body in Jerusalem and a letter was sent out as a means of communication, it was delivered in a direct personal way. (Acts 15:22-31) That was also the case with such inspired letters as the one Paul sent to Christians in Colossae, it being carried by Tychicus and Onesimus.—Col. 4:7-9; see LETTERS.
Jehovah is a communicative God and has recognized the need for his people to have written communication. He himself was responsible for the composition of the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. (Ex. 31:18) By means of divine inspiration a number of faithful Hebrew men (commencing with Moses in 1513 B.C.E.) were moved to write down Jehovah’s communications. Of course, included in the resulting Holy Scriptures are the various inspired letters that supplemented oral communications provided to help establish proper Christian views as to doctrine and deportment.
An instrument used by a carpenter or other craftsman to mark or inscribe a circle or arc on wood or some other material. The compass is also employed in making various geometric figures. Doubtless, compasses of antiquity were quite similar to those in use today and consisted of a pair of pointed legs joined at the top in a way that allowed them to be adjusted to vary the distance between the points. In modern times, a pencil or pen can sometimes be attached to one leg so as to pivot and mark paper or other material when the other, pointed leg, is set in a stationary position. When compasses have two sharp points, one of them can be used to scratch or scribe arcs or circles. Yet, draftsmen sometimes call such compasses “dividers” because the two sharp points can be used to measure off equal spaces on drawings or can be employed to transfer a certain measurement from one place to another. Hence, many artisans and mathematicians use the compass today, and a similar instrument was employed by the early Egyptians and Babylonians in their mathematical calculations.
The only Biblical reference to a compass is at Isaiah 44:13. There the idolatrous wood-carver is said to use the measuring line, red chalk and a wood scraper to fashion an idol. And, “with a compass he keeps tracing it out [evidently to make sure it is well-proportioned], and gradually he makes it like the representation of a man, like the beauty of mankind, to sit in a house.”
Under the Law given to Israel through Moses, compensation was demanded where there was injury or loss in any field of human relations. Compensation also had to be made for work done or services rendered. Hired laborers, whether Israelites or alien residents or others, were to be paid their wages on the same day.—Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14, 15.
INJURIES TO PERSONS
One who injured another in a quarrel by striking him was required to make compensation to him for time lost from work, until the person was completely healed.—Ex. 21:18, 19.
If, in the process of a fight between men, a pregnant woman was injured or her child(ren) ‘came out,’ but no fatal accident occurred, the guilty man was to have damages imposed on him by the owner of the woman. (In case the husband made an exorbitant claim, the judges would fix the sum to be paid.)—Ex. 21:22.
If a bull was in the habit of goring and its owner had been warned of this fact but did not keep the animal under guard, then, in the event that it gored a slave to death, the slave’s master was to receive a thirty-shekel compensation from the bull’s owner. This applied to foreign slaves, not Hebrews, according to Jewish commentators. If the bull gored a free person, the owner was to die. However, if, in the eyes of the judges, circumstances or other factors allowed for a more lenient penalty, a ransom could be imposed on him. In such a case the owner of the goring bull had to pay whatever amount the judges imposed. Additionally, the owner suffered the loss of the bull, which was stoned to death. Its flesh could not be eaten. (Ex. 21:28-32) This law also evidently applied in the case of other animals able to inflict mortal wounds.
If a man seduced an unengaged virgin, he had to take her as his wife; or if the father flatly refused to give her to him, he had to pay her father the purchase price for virgins (50 shekels), the usual bride price, because her diminished value as a bride would now have to be compensated for.—Ex. 22:16, 17; Deut. 22:28, 29.
A man falsely charging his wife with deceptively claiming to be a virgin at the time of marriage was required to pay her father double the price for virgins (2 x 50 shekels) for bringing a bad name upon a virgin of Israel.—Deut. 22:13-19.
A form of compensation was also involved in the case of a man falsely charging his wife with unfaithfulness. If the charge had been true, she would have suffered the wasting away of her reproductive organs, losing the privilege of childbearing, whereas, when she was found innocent, her husband was required to make her pregnant. Thus she could be blessed with a child.—Num. 5:11-15, 22, 28.
Stealing was deterred by the Law. Concerning a thief, it read: “He is to make compensation without fail. If he has nothing, then he must be sold for the things he stole. If there should be unmistakably found in his hand what was stolen, from bull to ass and to sheep, alive, he is to make double compensation.” This included money or other articles as well as animals. If the thief had slaughtered the stolen animal, or had sold it, then he would have to make heavier compensation, namely, for a bull five of the herd, and for a sheep four of the flock. (Ex. 22:1, 3, 4, 7) This law had the effect of protecting and recompensing the victim and made the thief work to pay for his crime, rather than sit in a jail as an economic burden to the community, with the victim uncompensated for his loss.
INJURIES, AND PROPERTY DAMAGES
A man who killed another’s animal was required to pay for it. (Lev. 24:18, 21) When one animal killed another, the live one was sold and the price of both it and the dead animal was equally divided between the owners. However, if the animal was known to be a vicious one, the owner compensated the other by giving the other a live bull and taking the dead and, consequently, much less valuable one.—Ex. 21:35, 36.
The best of one’s own field or vineyard was to be given up as compensation for the damage done by an animal’s trespassing and grazing on another’s field. If one started a fire that got into another person’s field, causing damage, the owner had to be compensated equally. The heavier judgment for damage by the trespassing animal was because animals are easier to control than fire, also because the grazing animal was receiving gain unjustly like a thief; therefore more than equal compensation was required.—Ex. 22:5, 6.
When items or goods were left with another for safekeeping and during this time were stolen, the thief, if found, had to make the usual double compensation. Things such as money, articles, and so forth, would not require special care, but only a safe place. In the case of a domestic animal kept for another, the one keeping the animal (bailee) was to exercise the same care that he did for his own flock. Such bailees were usually paid for food the