Accessibility setting


Select language

Skip to secondary menu

Skip to table of contents

Skip to content

Jehovah’s Witnesses


Online Bible

The Bible in Living English

Exodus 21:1-36

21  “And these are the laws you shall set before them: 2  “When you get a Hebrew male slave he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh he shall go free without paying anything. 3  If he came single he shall go single; if a married man, his wife shall go with him; 4  if his master gives him a wife and she bears him children, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go single. 5  And if the slave says ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go free,’ 6*  his master shall take him to God and take him to the door or the jamb, and his master shall punch his ear with an awl, and he shall be slave to him permanently. 7  “But when a man sells his daughter for a slave she shall not go out as the male slaves do. 8*  If she does not please her master who has appropriated her to himself, he shall let her be bought off; he shall not have authority to sell her to an alien people, when his blanket has been over her. 9  And if he appropriates her to his son he shall give her the treatment of daughters. 10  If he takes another he shall not cut short her meat, covering, and cohabitation. 11  And if he does not do these three things for her she shall go out gratis, without payment. 12  “One who strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death. 13  But in case he had no malice prepense and God brought him under his hand I will set a place for you to which he shall flee. 14  But when one high-handedly kills another by foul play you shall take him from my altar for death. 15  “And he who strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. 16*  And he who steals a man, and sells him or he is found in his hands, shall be put to death. 17  And he who curses his father or mother shall be put to death. 18  “And when men are quarreling and one strikes the other with stone or fist and he does not die but takes to his bed, 19  if he gets up and walks outdoors on his staff the man who struck the blow shall be held innocent, only he shall pay for his lost time and his medical treatment. 20  “And when a man strikes his slave with a cudgel and he dies under his hand he shall be punished; 21  only if he lasts a day or two he shall not be punished, because he is his money. 22*  “And when men are scuffling and run against a pregnant woman and she has a premature birth, but there is no bodily damage, he shall pay such fine as the woman’s husband fixes for him, and give it with arbitrators. 23  And if there is bodily damage he shall give life for life, 24  eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25  burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 26  “And when a man strikes his slave’s eye and spoils it he shall let him go free to make up for his eye. 27  And if he knocks out his slave’s tooth he shall let him go free to make up for his tooth. 28  “And when a bull gores a man or woman and he dies, the bull shall be stoned and its flesh not eaten, but the owner of the bull shall be held innocent. 29  But if it has already been a goring bull, and its owner is notified and does not take care of it, and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner too is to be put to death; 30  if a price for clearing him is fixed, he shall give ransom for his life at whatever rate is fixed for him. 31  In case it gores a son or daughter, the same law shall be followed. 32  If the bull gores a slave he shall give his master thirty shekels of silver and the bull shall be stoned. 33  “And when a man opens a cistern, or when a man digs a cistern and does not cover it, and a bull or donkey falls into it, 34  the owner of the cistern shall pay, shall reimburse its owner in cash, and shall have the dead animal. 35*  “And when one man’s bull fights another’s and causes its death, they shall sell the live bull and divide the proceeds, and divide the dead bull also. 36  In case it was already known to be a goring bull, and its owner was not taking care of it, he shall pay bull for bull and have the dead one.


21:6 Or to the gods (which according to some means the judges)
21:8 Lit. with his blanket on her
21:16 Var. puts verse 17 before verse 16
21:22 (end of verse) Susp.
21:35 Lit. and it dies