Ordinances for the People

21 “Now these are the (A)ordinances which you are to set before them:

“If you buy (B)a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall leave as a free man without a payment to you. If he comes [a]alone, he shall leave [b]alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall leave with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall leave [c]alone. But (C)if the slave 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 [d]God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an [e]awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

“Now (D)if a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to [f]go free (E)as the male slaves [g]do. If she is [h]displeasing in the eyes of her master [i]who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people, because of his [j]unfairness to her. And if he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10 If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her [k]food, her clothing, or (F)her conjugal rights. 11 But if he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go [l]free for nothing, without payment of money.

Personal Injuries

12 (G)He who strikes someone so that he dies shall certainly be put to death. 13 (H)Yet [m]if he did not lie in wait for him, but (I)God caused him to fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee. 14 (J)If, however, someone is enraged against his neighbor, so as to kill him in a cunning way, you are to take him even from My altar, to be put to death.

15 “And one who strikes his father or his mother shall certainly be put to death.

16 “Now (K)one who [n]kidnaps someone, whether he sells him or he is found in his [o]possession, shall certainly be put to death.

17 “And (L)one who curses his father or his mother shall certainly be put to death.

18 “Now if people have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with a fist, and he does not die but [p]is confined to bed, 19 if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his [q]loss of time, and [r]shall pay for his care until he is completely healed.

20 “And if someone strikes his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies [s]at his hand, he shall [t]be punished. 21 If, however, the slave [u]survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; (M)for the slave is his [v]property.

22 “Now if people struggle with each other and strike a pregnant woman so that [w]she gives birth prematurely, but there is no injury, the guilty person shall certainly be fined as the woman’s husband [x]may demand of him, and he shall (N)pay [y]as the judges decide. 23 But if there is any further injury, (O)then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 (P)eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, [z]bruise for bruise.

26 “And if someone strikes the eye of his male or female slave and destroys it, he shall let [aa]the slave go free on account of the eye. 27 And if he [ab]knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let [ac]the slave go free on account of the tooth.

28 “Now if an ox gores a man or a woman [ad]to death, (Q)the ox shall certainly be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. 29 If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 30 If a ransom is [ae]demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is [af]demanded of him. 31 Whether it gores a son or [ag]a daughter, it shall be done to him according to [ah]the same rule. 32 If the ox gores a male or female slave, [ai]the owner shall give his or her master [aj](R)thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

Property Rights

33 “Now if someone opens a pit, or [ak]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 [al]give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his.

35 “And if someone’s ox injures another’s ox so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its proceeds equally; and they shall also divide the dead ox. 36 Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he must make restitution of ox for ox, and the dead animal shall become his.

Property Rights

22 [am]If someone steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and (S)four sheep for the sheep— [an]If the (T)thief is [ao]caught while [ap]breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no guilt for bloodshed on his account. If the sun has risen on him, there will be guilt for bloodshed on his account—A thief shall certainly make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be (U)sold for his theft. If what he stole is actually found alive in his [aq]possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, (V)he shall pay double.

“If someone lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another person’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.

“If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, and stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, the one who started the fire must make restitution.

(W)If someone gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him and it is stolen from the [ar]neighbor’s house, if the thief is [as]caught, then the thief shall pay double. If the thief is not [at]caught, then the owner of the house shall [au]appear before [av](X)the judges, to determine whether he [aw]laid his hands on his neighbor’s property. For every [ax]breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, ‘This is it,’ the [ay]case of both parties shall come before [az](Y)the judges; he whom [ba]the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.

10 “If someone gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is injured or is driven away while no one is looking, 11 an (Z)oath before the Lord shall be [bb]taken by the two of them [bc]that he has not [bd]laid a hand on his neighbor’s property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not be compelled to make restitution. 12 But if it is actually stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner. 13 If it is all torn to pieces, have him bring it as evidence; he shall not be compelled to make restitution for what has been torn to pieces.

14 “And if someone [be]borrows an animal from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution. 15 If its owner is with it, the borrower shall not be compelled to make restitution. If it is hired, it [bf]came by its hire.

Various Laws

16 (AA)If a man seduces a virgin who is not [bg]betrothed and sleeps with her, he must pay a [bh]dowry for her to be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall [bi]pay money equal to the (AB)dowry for virgins.

18 “You shall not allow a (AC)sorceress to live.

19 (AD)Whoever has sexual intercourse with an animal must be put to death.

20 (AE)He who sacrifices to [bj]any god, other than to the Lord alone, shall be [bk]utterly destroyed.

21 (AF)You shall not oppress a stranger nor torment him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 (AG)You shall not oppress any widow or orphan. 23 If you oppress him at all, and (AH)if he does cry out to Me, (AI)I will assuredly hear his cry; 24 and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, (AJ)and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

25 (AK)If you lend money to My people, to the poor [bl]among you, you are not to [bm]act as a creditor to him; you shall not [bn]charge him (AL)interest. 26 If you ever seize your neighbor’s cloak (AM)as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, 27 for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his [bo]body. What else is he to sleep in? And it will come about that (AN)when he cries out to Me, I will listen to him, for (AO)I am gracious.

