Question on Taking for Necessity - The 8th Commandment

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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Good Evening on another abnormal Lord’s Day,

Less than 50 pages left in A practical Exposition of the 10 Commandments by James Durham, from page 302:

6. It is less or more as there is a seeming necessity or none at all and the person stealing; for if the thing is indeed necessary for life, it is not theft. So also if the thing have a general and common allowance among men for its warrant, it is not theft. Thus the disciples plucked the ears of corn which was not theirs and yet we’re not thieves. The sin is gross when in holy things or public things or when things are taken with violence and hazard of life, blood, etc., or when there is great prejudice following it to our neighbor, or when it is more frequently gone about, or when it is under trust, etc.

I guess before hand I would have seen all taking of another’s property as an 8th commandment violation. Trying to mediate on and self reflect more on the 8th as I slowly wade through his book and reminding myself of how great a thief I often can be. Any thoughts?:detective:
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
He's addressing mitigating and aggravating factors. On mitigating to not being stealing at all, think triage where you have an accident and you grab something not yours to save life. Wish he'd been more explicit but that seems to me what he may be thinking of. Maybe longer commentaries go into this? After that, Durham is referring to the Jewish gleaning laws as far as the disciples taking the corn.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
He's addressing mitigating and aggravating factors. On mitigating to not being stealing at all, think triage where you have an accident and you grab something not yours to save life. Wish he'd been more explicit but that seems to me what he may be thinking of. Maybe longer commentaries go into this? After that, Durham is referring to the Jewish gleaning laws as far as the disciples taking the corn.

Do you think the same logic (triage) would apply to the overused Nazi Knocker example and the 9th? :worms:Don’t spoil it for me, but I’m hoping Durham addresses something similar in that chapter, though I think it may be the shortest.

P.S. Very helpful btw, so thanks!
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I don't know; and on this as I say I'm guessing since Durham gives no example and immediately moves to the mitigating factor of common understanding or law like the gleaning law. I would expect Durham to be as strict as puritan commentaries usually are on the ninth and you are right, his lecture on the ninth is extremely short.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
This sort of comment is one of the big reasons I especially enjoyed Durham on the 10 Commandments. There can be a tendency to think of obedience as taking place in a vacuum, and of real submission to the law as involving us giving our hearts and surrendering everything to the abstraction of a formal command. But real obedience takes place in a context where actual persons encounter complications or apparent competition between two principles.

What you could call the fanatical abstraction approach is illustrated by the story about Jewish sabbatarians who allowed themselves to be slaughtered rather than take up arms to defend themselves against attack. You can hear how the argument would go: "fighting is work, work is prohibited, we will honor God by restfully dying rather than dishonor Him by strenuously fighting." In the same way some might say that every unapproved taking of something not yours is theft; but Durham is too wise to fall for that.

An extremely entertaining illustration of the principle can be found in Umberto Eco's essay on one of the problems he faced with accounting for the consumption of a certain class of items when he was in administration at the University of Bologna (in How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays).
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
I don't know; and on this as I say I'm guessing since Durham gives no example and immediately moves to the mitigating factor of common understanding or law like the gleaning law. I would expect Durham to be as strict as puritan commentaries usually are on the ninth and you are right, his lecture on the ninth is extremely short.
Ahhhh..got to it today. Page 329, Line 7 - The Midwives’ Lie

Durham concludes it was still sin, regarding the 9th commandment.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Good Evening on another abnormal Lord’s Day,

Less than 50 pages left in A practical Exposition of the 10 Commandments by James Durham, from page 302:

I guess before hand I would have seen all taking of another’s property as an 8th commandment violation. Trying to mediate on and self reflect more on the 8th as I slowly wade through his book and reminding myself of how great a thief I often can be. Any thoughts?:detective:

In my opinion, the best passage on this subject is Proverbs 6:30‭-‬31
Notice first, that there is such a thing as mitigating circumstances when it comes to theft for the necessities of life. We can all sympathize with somebody who steals to sustain his life.
30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
But notice second, in the verse following that such theft does not excuse one from the penalty of his actions.
31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
I should also add when speaking of gleaning, you are not speaking of pardonable theft but a permissible neighborly benefit.
 
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Kinghezy

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ahhhh..got to it today. Page 329, Line 7 - The Midwives’ Lie

I got to this in Keil and Delizsch. They say (emphasis mine -- there's too much I want to emphasize!):

They succeeded in deceiving the king with this reply, as childbirth is remarkably rapid and easy in the case of Arabian women. God rewarded them for their conduct, and "made them houses," i.e., gave them families and preserved their posterity. In this sense to "make a house" in 2Sa 7:11 is interchanged with to "build a house" in 2Sa 7:27 (vid., Rth 4:11). להם for להן as in Gen 31:9, etc. Through not carrying out the ruthless command of the king, they had helped to build up the families of Israel, and their own families were therefore built up by God. Thus God rewarded them, "not, however, because they lied, but because they were merciful to the people of God; it was not their falsehood therefore that was rewarded, but their kindness (more correctly, their fear of God), their benignity of mind, not the wickedness of their lying; and for the sake of what was good, God forgave what was evil." (Augustine, contra mendac. c. 19.)
 
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