New International Version
"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.
King James Bible
If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
Darby Bible Translation
If thou buy a Hebrew bondman, six years shall he serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
World English Bible
"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free without paying anything.
Young's Literal Translation
'When thou buyest a Hebrew servant -- six years he doth serve, and in the seventh he goeth out as a freeman for nought;
Exodus 21:2 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
If thou buy a Hebrew servant - Calmet enumerates six different ways in which a Hebrew might lose his liberty:
1. In extreme poverty they might sell their liberty. Leviticus 25:39 : If thy brother be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, etc.
2. A father might sell his children. If a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant; see Exodus 21:7.
3. Insolvent debtors became the slaves of their creditors. My husband is dead - and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen, 2 Kings 4:1.
4. A thief, if he had not money to pay the fine laid on him by the law, was to be sold for his profit whom he had robbed. If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft; Exodus 22:3, Exodus 22:4.
5. A Hebrew was liable to be taken prisoner in war, and so sold for a slave.
6. A Hebrew slave who had been ransomed from a Gentile by a Hebrew might be sold by him who ransomed him, to one of his own nation.
Six years he shall serve - It was an excellent provision in these laws, that no man could finally injure himself by any rash, foolish, or precipitate act. No man could make himself a servant or slave for more than seven years; and if he mortgaged the family inheritance, it must return to the family at the jubilee, which returned every fiftieth year.
It is supposed that the term six years is to be understood as referring to the sabbatical years; for let a man come into servitude at whatever part of the interim between two sabbatical years, he could not be detained in bondage beyond a sabbatical year; so that if he fell into bondage the third year after a sabbatical year, he had but three years to serve; if the fifth, but one. See Clarke's note on Exodus 23:11, etc. Others suppose that this privilege belonged only to the year of jubilee, beyond which no man could be detained in bondage, though he had been sold only one year before.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
and in the
LibraryThe Development of the Earlier Old Testament Laws
[Sidenote: First the principle, and then the detailed laws] If the canon of the New Testament had remained open as long as did that of the Old, there is little doubt that it also would have contained many laws, legal precedents, and ecclesiastical histories. From the writings of the Church Fathers and the records of the Catholic Church it is possible to conjecture what these in general would have been. The early history of Christianity illustrates the universal fact that the broad principles are …
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament
A Discourse of the Building, Nature, Excellency, and Government of the House of God; with Counsels and Directions to the Inhabitants Thereof.
Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia.
The Section Chap. I. -iii.
Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him.
"If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.
"'If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves.
They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee.
If any of your people--Hebrew men or women--sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free.
The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves.
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