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Reformation Study Bible – Ex 21:2
Ex 21:2

21:2 buy a Hebrew slave. The case law appropriately commences with laws regulating slavery, for that had been Israel’s position in Egypt. A person could sell himself or his wife into slavery because of poverty or debt (2 Kin. 4:1; Neh. 5:1–5; Amos 2:6), and an Israelite could also be sold by his father into slavery (v. 7). Though the Mosaic law allowed the practice of indentured servitude, abuses were carefully limited (Deut. 15:12 note)—such servitude was limited to six years (v. 2) and the rights of slaves were underscored. See note 1 Pet. 2:18.