Laws Regarding Slaves
1These are the ordinances* you shall lay before them. 2a When you purchase a Hebrew slave,* he is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year he shall leave as a free person without any payment. 3If he comes into service alone, he shall leave alone; if he comes with a wife, his wife shall leave with him. 4But if his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children belong to her master and the man shall leave alone. 5If, however, the slave declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children; I will not leave as a free person,’ 6his master shall bring him to God* and there, at the door or doorpost, he shall pierce his ear with an awl, thus keeping him as his slave forever.
7When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go free as male slaves do. 8But if she displeases her master, who had designated her* for himself, he shall let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her. 9If he designates her for his son, he shall treat her according to the ordinance for daughters. 10If he takes another wife, he shall not withhold her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11If he does not do these three things for her, she may leave without cost, without any payment.
12* Whoever strikes someone a mortal blow must be put to death.b 13However, regarding the one who did not hunt another down, but God caused death to happen by his hand, I will set apart for you a place to which that one may flee. 14But when someone kills a neighbor after maliciously scheming to do so, you must take him even from my altar and put him to death. 15Whoever strikes father or mother shall be put to death.*
16A kidnapper, whether he sells the person or the person is found in his possession, shall be put to death.c
18When men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, not mortally, but enough to put him in bed, 19the one who struck the blow shall be acquitted, provided the other can get up and walk around with the help of his staff. Still, he must compensate him for his recovery time and make provision for his complete healing.
20When someone strikes his male or female slave with a rod so that the slave dies under his hand, the act shall certainly be avenged. 21If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.
22* When men have a fight and hurt a pregnant woman, so that she suffers a miscarriage, but no further injury, the guilty one shall be fined as much as the woman’s husband demands of him, and he shall pay in the presence of the judges. 23e But if injury ensues, you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
26When someone strikes his male or female slave in the eye and destroys the use of the eye, he shall let the slave go free in compensation for the eye. 27If he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let the slave go free in compensation for the tooth.
28When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox must be stoned; its meat may not be eaten. The owner of the ox, however, shall be free of blame. 29But if an ox was previously in the habit of goring people and its owner, though warned, would not watch it; should it then kill a man or a woman, not only must the ox be stoned, but its owner also must be put to death. 30If, however, a fine is imposed on him, he must pay in ransom* for his life whatever amount is imposed on him. 31This ordinance applies if it is a boy or a girl that the ox gores. 32But if it is a male or a female slave that it gores, he must pay the owner of the slave thirty shekels of silver, and the ox must be stoned.
33When someone uncovers or digs a cistern and does not cover it over again, should an ox or a donkey fall into it, 34the owner of the cistern must make good by restoring the value of the animal to its owner, but the dead animal he may keep.
35When one man’s ox hurts another’s ox and it dies, they shall sell the live ox and divide this money as well as the dead animal equally between them. 36But if it was known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner would not watch it, he must make full restitution, an ox for an ox; but the dead animal he may keep.
37When someone steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for the one ox, and four sheep for the one sheep.f
Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition copyright 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.