Q&A: A Holy Heist? Exodus 20:15 and Exodus 3:21-22

A Holy Heist? Exodus 20:15 and Exodus 3:21-22

Question

In Exodus 20:15 Israel is commanded to "not steal," but God commanded Israel to "plunder the Egyptians" (Ex. 3:21-22; 12:35-36)? Isn't this contradictory?

Answer

Exodus 20:15 You shall not steal.

Exodus 3:21-22 And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:35-36 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

This is not an unholy heist, but a proper plundering. Israel ASKED for the articles, and in this way they "plundered" the Egyptians.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).