! Smart thieves would take note of houses that are worth robbing!
2. Investigation of the theft
The victim may appeal for justice to be done. The court (Investigative role added to the judicial one) must do its utmost to find the thief.
3. Twofold restitution
If the culprit is found, the law stipulates that he must pay back “double” to the rightful owner!
LEAVING NO STONES UNTURNED
The court must have discerning officers of the law. Perhaps there really wasn’t a thief. What if the “friend” had attempted to steal the valuable objects entrusted to him? Perhaps, he had been covetous. Perhaps, he had stolen his friend’s goods, and then went on to make up a story about thieves!
“If the thief is not found, then the master of the house
shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put
his hand into his neighbour’s goods.”
1. Provision of the Law
The “trusted friend” cannot protest when he is examined by the court of law! The courts of Israel had this provision in the judicial system! Even “trusted friends” may have to be interrogated to search for the truth!
2. Integrity Needed
If the “trusted friend” indeed possesses great integrity, then he has nothing to fear at all. He must not mind being “examined” by the courts of law. He must not take such procedures too personally. There need not be “bad blood” between two truly good friends, even if investigation is under way! The Law must be upheld with impartiality!