The following laws apply when two people entrusted money to a colleague, one 100 zuz and the other 200 zuz, both claim to have entrusted the 200 zuz, and the watchman does not recall which one deposited 200, and which one 100. Each of the claimants must take an oath that he was the one who deposited the 200 zuz He may then collect the money he claims,14 as is the law with regard to any person who takes an oath and collects his due. The watchman must pay each claimant 200, losing 100 zuz from his own resources. The rationale is that he was negligent, for he should have written down the name of each person on the packet that he entrusted.
Therefore, if the two people together brought him the 300 zuz in a single packet, and afterwards each claims that the 200 belongs to him, the watchman is not considered negligent if he does not remember who brought the larger sum. He should give each one a maneh, and the balance should remain in the watchman's possession forever, or until one of them acknowledges the other's claim.21 The rationale is that the watchman can explain: "I saw that you two were not precise with each other, as indicated by the fact that you brought the money to me in a single packet. Therefore, I did not trouble myself to know and continuously remember who owned 100 and who owned 200."
Similar laws apply if two people entrusted one watchman with two utensils, one large and one small, each one claimed to be the owner of the larger utensil, and the watchman did not remember to whom it belonged. Each of the claimants must take an oath supporting his claim. The watchman must then give one of them the larger utensil, and the value of the larger one to the other. The smaller utensil remains his.If the two brought the two in a single container, he should give the smaller utensil to one and the worth of that utensil to the other. He may keep the remainder in his possession until one claimant acknowledges the other's claim or until eternity.
Similar laws apply if only one article was entrusted, and two people claim it as their own and the watchman says, "One of you is the owner, but I do not know which one." He must pay both of them. Similarly, when two people each entrust an animal to a shepherd, and one animal dies, if the watchman does not know whose animal died, he must make restitution to both of them. If they placed them in his herd without informing him, he may place one animal between them and depart. That animal shall remain until one acknowledges the other's claim or until they desire to divide it.