Exodus 21 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Laws for Living
21 Then God said to Moses, “These are the ·laws for living [regulations] that you will ·give to the Israelites [L set before them]:
2 “·If [or When] you buy a Hebrew slave, he will serve you for six years. In the seventh year you are to set him free, ·and he will have to pay nothing [with no debt]. 3 If he ·is not married when he becomes your slave [L came single/alone], he must leave ·without a wife [L single; alone]. But if he ·is married when he becomes your slave [L comes in with a wife], he may ·take [L go out with] his wife with him. 4 If the slave’s master gives him a wife, and she gives birth to sons or daughters, the woman and her children will belong to the master. ·When the slave is set free, only he may leave [L He will go out single/alone].
5 “But if the slave says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children, and I don’t want to go free,’ 6 then the slave’s master must take him to ·God [T the judges; C Hebrew: Elohim]. The master is to take him to a door or ·doorframe [doorpost] and ·punch a hole through [pierce] the slave’s ear using ·a sharp tool [an awl]. Then the slave will serve that master all his life.
7 “·If [or When] a man sells his daughter as a slave, ·the rules for setting her free are different from the rules for setting the male slaves free [L she will not go out like male slaves go out]. 8 If ·the master wanted to marry her but then decided he was not pleased with her [L she does not please her master who designated her for himself], he must let ·one of her close relatives buy her back [L her be redeemed]. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has treated her unfairly. 9 If the man ·who bought her promises to let the woman marry [L designated her for] his son, he must ·treat her as [give her the rights of] a daughter. 10 If ·the man who bought her marries another woman [he takes another wife], he must not ·keep his first wife from having [deprive her of] food or clothing or ·sexual relations [marital rights]. 11 If he does not give her these three things, she may go free, ·and she owes him no money [L with no debt; Lev. 25:39–43; Deut. 15:12–18].
Laws About Injuries
12 “Anyone who ·hits [strikes] a person and kills him must be put to death. 13 But if a person kills someone ·accidentally [without premeditation], God allowed that to happen, so ·the person must go to a place I will choose [L I will appoint for you a place to which the person may flee; Josh. 20:1–9]. 14 But if someone plans and murders another person on purpose, put him to death, even if he has run to my altar for safety.
15 “Anyone who ·hits [strikes] his father or his mother must be put to death.
16 “Anyone who kidnaps someone and either sells him as a slave or ·still has him when he is caught [L he is found in his hand] must be put to death.
17 “Anyone who ·says cruel things to [curses] his father or mother must be put to death.
18 “If two men ·argue [quarrel; contend], and one hits ·the other [L his neighbor] with a rock or with his ·fist [or tool], the one who is hurt but not killed might have to stay in bed. 19 Later if he is able to get up and walk around outside with his ·walking stick [staff], the one who hit him ·is not to be punished [has no liability]. But he must pay the injured man for the loss of his time, and he must support the injured man until he is completely healed.
20 “If a man ·beats [strikes] his male or female slave with a ·stick [rod], and the slave dies on the spot, the owner must be punished. 21 But if the slave gets well after a day or two, the owner will not be punished since the slave belongs to him.
22 “Suppose two men are fighting and ·hit [injure] a pregnant woman, causing ·the baby to come out [or a miscarriage; C the Hebrew is not clear whether dead or alive]. If there is no further ·injury [harm], the man who caused the accident must pay money—whatever amount the woman’s husband says and the court allows. 23 But if there is further ·injury [harm], then ·the punishment that must be paid is [L you shall give] life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise [C to guard against excessive punishment].
26 “If a man ·hits [strikes] his male or female slave in the eye, and ·the eye is blinded [L destroys it], the man is to free the slave to pay for the eye. 27 If a master knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, the man is to free the slave to pay for the tooth.
28 “If a man’s ·bull [ox] kills a man or woman, you must kill that bull by ·throwing stones at [stoning] it, and you should not eat ·the bull [L its meat]. But the owner of the bull is ·not guilty [innocent]. 29 However, suppose the ·bull [ox] has ·hurt [gored] people in the past and the owner, though warned, did not ·keep it in a pen [restrain/confine it]. Then if it kills a man or woman, the ·bull [ox] must be stoned to death, and the owner must also be put to death. 30 But if ·the family of the dead person accepts money [L a ransom is imposed on him], the owner of the bull must pay whatever is demanded ·to buy back his life [for his redemption]. 31 Use this same ·law [rule] if the ·bull [ox] ·kills [gores] a person’s son or daughter. 32 If the ·bull [ox] ·kills [gores] a male or female slave, the owner must pay the master ·the price for a new slave, or twelve ounces [L thirty shekels] of silver, and the ·bull [ox] must also be stoned to death.
33 “If a man takes the cover off a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it, and another man’s ox or donkey comes and falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit must ·pay [compensate] the owner of the animal for the loss. The dead animal will belong to the one who pays.
35 “If a man’s ·bull [ox] ·kills [gores] another man’s ·bull [ox] and it dies, they must sell the ·bull [ox] that is alive. Both men will get half of the money and half of the bull that was killed. 36 But if a person’s ·bull [ox] has ·hurt [gored] other animals in the past and the owner did not ·keep it in a pen [restrain/confine it], that owner must pay bull for bull, and the dead animal is his.