"I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart." Psalm 119:32
Text: Exodus 22 : 12-15
RESTITUTION OR NO RESTITUTION?
The judges would need all the wisdom they could find to try some of the cases. While the law provided for restitution, there would also be occasions when some would try, by defrauding, to take advantage.
“But if, in fact, it is stolen from him,
he shall make restitution to the owner of it.
If it is torn to pieces by a beast, then he shall bring it
as evidence, and he shall not make good what was torn.”
1. If an entrusted animal is stolen
The person who has promised to look after his friend’s animals must ensure that proper care be given. Security must rank high. If an animal is stolen, because there has not been adequate security provided, restitution must be made!
2. If an entrusted animal is eaten by wild beasts
Security must be provided. However, if an animal is attacked by wild beasts, and it dies, no restitution would be required. The person who is caring for the animals of his friend is not expected to risk his life, battling wild beasts! Of course, evidence must be shown. If indeed an animal is torn by wild beasts, there would be remains that could be produced as evidence!
THE KEY WORD – RESPONSIBILITY!
The person who offers to look after the animals of his friend is to exercise great responsibility at all times! He cannot say that he is doing his friend a big favour, as if that would excuse him from being irresponsible!
BORROWING AND HIRING THINGS
The Law also provided for situations when people either borrow or hire things. What happens when something goes wrong?
“And if a man borrows anything from his neighbour,
and it becomes injured or dies, the owner of it not being with it,
he shall surely make it good. If its owner was with it, he shall not
make it good; if it was hired, it came for his hire.”
A neighbour may borrow a work animal to help with his chores. If the animal is injured, he has to “make good”. If the animal dies, he has to make restitution. Who knows if he had pushed the animal to work too hard? However, if the owner of the animal was present, and could see that there was no abuse, then no restitution may be demanded. If animals were hired, then the terms of agreement for the hire would be adhered to!