Exodus 21
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Laws Concerning Servants

1“These are the ordinances that you are to set before them.

2“When you acquire a Hebrew servant, he is to serve for six years, and in the seventh he is to go out a free man without paying anything. 3If he came in by himself,a he is to go out by himself. If he was married, his wife is to go out with him. 4If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and children belong to her master, and he is to go out by himself. 5But if the servant, in fact, says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children, and I won’t go out a free man,’ 6then his master is to bring him before the judgesb and he is to bring him to the door or to the doorpost. His master is to pierce his ear with an awl, and he is to serve him permanently.

7“When a man sells his daughter as a servant, she won’t go out as the male servants do.c 8If she’s displeasing tod her master who selected her for himself,e he must let her be redeemed. He does not have the right to sell her to foreign people, because he has dealt unfairlyf with her. 9If he has selected her for his son,g he is to treat her according to the ordinance for daughters. 10If he takes another woman for himself, he may not withhold from the firsth her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. 11If he does not do these three things for her, she may go out without paying anything at all.”i

Laws Concerning Personal Injury and Homicide

12“Whoever strikes a man so that he dies is certainly to be put to death. 13If he didn’t lie in wait, but God let him fall into his reach,j then I’ll appoint for you a place to which he may flee. 14If a man acts deliberately against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you are to take him to die even if he’s atk my altar.

15“Whoever strikes his father or his mother is certainly to be put to death.

16“Whoever kidnaps a person, whether he has sold him or whether the victiml is still in his possession, is certainly to be put to death.

17“Whoever curses his father or his mother is certainly to be put to death.

18“If people quarrel and one strikes the other with a rock or his fist, and he does not die but ends upm in bed, 19and the injured personn then gets up and walks around outside with the help of his staff,o the one who struck him is not liable, except that he is to compensate him for his loss of timep and take care of his complete recovery.

20“If a man strikes his male or female servant with a stick and he or she dies as a direct result,q the master must be punished.r 21But if the servants survives a day or two, the mastert is not to be punished because the servantu is his property.

22“If two men are fighting and they strike a pregnant woman and her children are born prematurely,v but there is no harm, he is certainly to be fined as the husband of the woman demands of him, and he will pay as the court decides.w 23If there is harm, then you are to requirex life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.

26“If a man strikes the eye of his male or female servant and destroys it, he is to release him as a free man in exchange for his eye. 27If he knocks out the tooth of his maley or female servant,z he is to release him as a free man in exchange for his tooth.

28“If an ox gores a man or woman so that they die, the ox is certainly to be stoned and its flesh may not be eaten, but the owner of the ox is free from liability. 29But if the ox has gored previously, and its owner has been warned about it but didn’t restrain it, and it kills a man or woman, the ox is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death. 30If a fine is imposed on him, he may pay all that was imposed on him as a ransom for his life. 31This same ordinance appliesaa if it gores a son or daughter.

32“If the ox gores a male or female servant, the owner is to give 30 shekelsbb of silver to the servant’scc master, and the ox is to be stoned. 33If a man opens a pit or digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or donkey falls into it,dd 34the owner of the pit is to make restitution. He is to pay money to its owner, and the dead animal will become his.

35“If a man’s ox strikes his neighbor’s ox and it dies, they are to sell the live ox and divide the money. They also are to divide the dead animal. 36But if it was known that the ox had gored previously, and its owner didn’t restrain it, he shall certainly repay ox for ox, and the dead ox will become his.”

a 21:3 Lit. with his body; i.e. single, and so throughout the chapter
b 21:6 Or before God
c 21:7 The Heb. lacks as the male servants do
d 21:8 Lit. bad in the eyes of
e 21:8 i.e. as a secondary wife also called a mistress or concubine
f 21:8 Or treacherously
g 21:9 i.e. as a secondary wife also called a mistress or concubine
h 21:10 The Heb. lacks from the first
i 21:11 The Heb. lacks at all
j 21:13 Lit. hand;i.e. the event was not premeditated by the accused
k 21:14 Lit. even from
l 21:16 Lit. he
m 21:18 Lit. falls
n 21:19 Lit. he
o 21:19 Lit. with his staff
p 21:19 Lit. his rest
q 21:20 Lit. under his hand
r 21:20 Lit. suffer vengeance
s 21:21 Lit. he
t 21:21 Lit. he
u 21:21 Lit. he
v 21:22 Lit. children come out
w 21:22 Or according to the assessment
x 21:23 Lit. give
y 21:27 Lit. male servant
z 21:27 Lit. tooth of his female servant
aa 21:31 Lit. It shall be done to him according to this ordinance
bb 21:32 I.e., a unit of weight equal to about 16 barley grains; about 0.025 ounces or 0.5 grams; cf. Num 3:47; Num 18:16
cc 21:32 Lit. his
dd 21:33 Lit. there

The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
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