Exodus 21

1˻Then God said to Moses,˼ “These are the other laws that you will give to the people: 2“If you buy a Hebrew slave, then that slave will serve for only six years. After six years he will become free. He will have to pay nothing. 3If the man is not married when he becomes your slave, then when he becomes free, he will leave without a wife. But if the man is married when he becomes your slave, then he will keep his wife at the time he is made free. 4If the slave is not married, the master can give him a wife. If that wife gives birth to sons or daughters, then she and her children will belong to the master. After the slave is finished with his years of service, then he will be made free. 5“But maybe the slave will decide that he wants to stay with the master. Then he must say, 'I love my master. I love my wife and my children. I will not become free—I will stay.’ 6If this happens, then the master will bring the slave before God. The master will take the slave to a door or the wooden frame around the door. And the master will make a hole through the slave’s ear using a sharp tool. Then the slave will serve that master for all his life. 7“A man might decide to sell his daughter as a slave. If this happens, the rules for making her free are not the same as the rules for making the men slaves free. 8If the master is not pleased with the woman, then he can sell the woman back to her father. If the master promised ˻to marry the woman˼, then he loses the right to sell the woman to other people. 9If the master promised to let the slave woman marry his son, then she must not be treated like a slave. She must be treated like a daughter. 10“If the master marries another woman, then he must not give less food or clothing to the first wife. And he must continue to give her the things she has a right to have in marriage. 11The man must do these three things for her. If he does not, then the woman is made free, and it will cost her nothing. She owes no money to the man. 12“If a person hits someone and kills him, then that person must be killed too. 13But if an accident happens, and a person kills someone without planning it, then God allowed that thing to happen. I will choose some special places where people can run for safety. So that person can run to one of those places. 14But if a person planned to kill another person because he is angry or hates him, then that killer must be punished. Take him away from my altar and kill him. 15“Any person who hits his father or his mother must be killed. 16“If a person steals someone to sell him as a slave or to keep him for his own slave, then that person must be killed. 17“Any person who curses his father or his mother must be killed. 18“Two men might argue and one might hit the other with a rock or with his fist. ˻How should you punish that man?˼ If the man who was hurt is not killed, then the man who hurt him should not be killed. 19If the man was hurt and must stay in bed for some time, then the man who hurt him must support him. The man who hurt him must pay for the loss of his time. The man must support him until he is completely healed. 20“Sometimes people beat their men or women slaves. If the slave dies after he is beaten, then the killer must be punished. 21But if the slave does not die and after a few days the slave becomes well, then that person will not be punished. Why? Because the master paid his money for the slave, and the slave belongs to him. 22“Two men might be fighting and they might hurt a pregnant woman. This might make the woman give birth to her babies ˻before their time˼. If the woman was not hurt badly, then the man who hurt her must pay a fine. The woman’s husband will decide how much the man must pay. The judges will help the man decide how much the fine will be. 23But if the woman was hurt badly, then the man who hurt her must be punished. ˻If a person is killed, then the person who caused it must be killed.˼ You must trade one life for another life. 24You must trade an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot, 25a burn for a burn, a bruise for a bruise, a cut for a cut. 26“If a man hits a slave in the eye, and the slave is blinded in that eye, then the slave will be allowed to go free. His eye is the payment for his freedom. This is the same for a man or a woman slave. 27If a master hits his slave in the mouth, and the slave loses a tooth, then the slave will be allowed to go free. The slave’s tooth is payment for the slave’s freedom. This is the same for a man or a woman slave. 28“If a man’s bull kills a man or woman, then you should use rocks and kill that bull. You should not eat the bull. But the owner of the bull is not guilty. 29But if the bull had hurt people in the past, and if the owner was warned, then the owner is guilty. Why? Because he did not keep the bull tied or locked in its place. So if the bull is allowed to be free and kills someone, then that owner is guilty. You should kill the bull with rocks and also kill the owner. 30But the family of the dead man may accept money. If they accept money, then the man who owned the bull should not be killed. But he must pay as much money as the judge decides. 31“This same law must be followed if the bull kills a person’s son or daughter. 32But if the bull kills a slave, then the owner of the animal must pay the master 30 pieces of silver. And the bull must also be killed with rocks. This law will be the same for men and women slaves. 33“A man might take a cover off a well or he might dig a hole and not cover it. If another man’s animal comes and falls into that hole, then the man who owns the hole is guilty. 34The man who owns the hole must pay for the animal. But after he pays for the animal, then he will be allowed to keep the body of that animal. 35“If one man’s bull kills another man’s bull, then they should sell the bull that is alive. Both men will get half of the money that comes from selling the bull, and both men will also get half of the bull that was killed. 36But if a man’s bull has hurt other animals in the past, then that owner is responsible for his bull. If his bull kills another bull, then he is guilty because he allowed the bull to be free. That man must pay bull for bull. He must trade his bull for the bull that was killed.

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