|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 3. - If he came in by himself, etc.. The first clause of this verse is further explained in the next; the second secured to the wife who went into slavery with her husband a participation in his privilege of release at the end of the sixth year.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself,.... That is, if he came into his servitude "alone", as the Septuagint version has it, he should go out of it in like manner; the word for "by himself", some interpret with "his garment" (f), or the skirt of one; and then the sense seems to be, that as he was clothed when he was sold, so he should be when made free: but rather the phrase literally is "with his body" (g); not his naked body, or as destitute of raiment, and the necessaries of life; for, as before observed, his master was to furnish him liberally with good things: but the plain meaning is, that if he was a single or unmarried man when he entered his master's service, he should go out, so; or as a Jewish writer (h) expresses it, as if he should say, with his body, without another body with him, who is his wife, as appears by what follows; unless his master should give him a wife while in his service, which is supposed in the next verse, and even then he was to go out alone, if he chose to go out at all; though Jarchi says, if he was not married at first, his master might not give him a Canaanitish woman to beget slaves of her:
if he were married, then his wife shall go with him; that is, if he had a wife, a daughter of Israel, as the Targum of Jonathan; or an Israelitish woman, as Jarchi, and had her at his coming; for otherwise, if it was one his master after gave him, she might not go out, as appears by the following verse; but being his wife before his servitude, and an Israelitish woman, was not the master's bondmaid, nor bought with his money, and therefore might go out free with her husband.
(f) "cum quali veste", V. L. "cum veste sua"; some in Vatablus & Drusius. (g) "Cum corpore suo", Munster, Pagninus, Vatablus, Drusius; "solus corpore suo", Junius & Tremellius; "cum solo corpore suo", Piscator. (h) R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 15. 1.
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