28 “You shall not [bp](AP)curse God, (AQ)nor curse a ruler of your people.

29 (AR)You shall not hold back the offering from your entire harvest and your [bq]wine. (AS)The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. 30 (AT)You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother for seven days; (AU)on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.

31 (AV)You shall be holy people to Me, therefore (AW)you shall not eat any flesh torn to pieces in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.

Various Laws

23 (AX)You shall not give a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked person to be a (AY)malicious witness. You shall not follow [br]the crowd in doing evil, nor shall you [bs]testify in a dispute so as to join together with [bt]a crowd in order to (AZ)pervert justice; (BA)nor shall you [bu]show favor to a poor person in his dispute.

(BB)If you encounter your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you must return it to him. (BC)If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall not leave it helpless for [bv]its owner; you must arrange the load with him.

(BD)You shall not pervert the justice due to your needy brother in his dispute. (BE)Keep far from a false charge, and (BF)do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for (BG)I will not acquit the guilty.

(BH)You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and [bw]subverts the cause of the just.

(BI)You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the [bx]feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.

The Sabbath and the Land

10 “Now (BJ)you shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, 11 but in the seventh year you shall let it [by]rest and lie uncultivated, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the animal of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

12 (BK)For six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as the stranger residing with you, may refresh themselves. 13 Now (BL)concerning everything which I have said to you, be careful; and (BM)do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard [bz]from your mouth.

Three National Feasts

14 (BN)Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. 15 You shall keep (BO)the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the (BP)month of Abib, for in [ca]that month you came out of Egypt. And [cb](BQ)no one is to appear before Me empty-handed. 16 Also you shall keep (BR)the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year (BS)when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. 17 (BT)Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord [cc]God.

18 (BU)You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; (BV)nor is the fat of My [cd]feast to remain overnight until morning.

19 “You shall bring (BW)the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God.

(BX)You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother.

Conquest of the Land

20 “Behold, I am going to send (BY)an angel before you to guard you along the way and (BZ)to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Be attentive to him and obey his voice; (CA)do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your rebellion, since (CB)My name is in him. 22 But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then (CC)I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23 (CD)For My angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them. 24 (CE)You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; (CF)but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their (CG)memorial stones in pieces. 25 (CH)And you shall serve the Lord your God, [ce]and He will bless your bread and your water; and (CI)I will remove sickness from your midst. 26 There will be no one miscarrying or (CJ)unable to have children in your land; (CK)I will fulfill the number of your days. 27 I will (CL)send My terror ahead of you, and (CM)throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will (CN)make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 And I will send (CO)hornets ahead of you so that they will (CP)drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from you. 29 (CQ)I will not drive them out from you in a single year, so that the land will not become desolate and the animals of the field become too numerous for you. 30 I will drive them out from you (CR)little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land. 31 (CS)I will set your boundary from the [cf]Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates River; (CT)for I will hand over the inhabitants of the land to you, and you will (CU)drive them out from you. 32 (CV)You shall [cg]make no covenant with them (CW)or with their gods. 33 (CX)They shall not live in your land, otherwise they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, (CY)it is certain to be a snare to you.”

People Affirm Their Covenant with God

24 Then He said to Moses, “(CZ)Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, (DA)Nadab and Abihu, and (DB)seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. Moses alone, however, shall approach the Lord, but they shall not approach, nor shall the people come up with him.”

Then Moses came and reported to the people all the words of the Lord and all the [ch]ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “(DC)All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!” And (DD)Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Then he got up early in the morning, and built an (DE)altar [ci]at the foot of the mountain with twelve memorial stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the sons of Israel, (DF)and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. (DG)Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took (DH)the Book of the Covenant and read it [cj]as the people listened; and they said, “(DI)All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” So (DJ)Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold (DK)the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has [ck]made with you [cl]in accordance with all these words.”

Then Moses went up [cm]with Aaron, (DL)Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and (DM)they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet [cn](DN)there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, [co]as clear as the sky itself. 11 Yet He did not reach out with His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and (DO)they saw God, and they ate and drank.

12 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and [cp]stay there, and (DP)I will give you the stone tablets [cq]with the Law and the [cr]commandments which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses got up [cs]along with (DQ)Joshua his [ct]servant, and Moses went up to (DR)the mountain of God. 14 But to the elders he said, “(DS)Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, (DT)Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever [cu]has a legal matter, have him approach them.” 15 Then Moses went up to the mountain, and (DU)the cloud covered the mountain. 16 (DV)The glory of the Lord [cv]settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He (DW)called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. 17 (DX)And to the eyes of the sons of Israel, the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a (DY)consuming fire on the mountain top. 18 Then Moses entered the midst of the cloud [cw]as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain for (DZ)forty days and forty nights.

