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CHAPTER 21 Feb.11 
Regulations about Servants
Now these are the ordinances which you shall set before them. 2If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free without paying anything. 3If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself. If he is married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. 5But if the servant shall plainly say, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;’ 6then his master shall bring him to the elohim, and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever. 7If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do. 8If she doesn’t please her master, who has married her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her. 9If he marries her to his son, he shall deal with her as a daughter. 10If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights. 11If he doesn’t do these three things for her, she may go free without paying any money.
Regulations about Violent Behaviour
12One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death, 13but not if it is unintentional, but God allows it to happen: then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee. 14If a man schemes and comes presumptuously on his neighbour to kill him, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die. 15Anyone who attacks his father or his mother shall be surely put to death. 16Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. 17Anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. 18If men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone, or with his fist, and he doesn’t die, but is confined to bed; 19if he rises again and walks around with his staff, then he who struck him shall be cleared: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall provide for his healing until he is thoroughly healed. 20If a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. 21Notwithstanding, if he gets up after a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his property. 22If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman’s husband demands and the judges allow. 23But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise. 26If a man strikes his servant’s eye, or his maid’s eye, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27If he strikes out his male servant’s tooth, or his female servant’s tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake. 28If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the bull shall not be held responsible. 29But if the bull had a habit of goring in the past, and it has been testified to its owner, and he has not kept it in, but it has killed a man or a woman, the bull shall be stoned, and its owner shall also be put to death. 30If a ransom is laid on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is laid on him. 31Whether it has gored a son or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment it shall be done to him. 32If the bull gores a male servant or a female servant, thirty shekels of silver shall be given to their master, and the ox shall be stoned. 33If a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and doesn’t cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it, 34the owner of the pit shall make it good. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall be his. 35If one man’s bull injures another’s, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live bull, and divide its price; and they shall also divide the dead animal. 36Or if it is known that the bull was in the habit of goring in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall surely pay bull for bull, and the dead animal shall be his own.


21:6 Elohim- The word literally means ‘mighty ones’, and is usually translated “God”; but it can refer to Angels and also to men, in this case, to the elders or judges of Israel.
This custom is alluded to in Ps. 40:6, and applied to Christ in Heb. 10:5-10. For love of us, the wife whom He was given by God His “master” (:4), Christ chose to stay in the Father’s house for ever. The nailing of the ear to a piece of wood is understood in Hebrews 10 as prophetic of Christ’s nailing to the cross. The ear represented obedient listening to the Master’s word. Christ on the cross was ultimately obedient to God’s word- for our sakes. That we are seen as His wife should inspire us to the utmost faithfulness and support of His cause in this world.
21:14 The altar represented Christ (Heb. 13:10). He is the place of refuge whither we may flee, who like the man of v. 13 have committed sins worthy of death and yet against our deepest will. Whilst we cannot justify all our sins by blaming them on circumstances, within some kind of ‘situational ethic’, it is also true that God recognizes that at times and in some ways we sin without deeply intending to. 
21:17 To deal with a person as if they are an object is judged by God as bad as murder. The value and meaning of the human person is paramount with God, and is reflected in His law.
21:20 A slave was to be respected as a person no less than anyone else. A person’s social or economic standing can never excuse abusing them.
21:33 Doesn’t cover it- As the punishment for not keeping in an animal known to be dangerous (:29). These laws were seeking to inculcate sensitivity to others. We too should live our lives thinking about the possible consequence to others of our actions, both in what we commit and what we omit to do.