||then the case between the two must be decided on the basis of an oath to God. If [the person keeping the animal] did not make use of the other's property, the owner must accept it, and [the person keeping the animal] need not pay.
Shvu'at Adonay tihyeh beyn shneyhem im-lo shalach yado bimlechet re'ehu velakach be'alav velo yeshalem.
||However, if it was stolen from [the keeper], then he must make restitution to [the animal's] owner.
Ve'im-ganov yiganev me'imo yeshalem live'alav.
||If [the animal] was killed by a wild beast and [the keeper] can provide evidence, he need not make restitution for the attacked animal.
Im-tarof yitaref yevi'ehu ed hatrefah lo yeshalem.
|make use of|
Literally, 'lay a hand on.' See note on Exodus 22:7. (Mekhilta; Rashi; cf. Bava Metzia 41a).
The dead animal (Mekhilta; Adereth Eliahu). Or, 'the owner must accept the oath' (Rashi; Rashbam; see Bava Kama 106a; Shevuoth 45a).
Witnesses (Rashi; Sforno). In every case where it is possible to provide witnesses, this is what must be done (Yad, Sekhiruth 1:2; see Exodus 22:9). According to some, other evidence that the animal was killed, such as part of the body is also acceptable (Rashbam; Ibn Ezra. This point is debated in Bava Kama 10b, 11a; Mekhilta; cf. Targum Yonathan). If there are no witnesses or evidence, he may swear and be exempt from liability (Bava Metzia 83a; Yad, Sekhiruth 1:2).