If A Thief Be Found Breaking Up…

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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“My grandson and I were talking about all the thieves that steal packages from people’s porches, and that made me think of Exodus 22:2,3. Can you explain those verses?”

“If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution….”

If you killed a man back then, your blood had to be shed for him (Gen. 9:6). But there were Biblical exceptions, such as in cases of manslaughter (Num. 35:9-11). Another exception arose if a homeowner killed a thief he found “breaking” into his home in the dark of night. That’s considered “justifiable homicide” even in our own day, for you don’t know if a midnight intruder is there to merely steal your possessions, or if he came to kill you, rape your wife, or kidnap your children.

But if a thief broke into a Hebrew’s home and dropped some form of incriminating identification while robbing him, and he hunted him down and killed him after “the sun be risen upon him” the next day, that’s different. In such a case, the homeowner’s blood “shall be shed for him,” for that was an act of vengeance, not justice, and vengeance belongs to the Lord (Rom. 12:19). In a case like that, justice was supposed to be served by forcing the man to make “restitution” of what he stole instead.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

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