Exodus 21

Laws for Servants

(1) "Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them.

(2) If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve for six years, and in the seventh year he shall go out free, costing him nothing.

(3) If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

(4) If his master gave him a wife, and she bore him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.

(5) But if the servant shall plainly say, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,'

(6) then his master shall bring him to the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

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

(8) If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no power to sell her to a foreign nation, seeing he has dealt deceitfully with her.

(9) And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her as the custom of daughters.

(10) If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights.

(11) And if he does not do these three things for her, then she shall go out free without paying any money.

Behavior Laws

(12) He who strikes a man, so that he dies, shall be surely put to death.

(13) But if a man did not lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee.

(14) If a man comes presumptuously to his neighbor, to kill him with craftiness, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.

(15) And he who strikes his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

(16) He that steals a man, and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

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

(18) If men struggle together, and one strikes another with a stone, or with his fist, and he does not die, but lies down in his bed,

(19) if he rises again, and walks outside on his staff, then shall he that struck him be exempt from punishment, he shall only have to pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for him to be thoroughly healed.

(20) And if a man strikes his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he dies by his hand, he shall surely be punished.

(21) But, if he continues to live a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his slave.

(22) If men quarrel, and hurt a woman with child, so that her child departs from her, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay on 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, and stripe for stripe.

(26) If a man strikes the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, such that it loses vision, he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake.

(27) And if he knocks 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 gores a man or a woman, so 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 exempt from punishment.

(29) But if the ox were given to goring with its horn in the past, and its owner has been warned of it, but he has not kept it in, and it has killed a man or a woman, then the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

(30) If there is a ransom imposed on him, then he shall pay it for the redemption of his life, whatever is imposed on him.

(31) Whether he has gored a son, or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done to him.

(32) If the ox gores a manservant or a maidservant, he shall give to their master 30 shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

Restitution Laws

(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 in it,

(34) then the owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money to the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.

(35) And if one man’s ox hurts another man’s ox, so that it dies; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money from it; and the dead ox they shall also divide.

(36) Or if it was known that the ox was given to goring in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead ox shall be his own.

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