New Living Translation
Fair Treatment of Slaves
21 “These are the regulations you must present to Israel.
2 “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he may serve for no more than six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. 3 If he was single when he became your slave, he shall leave single. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife must be freed with him.
4 “If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave and they had sons or daughters, then only the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. 5 But the slave may declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I don’t want to go free.’ 6 If he does this, his master must present him before God.[a] Then his master must take him to the door or doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life.
7 “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. 8 If she does not satisfy her owner, he must allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. 9 But if the slave’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave but as a daughter.
10 “If a man who has married a slave wife takes another wife for himself, he must not neglect the rights of the first wife to food, clothing, and sexual intimacy. 11 If he fails in any of these three obligations, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.
Cases of Personal Injury
12 “Anyone who assaults and kills another person must be put to death. 13 But if it was simply an accident permitted by God, I will appoint a place of refuge where the slayer can run for safety. 14 However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death.
15 “Anyone who strikes father or mother must be put to death.
16 “Kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.
17 “Anyone who dishonors[b] father or mother must be put to death.
18 “Now suppose two men quarrel, and one hits the other with a stone or fist, and the injured person does not die but is confined to bed. 19 If he is later able to walk outside again, even with a crutch, the assailant will not be punished but must compensate his victim for lost wages and provide for his full recovery.
20 “If a man beats his male or female slave with a club and the slave dies as a result, the owner must be punished. 21 But if the slave recovers within a day or two, then the owner shall not be punished, since the slave is his property.
22 “Now suppose two men are fighting, and in the process they accidentally strike a pregnant woman so she gives birth prematurely.[c] If no further injury results, the man who struck the woman must pay the amount of compensation the woman’s husband demands and the judges approve. 23 But if there is further injury, the punishment must match the injury: a life for a life, 24 an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot, 25 a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise.
26 “If a man hits his male or female slave in the eye and the eye is blinded, he must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. 27 And if a man knocks out the tooth of his male or female slave, he must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth.
28 “If an ox[d] gores a man or woman to death, the ox must be stoned, and its flesh may not be eaten. In such a case, however, the owner will not be held liable. 29 But suppose the ox had a reputation for goring, and the owner had been informed but failed to keep it under control. If the ox then kills someone, it must be stoned, and the owner must also be put to death. 30 However, the dead person’s relatives may accept payment to compensate for the loss of life. The owner of the ox may redeem his life by paying whatever is demanded.
31 “The same regulation applies if the ox gores a boy or a girl. 32 But if the ox gores a slave, either male or female, the animal’s owner must pay the slave’s owner thirty silver coins,[e] and the ox must be stoned.
33 “Suppose someone digs or uncovers a pit and fails to cover it, and then an ox or a donkey falls into it. 34 The owner of the pit must pay full compensation to the owner of the animal, but then he gets to keep the dead animal.
35 “If someone’s ox injures a neighbor’s ox and the injured ox dies, then the two owners must sell the live ox and divide the price equally between them. They must also divide the dead animal. 36 But if the ox had a reputation for goring, yet its owner failed to keep it under control, he must pay full compensation—a live ox for the dead one—but he may keep the dead ox.
Protection of Property
2 [h]“If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder. 3 But if it happens in daylight, the one who killed the thief is guilty of murder.
“A thief who is caught must pay in full for everything he stole. If he cannot pay, he must be sold as a slave to pay for his theft. 4 If someone steals an ox or a donkey or a sheep and it is found in the thief’s possession, then the thief must pay double the value of the stolen animal.
5 “If an animal is grazing in a field or vineyard and the owner lets it stray into someone else’s field to graze, then the animal’s owner must pay compensation from the best of his own grain or grapes.
6 “If you are burning thornbushes and the fire gets out of control and spreads into another person’s field, destroying the sheaves or the uncut grain or the whole crop, the one who started the fire must pay for the lost crop.
7 “Suppose someone leaves money or goods with a neighbor for safekeeping, and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house. If the thief is caught, the compensation is double the value of what was stolen. 8 But if the thief is not caught, the neighbor must appear before God,[i] who will determine if he stole the property.
9 “Suppose there is a dispute between two people who both claim to own a particular ox, donkey, sheep, article of clothing, or any lost property. Both parties must come before God, and the person whom God declares[j] guilty must pay double compensation to the other.
10 “Now suppose someone leaves a donkey, ox, sheep, or any other animal with a neighbor for safekeeping, but it dies or is injured or is taken away, and no one sees what happened. 11 The neighbor must then take an oath in the presence of the Lord. If the Lord confirms that the neighbor did not steal the property, the owner must accept the verdict, and no payment will be required. 12 But if the animal was indeed stolen, the guilty person must pay compensation to the owner. 13 If it was torn to pieces by a wild animal, the remains of the carcass must be shown as evidence, and no compensation will be required.
14 “If someone borrows an animal from a neighbor and it is injured or dies when the owner is absent, the person who borrowed it must pay full compensation. 15 But if the owner was present, no compensation is required. And no compensation is required if the animal was rented, for this loss is covered by the rental fee.
16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her. 17 But if her father refuses to let him marry her, the man must still pay him an amount equal to the bride price of a virgin.
18 “You must not allow a sorceress to live.
19 “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must certainly be put to death.
20 “Anyone who sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.[k]
21 “You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.
22 “You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. 23 If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless.
25 “If you lend money to any of my people who are in need, do not charge interest as a money lender would. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as security for a loan, you must return it before sunset. 27 This coat may be the only blanket your neighbor has. How can a person sleep without it? If you do not return it and your neighbor cries out to me for help, then I will hear, for I am merciful.
28 “You must not dishonor God or curse any of your rulers.
29 “You must not hold anything back when you give me offerings from your crops and your wine.
“You must give me your firstborn sons.
30 “You must also give me the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats. But leave the newborn animal with its mother for seven days; then give it to me on the eighth day.
31 “You must be my holy people. Therefore, do not eat any animal that has been torn up and killed by wild animals. Throw it to the dogs.
- 21:6 Or before the judges.
- 21:17 Greek version reads Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of. Compare Matt 15:4; Mark 7:10.
- 21:22 Or so she has a miscarriage; Hebrew reads so her children come out.
- 21:28 Or bull, or cow; also in 21:29-36.
- 21:32 Hebrew 30 shekels of silver, about 12 ounces or 342 grams in weight.
- 22:1a Verse 22:1 is numbered 21:37 in Hebrew text.
- 22:1b Or bull, or cow; also in 22:4, 9, 10.
- 22:2 Verses 22:2-31 are numbered 22:1-30 in Hebrew text.
- 22:8 Or before the judges.
- 22:9 Or before the judges, and the person whom the judges declare.
- 22:20 The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the Lord, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.