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Exodus 21 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Laws Concerning the Treatment of Slaves

21 ⌞The Lord continued,⌟ “Here are the legal decisions to be used by the Israelites:

“Whenever you buy a Hebrew slave, he will be your slave for six years. In the seventh year he may leave as a free man, without paying for his freedom. If he comes to you by himself, he must leave by himself. If he comes as a married man, his wife may leave with him. If his master gives him a wife and she gives birth to sons or daughters, the wife and her children belong to the master, and the slave must leave by himself. But if he makes this statement: ‘I hereby declare my love for my master, my wife, and my children. I don’t want to leave as a free man,’ then his master must bring him to God. The master must bring him to the door or the doorframe and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his slave for life.

“Whenever a man sells his daughter into slavery, she will not go free the way male slaves do. If she doesn’t please the master who has chosen her as a wife,[a] he must let her be bought back by one of her close relatives. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, since he has treated her unfairly. But if he has chosen her for his son, he must treat her like a daughter. 10 If that son marries another woman, he must not deprive the first wife of food, clothes, or sex. 11 If he doesn’t give her these three things, she can go free, without paying any money for her freedom.

Laws Concerning Injury to People

12 “Whoever strikes someone and kills him must be put to death. 13 If it wasn’t done intentionally, but God let it happen, the killer should flee to a place I will set aside for you. 14 But whenever someone becomes so angry that he plans to kill his neighbor, you must take him away from my altar and put him to death.

15 “Whoever hits his father or mother must be put to death.

16 “Whoever kidnaps another person must be put to death, whether he has sold the kidnapped person or still has him.

17 “Whoever curses his father or mother must be put to death.

18 “This is what you must do whenever men quarrel and one hits the other with a rock or with his fist and injures him so that he has to stay in bed. 19 If the injured man can get up again and walk around outside with a cane, the one who hit him must not be punished. He must pay the injured man for the loss of his time and for all his medical expenses.

20 “Whenever an owner hits his male or female slave with a stick so that the slave dies from the beating, the owner must be punished. 21 But if the slave gets up in a day or two, the owner must not be punished. The slave is his property.

22 “This is what you must do whenever men fight and injure a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely. If there are no other injuries, the offender must pay whatever fine the court allows the woman’s husband to demand. 23 If anyone is injured, the offender must pay 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 bruise for a bruise, a wound for a wound.

26 “Whenever an owner hits his male or female slave in the eye and the slave is blinded, he must let the slave go free to make up for the loss of the eye. 27 If the owner knocks out the tooth of his male or female slave, he must let the slave go free to make up for the loss of the tooth.

28 “Whenever a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull must be stoned to death, and its meat may not be eaten. The bull’s owner is free from any liability. 29 But if the bull has had the habit of goring, and the owner has been warned but has not kept it confined, and it kills a man or a woman, then the bull must be stoned and its owner must be put to death, too. 30 However, if only a cash settlement is demanded from the owner, the bull’s owner may save his life by paying whatever price is demanded of him. 31 If the bull gores someone’s son or daughter, this same ruling applies. 32 If the bull gores a male or female slave, its owner must pay 12 ounces of silver to the slave’s master, and the bull must be stoned.

Laws Concerning Property

33 “Whenever someone opens up a cistern or digs a new one and doesn’t cover it and a bull or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the cistern must make up for the loss. He must pay money to the animal’s owner, and then the dead animal will be his.

35 “Whenever one person’s bull kills another person’s bull, they must sell the live bull and divide the money between them. They must divide the dead bull, too. 36 However, if it was known that the bull had the habit of goring, and its owner didn’t keep it confined, the owner must make up for the loss—bull for bull—and then the dead bull will be his.”

Footnotes:

  1. 21:8 Or “master so that he does not choose her as a wife.”
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 by God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society. All rights reserved.

Exodus 21 King James Version (KJV)

21 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.

If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.

And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee.

14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.

15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

18 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed:

19 If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.

20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.

27 And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.

28 If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.

29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

30 If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.

31 Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.

32 If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein;

34 The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.

35 And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide.

36 Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.

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