The Israelites are commanded to return lost things they have found. “Finders keepers” is not a Biblical principal. We’re to treat others how we would want to be treated.
I have always appreciated these laws about adultery and rape. The woman is guilty unless she cries out for help. She is innocent if it happens in a place where no one could hear her cry.
If a woman who is not yet married or engaged to be married is euphemistically humiliated by a man, he is to pay the bride price and marry her and is forbidden to divorce her.
Dinah’s brothers killed her offender, when she could have been treated as a bride instead of being left in shame for the rest of her life.
These laws make me think of other stories in the Bible.
Bathsheba was guilty along with David. The child that came from their union while unmarried dies.
It’s so sad that they even have to be listed as things you shouldn’t do.
In fact, the Bible tells us that people do generally all know right from wrong.
Romans 2:14 tells us, “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.” (NLT)
Missionaries have found this to be true while living among unreached tribes. They ask them what is wrong. They all admit they know it is wrong to lie, steal, kill, for instance.
People do know. God created us with a conscious that knows right and wrong. We sear it by ignoring it and justifying our actions and sinning repeatedly until that’s what feels natural.
We are slaves to sin, slaves to unrighteousness until we come to the cross and cry out to our rescuer. By the blood of Jesus we can enter into a new covenant and receive the promise given His people. “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Hebrews 8:10)