The Eighth Commandment, “Do not Steal,” is unique in that it encompasses all the other commandments on the second tablet: Murder is the stealing of another person’s life.
Adultery is the stealing of another person’s spouse. Giving false testimony is stealing justice. And coveting is the desire to steal what belongs to another person. This commandment is unique in another way: It is the only completely open-ended commandment. All the other commandments are specific. The Fifth Commandment, for example, states whom one must honor—one’s parents. The Sixth Commandment, prohibiting murder, is only about taking the life of an innocent human being. The Seventh Commandment, prohibiting adultery, is also specific to a married person; two unmarried people cannot commit adultery.
But the commandment against stealing doesn’t even hint at what it is we are forbidden to steal. It means we cannot take anything that belongs to another person.
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