21 Temporal and civil ordinances appointed by God touching servitude, murders, and wrongs: the observation whereof doth not justify a man, but are given to bridle our corrupt nature, which else would break out into all mischief and cruelty.

Now these are the laws, which thou shalt set before them:

(A)If thou buy an Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free for [a]nothing.

If he [b]came himself alone, he shall go out himself alone: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

If his master hath given him a wife and she hath borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her [c]master’s, but he shall go out himself alone.

But if the servant say thus, I love my master, my wife and my children, I will not go out free,

Then his master shall bring him unto the [d]Judges, and set him to the [e]door, or to the post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him [f]forever.

Likewise if a man [g]sell his daughter to be a servant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall [h]he cause to buy her: he shall have no power to sell her to a strange people, seeing he [i]despised her.

But if he hath betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her [j]according to the custom of the daughters.

10 If he take [k]him another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her raiment, and recompense of her virginity.

11 And if he do not these [l]three unto her, then shall she go out free, paying no money.

12 (B)He that smiteth a man, and he die, shall die the death.

13 And if a man hath not laid wait, but [m]God hath offered him into his hand, then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee.

14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbor to slay him with guile, (C)thou shalt take him from mine [n]altar, that he may die.

15 ¶ Also he that smiteth his father or his mother, shall die the death.

16 ¶ And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, if it be found with him, shall die the death.

17 (D)And he that curseth his father or his mother, shall die the death.

18 When men also strive together, and one smite another with a [o]stone, or with the fist, and he die not but lieth in bed.

19 If he rise again and walk without upon his staff, then shall he that smote him go [p]quit, save only he shall bear his charges [q]for his resting, and shall pay for his healing.

20 ¶ And if a man smite his servant, or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall be surely punished.

21 But if he continue a day or two days, he shall not [r]be punished: for he is his money.

22 ¶ Also if men strive and hurt a woman with child, so that her child depart from her and [s]death follow not, he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband shall appoint him, or he shall pay as the [t]Judges determine.

23 But if death follow, then thou shalt pay life for life.

24 (E)[u]Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

26 ¶ And if a man smite his servant in the eye, or his maid in the eye, and hath perished it, he shall let him go free for his eye.

27 Also if he smite [v]out his servant’s tooth, or his maid’s tooth, he shall let him go out free for his tooth.

28 ¶ If an ox gore a man or a woman that he die, the (F)ox shall be [w]stoned to death, and his flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox shall go quite.

29 If the ox were wont to push in times past, and it hath been [x]told his master, and he hath not kept him, and after he killeth a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and his owner shall die also.

30 If there be set to him a [y]sum of money, then he shall pay the ransom of his life, whatsoever shall be laid upon him.

31 Whether he hath gored a son, or gored a daughter, he shall be judged after the same manner.

32 If the ox gore a servant or a maid, he shall give unto their master thirty [z]shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

33 ¶ And when a man shall open a well, or when he shall dig a pit and cover it not, and an ox or an ass fall therein,

34 The owner of the pit shall [aa]make it good, and give money to the owner thereof, but the dead beast shall be his.

35 ¶ And if a man’s ox hurt his neighbor’s ox that he die, then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money thereof, and the dead ox also they shall divide.

36 Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in times past, and his master hath not kept him, he shall pay ox for ox, but the dead shall be his own.


  1. Exodus 21:2 Paying no money for his liberty.
  2. Exodus 21:3 Not having wife nor children.
  3. Exodus 21:4 Till her time of servitude was expired which might be the seventh year or the fiftieth.
  4. Exodus 21:6 Hebrew, gods.
  5. Exodus 21:6 Where the judges sat.
  6. Exodus 21:6 That is, to the year of Jubilee, which was every fiftieth year.
  7. Exodus 21:7 Constrained either by poverty, or else to the intent that the master should marry her.
  8. Exodus 21:8 By giving another money to buy her of him.
  9. Exodus 21:8 Or, deflowered her.
  10. Exodus 21:9 That is, he shall give his dowry.
  11. Exodus 21:10 For his son.
  12. Exodus 21:11 Neither marry her himself, nor give another money to buy her, nor bestow her upon his son.
  13. Exodus 21:13 Though a man be killed at unawares, yet it is God’s providence that it should so be.
  14. Exodus 21:14 The holiness of the place ought not to defend the murderer.
  15. Exodus 21:18 Either far off him or near.
  16. Exodus 21:19 By the civil Justice.
  17. Exodus 21:19 Or, losing of his time.
  18. Exodus 21:21 By the civil magistrate, but before God he is a murderer.
  19. Exodus 21:22 Of the mother or child.
  20. Exodus 21:22 Or, arbiters.
  21. Exodus 21:24 The execution of this law only belonged to the magistrate, Matt. 5:38.
  22. Exodus 21:27 So God revengeth cruelty in the most least things.
  23. Exodus 21:28 If the beast be punished, much more shall the murderer.
  24. Exodus 21:29 Or, testified to his.
  25. Exodus 21:30 By the next of the kindred of him that is so slain.
  26. Exodus 21:32 Read Gen. 23:15.
  27. Exodus 21:34 This law forbiddeth not only not to hurt, but to beware lest any be hurt.

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