Exodus 21:5
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"But if the servant declares, 'I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,'

New Living Translation
But the slave may declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I don't want to go free.'

English Standard Version
But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’

New American Standard Bible
"But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,'

King James Bible
And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But if the slave declares: 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I do not want to leave as a free man,'

International Standard Version
But if the servant, in fact, says, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children, and I won't go out a free man,'

NET Bible
But if the servant should declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,'

New Heart English Bible
But if the servant shall plainly say, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;'

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But if he makes this statement: 'I hereby declare my love for my master, my wife, and my children. I don't want to leave as a free man,'

JPS Tanakh 1917
But if the servant shall plainly say: I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;

New American Standard 1977
“But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’

Jubilee Bible 2000
And if the slave shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free.

King James 2000 Bible
And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

American King James Version
And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

American Standard Version
But if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

Douay-Rheims Bible
And if the servant shall say: I love my master and my wife and children, I will not go out free:

Darby Bible Translation
But if the bondman shall say distinctly, I love my master, my wife, and my children, I will not go free;

English Revised Version
But if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

Webster's Bible Translation
And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not depart free:

World English Bible
But if the servant shall plainly say, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;'

Young's Literal Translation
'And if the servant really say: I have loved my lord, my wife, and my sons -- I do not go out free;
Study Bible
Laws for Servants
4"If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. 5"But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,' 6then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.…
Cross References
Exodus 21:4
"If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.

Exodus 21:6
then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

Deuteronomy 15:16
"It shall come about if he says to you, 'I will not go out from you,' because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you;

Deuteronomy 15:17
then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant.
Treasury of Scripture

And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

and if

Deuteronomy 15:16,17 And it shall be, if he say to you, I will not go away from you; because …

Isaiah 26:13 O LORD our God, other lords beside you have had dominion over us: …

2 Corinthians 5:14,15 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that …

shall plainly say. Heb. saying shall say

(5) And if.--Better, But if.

I love my master.--Under every system of slavery affection grows up between the slaves and a master who is indulgent to them. At Rome it was common for slaves to endure the severest torture rather than betray or accuse their owners. If a man has no rights, he is thankful for small mercies, and responds with warm feeling to those who treat him kindly. As the Hebrew form of slavery was of a mild type, masters being admonished to treat their slaves "not as bondservants, but as hired servants" (Leviticus 25:39-40), and, again, "not to rule over them with rigour" (Leviticus 25:46), there would naturally be frequent cases where the slave would not wish to "go out." He might actually "love his master;" or he might value the security from want which attaches to the slave condition; or he might be unwilling to break up the family which, by his master's favour, he had been allowed to create. For such cases some provision was necessary. It was made by the law here formulated (Exodus 21:5-6), which allowed the Hebrew slave, if he liked, to forfeit all claim to freedom, and take upon him permanently the condition of a bondman.

Verses 5, 6. - I love my master, etc. Affection might grow up between the slave and the master, if he were well treated. The Hebrew form of slavery was altogether of a mild kind. Masters are admonished to treat their slaves "not as bond-servants, but as hired servants or sojourners," and again "not to rule over them with rigour" (Leviticus 25:39, 40, 43). Even among the heathen, slaves often bore a true affection to their masters. Or, the slave might be so attached to his wife and children as to be unwilling to separate from them, and might prefer slavery with the solace of their society to freedom without it. For such cases the provision was made, which is contained in ver. 6. On the slave declaring to his master his unwillingness to go free, the master might take him before the judges, or magistrates (literally "gods") as witnesses, and perhaps registrars of the man' s declaration, and might then reconduct him to his house, and by a significant ceremony mark him as his slave "for ever." The ceremony consisted in boring through one of his ears with an awl, and driving the awl into the door or doorpost of the house, thereby attaching him physically to the dwelling of which he became thenceforth a permanent inmate. Almost all commentators assert that some such custom was common in the East in connection with slavery, and refer to Xen. Aaab. 3:1, § 31; Plant. Poenul. 5:2, 21; Juv. Sat. 1:104; Plutarch. Vit. Cic. § 26, etc. But these passages merely show that the Orientals generally - not slaves in particular - had their ears bored for the purpose of wearing earrings, and indicate no usage at all comparable to the Hebrew practice. The Hebrew custom - probably a very ancient one - seems to have had two objects -

1. The declaring by a significant act, that the man belonged to the house; and

2. The permanent marking of him as a slave, dis-entitled to the rights of freemen, he shall serve him for ever. Josephus (Ant. Jud. 4:8, § 20) and the Jewish commentators generally maintain that the law of the jubilee release overruled this enactment; but this must be regarded as very doubtful. And if the servant shall plainly say,.... Or, "in saying shall say" (i) shall express himself in plain and full terms, and repeat his words, and abide by them, signifying it as his last will and determined resolution:

I love my master, my wife, and my children, and I will not go out free; but continue in his servitude, having a great affection for his master, and that he might enjoy his wife and children he dearly loved; and being animated with such a principle, his servitude was a pleasure to him: and when our obedience to God springs from love to him, and to his cause and interest, which should be as dear to us as our families, it is then acceptable to God and delightful to ourselves; in Deuteronomy 15:16,

it is, because he loveth thee, and thine house, because he is well with thee; hence the Jewish writers say (k), understanding by "house" a family, if a servant has a wife and children and his master not, his ear is not to be bored; and if his master has a wife and children and he has not, his ear is not to be bored; if he loves his master and his master do not love him, or his master loves him and he do not love his master, or if he is sick, &c. his ear is not to be bored.

(i) (k) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 22. 1. Maimon. in Misn. Kiddushin, c. 1. sect. 2.21:1-11 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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