Thou shalt not steal

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For more information, see the Skeptic's Annotated Bible article:
Ten Commandments
Protestant numbering
1st 6th
2nd 7th
3rd 8th
4th 9th
5th 10th
Catholic numbering
1st a b 6th
2nd 7th
3rd 8th
4th 9th
5th 10th

Thou shalt not steal is the 8th of the Ten Commandments in the Protestant tradition. It is considered the 7th commandment according to Catholic numbering.

Exodus 20:15 Bible-icon.png:

15 Thou shalt not steal.

Deuteronomy 5:19 Bible-icon.png:

19 Neither shalt thou steal.


  • This commandment is often cited as proof of the morality of the Bible or the neccessity of the Ten Commandments, however almost every law code in the history of the world has included this rule. Any half-decent law maker would come up with this rule without needing a god to tell them. Except in wartime most cultures, before and after the bible, have observed statutes that respect the property of others.
  • The Jewish people in the story traveled across the desert before finally being told that it isn't okay to go around pocketing other people's things?
  • This also ignores those who are forced to steal in order to survive. Does the poor peasant deserve to lose an arm for trying to feed his family? The Ten Commandments, couched in absolute terms, allow no situational dilemmas. Would it be immoral to steal bread from a wealthy person to feed your starving child? Isn’t Robin Hood considered a folk hero? Nevertheless, most cultures recognize that taking someone’s rightful property without permission, in principle, is generally wrong. Do Christians claim that without the Tablets from Mount Sinai it would have never dawned on the human race that stealing is wrong?

In United States law

  • U.S. Law prohibits the taking of another's property without permission (and usually some form of compensation). It is worth noting that this prohibition exists in one form or another in virtually every society in the world, Christian dominated or not.

See also

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