Exodus 21
New American Standard Bible►► 

Ordinances for the People

1“Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them:

2“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall leave as a free man without a payment to you. 3If he comes [a]alone, he shall leave [b]alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall leave with him. 4If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall leave [c]alone. 5But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not leave as a free man,’ 6then his master shall bring him to [d]God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an [e]awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

7“Now if a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to [f]go free as the male slaves [g]do. 8If she is [h]displeasing in the eyes of her master [i]who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people, because of his [j]unfairness to her. 9And if he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her [k]food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11But if he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go [l]free for nothing, without payment of money.

Personal Injuries

12“He who strikes someone so that he dies shall certainly be put to death. 13Yet [m]if he did not lie in wait for him, but God caused him to fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee. 14If, however, someone is enraged against his neighbor, so as to kill him in a cunning way, you are to take him even from My altar, to be put to death.

15“And one who strikes his father or his mother shall certainly be put to death.

16“Now one who [n]kidnaps someone, whether he sells him or he is found in his [o]possession, shall certainly be put to death.

17“And one who curses his father or his mother shall certainly be put to death.

18“Now if people have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with a fist, and he does not die but [p]is confined to bed, 19if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his [q]loss of time, and [r]shall pay for his care until he is completely healed.

20“And if someone strikes his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies [s]at his hand, he shall [t]be punished. 21If, however, the slave [u]survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for the slave is his [v]property.

22“Now if people struggle with each other and strike a pregnant woman so that [w]she gives birth prematurely, but there is no injury, the guilty person shall certainly be fined as the woman’s husband [x]may demand of him, and he shall pay [y]as the judges decide. 23But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, [z]bruise for bruise.

26“And if someone strikes the eye of his male or female slave and destroys it, he shall let [aa]the slave go free on account of the eye. 27And if he [ab]knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let [ac]the slave go free on account of the tooth.

28“Now if an ox gores a man or a woman [ad]to death, the ox shall certainly be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. 29If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 30If a ransom is [ae]demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is [af]demanded of him. 31Whether it gores a son or [ag]a daughter, it shall be done to him according to [ah]the same rule. 32If the ox gores a male or female slave, [ai]the owner shall give his or her master [aj]thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

Property Rights

33“Now if someone opens a pit, or [ak]digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall [al]give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his.

35“And if someone’s ox injures another’s ox so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its proceeds equally; and they shall also divide the dead ox. 36Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he must make restitution of ox for ox, and the dead animal shall become his.



[a] 3 Lit by himself
[b] 3 Lit by himself
[c] 4 Lit by himself
[d] 6 Or the judges (who acted in God’s name)
[e] 6 I.e., a pointed tool
[f] 7 Lit go out
[g] 7 Lit go out
[h] 8 Lit bad
[i] 8 Another reading is so that he did not designate her
[j] 8 Lit dealing treacherously
[k] 10 Lit flesh
[l] 11 Lit out
[m] 13 Lit he who
[n] 16 Lit steals
[o] 16 Lit hand
[p] 18 Lit lies in
[q] 19 Lit his sitting
[r] 19 Lit healing, he shall cause to be healed
[s] 20 Lit under
[t] 20 Lit suffer vengeance
[u] 21 Lit stands
[v] 21 Lit money
[w] 22 Or an untimely birth occurs; lit her children come out
[x] 22 Lit lays on him
[y] 22 Lit by arbitration
[z] 25 Lit welt
[aa] 26 Lit him go...his eye
[ab] 27 Lit causes to fall
[ac] 27 Lit him go...his tooth
[ad] 28 Lit so that he dies
[ae] 30 Lit laid on him
[af] 30 Lit laid on him
[ag] 31 Lit gores a daughter
[ah] 31 Lit this judgment
[ai] 32 Lit he
[aj] 32 About 15 oz. or 425 gm
[ak] 33 Lit if a man digs
[al] 34 Lit give back

New American Standard Bible
Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020
by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved.
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Exodus 20
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