Exodus 21:11
And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.
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(11) These threei.e., one of these three things: (1) Espouse her himself; (2) marry her to his son; or (3) transfer her, on the terms on which he received her, to another Hebrew.

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.If he do not these three unto her - The words express a choice of one of three things. The man was to give the woman, whom he had purchased from her father, her freedom, unless

(i) he caused her to be redeemed by a Hebrew master Exodus 21:8; or,

(ii) gave her to his son, and treated her as a daughter Exodus 21:9; or,

(iii) in the event of his taking another wife Exodus 21:10, unless he allowed her to retain her place and privileges.

These rules Exodus 21:7-11 are to be regarded as mitigations of the then existing usages of concubinage.

Ex 21:7-36. Laws for Maidservants.

7-11. if a man sell his daughter—Hebrew girls might be redeemed for a reasonable sum. But in the event of her parents or friends being unable to pay the redemption money, her owner was not at liberty to sell her elsewhere. Should she have been betrothed to him or his son, and either change their minds, a maintenance must be provided for her suitable to her condition as his intended wife, or her freedom instantly granted.

And with gifts also by virtue of the law, Deu 15:14. The sum is this, The master was either,

1. Willing to part with her; and then he was to let her be redeemed by herself, or any of her friends, but not by a heathen, Exodus 21:8. Or,

2. Willing to keep her; and then, as he had betrothed her, he was to perform all the duties of a husband to her, although he had another wife besides her, Exodus 21:10.

3. If he would keep her, and yet deny those duties to her, then as his fault was aggravated, so was his punishment; for now he cannot sell her, but must let her go freely, as in this verse.

And if he do not these three unto her,.... Not the three things last mentioned; though this sense, Aben Ezra says, many of their interpreters give, which is rejected by him, so do some Christian expositors; but these three things are, espousing her to himself, or to his son, or redeeming her by the hand of her father; that is, letting her be redeemed by him, as the Targum of Jonathan; and so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Ben Melech: the meaning is, if one or other of these things are not done:

then shall she go out free without money; be dismissed from her servitude, and not obliged to pay anything for her freedom; the Targum of Jonathan adds, he shall give her a bill of divorce; that is, the son to whom she had been betrothed, and another wife taken by him, and she denied the above things; which favours the first sense.

And if he do not these {k} three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

(k) Neither marry her himself, nor give another money to buy her, nor bestow her on his son.

11. these three] The three rights mentioned in v. 10.

The view expressed above is the one ordinarily taken of vv. 7–11, vv. 8–10 stating three special cases, falling under the general case of v. 7, If a man sell his daughter, &c. Budde, however (ZATW. 1891, p. 102 f.), argues forcibly, and Bä. agrees, that the three special cases fall, not under the general case of v. 7, but under the general case of v. 8a, If she please not her master,—the first two, as upon the ordinary view, relating to the time before the woman is taken actually as a concubine: the three cases being (1) he may let her be redeemed, v. 8b; (2) how he is to deal with her, if he passes her on to his son, v. 9; (3) how he is to deal with her, if, after having made her his concubine, he takes another concubine as well. If the girl bought in this way was as a matter of course bought to be her master’s concubine, the words in v. 8, ‘who hath designated her for himself,’ are otiose; on the other hand, the condition that the two alternatives mentioned in vv. 8, 9 are to be adopted only if she is still a virgin, ought, Budde thinks, to be clearly expressed: accordingly, taking ‘not’ from the margin, and transposing two letters in the following word, he reads for the words quoted, who (or in case he) hath not known her (Genesis 4:1): he further argues that this view does better justice to the wording of v. 8 (which is not, as it should be on the ordinary view, If he hath designated her for himself, and she please him not), and to the tense of ‘designate’ in v. 9 (which is the impf., as in vv. 10, 11, not the perf., as in v. 8a), and also that it explains better v. 9b (why, if he originally intended her as a concubine for his son, should he treat her as a daughter, and so place her in a better position than if he intended he for himself? On the other hand, this is intelligible, if he did not fulfil his original engagement to her, and passed her on to his son). For another solution of the difficulties of the passage, resting upon a further emendation, see W. R. Smith, ZATW. 1892, p. 162 f., or Ryssel in Di.2 p. 253.

Verse 11. - If he do not these three unto her. Not the "three" points of the latter part of ver. 10; but one of the three courses laid down in vers. 8, 9, and 10. She shall go out free - i.e., she shall not be retained as a drudge, a mere maidservant, but shall return to her father at once, a free woman, capable of contracting another marriage; and without money - i.e., without the father being called upon to refund any portion of the stun for which he had sold her. Exodus 21:11The daughter of an Israelite, who had been sold by her father as a maid-servant (לאמה), i.e., as the sequel shows, as a housekeeper and concubine, stood in a different relation to her master's house. She was not to go out like the men-servants, i.e., not to be sent away as free at the end of six years of service; but the three following regulations, which are introduced by אם (Exodus 21:8), ואם (Exodus 21:9), and ואם (Exodus 21:11), were to be observed with regard to her. In the first place (Exodus 21:8), "if she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed." The לא before יעדהּ is one of the fifteen cases in which לא has been marked in the Masoretic text as standing for לו; and it cannot possibly signify not in the passage before us. For if it were to be taken as a negative, "that he do not appoint her," sc., as a concubine for himself, the pronoun לו would certainly not be omitted. הפדּהּ (for הפדּהּ, see Ges. 53, Note 6), to let her be redeemed, i.e., to allow another Israelite to buy her as a concubine; for there can hardly have been any thought of redemption on the part of the father, as it would no doubt be poverty alone that caused him to sell his daughter (Leviticus 25:39). But "to sell her unto a strange nation (i.e., to any one but a Hebrew), he shall have no power, if he acts unfaithfully towards her," i.e., if he do not grant her the promised marriage. In the second place (Exodus 21:9, Exodus 21:10), "if he appoint her as his son's wife, he shall act towards her according to the rights of daughters," i.e., treat her as a daughter; "and if he take him (the son) another (wife), - whether because the son was no longer satisfied, or because the father gave the son another wife in addition to her - "her food (שׁאר flesh as the chief article of food, instead of לחם, bread, because the lawgiver had persons of property in his mind, who were in a position to keep concubines), her raiment, and her duty of marriage he shall not diminish," i.e., the claims which she had as a daughter for support, and as his son's wife for conjugal rights, were not to be neglected; he was not to allow his son, therefore, to put her away or treat her badly. With this explanation the difficulties connected with every other are avoided. For instance, if we refer the words of Exodus 21:9 to the son, and understand them as meaning, "if the son should take another wife," we introduce a change of subject without anything to indicate it. If, on the other hand, we regard them as meaning, "if the father (the purchaser) should take to himself another wife," this ought to have come before Exodus 21:9. In the third place (Exodus 21:11), "if he do not (do not grant) these three unto her, she shall go out for nothing, without money." "These three" are food, clothing, and conjugal rights, which are mentioned just before; not "si eam non desponderit sibi nec filio, nec redimi sit passus" (Rabbins and others), nor "if he did not give her to his son as a concubine, but diminished her," as Knobel explains it.
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