21-Laws 

Laws Concerning Servants, Violence and Animal Control 

The Lord continued speaking to Moses.

These are the judgments which you shall set before the people.

Servants:

• If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she has born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him to the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

• And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed: he shall have no power to sell her to a strange nation, seeing he has dealt deceitfully with her. And if he has betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he takes for himself another wife; he shall not diminish her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage. And if he does not these three to her, then she shall go out free without money.

Violence:

• He that strikes a man, so that he die, shall surely be put to death. And if a man does not lie in wait, but God delivers him into his hand; then I will appoint for you a place where he shall flee. But if a man comes presumptuously to his neighbor, to slay him with guile; you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.

• He that strikes his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

• He that steals a man, and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

• He that curses his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

• If men strive together, and one strikes another with a stone, or with his fist, and he does not die, but keeps to his bed: If he rises again, and walks abroad on his staff, then shall he that struck him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.

• If a man strikes his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he dies under his hand; he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

• If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall surely be punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then you shall give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

• And if a man strikes the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he strikes out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.

Animal Control:

• If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall surely be stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit. But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it has been testified to his owner, and he has not kept him in, but that he has killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner shall be put to death also. If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatever is laid upon him. Whether he has gored a son, or has gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done to him. If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

• And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall in it; The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money to the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.

• If one man’s ox hurts another’s, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox they shall divide also. Or if it be known that the ox has used to push in time past, and his owner has not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.

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