1

When a watchman claims that an entrusted article was stolen from his home and takes an oath to this effect, and afterwards, witnesses come and testify that he made a false claim and that he is still in possession of the entrusted article, the watchman is required to pay twice the worth of the stolen article. For the watchman is himself a thief.

If he slaughtered or sold a stolen animal after he took the false oath, he must pay four or five times its worth. He is not required to bring a guilt offering for taking a false oath that was discredited by witnesses. Nor is he required to add a fifth of the value of the stolen article. For a fifth is never paid when a double payment is paid. If witnesses come before he takes an oath, he is required to pay only the principal.

א

הַטוֹעֵן שֶׁנִּגְנַב מִבֵּיתוֹ הַפִּקָּדוֹן אִם נִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁשֶּׁקֶר טָעַן וְשֶׁהַפִּקָּדוֹן הַזֶּה אֶצְלוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי כֶּפֶל שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא עַצְמוֹ הַגַּנָּב. וְאִם טָבַח וּמָכַר אַחַר שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע מְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשָּׁה. וְאֵינוֹ מֵבִיא אָשָׁם עַל פִּי עֵדִים עַל שְׁבוּעָתוֹ. וְאֵינוֹ מֵבִיא חֹמֶשׁ שֶׁאֵין הַחֹמֶשׁ מִשְׁתַּלֵּם עִם הַכֶּפֶל. וְאִם בָּאוּ עֵדִים קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע אֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם אֶלָּא הַקֶּרֶן בִּלְבַד:

2

When does the above apply? When he took an oath before he misappropriated the entrusted article. If, however, he misappropriated the entrusted article, claimed that it had been stolen, and took an oath to that effect, and then witnesses came and discredited his oath, he is not liable for the double payment. As soon as he misappropriated the article, he became liable for it and acquired responsibility for it.

ב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּשְׁלַח בַּפִּקָּדוֹן יָד. אֲבָל אִם שָׁלַח בּוֹ יָד וְטָעַן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבַּע וּבָאוּ עֵדִים פָּטוּר מִן הַכֶּפֶל שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁלַח יָד נִתְחַיֵּב בּוֹ וְקָנָהוּ:

3

Similarly, if the watchman claimed that the entrusted article was lost and took an oath to that effect, and then claimed it was stolen and took an oath to that effect, and then witnesses came and testified that it was in his possession, the watchman is not liable for the double payment. For at the time he took the first false oath, the entrusted article was no longer considered the property of the original owner.

ג

וְכֵן הַטּוֹעֵן טַעֲנַת אֲבֵדָה בְּפִקָּדוֹן וְנִשְׁבַּע וְחָזַר וְטָעַן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים פָּטוּר מִן הַכֶּפֶל שֶׁכְּבָר יָצָא הַפִּקָּדוֹן מִידֵי הַבְּעָלִים מִשְּׁבוּעָה רִאשׁוֹנָה:

4

When a person who discovered a lost article claims that it was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and afterwards, witnesses come and testify that the lost article was in his possession and that he made a false claim, he is required to pay twice the article's worth. This is implied by Exodus 22:8, which states that a double payment must be made for "any lost article."

The above applies when he claims that it was stolen by an armed thief, in which instance he would not be held liable. If, however, he claims that it was stolen in a manner that is not beyond his control, he is not liable for the double payment. For he would have been liable to pay for the lost article because of his claim, since a person caring for a lost article that he discovered is considered to be a paid watchman, as will be explained.

ד

הַטּוֹעֵן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב בָּאֲבֵדָה וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁהָאֲבֵדָה בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ וְשֶׁקֶר טָעַן מְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי כֶּפֶל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב ח) "עַל כָּל אֲבֵדָה". וְהוּא שֶׁיִּטְעֹן שֶׁנִּגְנְבָה בְּלִסְטִים מְזֻיָּן שֶׁהוּא אָנוּס וּפָטוּר. אֲבָל אִם טָעַן שֶׁנִּגְנְבָה בְּלֹא אֹנֶס פָּטוּר מִן הַכֶּפֶל מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם עַל פִּי טַעֲנָתוֹ שֶׁשּׁוֹמֵר אֲבֵדָה כְּשׁוֹמֵר שָׂכָר הוּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:

5

When a watchman claims that an entrusted article was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and then witnesses come and testify that the entrusted article is in his possession, and then he again claims that it was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and then witnesses again come and testify that the entrusted article is still in his possession - even if this sequence repeats itself 100 times - he is liable for a double payment for every claim.

