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OT Law and market-based justice system discussion.
Exodus 22:4 seems to indicate that the punitive damages was set at the market value of the stolen good. Or return of the good plus the market value of the good.
So if we go back to 22:1 it would seem if you are unable to give back the good itself, market value isn’t enough. Subjective value theory would support this. “I didn’t want AN ox, I want MY ox.” This could be for a number of reasons, emotional relationship, training of the animal, etc. And the difference in value between four or five times might also reflect that it takes more effort to train an ox, or that they just live longer, more disrupive to a farm to lose, larger investment in terms of gestation/breeding/training etc.
Obviously I don’t have any special revelation beyond the text, but my understanding of economics can provide a defense and make this seem reasonable.
I do not recall what I said about these verses, but looking at them now, I think this is a reasonable interpretation. I think you are just adding to what I said, not contradicting it? It’s a welcome addition anyway.
The law of marginal utility tells us that having two oxen wouldn’t really double the value the individual receives, so payment does make sense. In these two related cases, in the case of selling/slaughtering the animal, more time is likely to have passed, so there is the added opportunity cost of being without an ox for a period of time.
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