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Exodus 21:1-11 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]:

“·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]. 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. 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].

“But if the slave says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children, and I don’t want to go free,’ 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.

“·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]. 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. 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].

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

Exodus 21:1-11 New International Version (NIV)

21 “These are the laws you are to set before them:

Hebrew Servants

“If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges.[a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

“If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.


  1. Exodus 21:6 Or before God
  2. Exodus 21:8 Or master so that he does not choose her
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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