Thus, if he took five false oaths, he is liable to pay six times the value of the entrusted article, the principal that was entrusted to him and five times its value, because of the five double payments that result from the five false oaths.

ה

הַטּוֹעֵן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב בְּפִקָּדוֹן וְנִשְׁבַּע. וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ. וְחָזַר וְטָעַן בּוֹ טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁעֲדַיִן בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ הוּא. אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה פְּעָמִים חַיָּב כֶּפֶל עַל כָּל טַעֲנָה וְטַעֲנָה. וְאִם נִשְׁבַּע חָמֵשׁ פְּעָמִים נִמְצָא מְשַׁלֵּם שִׁשָּׁה הַקֶּרֶן שֶׁהִפְקִיד אֶצְלוֹ וַחֲמִשָּׁה בְּקֶרֶן מִשּׁוּם חֲמִשָּׁה כְּפֵלוֹת שֶׁל חָמֵשׁ שְׁבוּעוֹת:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.

6

The following rules apply when a watchman claims that an entrusted article was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and then claims that the entrusted article was lost - and then witnesses come and testify that the article was not stolen, and the watchman admits that it was not lost. Since he must pay twice the value of the entrusted article because of the witnesses, he need not pay an additional fifth as a surcharge because of the other oath, although he admitted it to be false. The rationale is that since this involves the same principal for which he is required to make the double payment, he is not liable for the additional fifth.

ו

טָעַן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבַּע וְחָזַר וְטָעַן טַעֲנַת אֲבֵדָה וְנִשְׁבַּע. וּבָאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁלֹּא נִגְנַב וְהוֹדָה הוּא שֶׁלֹּא אָבַד הוֹאִיל וּמְשַׁלֵּם תַּשְׁלוּמֵי כֶּפֶל עַל פִּי עֵדִים אֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם חֹמֶשׁ עַל שְׁבוּעָה אַחֲרוֹנָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוֹדָה. שֶׁהַמָּמוֹן הַמְחַיְּבוֹ בְּכֶפֶל פּוֹטְרוֹ מִן הַחֹמֶשׁ:

7

The following rules apply if a person entrusted his ox to two people, they claimed that it was stolen and took an oath to that effect, and afterwards one of them admitted that the oath was false, and then witnesses came and testified that the other one lied. They both must pay the principal. If the owner of the entrusted object seizes property belonging to the partner whose oath was refuted in lieu of the double payment for his share of the stolen article, it shall not be expropriated from him. The one who admitted taking the false oath must pay an additional fifth for his share of the stolen article, as must all who voluntarily admit taking false oaths regarding entrusted objects.

ז

מָסַר שׁוֹרוֹ לִשְׁנַיִם וְטָעֲנוּ טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב וְנִשְׁבְּעוּ וְהוֹדָה אֶחָד מֵהֶם וְהַשֵּׁנִי בָּאוּ עָלָיו עֵדִים. שְׁנֵיהֶן מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַקֶּרֶן. וְאִם תָּפַשׂ בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן אֶת הַכֶּפֶל אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדוֹ. וְזֶה שֶׁהוֺדָה מְשַׁלֵּם חֹמֶשׁ כִּשְׁאָר הַנִּשְׁבָּעִין שְׁבוּעַת הַפִּקָּדוֹן שֶׁהוֹדוּ מֵעַצְמָן:

8

These rules apply with regard to the obligations of a watchman and a thief in the following situations. The owner of an entrusted object demanded its return from an unpaid watchman. The watchman took an oath that the article was stolen.

Afterwards, the thief was discovered. The watchman filed a claim against the thief, who admitted stealing the entrusted article. Afterwards, the owner of the entrusted article filed a claim against the thief, and he denied stealing the entrusted article. Witnesses then came and testified that the thief stole the article.

