Read Exodus 22, Job 40, and Luke 4. This devotional is about Exodus 22.
God gave Israel two kinds of laws:
- Apodictic laws are broad principles like everything in the 10 commandments: “Do not lie, steal, etc.). These laws typically take the form of “You shall” or “you shall not.”
- Casuistic laws are case laws. These laws apply the principles spelled out in the apodictic law. These laws typically take the form of “if…, then.”
After God gave the apodictic laws known as the 10 commandments in Exodus 20, he began giving Moses a series of case (or casuistic) laws. These are recorded in Exodus 21-23.
Here in Exodus 22, then, we read some specific cases where God applied his laws to Israel. In Exodus 20 God gave the apodictic law, “Do not steal.” Here in Exodus 22, that law is applied. If someone were to steal, God required them to pay restitution. This is because God is a just God. If we want to live righteously as the people of God, we must be prepared to compensate others if we rob them of their property. This is true whether we rob them directly and intentionally (v. 1) or whether we do it through carelessness (v. 6). If we accidentally scratch someone else’s car, our desire to live a righteous life calls us to own up to what we did and to pay for the damage.
Have you ever thought about the ways in which God’s general commands might apply in more specific situations? Have you damaged or deprived someone of property without compensating them?