Exodus 21:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
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.

New Living Translation
"If you buy a Hebrew slave, he may serve for no more than six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom.

English Standard Version
When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing.

New American Standard Bible
"If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.

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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for six years; then in the seventh he is to leave as a free man without paying anything.

International Standard Version
"When you acquire a Hebrew servant, he is to serve for six years, and in the seventh he is to go out a free man without paying anything.

NET Bible
"If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years, but in the seventh year he will go out free without paying anything.

New Heart 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.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Whenever you buy a Hebrew slave, he will be your slave for six years. In the seventh year he may leave as a free man, without paying for his freedom.

JPS Tanakh 1917
If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

New American Standard 1977
“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.

Jubilee Bible 2000
If thou should buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

King James 2000 Bible
If you buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

American King James Version
If you buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

American Standard Version
If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years shall he serve thee: 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.

English Revised Version
If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

Webster's Bible Translation
If thou shalt buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall depart 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;
Study Bible
Laws for Servants
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 go out as a free man without payment. 3"If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.…
Cross References
Matthew 18:25
Since the man was unable to pay, the master ordered that he be sold to pay his debt, along with his wife and children and everything he owned.

Exodus 21:3
"If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.

Exodus 21:7
"If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.

Leviticus 25:39
'If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service.

Leviticus 25:40
'He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.

Deuteronomy 15:12
"If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free.

Jeremiah 34:8
The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim release to them:

Jeremiah 34:14
"At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall send him out free from you; but your forefathers did not obey Me or incline their ear to Me.
Treasury of Scripture

If you buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

an Hebrew

Exodus 12:44 But every man's servant that is bought for money, when you have circumcised …

Exodus 22:3 If the sun be risen on him, there shall be blood shed for him; for …

Genesis 27:28,36 Therefore God give you of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the …

Leviticus 25:39-41,44 And if your brother that dwells by you be waxen poor, and be sold …

2 Kings 4:1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets …

Nehemiah 5:1-5,8 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against …

Matthew 18:25 But for as much as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be …

1 Corinthians 6:20 For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, …

and in the

Leviticus 25:40-43,45 But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with you, …

Deuteronomy 15:1,12-15,18 At the end of every seven years you shall make a release…

Deuteronomy 31:10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, …

Jeremiah 34:8-17 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD…

(2) If thou buy an Hebrew servant.--Ancient society was founded upon slavery. "The ultimate elements of the household," says Aristotle, "are the master and his slave, the husband and his wife, the father and his children" (Pol. i. 2, 1). In any consideration of the rights of persons, those of the slave class naturally presented themselves first of all, since they were the most liable to infraction. Slaves might be either natives or foreigners. A Hebrew could become a slave--(1) through crime (Exodus 22:3); (2) through indebtedness (Leviticus 25:39); (3) through his father's right to sell him (Nehemiah 5:5). Foreign slaves might be either prisoners taken in war, or persons bought of their owners (Leviticus 25:45). The rights of Hebrew slaves are here specially considered.

Six years shall he serve.--The Hebrew was not to be retained in slavery for a longer space than six years. If a jubilee year occurred before the end of the six years, then he regained his freedom earlier (Leviticus 25:39-41); but in no case could he be retained more than six years in the slave condition, except by his own consent, formally given (Exodus 21:5). This law was an enormous advance upon anything previously known in the slave legislation of the most civilised country, and stamps the Mosaic code at once as sympathising with the slave, and bent on ameliorating his lot. It has been thought strange by some that slavery was not now abrogated; but even Christianity, fifteen hundred years later, did not venture on so complete a social revolution.

Verse 2. ? If thou buy an Hebrew servant. Slavery, it is clear, was an existing institution. The law of Moses did not make it, but found it, and by not forbidding, allowed it. The Divine legislator was content under the circumstances to introduce mitigations and alleviations into the slave condition. Hebrews commonly became slaves through poverty (Leviticus 25:35, 39), but sometimes through crime (Exodus 22:3). In the seventh he shall go out. Not in the Sabbatical year, but at the commencement of the seventh year after he became a slave. If the jubilee year happened to occur, he might be released sooner (Leviticus 25:40); but in any case his servitude must end when the sixth year of it was completed. This was an enormous boon, and had nothing, so far as is known, correspondent to it in the legislation of any other country. Nor was this all. When he went out free, his late master was bound to furnish him with provisions out of his flock, and out of his threshing floor, and out of his winepress (Deuteronomy 15:12-14), so that he might have something wherewith to begin the world afresh. The humane spirit of the legislation is strikingly marked in its very first enactment. If thou buy an Hebrew servant,.... Who sells himself either through poverty, or rather is sold because of his theft, see Exodus 22:3 and so the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,"when ye shall buy for his theft, a servant, a son of an Israelite;''agreeably to which Aben Ezra observes, this servant is a servant that is sold for his theft; and he says, it is a tradition with them, that a male is sold for his theft, but not a female; and the persons who had the selling of such were the civil magistrates, the Sanhedrim, or court of judicature; so Jarchi, on the text, says, "if thou buy", &c. that is, of the hand of the sanhedrim who sells him for his theft:

six years he shall serve; and no longer; and the Jewish doctors say (d), if his master dies within the six years he must serve his son, but not his daughter, nor his brother, nor any other heirs:

and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing; without paying any money for his freedom, as it is explained Exodus 21:11, nay, on the other hand, his master was not to send him away empty, but furnish him liberally out of his flock, floor, and wine press, since his six years' servitude was worth double that of an hired servant, Deuteronomy 15:13, and his freedom was to take place as soon as the six years were ended, and the seventh began, in which the Jewish writers agree: the Targum of Jonathan is, at the entrance of the seventh; and Aben Ezra's explanation is, at the beginning of the seventh year of his being sold; and Maimonides (e) observes the same. Now as this servant, in the state of servitude, was an emblem of that state of bondage to sin, Satan, and the law, which man is brought into by his theft, his robbing God of his glory by the transgression of his precepts; so likewise, in his being made free, he was an emblem of that liberty wherewith Christ, the Son of God, makes his people free from the said bondage, and who are free indeed, and made so freely without money, and without price, of pure free grace, without any merit or desert of theirs; and which freedom is attended with many bountiful and liberal blessings of grace.

(d) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Kiddushin, c. 1. sect. 2.((e) Hilchot Abadim, c. 2. sect. 2.2-6. If thou buy an Hebrew servant—Every Israelite was free-born; but slavery was permitted under certain restrictions. An Hebrew might be made a slave through poverty, debt, or crime; but at the end of six years he was entitled to freedom, and his wife, if she had voluntarily shared his state of bondage, also obtained release. Should he, however, have married a female slave, she and the children, after the husband's liberation, remained the master's property; and if, through attachment to his family, the Hebrew chose to forfeit his privilege and abide as he was, a formal process was gone through in a public court, and a brand of servitude stamped on his ear (Ps 40:6) for life, or at least till the Jubilee (De 15:17).21:1-11 The laws in this chapter relate to the fifth and sixth commandments; and though they differ from our times and customs, nor are they binding on us, yet they explain the moral law, and the rules of natural justice. The servant, in the state of servitude, was an emblem of that state of bondage to sin, Satan, and the law, which man is brought into by robbing God of his glory, by the transgression of his precepts. Likewise in being made free, he was an emblem of that liberty wherewith Christ, the Son of God, makes free from bondage his people, who are free indeed; and made so freely, without money and without price, of free grace.
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