Oxen and open pits (Ex 21:28-21:36)

“When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten.  But the owner of the ox shall not be liable.  If the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not restrained it, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.  If a ransom is imposed on the owner, then the owner shall pay whatever is imposed for the redemption of the victim’s life. If it gores a boy or girl, the owner shall be dealt with according to this same rule.  If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall pay to the slave owner thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.”

Now we have a long section about the problems of oxen so that they must have been a big deal.  If an ox gores anyone to death, the ox should be stoned, but no one should eat his flesh and the owner is not liable.  It is interesting that they do not cut up the ox.  However, if the ox had a history of goring people and the owner did not do anything, its owner should be put to death.  The owner should pay for the victim’s life.  Boys and girls have the same rule, but slave’s owners get compensated thirty shekels of silver.  Make sure you take good care of your oxen or you could die.

“If someone leave a pit open, or digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution, giving money to its owner, but keeping the dead animal. If someone’s ox hurts the ox of another so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide the price of it.  The dead animal they shall also divide.  But if it was known that the ox was  accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not restrained it, the owner shall restore ox for ox, but keep the dead animal.”

If someone has an open pit and an ox or donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution, giving money to its owner, but keeping the dead animal. If an ox gores another ox and dies, they shall sell the live ox and divide the proceeds.  They also divide the value of the dead animal.  However, it there was a history of goring and the owner did not do anything, then the owner of the goring ox has to restore ox for ox.  Watch your oxen and your open pits.

 

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