Laws About Slaves

21 “Now these are the (A)rules that you shall set before them. (B)When you buy a Hebrew slave,[a] he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out alone. But (C)if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to (D)God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.

“When a man (E)sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her[b] for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or (F)her marital rights. 11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

12 (G)“Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death. 13 (H)But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then (I)I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee. 14 But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, (J)you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.

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

16 (K)“Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found (L)in possession of him, shall be put to death.

17 (M)“Whoever curses[c] his father or his mother shall be put to death.

18 “When men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist and the man does not die but takes to his bed, 19 then if the man rises again and walks outdoors with his staff, he who struck him shall be clear; only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall have him thoroughly healed.

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Footnotes

  1. Exodus 21:2 Or servant; the Hebrew term ‘ebed designates a range of social and economic roles; also verses 5, 6, 7, 20, 21, 26, 27, 32 (see Preface)
  2. Exodus 21:8 Or so that he has not designated her
  3. Exodus 21:17 Or dishonors; Septuagint reviles

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