Laws about Slaves

“When you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for six years; then in the seventh he is to leave as a free man[a] without paying anything.(A) If he arrives alone, he is to leave alone; if he arrives with[b] a wife, his wife is to leave with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children belong to her master, and the man must leave alone.

“But if the slave declares: ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I do not want to leave as a free man,’(B) his master is to bring him to the judges[c] and then bring him to the door or doorpost. His master must pierce his ear with an awl, and he will serve his master for life.

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Footnotes

  1. Exodus 21:2 Lit to go forth
  2. Exodus 21:3 Lit he is the husband of
  3. Exodus 21:6 Or to God; that is, to His sanctuary or court

Release of Slaves

12 “If your fellow Hebrew, a man or woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, you must set him free in the seventh year.(A) 13 When you set him free, do not send him away empty-handed. 14 Give generously to him from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. You are to give him whatever the Lord your God has blessed you with. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed(B) you; that is why I am giving you this command today.(C) 16 But if your slave says to you, ‘I don’t want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family, and is well off with you, 17 take an awl and pierce through his ear into the door, and he will become your slave for life. Also treat your female slave the same way.

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