If the watchman took a true oath when he claimed that the article was stolen, he is considered the agent of the owners, and the thief is freed from the responsibility for the double payment, because he admitted the theft to the watchman.

If the watchman took a false oath the question is unresolved. Therefore, the thief is not compelled to pay twice the value of the stolen article. If, however, the owner seizes property belonging to the thief in lieu of the double payment, it shall not be expropriated from him.

The owner demanded the return of the entrusted article from the watchman and he paid for the article, and then the thief was discovered. In such a case, the watchman acquires the right to the article and to the double payment. The owner filed a claim against the thief, who admitted stealing the entrusted article. Afterwards, the watchman filed a claim against the thief, and he denied stealing the entrusted article. Witnesses then came and testified that the thief stole the article.

The thief is not compelled to pay twice the value of the stolen article. If, however, the watchman seizes property belonging to the thief in lieu of the double payment, it shall not be expropriated from him.

Similar laws apply with regard to the payment of four or five times the value of a stolen sheep or cow if the thief sold or slaughtered it.

ח

בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן שֶׁתָּבַע אֶת הַשּׁוֹמֵר וְנִשְׁבַּע שֶׁנִּגְנַב וְאַחַר כָּךְ הֻכַּר הַגַּנָּב וְתָבַע הַשּׁוֹמֵר אֶת הַגַּנָּב וְהוֹדָה לוֹ הַגַּנָּב שֶׁגָּנַב וְתָבַע בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן אֶת הַגַּנָּב וְכָפַר וּבָאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁגָּנַב. אִם בֶּאֱמֶת נִשְׁבַּע הַשּׁוֹמֵר כְּשֶׁטָּעַן שֶׁנִּגְנַב נִפְטַר הַגַּנָּב מִן הַכֶּפֶל בְּהוֹדָאָתוֹ לַשּׁוֹמֵר. וְאִם בְּשֶׁקֶר נִשְׁבַּע אֵין מוֹצִיאִין הַכֶּפֶל מִן הַגַּנָּב. וְאִם תָּפְשׂוּ הַבְּעָלִים הַכֶּפֶל אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדָן. תָּבְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים אֶת הַשּׁוֹמֵר וְשִׁלֵּם וְאַחַר כָּךְ הֻכַּר הַגַּנָּב וּתְבָעוּהוּ הַבְּעָלִים וְהוֹדָה לָהֶן שֶׁגָּנַב וְאַחַר כָּךְ תְּבָעוֹ הַשּׁוֹמֵר וְכָפַר בּוֹ וּבָאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁגָּנַב אֵין מוֹצִיאִין הַכֶּפֶל מִן הַגַּנָּב וְאִם תָּפַשׂ הַשּׁוֹמֵר אֶת הַכֶּפֶל אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדוֹ וְכֵן הַדִּין בְּתַשְׁלוּמֵי אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשָּׁה אִם טָבַח הַגַּנָּב אוֹ מָכַר:

9

When a watchman claims that an article entrusted to him by a minor was stolen and takes an oath to that effect, and afterwards witnesses come and testify that the entrusted article is still in his possession, he is not liable. This applies even if the owner entrusted the article to the watchman when the owner was a minor and demanded its return after he attained majority.

This is derived from Exodus 22:6, which states: "When a man will give his colleague... articles to watch...." A child's entrusting of an article is of no consequence. Instead, he must be past majority both when he entrusts the article and when he demands its return.

ט

הַטּוֹעֵן טַעֲנַת גַּנָּב בְּפִקָּדוֹן שֶׁל קָטָן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא קָטָן וּתְבָעוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא גָּדוֹל וְנִשְׁבַּע וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ עֵדִים הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר מִן הַכֶּפֶל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב ו) "כִּי יִתֵּן אִישׁ" וְאֵין נְתִינַת קָטָן כְּלוּם וְצָרִיךְ שֶׁתִּהְיֶה נְתִינָה וּתְבִיעָה שָׁוִין בַּגָּדוֹל:

10

When a watchman steals an article entrusted to him from his own domain - e.g., he stole a lamb from a flock entrusted to him or a sela from a wallet entrusted to him - if witnesses testify regarding the theft, he is liable for twice the amount of the article.

