Make this servant put his ear against your door and use a sharp tool to make a hole in his ear. This will show that he is your slave forever. You must do this even to the women slaves who want to stay with you.
But if your slave, because he loves you and your family and has a good life with you, says, “I don’t want to leave you,” then take an awl and pierce through his earlobe into the doorpost, marking him as your slave forever. Do the same with your women slaves who want to stay with you.
Don’t feel you’ve been cheated when you set your slave free. It would have cost you twice as much to hire someone to do the same work over those six years, and He will bless you in everything you do because of your generosity. But perhaps your slave will say to you at the end of the six years, “I don’t want to be set free! I love you and your whole family. It’s really good for me to be here with you.” You can accept a slave like this into lifetime service. Perform a special ceremony to mark his new status. Have the slave stand right next to the door of your house, take an awl, and drive it through the slave’s ear lobe into the door. Then pull it out. This will make marks in the ear lobe and in the door that will symbolize the slave. Either a male or a female slave can enter lifetime service this way with this physical mark.
thou shalt take an awl, and thou shalt pierce (it through) his ear in(to) the door of thine house, and (then) he shall serve thee till into the world; also thou shalt do in like manner to an handmaid (and thou shalt treat a slave-girl in the same manner).
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