Exodus 21:1-36

21  “These are the judicial decisions that you are to convey to them:+  “If you buy a Hebrew slave,+ he will serve as a slave for six years, but in the seventh year, he will be set free without paying anything.+  If he came by himself, he will go out by himself. If he is the husband of a wife, then his wife must go out with him.  If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children will become her master’s, and he will go out by himself.+  But if the slave should insist and say, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my sons; I do not want to be set free,’+  his master must bring him before the true God. Then he will bring him up against the door or the doorpost, and his master will pierce his ear through with an awl, and he will be his slave for life.  “If a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not go free the same way that a slave man does.  If her master is not pleased with her and he does not designate her as a concubine but causes her to be purchased by someone else,* he will not be entitled to sell her to foreigners, for he has betrayed her.  If he selects her for his son, he is to grant her the rights of a daughter. 10  If he takes another wife for himself, the sustenance, the clothing, and the marriage due+ of the first wife are not to be diminished. 11  If he will not render these three things to her, then she is to go free without paying any money. 12  “Anyone who strikes a man so that he dies must be put to death.+ 13  But if he does it unintentionally and the true God lets it happen, I will designate for you a place where he can flee.+ 14  If a man becomes very angry with his fellow man and he deliberately kills him,+ the man must die even if you have to take him from my altar.+ 15  One who strikes his father or his mother must be put to death.+ 16  “If anyone kidnaps a man+ and sells him or is caught holding him,+ he must be put to death.+ 17  “Anyone who curses* his father or his mother must be put to death.+ 18  “This is what should happen if men quarrel and one strikes his fellow man with a stone or a fist* and he does not die but is confined to his bed: 19  If he is able to get up and walk around outdoors with the aid of a staff, then the one who struck him must be free from punishment. He will only make compensation for the time the injured man lost from his work until he is completely healed. 20  “If a man strikes his slave man or his slave girl with a stick and that one dies by his hand, that one must be avenged.+ 21  However, if he survives for one or two days, he is not to be avenged, because he is someone bought with his owner’s money. 22  “If men should struggle with each other and they hurt a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely*+ but no fatality* results, the offender must pay the damages imposed on him by the husband of the woman; and he must pay it through the judges.+ 23  But if a fatality does occur, then you must give life for life,*+ 24  eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,+ 25  burn for burn, wound for wound, blow for blow. 26  “If a man strikes the eye of his slave man or the eye of his slave girl and he destroys it, he is to let the slave go free in compensation for his eye.+ 27  And if he knocks out the tooth of his slave man or of his slave girl, he is to let the slave go free in compensation for his tooth. 28  “If a bull gores a man or a woman and that one dies, the bull must be stoned to death+ and its meat is not to be eaten; but the owner of the bull is free from punishment. 29  But if a bull was in the habit of goring and its owner had been warned but he would not keep it under guard and it killed a man or a woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner is also to be put to death. 30  If a ransom* is imposed on him, he must give as the redemption price for his life* all that may be imposed on him. 31  Whether it gored a son or a daughter, it is to be done to the bull’s owner according to this judicial decision. 32  If the bull gored a slave man or a slave girl, he will give the price of 30 shekels* to that one’s master, and the bull will be stoned to death. 33  “If a man uncovers or digs a pit and does not cover it and a bull or a donkey falls into it, 34  the owner of the pit is to make compensation.+ He is to pay the price to its owner, and the dead animal will become his. 35  If a man’s bull hurts another’s bull and it dies, then they must sell the live bull and divide the price paid for it; they should also divide the dead animal. 36  Or if it was known that a bull had been in the habit of goring but its owner would not keep it under guard, he must make compensation with bull for bull, and the dead one will become his own.


Lit., “to be redeemed.”
Or “calls down evil upon.”
Or possibly, “a tool.”
Lit., “and her children come out.”
Or “serious injury.”
Or “soul for soul.”
Or “reparation.”
Or “soul.”
A shekel equaled 11.4 g (0.367 oz t). See App. B14.

Study Notes