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then his master must bring him to the judges,[a] and he will bring him to the door or the doorpost, and his master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.[b]

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Footnotes

  1. Exodus 21:6 tn The word is הָאֱלֹהִים (haʾelohim). S. R. Driver (Exodus, 211) says the phrase means “to God,” namely the nearest sanctuary in order that the oath and the ritual might be made solemn, although he does say that it would be done by human judges. That the reference is to Yahweh God is the view also of F. C. Fensham, “New Light on Exodus 21:7 and 22:7 from the Laws of Eshnunna,” JBL 78 (1959): 160-61. Cf. also ASV, NAB, NASB, NCV, NRSV, NLT. Others have made a stronger case that it refers to judges who acted on behalf of God; see C. Gordon, “אלהים in its Reputed Meaning of Rulers, Judges,” JBL 54 (1935): 134-44; and A. E. Draffkorn, “Ilani/Elohim,” JBL 76 (1957): 216-24; cf. KJV, NIV.
  2. Exodus 21:6 tn Or “till his life’s end” (as in the idiom: “serve him for good”).

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