Exodus 21:22
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows.

New Living Translation
"Now suppose two men are fighting, and in the process they accidentally strike a pregnant woman so she gives birth prematurely. If no further injury results, the man who struck the woman must pay the amount of compensation the woman's husband demands and the judges approve.

English Standard Version
“When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine.

New American Standard Bible
"If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.

King James Bible
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When men get in a fight and hit a pregnant woman so that her children are born prematurely but there is no injury, the one who hit her must be fined as the woman's husband demands from him, and he must pay according to judicial assessment.

International Standard Version
"If two men are fighting and they strike a pregnant woman and her children are born prematurely, but there is no harm, he is certainly to be fined as the husband of the woman demands of him, and he will pay as the court decides.

NET Bible
"If men fight and hit a pregnant woman and her child is born prematurely, but there is no serious injury, he will surely be punished in accordance with what the woman's husband demands of him, and he will pay what the court decides.

New Heart English Bible
"If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"This is what you must do whenever men fight and injure a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely. If there are no other injuries, the offender must pay whatever fine the court allows the woman's husband to demand.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

New American Standard 1977
“And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide.

Jubilee Bible 2000
If men strive and hurt a woman with child so that she aborts but without death, he shall be surely punished according as the woman's husband will lay upon him, and he shall pay by the judges.

King James 2000 Bible
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no mischief follows: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

American King James Version
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

American Standard Version
And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow; he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If men quarrel, and one strike a woman with child, and she miscarry indeed, but live herself: he shall be answerable for so much damage as the woman's husband shall require, and as arbiters shall award.

Darby Bible Translation
And if men strive together, and strike a woman with child, so that she be delivered, and no mischief happen, he shall in any case be fined, according as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and shall give it as the judges estimate.

English Revised Version
And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

Webster's Bible Translation
If men shall contend, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit shall depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

World English Bible
"If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow.

Young's Literal Translation
'And when men strive, and have smitten a pregnant woman, and her children have come out, and there is no mischief, he is certainly fined, as the husband of the woman doth lay upon him, and he hath given through the judges;
Study Bible
Personal Injury Laws
21"If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property. 22"If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. 23"But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life,…
Cross References
Exodus 21:30
"If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him.

Deuteronomy 22:18
"So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him,

Deuteronomy 22:19
and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl's father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.
Treasury of Scripture

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

strive

Exodus 21:18 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or …

as the judges

Exodus 21:30 If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the …

Deuteronomy 16:18 Judges and officers shall you make you in all your gates, which the …

Deuteronomy 22:18,19 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him…

(22-25) A personal injury peculiar to women--a hurt producing miscarriage--is here considered. The miscarriage might cost the woman her life, in which case the man who caused it was to suffer death (Exodus 21:23); or it might have no further ill result than the loss of the child. In this latter case the penalty was to be a fine, assessed by the husband with the consent of the judge (Exodus 21:22). The death penalty, where the woman died, is clearly excessive, and probably belongs to the pre-Mosaic legislation, which required "life for life" in every case.

(22) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child.--It is assumed that this hurt would probably take place through the interference of a pregnant wife in some strife wherein her husband was engaged. It would almost certainly be accidental.

And yet no mischief follow--i.e., no further mischief--nothing beyond the loss of the child.

(22, 23) Life for life, eye for eye.--It is a reasonable conjecture that the law of retaliation was much older than Moses, and accepted by him as tolerable rather than devised as rightful. The law itself was very widely spread. Traces of it are found in India, in Egypt, among the Greeks, and in the laws of the Twelve Tables. Aristotle says that the Pythagoreans approved it, and that it was believed to be the rule by which Rhadamanthus administered justice in the other world. There is, prim facie, a semblance of exact rectitude and equality about it which captivates rude minds, and causes the adoption of the rule generally in an early condition of society. Theoretically, retaliation is the exactest and strictest justice; but in practice difficulties arise. How is the force of a blow to be measured? How are exactly similar burns and wounds to be inflicted? Is eye to be given for eye when the injurer is a one-eyed man? And, again, is it expedient for law to multiply the number of mutilated citizens in a community? Considerations of these kinds cause the rule to be discarded as soon as civilisation reaches a certain point, and tend generally to the substitution of a money compensation, to be paid to the injured party by the injurer. The present passage sanctioned the law of retaliation in principle, but authorised its enforcement in a single case only. In a later part of the Mosaic code the application was made universal (Leviticus 24:17-21; Deuteronomy 19:21).

