The Ten Commandments — #09 YOU SHALL NOT STEAL

Geoff Hohneck
The Ten Commandments
You Shall Not Steal
Exodus 201:15
30 April 2017

The 8th commandment protects the rightful ownership of property, which God has given to another. To steal, then, is to denigrate fellow man, and deny God's providence.

The scope of this commandment: it means that God has given the right for man to own property. This command then carries with it the responsibility to respect what God has given others. The right to property is not to be withstood in any way by another.

The positive principles of this command: we should work to provide for our needs. Proverbs 13:11 says that "wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but one who gathers by labour multiplies it." Second, that an attitude of giving should replace an attitude of taking. By working, we are benefiting our fellow man, rather than relying on benefits. In labour, we can also have wealth to share with those in need. Third, we are to be content with all that God in Christ has provided for us (2 Pet. 1:3). If we do not seek our contentedness in God, then we will seek it from the world.

The negative prohibitions of this command are passive and active stealing. To steal actively is to rob others of their property by force or deceit, such as robbery. To steal passively can be more subtle, such as failing to return lost property, or allowing a fire to burn another man's field (Ex. 22). Both are failing to respect property God has given.

May we be satisfied with all that God has given us, and respect what He has given others.