The above applies even if he returned the sela to its place, and the lamb to the herd. For he remains responsible for them until he notifies the owner, since with his theft of the article his responsibility as a watchman is concluded. Thus, it is as if he had not returned anything until he notifies the owner.

Slightly different rules apply if a person steals a sela from a wallet belonging to a colleague, or a utensil from his home and then returns the utensil or the sela to its place. If the owner knew of the theft, but did not know of its return, the thief is still responsible for the article until his colleague counts his money.

י

שׁוֹמֵר שֶׁגָּנַב מֵרְשׁוּתוֹ כְּגוֹן שֶׁגָּנַב טָלֶה מֵעֵדֶר שֶׁהֻפְקַד אֶצְלוֹ וְסֶלַע מִכִּיס שֶׁהֻפְקַד אֶצְלוֹ. אִם יֵשׁ עָלָיו עֵדִים חַיָּב בְּכֶפֶל. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֶחְזִיר הַסֶּלַע לִמְקוֹמוֹ וְהַטָּלֶה לְעֶדְרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן עַד שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ הַבְּעָלִים. שֶׁהֲרֵי כָּלְתָה שְׁמִירָתוֹ וּכְאִלּוּ לֹא הֶחְזִיר כְּלוּם עַד שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ בְּעָלָיו. אֲבָל הַגּוֹנֵב סֶלַע מִכִּיס חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ כְּלִי מִבֵּיתוֹ וְהֶחְזִיר דָּבָר הַגָּנוּב מִבֵּיתוֹ לִמְקוֹמוֹ אִם יָדְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים בִּגְנֵבָתוֹ וְלֹא יָדְעוּ בַּחֲזִירָתוֹ עֲדַיִן הַגַּנָּב חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּמְנֶה אֶת מְעוֹתָיו:

11

When the owner counts his wallet and discovers the full amount, the thief is no longer liable. Moreover, if the owner did not know that the article was either taken or returned, it is not even necessary for the owner to count his money. As soon as the thief returned the money to its place, he is no longer responsible for it.

יא

מָנָה אֶת כִּיסוֹ וּמְצָאוֹ שָׁלֵם הַמִּנְיָן פָּטוּר. וְאִם לֹא יָדְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים לֹא בִּגְנֵבָתוֹ וְלֹא בַּחֲזִירָתוֹ אֲפִלּוּ מִנְיָן אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ אֶלָּא כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֶחֱזִירוֹ לִמְקוֹמוֹ נִפְטַר מֵאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ:

12

When does the above apply? With regard to an article that is not alive. When, however, a thief steals a lamb from a colleague's herd, the owner discovers the theft, the thief then returns it to the herd without informing the owner, and afterwards, the lamb dies or is stolen, the first thief is still liable. If, however, the owner counted his sheep, and the herd was complete,the thief is no longer liable.

If the owner did not know that the lamb was stolen or returned, the thief is liable until he informs the owner, so that he will pay more attention to the stolen lamb. This is necessary, because the thief taught it a way other than that followed by the other sheep in this herd.

יב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּדָבָר שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ רוּחַ חַיִּים. אֲבָל הַגּוֹנֵב טָלֶה מֵעֵדֶר חֲבֵרוֹ וְיָדְעוּ בּוֹ הַבְּעָלִים וְהֶחֱזִירוֹ לָעֵדֶר שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעַת הַבְּעָלִים וּמֵת אוֹ נִגְנַב חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ. וְאִם מָנוּ אֶת הַצֹּאן וְהִיא שְׁלֵמָה פָּטוּר. וְאִם לֹא יָדְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים לֹא בִּגְנֵבָתוֹ וְלֹא בַּחֲזִירָתוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמָּנוּ אֶת הַצֹּאן וְהִיא שְׁלֵמָה חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ עַד שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ אֶת הַבְּעָלִים כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּשְׁמְרוּ אֶת הַטָּלֶה הַגָּנוּב שֶׁהֲרֵי לִמְדוֹ דֶּרֶךְ אַחֶרֶת חוּץ מִדֶּרֶךְ שְׁאָר הַצֹּאן שֶׁבְּעֵדֶר זֶה: