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If A Thief Be Found Breaking Up…

“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:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.