Exodus 21:6
Parallel Verses
New International Version
then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

New Living Translation
If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door or doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life.

English Standard Version
then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.

New American Standard Bible
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.

King James Bible
Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
his master is to bring him to the judges and then bring him to the door or doorpost. His master must pierce his ear with an awl, and he will serve his master for life."

International Standard Version
then his master is to bring him before the judges and he is to bring him to the door or to the doorpost. His master is to pierce his ear with an awl, and he is to serve him permanently.

NET Bible
then his master must bring him to the judges, and he will bring him to the door or the doorposts, and his master will pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
then his master must bring him to God. The master must bring him to the door or the doorframe and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his slave for life.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him forever.

King James 2000 Bible
Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

American King James Version
Then his master shall bring him to the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

American Standard Version
then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

Douay-Rheims Bible
His master shall bring him to the gods, and he shall be set to the door and the posts, and he shall bore his ear through with an awl: and he shall be his servant for ever.

Darby Bible Translation
then his master shall bring him before the judges, and shall bring him to the door, or to the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall be his bondman for ever.

English Revised Version
then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then his master shall bring him to the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the door-post: and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

World English Bible
then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.

Young's Literal Translation
then hath his lord brought him nigh unto God, and hath brought him nigh unto the door, or unto the side-post, and his lord hath bored his ear with an awl, and he hath served him -- to the age.
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Then his master shall bring him unto the judges,.... To Elohim, to God, to the judgment seat of God, according to the Septuagint; to some person or persons to inquire of God what is to be done in such a case; but this seems needless, since it is here declared: no doubt civil magistrates or judges are meant by Elohim, or the gods, as in Psalm 82:1, and so Jarchi interprets it of the house of judgment, or sanhedrim, the court that had convicted the servant of theft, and had sold him to him, it was proper he should acquaint them with it, have their opinion about it; and especially it was proper to have him to them, that he might before them, even in open court, declare his willingness to abide in his master's service; and from whom, as the Targum of Jonathan, he was to receive power and authority to retain him in his service:

he shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost; either of the gate of the city, where the judges were sitting, before whom what follows was to be done, as Aben Ezra suggests; or rather the door of his master, or any other man's, as Maimonides (l):

and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; or with a needle, as the Targum of Jonathan, which also says it was the right ear; and so Jarchi; and the upper part of it, as says Maimonides, who likewise observes, that that with which it is bored must be of metal; and moreover, that it is the master himself that must do it, and not his son, nor his messenger, nor a messenger of the sanhedrim (m): the ear is an hieroglyphic of obedience, and the boring of it through to the doorpost denotes the strict and close obedience of such a servant to his master, and how he is, and ought to be, addicted to his service, and be constantly employed in it, and never stir from it, nor so much as go over the threshold of his master's house. This custom of boring a servant's ear continued in Syria till the times of Juvenal, as appears by some lines of his: (n).

and he shall serve him for ever; as long as he lives (o); however, until the year of jubilee, as the Targum of Jonathan, and so Jarchi; if there was one before his death, for nothing else could free him; denoting freedom by Christ in his acceptable year, and day of salvation.

(l) Hilchot Abadim, c. 3. sect. 9. (m) Ibid. (n) "----Molles quod in aure fenestrae Arguerint, licet ipse negem?" Satyr. 1.((o) "Serviet in aeternum, qui parvo nesciet uti". Horat.



Exodus 21:6 Additional Commentaries
Context
Laws for Servants
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. 7"If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.…
Cross References
Exodus 21:5
"But if the servant declares, 'I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,'

Exodus 21:7
"If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.

Deuteronomy 15:16
But if your servant says to you, "I do not want to leave you," because he loves you and your family and is well off with you,

Psalm 82:1
A psalm of Asaph. God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the "gods":
Treasury of Scripture

Then his master shall bring him to the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

the judges

Exodus 21:22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart …

Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite …

Exodus 18:21-26 Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as …

Exodus 22:8,9,28 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be …

Numbers 25:6-8 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought to his …

Deuteronomy 1:16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between …

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

Deuteronomy 19:17,18 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before …

1 Samuel 8:1,2 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges …

Isaiah 1:26 And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counsellors …

Zephaniah 3:3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening …

bore his ear. This significant ceremony was intended as a mark of permanent servitude, and was calculated to impress the servant with the duty of hearing all his master's orders, and obeying them punctually.

Psalm 40:6-8 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire; my ears have you opened: …

for every

Leviticus 25:23,40 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, for you …

Deuteronomy 15:17 Then you shall take an awl, and thrust it through his ear to the …

1 Samuel 1:22 But Hannah went not up; for she said to her husband, I will not go …

1 Samuel 27:12 And Achish believed David, saying, He has made his people Israel …

1 Samuel 28:2 And David said to Achish, Surely you shall know what your servant …

1 Kings 12:7 And they spoke to him, saying, If you will be a servant to this people …

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