If you ask someone for something and they give it to you, are you stealing?

SAB appears to believe so.


The verses for discussion are these:

Exodus 3:22 – But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour … and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

Exodus 11:2 – Let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver and jewels of gold.

Exodus 12:35-36 – And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians … and they spoiled the Egyptians.

The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible would have you believe that this is a case of theft. But it is not.

The Hebrew word translated as borrow is this one:


The word’s meaning is explicit – it means to ask or beg for something. In certain tenses, it means to ask and have had it given to you. It never means steal. Every possible meaning of the word necessitates asking.

Why would such extreme requests be successful? And is it fair to accuse the SAB of lying for making assumptions about a vague translation?

The answer to both questions is found in Exodus 3:21 – the verse before the first verse given by SAB.

“And I’ll put this people’s favor in Egypt’s eyes; and it will be, when you go, you won’t go empty-handed.”

They were so helpful because God put favor for them in the eyes of the Hebrews. Why would God put favor in Egypt’s eyes for the sake of theft? Egypt’s opinion wouldn’t matter for theft. Egypt’s opinion being favorable matters because they are making a request, which they want to be successful. Since we know the author of the SAB read this verse, the only conclusion that can be drawn is dishonesty.

Wow, this post is so short O.o

Let’s go ahead and look at the other two verses (skipping Wisdom because I do not consider it scripture and do not know as much about it).

Ezekiel 39:10 – They shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robben them, saith the Lord God.

Nahum 2:9 – Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.

Before I address either of these individually, friendly reminder that predicting something and condoning it are not inherently the same thing. God saying X will happen is not the same as God saying X SHOULD happen. These are only two verses and this only applies to one of them, but it is important as a general principle so I am throwing it out there anyway.

Say you’re in school and a bully takes your lunch money.

If you take it back, are you guilty of theft? SAB’s interpretation of the Ezekiel passage. This prediction (not command) centers around Israel taking things back from the people who had robbed them. This is not the same as ethically condoning theft.

The Nahum verse is the prophet Nahum prophesying against Ninevah, declaring its destruction. His characterization of the plundering is not him actually ordering people to plunder. And even if he was, the people being plundered are dead. So it isn’t really theft.

In conclusion, there are no verses in the Protestant Old Testament left to support the idea that the Bible condones theft

No doubt my answers raised more questions about the nature of what constitutes a just war and why Nahum and Ezekiel would prophesy such things against these nations in the first place, but that is a discussion for a different time and not relevant to the topic of the Biblical stance on theft. When I write a post about war in the Bible somewhere I will edit in a link in this post.


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