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Exodus 21Amplified Bible (AMP)

Ordinances for the People

21 “Now these are the ordinances (laws) which you shall set before the Israelites:

“If you purchase a Hebrew servant [because of his debt or poverty], he shall serve six years, and in the seventh [year] he shall leave as a free man, paying nothing. If he came [to you] alone, he shall leave alone; if he came married, then his wife shall leave with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she gives birth to sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall leave [your service] alone. But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not leave as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God [that is, to the judges who act in God’s name], then he shall bring him to the door or doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl (strong needle); and he shall serve him for life.

“If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go free [after six years] as male servants do. If she does not please her master who has chosen her for himself [as a wife], he shall let her be redeemed [by her family]. He does not have the authority to sell her to a foreign people, because he has been unfair to her. If her master chooses her [as a wife] for his son, he shall act toward her as if she were legally his daughter. 10 If her master marries another wife, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her privilege as a wife. 11 If he does not do these three things for her, then shall she leave free, without payment of money.

Personal Injuries

12 “Whoever strikes a man so that he dies must be put to death. 13 However, [a]if he did not lie in wait [for him], but God allowed him to fall into his hand, then I will establish for you a [b]place to which he may escape [for protection until duly tried]. 14 But if a man acts intentionally against another and kills him by [design through] treachery, you are to take him from My altar [to which he may have fled for protection], so that he may be put to death.

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

16 “Whoever kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or is found with him in his possession, must be put to death.

17 “Whoever [c]curses his father or his mother or treats them contemptuously must be put to death.

18 “If men quarrel and one strikes another with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but is confined to bed, 19 if he gets up and walks around leaning on his cane, then the one who struck him shall be left [physically] unpunished; he must only pay for his loss of time [at work], and the costs [of treatment and recuperation] until he is thoroughly healed.

20 “If a man strikes his male or his female servant with a staff and the servant dies at his hand, he must be punished. 21 If, however, the servant survives for a day or two, the offender shall not be punished, for the [injured] servant is his own property.

22 “If men fight with each other and injure a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely [and the baby lives], yet there is no further injury, the one who hurt her must be punished with a fine [paid] to the woman’s husband, as much as the judges decide. 23 But if there is any further injury, then you shall require [as a penalty] life for life, 24 [d]eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

26 “If a man hits the eye of his male servant or female servant and it is destroyed, he must let the servant go free because of [the loss of] the eye. 27 And if he knocks out the tooth of his male servant or female servant, he must let the servant go free because of [the loss of] the tooth.

28 “If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox must be stoned and its meat shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be cleared [of responsibility]. 29 But if the ox has tried to gore on a previous occasion, and its owner has been warned, but has not kept it confined and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner shall be put to death as well. 30 If a ransom is demanded of him [in return for his life], then he shall give whatever is demanded for the redemption of his life. 31 If the ox has gored another’s son or daughter, he shall be dealt with according to this same rule. 32 If the ox gores a male or a female servant, the owner shall give to the servant’s master thirty shekels of silver [the purchase price for a slave], and the ox shall be stoned.

33 “If a man leaves a pit open, or digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to the animal’s owner, but the dead [animal] shall be his.

35 “If one man’s ox injures another’s so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide the proceeds equally; they shall also divide the dead ox [between them]. 36 Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, and its owner has not kept it confined, he must make restitution of ox for ox, and the dead [animal] shall be his.

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 21:13 I.e. if the act causing the death of another was unintentional.
  2. Exodus 21:13 I.e. after the children of Israel possessed the promised land, six cities of refuge were established.
  3. Exodus 21:17 The one who dishonors his parents in this way also dishonors God by violating God’s created order of honor.
  4. Exodus 21:24 The concept of reciprocal punishment for a wrongful injury is applied mainly to special cases not already covered by more complex laws.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Exodus 21New International Version (NIV)

21 “These are the laws you are to set before them:

Hebrew Servants

“If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges.[a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

“If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

Personal Injuries

12 “Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. 13 However, if it is not done intentionally, but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate. 14 But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death.

15 “Anyone who attacks[c] their father or mother is to be put to death.

16 “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.

17 “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.

18 “If people quarrel and one person hits another with a stone or with their fist[d] and the victim does not die but is confined to bed, 19 the one who struck the blow will not be held liable if the other can get up and walk around outside with a staff; however, the guilty party must pay the injured person for any loss of time and see that the victim is completely healed.

20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[e] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

26 “An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. 27 And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth.

28 “If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 29 If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death. 30 However, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded. 31 This law also applies if the bull gores a son or daughter. 32 If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels[f] of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull is to be stoned to death.

33 “If anyone uncovers a pit or digs one and fails to cover it and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the one who opened the pit must pay the owner for the loss and take the dead animal in exchange.

35 “If anyone’s bull injures someone else’s bull and it dies, the two parties are to sell the live one and divide both the money and the dead animal equally. 36 However, if it was known that the bull had the habit of goring, yet the owner did not keep it penned up, the owner must pay, animal for animal, and take the dead animal in exchange.

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 21:6 Or before God
  2. Exodus 21:8 Or master so that he does not choose her
  3. Exodus 21:15 Or kills
  4. Exodus 21:18 Or with a tool
  5. Exodus 21:22 Or she has a miscarriage
  6. Exodus 21:32 That is, about 12 ounces or about 345 grams
New International Version (NIV)

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