Footnotes

  1. Exodus 21:3 Lit by himself
  2. Exodus 21:3 Lit by himself
  3. Exodus 21:4 Lit by himself
  4. Exodus 21:6 Or the judges (who acted in God’s name)
  5. Exodus 21:6 I.e., a pointed tool
  6. Exodus 21:7 Lit go out
  7. Exodus 21:7 Lit go out
  8. Exodus 21:8 Lit bad
  9. Exodus 21:8 Another reading is so that he did not designate her
  10. Exodus 21:8 Lit dealing treacherously
  11. Exodus 21:10 Lit flesh
  12. Exodus 21:11 Lit out
  13. Exodus 21:13 Lit he who
  14. Exodus 21:16 Lit steals
  15. Exodus 21:16 Lit hand
  16. Exodus 21:18 Lit lies in
  17. Exodus 21:19 Lit his sitting
  18. Exodus 21:19 Lit healing, he shall cause to be healed
  19. Exodus 21:20 Lit under
  20. Exodus 21:20 Lit suffer vengeance
  21. Exodus 21:21 Lit stands
  22. Exodus 21:21 Lit money
  23. Exodus 21:22 Or an untimely birth occurs; lit her children come out
  24. Exodus 21:22 Lit lays on him
  25. Exodus 21:22 Lit by arbitration
  26. Exodus 21:25 Lit welt
  27. Exodus 21:26 Lit him go...his eye
  28. Exodus 21:27 Lit causes to fall
  29. Exodus 21:27 Lit him go...his tooth
  30. Exodus 21:28 Lit so that he dies
  31. Exodus 21:30 Lit laid on him
  32. Exodus 21:30 Lit laid on him
  33. Exodus 21:31 Lit gores a daughter
  34. Exodus 21:31 Lit this judgment
  35. Exodus 21:32 Lit he
  36. Exodus 21:32 About 15 oz. or 425 gm
  37. Exodus 21:33 Lit if a man digs
  38. Exodus 21:34 Lit give back
  39. Exodus 22:1 Ch 21:37 in Heb
  40. Exodus 22:2 Ch 22:1 in Heb
  41. Exodus 22:2 Lit found
  42. Exodus 22:2 I.e., at night; cf. v 3
  43. Exodus 22:4 Lit hand
  44. Exodus 22:7 Lit man’s
  45. Exodus 22:7 Lit found
  46. Exodus 22:8 Lit found
  47. Exodus 22:8 Lit approach to
  48. Exodus 22:8 Or God
  49. Exodus 22:8 Lit stretched his hand
  50. Exodus 22:9 Or matter of wrongdoing
  51. Exodus 22:9 Lit matter
  52. Exodus 22:9 Or God
  53. Exodus 22:9 Or God
  54. Exodus 22:11 Lit between the two
  55. Exodus 22:11 Lit if
  56. Exodus 22:11 Lit reached out his hand
  57. Exodus 22:14 Lit asks
  58. Exodus 22:15 I.e., the fee covers the loss
  59. Exodus 22:16 A betrothed couple was considered legally married, but did not yet live together
  60. Exodus 22:16 I.e., bride-price
  61. Exodus 22:17 Lit weigh out silver
  62. Exodus 22:20 Lit the gods
  63. Exodus 22:20 Lit put under the ban
  64. Exodus 22:25 Lit with
  65. Exodus 22:25 Lit be
  66. Exodus 22:25 Lit lay upon
  67. Exodus 22:27 Lit skin
  68. Exodus 22:28 Or revile
  69. Exodus 22:29 Lit juice
  70. Exodus 23:2 Lit many
  71. Exodus 23:2 Or answer
  72. Exodus 23:2 Lit many
  73. Exodus 23:3 Lit honor
  74. Exodus 23:5 Lit him
  75. Exodus 23:8 Or distorts the words
  76. Exodus 23:9 Lit soul
  77. Exodus 23:11 Lit drop
  78. Exodus 23:13 Lit on
  79. Exodus 23:15 Lit it
  80. Exodus 23:15 Lit they shall not
  81. Exodus 23:17 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  82. Exodus 23:18 Or festival
  83. Exodus 23:25 Or that He may bless
  84. Exodus 23:31 Lit Sea of Reeds
  85. Exodus 23:32 Lit cut
  86. Exodus 24:3 Or judgments
  87. Exodus 24:4 Lit beneath
  88. Exodus 24:7 Lit in the ears of the people;
  89. Exodus 24:8 Lit cut
  90. Exodus 24:8 Lit on all
  91. Exodus 24:9 Lit and
  92. Exodus 24:10 Lit like a pavement
  93. Exodus 24:10 Lit and as
  94. Exodus 24:12 Lit be
  95. Exodus 24:12 Lit and
  96. Exodus 24:12 Lit commandment
  97. Exodus 24:13 Lit and
  98. Exodus 24:13 Or minister
  99. Exodus 24:14 Lit is a master of matters
  100. Exodus 24:16 Lit dwelt
  101. Exodus 24:18 Lit and