The Ten Principles for America
The Eighth Commandment
“You shall not steal”. It is interesting that the Jewish Sages explain this prohibition of you shall not steal, in accordance with the Supreme Court (Sanhedrin) of the nation, as a prohibition against kidnapping. They expound that this prohibition is specifically there for only one type of a thief; a kidnapper that forces his victim to work for him and/or sells him into slavery. The reason for this is derived from the method of interpretation that relies on the context of the previous passages. Since one who violates the previous prohibitions and commandments within this verse; murder and adultery is according to the law, liable to the death penalty. Therefore, do not steal, must involve such a capital offense as well. Only such a theft as in the case of kidnapping is in line with the above. The bible deals with “ordinary” thieves elsewhere in Leviticus (19:11). As we have dealt with the subjects previously in our commentaries on the Ten Commandments, this prohibition of stealing compares perfectly with the third commandment on the first tablet because one who steals may seek to cover his tracks by swearing falsely and to take the name of God in vain.
You shall not steal also alludes to many forms of behavior that are related to stealing as well. Even failure to respond to ones greeting is a theft of a fellow mans self respect and to win someone’s gratitude or respect by way of deceit is too, a form of thievery.
The commandment: you shall not steal is a practical law, with out it civil society could not function. Amazingly, even this commandment is not taken seriously and the detriment to society from breaking this commandment is as follows. In a recent United States Department of Commerce study, the following was revealed: