VII. (30) A deposit is the most sacred of all those things which relate to the associations of men with regard to property, inasmuch as it depends upon the good faith alone of the man who has received it. For loans are proved by contracts and writings, and things which, independent of loans, are openly used, have all the persons who see them for witnesses. (31) But this is not the case with deposits, but the owner by himself gives them privily to the man who receives them by himself, looking carefully round the place, and not even taking a slave with him for the purpose of carrying the thing to be deposited, even though he be ever so affectionate to his master; for each of the two parties appears to be anxious to avoid discovery; the one depositing the thing in order to receive it again, and the other being desirous not to be known to have received it. But we ought by all means to look upon the invisible God as an unseen third party to every concealed action, whom it is natural to make as a witness for both parties; the receiver calling him to witness that he will restore the deposit when it is demanded back from him, and the other making him to see that he receives it back at the proper time. (32) Let, then, the man who commits this great wickedness and denies his deposit not be ignorant that he has deceived him who committed it to him of his hope, and that he is concealing a wicked disposition under specious language, and that he is hypocritically pretending a bastard sort of faith while in reality faithless, showing that all his pledges are worthless and all his oaths disregarded, so that he neglects all human and all divine obligations; and that he is denying two deposits at once; firstly, the deposit of him who entrusted his property to his care; and secondly, that of that most unerring and infallible witness who sees all the actions of all men, and hears all the words of all men, whether they are willing that he should do so or not. (33) But if the man who has received a deposit as a sacred thing thinks that he ought to keep it without fraud, duly honouring truth and good faith, but yet others who are always plotting against their neighbours’ property, such as cutpurses or housebreakers, break in treacherously and steal the deposit so entrusted, then he shall pay as a penalty double the value of what has been stolen by the thieves. (34) And if they are not taken, then the man who received the deposit shall go of his own accord before the divine tribunal, and stretching out his hands to heaven shall swear by his own life that he himself had no hand in the theft from any desire to appropriate what had been deposited with him, and that he did not voluntarily give it up to any one else; and that, moreover, he is not making a false statement of a robbery which has never taken Place.{3}{#ex 22:7.} For it would be absurd to punish a man who has done no wrong, or for a man who had taken refuge in the assistance of a friend when he was being injured by others, now to become the cause of injury to that friend. (35) And deposits consist not only of inanimate things but also of animals: the danger of which last is twofold; first, that while they share in common with inanimate things in being liable to be stolen, and also one which is distinct and peculiar to themselves, that they are liable to die. We have hitherto been speaking only of the first kind of deposit, but we must now also explain the law about the second. (36) If now any cattle which have been entrusted as a deposit die, then he who has received the deposit shall send for him who committed it to him, and show him the matter, protecting himself from any evil suspicion; but if the depositor be absent, then it is not proper to send for any one else, whose notice perhaps the depositor might have been desirous to escape; but when the depositor returns home, his friend shall swear to him that he has not been concealing any unjust appropriation of the animals by a false statement of their death. (37) And if any one receives anything not as a deposit, but because he has borrowed it to use, whether it is a vessel or an animal; then if he be robbed of it, whichever it may be, or if the animal die, while the man who lent it is living with the borrower, the borrower shall not be liable, as the owner himself can be brought as a witness that there is no false pretence in the business; but if the lender be not with him at the time, he shall pay the value. (38) Why so? because it is possible that the man who used the animal when the owner was not present may have either worn him out by continual labour so as to kill him, or may have worn out the vessel, from not taking any care of the property of another of which he ought to have been careful, and to have put it away, and not to have given thieves an easy opportunity of stealing it. (39) But as our lawgiver was acute beyond all other men at discerning the consequences of actions, he proceeds to enact a series of prohibitions, one after another, preserving a due connection between them, and taking care that his later commandments shall be consistent with his earlier cones. And with this harmonious connection of what was to be said by him, he tells us that he was divinely inspired by the person of God speaking to him in this manner:–