Verse 22-25. - Assault producing miscarriage. Retaliation. Women in all countries are apt to interfere in the quarrels of men, and run the risk of suffering injuries which proceed from accident rather than design, one such injury being of a peculiar character, to which there is nothing correspondent among the injuries which may be done to man. This is abortion, or miscarriage. The Mosaic legislation sought to protect pregnant women from suffering this injury by providing, first, that if death resulted the offender should suffer death (ver. 23); and, secondly, that if there were no further ill-result than the miscarriage itself, still a fine should be paid, to be assessed by the husband of the injured woman with the consent of the judges (ver. 22). The mention of "life for life," in ver. 23, is followed by an enunciation of the general "law of retaliation," applied here (it would seem) to the special case in hand, but elsewhere (Leviticus 24:19, 20) extended so as to be a fundamental law, applicable to all cases of personal injury. Verse 22. - If men strive and hurt a woman. A chance hurt is clearly intended, not one done on purpose. So that her fruit depart from her. So that she be prematurely delivered of a dead child. And no mischief follow. "Mischief" here means "death," as in Genesis 42:4, 38; Genesis 44:29. He shall pay as the judges determine. He was not to be wholly at the mercy of the injured father. If he thought the sum demanded was excessive, there was to be an appeal to a tribunal. If men strive,.... Quarrel and fight with one another, which is to be understood of Hebrews, as Aben Ezra observes:

and hurt a woman with child; who being the wife of one of them, and also an Israelitish woman, interposes to part them, or help her husband; but the other, instead of striking his antagonist as he intended, gives her a blow:

so that her fruit depart from her; or, "her children go forth" (z), out of her womb, as she may have more than one; through the fright of the quarrel, and fear of her husband being hurt, and the blow she received by interposing, might miscarry, or, falling into labour, come before her time, and bring forth her offspring sooner than expected:

and yet no mischief follow: to her, as the Targum of Jonathan, and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra restrain it to the woman; and which mischief they interpret of death, as does also the Targum of Onkelos; but it may refer both to the woman and her offspring, and not only to the death of them, but to any hurt or damage to either of them: now though there was none of any sort:

he shall surely be punished; that is, be fined or mulcted for striking the woman, and hastening the childbirth:

according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine; the husband might propose what fine should be paid, and might ask it in court; and if the smiter agreed to it, well and good, but if he judged it an exorbitant demand, he might appeal to the judges; for the husband might not lay what fine he pleased: this, if disputed, was to be decided by the judges, and as they determined it, it was paid; of which Maimonides (a) gives this account:"he that strikes a woman, and her fruit depart, though he did not intend it, is obliged to pay the price of the birth to the husband, and for hurt and pain to the woman; how do they estimate the price of the birth? they consider the woman how well she was before she brought forth, and how well she is after she has brought forth, and they give it to the husband; if the husband be dead, they give it to the heirs; if she is stricken after the death of her husband, they give the price of the birth to the woman.''

(z) "et egressi fuerint nati ejus", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius. (a) Hilchot Chobel Umazzik, c. 4. sect. 1. 2. 21:22-36 The cases here mentioned give rules of justice then, and still in use, for deciding similar matters. We are taught by these laws, that we must be very careful to do no wrong, either directly or indirectly. If we have done wrong, we must be very willing to make it good, and be desirous that nobody may lose by us.
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