Exodus 21

The Decisions

21:11 “These are the decisions that you will set before them:

Hebrew Servants

21:22 “If you buy3 a Hebrew servant,4 he is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year he will go out free5 without paying anything.6 21:3 If he came7 in by himself8 he will go out by himself; if he had9 a wife when he came in, then his wife will go out with him. 21:4 If his master gave10 him a wife, and she bore sons or daughters, the wife and the children will belong to her master, and he will go out by himself. 21:5 But if the servant should declare,11 ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out12 free,’ 21:6 then his master must bring him to the judges,13 and he will bring him to the door or the doorposts, and his master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.14

21:7 “If a man sells his daughter15 as a female servant,16 she will not go out as the male servants do. 21:8 If she does not please17 her master, who has designated her18 for himself, then he must let her be redeemed.19 He has no right20 to sell her to a foreign nation, because he has dealt deceitfully21 with her. 21:9 If he designated her for his son, then he will deal with her according to the customary rights22 of daughters. 21:10 If he takes another wife,23 he must not diminish the first one’s food,24 her clothing, or her marital rights.25 21:11 If he does not provide her with these three things, then she will go out free, without paying money.26

Personal Injuries

21:1227 “Whoever strikes someone28 so that he dies29 must surely be put to death.30 21:13 But if he does not do it with premeditation,31 but it happens by accident,32 then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee. 21:14 But if a man willfully attacks his neighbor to kill him cunningly,33 you will take him even from my altar that he may die.

21:15 “Whoever strikes34 his father or his mother must surely be put to death.

21:16 “Whoever kidnaps someone35 and sells him,36 or is caught still holding him,37 must surely be put to death.

21:17 “Whoever treats his father or his mother disgracefully38 must surely be put to death.

21:18 “If men fight, and one strikes his neighbor with a stone or with his fist and he does not die, but must remain in bed,39 21:19 and then40 if he gets up and walks about41 outside on his staff, then the one who struck him is innocent, except he must pay42 for the injured person’s43 loss of time44 and see to it that he is fully healed.

21:20 “If a man strikes his male servant or his female servant with a staff so that he or she45 dies as a result of the blow,46 he will surely be punished.47 21:21 However, if the injured servant48 survives one or two days, the owner49 will not be punished, for he has suffered the loss.50

21:22If men fight and hit a pregnant woman and her child is born prematurely,51 but there is no serious injury, he will surely be punished in accordance with what the woman’s husband demands of him, and he will pay what the court decides.52 21:23 But if there is serious injury, then you will give a life for a life, 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 21:25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.53

21:26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male servant or his female servant so that he destroys it,54 he will let the servant55 go free56 as compensation for the eye. 21:27 If he knocks out the tooth of his male servant or his female servant, he will let the servant57 go free as compensation for the tooth.

Laws about Animals

21:2858 “If an ox59 gores a man or a woman so that either dies,60 then the ox must surely61 be stoned and its flesh must not be eaten, but the owner of the ox will be acquitted. 21:29 But if the ox had the habit of goring, and its owner was warned,62 and he did not take the necessary precautions,63 and then it killed a man or a woman, the ox must be stoned and the man must be put to death. 21:30 If a ransom is set for him,64 then he must pay the redemption for his life according to whatever amount was set for him. 21:31 If the ox65 gores a son or a daughter, the owner66 will be dealt with according to this rule.67 21:32 If the ox gores a male servant or a female servant, the owner68 must pay thirty shekels of silver,69 and the ox must be stoned.70

21:33 “If a man opens a pit or if a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 21:34 the owner of the pit must repay71 the loss. He must give money72 to its owner, and the dead animal73 will become his. 21:35 If the ox of one man injures the ox of his neighbor so that it dies, then they will sell the live ox and divide its proceeds,74 and they will also divide the dead ox.75 21:36 Or if it is known that the ox had the habit of goring, and its owner did not take the necessary precautions, he must surely pay76 ox for ox, and the dead animal will become his.77

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