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Harmony of the Law - Volume 3
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Exodus 21

Exodus 21:33-36

33. And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein;

33. Quum aperuerit quis cisternam, vel foderit quis cisternam, et non cooperuerit eam: cecideritque illuc bos vel asinus:

34. The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.

34. Dominns cisternae reddet pecuniam, et restituet domino ejus: et quod mortuum est, erit illius.

35. And if one man’s ox hurt another’s, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide.

35. Si percusserit bos alicujus bovem proximi sui, mortuusque fuerit, tunc vendet bovem vivum, et partientur pretium ejus: mortuum quoque partientur.

36. Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.

36. Quod si notum fuerit bovem esse cornupetam ab heri et nudiustertius, et non custodierit eum dominus ejus, reddendo reddet bovem pro bove, et mortuus erit illius.

 

33. And if a man shall open a pit He enumerates still more cases of damage inflicted, in which restitution is to be demanded of the person who gave occasion for the occurrence. First, it is said, If a man shall open a pit, or cistern, and not cover it, and an animal shall fall into it, he is bound to pay its value; and justly, since his carelessness approaches to actual guilt. Here, again, we see how God would have all men to be anxious for their neighbor’s advantage; yet, inasmuch as there was no fraud or malice in the case, he is permitted, after paying its price, to appropriate the carcass to himself. But, if one man’s ox should be killed by another’s, a most just appointment is made, viz., that, if it happened unexpectedly, and by sudden accident, they should divide the dead ox between them, and, having sold the other, each should take half the price; but if the ox was a savage one, that its owner should undergo a greater penalty by paying its full price; because he ought to have anticipated the mischief, and thus was scarcely so kind as he should have been, giving occasion to the injury.

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