Shemot (Exodus): Mishpatim > Ch 21

G-d gives Moses laws for dealing with slaves

  • And these are the ordinances that you shall set before them:
  • Should you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall work [for] six years, and in the seventh [year], he shall go out to freedom without charge.
  • If he comes [in] alone, he shall go out alone; if he is a married man, his wife shall go out with him.
  • If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.
  • But if the slave says, "I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go free," his master shall bring him to the judges, and he shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever
  • Now if a man sells his daughter as a maidservant, she shall not go free as the slaves go free.
  • If she is displeasing to her master, who did not designate her [for himself], then he shall enable her to be redeemed; he shall not rule over her to sell her to another person, when he betrays her.
  • And if he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the law of the daughters [of Israel].
  • If he takes another [wife] for himself, he shall not diminish her sustenance, her clothing, or her marital relations. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go free without charge, without [payment of] money.


G-d gives Moses laws for dealing with those who commit murder, commit manslaughter, hurt their parents

  • One who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. But one who did not stalk [him], but God brought [it] about into his hand, I will make a place for you to which he shall flee. But if a man plots deliberately against his friend to slay him with cunning, [even] from My altar you shall take him to die.
  • And one who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
  • And whoever kidnaps a man, and he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.
  • And one who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
  • And if men quarrel, and one strikes the other with a stone or with a fist, and he does not die but is confined to [his] bed, if he gets up and walks about outside on his support, the assailant shall be cleared; he shall give only [payment] for his [enforced] idleness, and he shall provide for his cure. And should a man strike his manservant or his maidservant with a rod, and [that one] die under his hand, he shall surely be avenged. But if he survives for a day or for two days, he shall not be avenged, because he is his property.
  • And should men quarrel and hit a pregnant woman, and she miscarries but there is no fatality, he shall surely be punished, when the woman's husband makes demands of him, and he shall give [restitution] according to the judges' [orders]. But if there is a fatality, you shall give a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot, a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise.
  • And if a man strikes the eye of his manservant or the eye of his maidservant and destroys it, he shall set him free in return for his eye, and if he knocks out the tooth of his manservant or the tooth of his maidservant, he shall set him free in return for his tooth.
  • And if a bull gores a man or a woman and [that one] dies, the bull shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, and the owner of the bull is clear. But if it is a [habitually] goring bull since yesterday and the day before yesterday, and its owner had been warned, and it puts to death a man or a woman, the bull shall be stoned, and also its owner shall be put to death, insofar as ransom shall be levied upon him, he shall give the redemption of his soul according to all that is levied upon him. Or if it gores a young boy or a young girl, according to this ordinance shall be done to him. If the bull gores a manservant or a maidservant, he shall give silver [in the amount of] thirty shekels to his master, and the bull shall be stoned.
  • And if a person opens a pit, or if a person digs a pit and does not cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall pay; he shall return money to its owner, and the dead body shall be his. And if a man's bull strikes his friend's bull and it dies, they shall sell the live bull and divide the money received for it, and they shall also divide the dead body. Or if it was known that it was a [habitually] goring bull since yesterday and the day before yesterday, and its owner does not watch it, he shall surely pay a bull for a bull, and the dead body shall be his.


 
Rashi Commentary

  • But one who did not stalk [him] He did not lie in wait for him, and he did not intend [to kill him]. -[From Sifrei, Num. 35:22]
  • And one who strikes his father or his mother Since we learned that one who strikes one’s fellow is liable to make monetary compensation (Exod. 21:18, 19, 24, 25), but he is not liable to death, the text had to state that one who strikes his father is liable to the death penalty, but he is not liable except for a blow that causes a wound. -[From Mechilta, Sanh. 84b]


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