Exodus 21:21
Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) If he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished.—Comp. the proviso with respect to freemen (Exodus 21:19). The notion is, that unless the death follows speedily it must be presumed not to have been intended; and this might be especially presumed in the case of a man killing his slave, since thereby he inflicted on himself a pecuniary loss.

Exodus 21:21. He is his money — His possession, bought with his money; and, therefore, 1st, He had a power to chastise him according to his demerit, which might be very great. 2d, He is punished by his own loss. And, 3d, May be presumed not to have done this purposely and maliciously.21:12-21 God, who by his providence gives and maintains life, by his law protects it. A wilful murderer shall be taken even from God's altar. But God provided cities of refuge to protect those whose unhappiness it was, and not their fault, to cause the death of another; for such as by accident, when a man is doing a lawful act, without intent of hurt, happens to kill another. Let children hear the sentence of God's word upon the ungrateful and disobedient; and remember that God will certainly requite it, if they have ever cursed their parents, even in their hearts, or have lifted up their hands against them, except they repent, and flee for refuge to the Saviour. And let parents hence learn to be very careful in training up their children, setting them a good example, especially in the government of their passions, and in praying for them; taking heed not to provoke them to wrath. Through poverty the Israelites sometimes sold themselves or their children; magistrates sold some persons for their crimes, and creditors were in some cases allowed to sell their debtors who could not pay. But man-stealing, the object of which is to force another into slavery, is ranked in the New Testament with the greatest crimes. Care is here taken, that satisfaction be made for hurt done to a person, though death do not follow. The gospel teaches masters to forbear, and to moderate threatenings, Eph 6:9, considering with Job, What shall I do, when God riseth up? Job 31:13,14.The Jewish authorities appear to be right in referring this law, like those in Exodus 21:26-27, Exodus 21:32, to foreign slaves (see Leviticus 25:44-46). The protection here afforded to the life of a slave may seem to us but a slight one; but it is the very earliest trace of such protection in legislation, and it stands in strong and favorable contrast with the old laws of Greece, Rome, and other nations. If the slave survived the castigation a day or two, the master did not become amenable to the law, because the loss of the slave was accounted, under the circumstances, as a punishment. Ex 21:7-36. Laws for Maidservants.

7-11. if a man sell his daughter—Hebrew girls might be redeemed for a reasonable sum. But in the event of her parents or friends being unable to pay the redemption money, her owner was not at liberty to sell her elsewhere. Should she have been betrothed to him or his son, and either change their minds, a maintenance must be provided for her suitable to her condition as his intended wife, or her freedom instantly granted.

i.e. His possession bought with his money; and therefore,

1. Had a power to chastise him according to his demerit, which might be very great.

2. Is sufficiently punished with his own loss.

3. May be presumed not to have done this purposely and maliciously. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two,.... And does not die immediately, or the same day, but lives twenty four hours, as the Jewish writers interpret it; so Abendana (x) explains the phrase, "a day or two";"a day which is as two days, and they are twenty four hours from time to time,''that is, from the time he was smitten to the time of his continuance; and so it is elsewhere explained (y) by a day we understand a day, which is like two days, that is, from time to time, the meaning of which is, from a certain time in one day to the same in another:

he shall not be punished; that is, with death:

for he is his money; is bought with his money, and is good as money, and therefore it is a loss sufficient to him to lose him; and it may be reasonably thought he did not smite his servant with an intention to kill him, since he himself is the loser by it.

(x) Not. in Miclol Yophi in loc. (y) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Zabim, c. 2. sect. 3.

Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not {p} be punished: for he is his money.

(p) By the civil magistrate, but before God he is a murderer.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. If the slave survives a day or two, his master escapes even the comparatively light penalty of v. 20; for then it is clear that he did not intend to kill him, but only to correct him.

he is his money] i.e. his master’s property, purchased by his master’s money. His master is considered to have sufficiently punished himself by the loss of his property.Verse 21. - If he continue a day or two - i.e., "If the slave does not die till a day or two afterwards." Compare the provision in ver. 19, with respect to persons who were not slaves. No special callousness to the sufferings of slaves is implied. He is his money. The slave had been purchased for a stun of money, or was at any rate money' s worth; and the master would suffer a pecuniary loss by his death. "But he who acts presumptuously against his neighbour, to slay him with guile, thou shalt take him from Mine altar that he may die." These words are not to be understood as meaning, that only intentional and treacherous killing was to be punished with death; but, without restricting the general rule in Exodus 21:12, they are to be interpreted from their antithesis to Exodus 21:13, as signifying that even the altar of Jehovah was not to protect a man who had committed intentional murder, and carried out his purpose with treachery. (More on this point at Numbers 35:16.) By this regulation, the idea, which was common to the Hebrews and many other nations, that the altar as God's abode afforded protection to any life that was in danger from men, was brought back to the true measure of its validity, and the place of expiation for sins of weakness (cf. Leviticus 4:2; Leviticus 5:15, Leviticus 5:18; Numbers 15:27-31) was prevented from being abused by being made a place of refuge for criminals who were deserving of death. Maltreatment of a father and mother through striking (Exodus 21:15), man-stealing (Exodus 21:16), and cursing parents (Exodus 21:17, cf. Leviticus 20:9), were all to be placed on a par with murder, and punished in the same way. By the "smiting" (הכּה) of parents we are not to understand smiting to death, for in that case ומת would be added as in Exodus 21:12, but any kind of maltreatment. The murder of parents is not mentioned at all, as not likely to occur and hardly conceivable. The cursing (קלּל as in Genesis 12:3) of parents is placed on a par with smiting, because it proceeds from the same disposition; and both were to be punished with death, because the majesty of God was violated in the persons of the parents (cf. Exodus 20:12). Man-stealing was also no less a crime, being a sin against the dignity of man, and a violation of the image of God. For אישׁ "a man," we find in Deuteronomy 24:7, נפשׁ "a soul," by which both man and woman are intended, and the still more definite limitation, "of his brethren of the children of Israel." The crime remained the same whether he had sold him (the stolen man), or whether he was still found in his hand. (For ו - ו as a sign of an alternative in the linking together of short sentences, see Proverbs 29:9, and Ewald, 361.) This is the rendering adopted by most of the earlier translators, and we get no intelligent sense if we divide the clauses thus: "and sell him so that he is found in his hand."
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