Date:         Thu, 20 Apr 1995 10:43:39 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      Catechism, 13
  Q: Which is the eighth commandment?
  A: The eighth commandment is, "Thou shalt not steal".
  In the  two previous commandments is cared for  the life and the chastity
  of the people, and in this eighth commandment is cared for the livelihood
  through the outward  goods, by which the  men must be maintained  in this
  life. Therefore, in  this commandment is  commanded that men  may not  do
  injustice towards each other, but  they must righteously obtain them, and
  expend them  properly. Also  this commandment  is put  in the  form of  a
  prohibition, so we must pay attention to 1. what is required, and 2. what
  is forbidden here. This is done in the next two questions and answers.
  Q: What is required in the eighth commandment?
  A: The  eighth commandment requireth the lawful  procuring and furthering
  the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.
  The answer  says that  we ought  to procure  and further  the wealth  and
  outward estate of  both ourselves and others. Now, most of the people try
  to procure wealth  for themselves, but we ought  this to do also  for the
  others. Doing  this for others,  we see it  seldom. And when we  help the
  others,  we hope  to  have  also some  advantage  for ourselves.  Several
  virtues are required in us.
  - Righteousness. We must be fair in our business. Even when we think that
  nobody notices it when we favour  ourselves at the expense of others,  in
  an unrighteous  way. Even in the darkness, so  to speak, when nobody sees
  us, we must  be righteous.  "Provide things  honest in the  sight of  all
  men." (Romans 12:17)
  - Contentment. We must  be content with the estate of life, which we have
  gotten of God. Let we be content with that what we now have in goods, and
  avoid being greedy to unnecessary things. "Be content with such things as
  ye have: for  he hath said, I  will never leave thee,  nor forsake thee."
  (Hebrews 13:5)
  - Allegiance.  Being faithful means  that we try  to prevent the  harm of
  other's goods, that we fulfill  our job as it  is fitting, and other  the
  like things. "His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful
  servant:  thou hast  been faithful over  a few  things, I will  make thee
  ruler over many  things: enter thou into  the joy of thy  lord." (Matthew
  - Mildness, in order that we give to the needy, as is reasonable. That we
  do so, even  when it is  not our duty.  "Thou shalt surely give  him, and
  thine heart shall not be grieved when  thou givest unto him: because that
  for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in
  all that thou puttest thine hand unto." (Deuteronomy 15:10)
  - Hospitality. This is a sort of mildness, whereby we receive the guests,
  and give them what they need. "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry,
  and that thou bring  the poor that are cast out  to thy house? when  thou
  seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from
  thine own flesh? (Isaiah 58:7)
  - Thrift. We ought to avoid unnecessary expenses, so that we can help the
  people  when the need is there. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and
  ye shall  not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16) "And let us
  not be weary in well doing: for  in due season we shall reap, if we faint
  not." (Galatians 6:9)
  - Moderation. We will expend our  goods well and usefully for the  things
  which are  necessary and useful. "Young  men likewise exhort to  be sober
  minded." (Titus 2:6)
  Q: What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
  A: The  eighth commandment  forbiddeth  whatsoever doth  or may  unjustly
  hinder our own or our neighbour's wealth or outward estate.
  This  commandment  forbids  every  unjust  hinder  of  the  prosperity of
  ourselves and  the other  people. We, of  course, will care  that nothing
  hinders our own well-being,  but it happens seldom that we  care for that
  of our neighbour's. Several crimes are contained in this ban on stealing.
  - Stealing  itself.  This is  the unjustly  taking away  of things  which
  belong to another. Other forms are to  robbery of the sanctuary, which we
  do  when we give too  little to the  service of God.  Stealing of people.
  "And he that  stealeth a man, and selleth  him, or if he  be found in his
  hand, he shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:16)
  - Unjust dealing.  Some rob the other  under the appearance of  right, or
  any other  deceiving appearance. "That  no man go beyond  and defraud his
  brother in any matter: because that the Lord  is the avenger of all such,
  as we also have forewarned  you and testified." (1 Thessalonians 4:6) The
  government can sin in this, when they  oppress the innocent: "Thy princes
  are rebellious,  and companions of  thieves: every one  loveth gifts, and
  followeth after rewards: they judge  not the fatherless, neither doth the
  cause of the widow come unto them." (Isaiah 1:23) We can also deceive and
  rob our neighbour using false  money and measures. Some sell materials of
  bad quality  for a good  price, which is  also stealing. Another  sort is
  when we ask too much interest, when we lend some money.
  - Abuse. We can be thieves of our own  property, namely when we abuse it.
  Two forms can  be mentioned here. First  miserliness, and secondly waste.
  The miserliness is the root of all evil, like the apostle  said: "For the
  love of money is  the root of all  evil: which while some coveted  after,
  they have erred from the faith, and  pierced themselves through with many
  sorrows." (1  Timothy 6:10) The miser robs himself  and the others of the
  use of the goods,  which God has given them to  employ for the benefit of
  himself and his neighbour. The waster also robs himself and his neighbour
  of  the use  of the  good. For  he never  has any,  and  what he  has, he
  dissipates. "Ye that  put far away  the evil day,  and cause the  seat of
  violence  to  come  near;  That  lie  upon  beds  of  ivory, and  stretch
  themselves upon their  couches, and eat the  lambs out of the  flock, and
  the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant  to the sound of the
  viol, [and] invent  to themselves instruments of  music, like David; That
  drink wine in bowls, and  anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but
  they are not grieved  for the affliction of  Joseph. Therefore now  shall
  they go captive with the first  that go captive, and the banquet of  them
  that stretched  themselves shall  be removed."  (Amos 6:3-7)  The prophet
  punishes the waste of the chiefs of the nation. They lie at rest, but are
  not grieved for the affliction  of the citizens. Therefore now shall they
  go captive.
  When we read this eighth  commandment cursorily, maybe, we feel ourselves
  not  a  transgressor.  But when  we  study  it more,  and  also  read the
  explanation of this  commandment in the Scriptures. we  get a better idea
  of the requirements of it. When we then the required and forbidden things
  lay beside  our  lives, and  we compere  these,  we become  the  greatest
  sinners; I mean, when we are not utterly blind.
     Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament
              Editor: Teus Benschop  -
                      No copyrights on this publication
            Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands
     End of Catechism, 13

file: /pub./resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-013.txt