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N10. Kidnapping.    [Make a Comment]

We are prohibited from kidnapping anyone for any reason.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures


Exodus 21:16 (Maimonides RN243; Chinuch C36)
Whoever kidnaps someone must be put to death, regardless of whether he has already sold him or the person is found still in his possession.

Leviticus 25:42 (Maimonides RN243)
For they are my slaves, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; therefore they are not to be sold as slaves.

Deuteronomy 24:7 (Chinuch C36)
If a man kidnaps any of his brothers, fellow members of the community of Isra'el, and makes him his slave or sells him, that kidnapper must die; in this way you will put an end to such wickedness among you.


Exodus 20:13 (Maimonides RN243; Meir MN33; Chinuch C36)
Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.

Romans 13:9
For the commandments, "Dont commit adultery", "Don't murder", "Don't steal", "Don't covet", and any others are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Supportive Scriptures

Leviticus 19:11
Do not steal from, defraud or lie to each other.

Matthew 19:17-19
"Why are you asking me about good? There is One who is good! But if you want to obtain eternal life, observe the mitzvot." The man asked him, "Which ones?" and Yeshua said, "Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't give false testimony, honor father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself."

Ephesians 4:28
The thief must stop stealing; instead, he should make an honest living by his own efforts. This way he will be able to share with those in need.


Deuteronomy 5:18(21)
Do not covet your neighbor's wife; do not covet your neighbor's house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Romans 13:9
For the commandments, "Dont commit adultery", "Don't murder", "Don't steal", "Don't covet", and any others are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."


Genesis 14:11-14
The victors took all the possessions of S'dom and 'Amora and all their food supply; then they left. But as they left, they took Lot, Avram's brother's son, and his possessions; since he was living in S'dom. Someone who had escaped came and told Avram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Emori, brother of Eshkol and brother of 'Aner; all of them allies of Avram. When Avram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, who had been born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

Genesis 37:23-25
So it was that when Yosef arrived to be with his brothers, they stripped off his robe, the long-sleeved robe he was wearing, and took him and threw him into the cistern (the cistern was empty; without any water in it). Then they sat down to eat their meal; but as they looked up, they saw in front of them a caravan of Yishma'elim coming from Gil'ad, their camels loaded with aromatic gum, healing resin and opium, on their way down to Egypt.

Genesis 40:15
For the truth is that I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and here too I have done nothing wrong that would justify putting me in this dungeon.


Kidnapping (abduction) is essentially stealing a person. Coveting a person such as a servant or another man's wife is a state of mind that precedes the act of stealing or kidnapping. The Scriptures speak for themselves regarding the wrongfulness of kidnapping Israelites and all others as well.

Commentary by Daniel C. Juster

There is a special case of kidnapping - kidnapping for ransom - where it is not the person who is desired, but a reward for the return of the person. The reward sought might be monetary or something else, such as the release of a prisoner. In addition, there is the kidnapping of children, again for reward, but also for people who simply want a child and take someone else's. This was the case in Solomon's famous decision of the woman who lost her own baby and wanted to steal the other's. Both of these are serious crimes and require serious penalties.

Classical Commentators

The mitzvot of Maimonides, Meir, and HaChinuch prohibit the kidnapping of Israelites only, and consider kidnapping to be stealing.


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