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Exodus 21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Ordinances for the People

21 “Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them:

“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes [a]alone, he shall go out [b]alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out [c]alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to [d]God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to [e]go free as the male slaves [f]do. If she is [g]displeasing in the eyes of her master [h]who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his [i]unfairness to her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10 If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her [j]food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11 If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

Personal Injuries

12 He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13 But [k]if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee. 14 If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die.

15 “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

16 He who [l]kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his [m]possession, shall surely be put to death.

17 He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

18 “If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but [n]remains in bed, 19 if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his [o]loss of time, and [p]shall take care of him until he is completely healed.

20 “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies [q]at his hand, he shall [r]be punished. 21 If, however, he [s]survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his [t]property.

22 “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that [u]she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband [v]may demand of him, and he shall pay [w]as the judges decide. 23 But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, [x]bruise for bruise.

26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. 27 And if he [y]knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.

28 “If an ox gores a man or a woman [z]to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. 29 If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 30 If a ransom is [aa]demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is [ab]demanded of him. 31 Whether it gores a son or [ac]a daughter, it shall be done to him according to [ad]the same rule. 32 If the ox gores a male or female slave, [ae]the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

33 “If a man opens a pit, or [af]digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall [ag]give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his.

35 “If one man’s ox hurts another’s so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its price equally; and also they shall divide the dead ox. 36 Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal shall become his.


  1. Exodus 21:3 Lit by himself
  2. Exodus 21:3 Lit by himself
  3. Exodus 21:4 Lit by himself
  4. Exodus 21:6 Or the judges who acted in God’s name
  5. Exodus 21:7 Lit go out
  6. Exodus 21:7 Lit go out
  7. Exodus 21:8 Lit bad
  8. Exodus 21:8 Another reading is so that he did not designate her
  9. Exodus 21:8 Lit dealing treacherously
  10. Exodus 21:10 Lit flesh
  11. Exodus 21:13 Lit he who
  12. Exodus 21:16 Lit steals
  13. Exodus 21:16 Lit hand
  14. Exodus 21:18 Lit lies
  15. Exodus 21:19 Lit his sitting
  16. Exodus 21:19 Lit healing, he shall cause to be healed
  17. Exodus 21:20 Lit under
  18. Exodus 21:20 Lit suffer vengeance
  19. Exodus 21:21 Lit stands
  20. Exodus 21:21 Lit money
  21. Exodus 21:22 Or an untimely birth occurs; lit her children come out
  22. Exodus 21:22 Lit lays on him
  23. Exodus 21:22 Lit by arbitration
  24. Exodus 21:25 Lit welt
  25. Exodus 21:27 Lit causes to fall
  26. Exodus 21:28 Lit so that he dies
  27. Exodus 21:30 Lit laid on him
  28. Exodus 21:30 Lit laid on him
  29. Exodus 21:31 Lit gores a daughter
  30. Exodus 21:31 Lit this judgment
  31. Exodus 21:32 Lit he
  32. Exodus 21:33 Lit if a man digs
  33. Exodus 21:34 Lit give back
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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