There are three cases of multiple restitution set out in Scripture. First, if a man steals an ox, signifying a revolutionary attack upon authority which entails the destruction of property, he must pay five-fold (Exo. 22:1). Second, if a man steals a sheep, signifying the use of power to oppress and rob the poor, he must pay four-fold (Exo. 22:2). Third, if a man steals food, the punishment is seven-fold restitution (Prov. 6:30f.). This is a law of Solomon the king, so it is a valid case law. The poor are taken care of under God's law by the tithe (Deut. 14:28f.), by gleaning laws (Lev. 19:9f.; Ruth 2:1ff.), by the sabbath year elimination of debt (Deut. 15:1-6), by prohibition of interest on charity loans (Lev. 25:35ff.), and by other provisions (Lev. 25:39ff.). Thus, the poor man who steals is actively despising grace, not simply breaking the law. He actively spits in the face of God and His provisions. Note, however, that these laws go together. Christians should hardly be working to reinstate seven-fold restitution without also working to reinstate the other poor laws as well!
Topics: Land Ownership/Regulation - Farming -Gleaning, Lending - Debt Elimination, Lending - Interest, Penology - Monetary Damages
Land Ownership/Regulation - Farming -Gleaning|Lending - Debt Elimination|Lending - Interest|Penology - Monetary Damages|