Exodus 21:1-11



      The following four files contain my comments on chapter 21-23.  They are divided as follows:


1.   21:1-11 - The duty toward Hebrew, male and female purchased servants.


2.   21:12-36 - The duty toward murderers and their victims.


3.   Chapter 22 - The duty in lessor offenses.


4.   Chapter 23 - The duty in lessor offenses and instructions as to the proper worship of God.


            It must be noted that the tenor of the language is from the negative (the punishment of murderers) to the positive (the proper worship of God).  At the end of hearing this speech, the listener would have a recollection of the justice of God in punishing sin, but would not be left with a "bad taste" in his mouth as he is instructed in the proper worship of God (so he can avoid the punishment).




This is not talking about the purchase and selling of Negroes (see verse 16) from Africa, but Hebrew servants.

This is the perfect welfare system.  II Thess 3:10 - If any would not work, neither should he eat.  This knowledge helps us understand some of the provisions of this chapter (verse 20,21).  As it is now, so it was then, some people simply won't work unless forced on the pain of death.

Deut 15:1-6, 12-18 - Every 7 years the Hebrew servants were released, (unless they chose to stay, (Ex. 21:16), or they were sold as a betrothed maidservants).  Compare Ex. 21:7-11 and Deut. 15:17 - Evidently some females were not sold as betrothed maidservants, but were sold as maidservants and treated as such.


A.  Verse 1-6, Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. {2} If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. {3} If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. {4} If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. {5} And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: {6} Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.  The duty toward a male Hebrew servant.  The explanation is self-explanatory.

B.   Verse 7-11 - The duty toward a female betrothed maidservant.  (These verses in no way indicated God's approval of multiple marriages or concubines).

1.   Does not apply to all maid servants, but only to betrothed maidservants.

2.   Verse 7, And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.  A father selling his daughter to become a wife.  The father did this to cause his daughter to be supported all her life, not live in poverty like he had done.

3.   Verse 7 - Compare to Verse 3 - The going out refers to the year of release.

4.   Verse 8, If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.  Betrothed to himself - the man agreed to marry her.

5.   Verse 8 - It is a sin to sell her to another nation, but not to sell her to another Hebrew to marry (verse 10).

6.   Verse 9, And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.  A father purchased a wife for his son.

7.   Verse 10, If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.  If the man decided he wanted another woman for his wife after he had purchased her (before he married her), his obligation toward the handmaid continued, she must be provided for and a diligent search made for a husband.

8.   Verse 11, And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.  If these three are not given to her, she shall be free -- the man has lost his money.