The Ten Principles for America
Dr. Ron Wexler

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:

  1. Employee and workers dishonesty and stealing cost U.S businesses an average of 90 billion dollars per year,
  2. According to the U.S Justice Department insider theft is growing at a rate of 15% annually,
  3. Employee theft amounts to 5% of food sales at a loss to employers in excess of 8.5 billion dollars per year,
  4. The National Restaurant Association reports that 75% of inventory shortages are attributed to employee theft,
  5. Employee theft is estimated at 5% of a companies gross sales (Even if the figure was only 1%, it would still have meant that employees steal 1 billion dollars per week from their employers),
  6. Studies show that one of each three employees will steal from their employer. We live in a sick society when stealing from our fellow man becomes so predictable and dishonesty is on the rampage. God’s instructions concerning thievery are very clear, what God gives to other people is theirs and only theirs. So important is this principle, that God made sure that you shall not steal, is one of the Ten Commandments given by Him. God emphatically stated to mankind not to take that which belongs to someone else. Since we have learned in the word of God that all things belong to God then to steal from our fellow man is to take something that God has given to someone else. Thus, stealing from our fellow man equates to stealing from God.


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