Is Stealing to Satisfy Hunger Moral?

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Many atheists who claim that morals are subjective rather than objective often claim that stealing isn’t always wrong. In support of their claim that stealing isn’t always wrong, they bring up someone stealing food to eat because the person or the person’s family is hungry. For this reason atheists say then that stealing is sometimes okay and shouldn’t be punished because stealing food to eat isn’t immoral.

 

God in the Bible has stated that stealing is always wrong and not moral and has consequences. The consequences for theft consists of making restitution, or if the thief has nothing of value for making restitution, the thief would be either placed into servant hood or sold into servant hood to pay for the theft.

 

In fact if the atheist were as bright as they let on like they are and are as versed in knowing the Bible as they claim, they would know that God directly addresses in the Old Testament book of Proverbs 6:30-31 the atheist’s claim that someone stealing to satisfy hunger pointing out that it is wrong and describes the consequences for stealing to satisfy hunger.

 

“People don't despise the thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry. Still, if caught, he must pay seven times as much; he must give up all the wealth in his house.” Proverbs 6:30-31 (HCS)

 

Notice that if the reason for stealing is because of hunger and not because of greed or pleasure, that the Israelites were told to not to hate the person stealing yet, that person stealing is to repay the cost of the food stolen seven times over its cost and give up all they own in their house.

 

Think about this for a moment. If the person is stealing food because the person and/or person’s family is hungry, most likely the person doesn’t have any wealth to purchase food let alone if caught stealing food having to pay seven times the cost of the food and give up all their household wealth.

 

So basically, what Proverbs 6:30:31 is saying is that the person stealing food if he/she couldn’t pay the penalty, that person would fall under debtors laws and back then that would mean that the person who stole the food would become a bond slave (or indentured servant) to the owner of the stolen food (Exodus 22:3). Being a bond slave during that time, the person would be properly paid and even given food and shelter during the duration of the servant hood (Colossians 4:1).

 

With this type of bankruptcy law, a government doesn’t step in, but a person, who has lost themselves to debt, can sell the only thing they have left, their ability to perform labor. This is a loan. In six years (or sooner) the loan is paid off, and they are set free. Bondservants who did this made a wage, had their debt covered, had a home to stay in, on-the-job training, and did it for only six years or less dependent upon how much they owed. This almost sounds better than college, which doesn't cover debt and you have to pay for it! Exodus 21:2-6

 

This is not a forced agreement either. The bondservants enter into service on their own accord; as in the case of the thief who stole to satisfy hunger getting caught. In the same respect, a foreigner (non-Israelite) could also sell themselves into servitude. Although the rules are slightly different, it would still be by their own accord in light of Exodus 21:16 which claims that kidnapping is wrong and punishable by death which rules out taking people by force and making them a slave.

 

So the answer to the question, Is Stealing to Satisfy Hunger Moral? No.

 

Stealing for any reason isn’t a moral thing to do and there are consequences for stealing. “Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God.” Hebrews 9:27

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