28 “When an ox gores a man or a woman, and death occurs, the ox should be stoned, and its meat should not be eaten, but the owner of the ox will not be liable. 29 But if the ox has been given to goring in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept watch over it, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox should be stoned, and its owner also should be put to death. 30 If a redemption price is set for him, then he should give for the redemption of his life whatever is set for him. 31 If it gores a man’s son or daughter, he should be dealt with according to this same rule. 32 If the ox gores a servant, male or female, the owner shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox should be stoned. 33 “When a man opens a pit, or when a man digs a pit but does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit should make restoration. He should give money to its owner, and the dead animal will be his. 35 “When one man’s ox butts another’s, so that it dies, then they should sell the live ox and share its price, and the dead beast also they shall share. 36 Or if it is known that the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not kept watch over it, he should repay ox for ox, and the dead animal will be his.
covenant household property loss compensation rights
Work animals were essential in the agrarian society of the Hebrews. These rules gave instruction to the judges who had to decide what was proper compensation for the injury or loss of someone’s work animal. These rules came from the heart of a God who cared about the everyday lives of his people. He was not just concerned about their worship, or even their interpersonal relationships. He spoke into their everyday lives. He met them where they were. There was nothing more practical for a wandering Israelite than the protection of his animals. One of the lies that the Israelites would hear over and over in Canaan was that the LORD was not interested in their everyday life, so that is why they needed to worship Baal – because he promised fertile animals and full crops! The book of the covenant was the LORD’s answer to that lie. He cares about every aspect of our lives.
LORD, thank you for caring about our practical needs. We come to you today sharing the needs we have, trusting you to give us that daily bread.