Exodus 21:3
If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) His wife shall go out with him.—The privilege of the married Hebrew slave was to attach also to his wife, if he was married when he became a slave. It further, no doubt, attached to his children.

Exodus 21:3. If he came in by himself — That is, single, he shall so depart: if married, his wife was to depart with him.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 a married man became a bondman, his rights in regard to his wife were respected: but if a single bondman accepted at the hand of his master a bondwoman as his wife, the master did not lose his claim to the woman or her children, at the expiration of the husband's term of service. Such wives, it may be presumed, were always foreign slaves. 2-6. If thou buy an Hebrew servant—Every Israelite was free-born; but slavery was permitted under certain restrictions. An Hebrew might be made a slave through poverty, debt, or crime; but at the end of six years he was entitled to freedom, and his wife, if she had voluntarily shared his state of bondage, also obtained release. Should he, however, have married a female slave, she and the children, after the husband's liberation, remained the master's property; and if, through attachment to his family, the Hebrew chose to forfeit his privilege and abide as he was, a formal process was gone through in a public court, and a brand of servitude stamped on his ear (Ps 40:6) for life, or at least till the Jubilee (De 15:17). By himself, i.e. with his own person only, not with a wife, as the opposite branch showeth. 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.

If he {b} came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

(b) Not having wife nor children.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. First and second of the special cases, viz. the cases (1) of an unmarried slave, and (2) of one married before he became a slave. There is no counterpart to this and the following verse in Dt.

by himself (twice)] lit. with his back or body, and with nothing else, i.e. alone, without wife or child. A peculiar expression, found only here and v. 4.

married] Heb. the possessor of a woman (or wife); so v. 22; ba‘al, ‘possessor,’ also, in the sense of ‘husband,’ Genesis 20:3, Deuteronomy 24:4 al. The woman, being the possession of her husband, naturally shared his fortunes, and both entered into servitude, and left it, with him.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. The General Form of Divine Worship in Israel. - As Jehovah had spoken to the Israelites from heaven, they were not to make gods of earthly materials, such as silver and gold, by the side of Him, but simply to construct an altar of earth or unhewn stones without steps, for the offering up of His sacrifices at the place where He would reveal Himself. "From heaven" Jehovah came down upon Sinai enveloped in the darkness of a cloud; and thereby He made known to the people that His nature was heavenly, and could not be imitated in any earthly material. "Ye shall not make with Me," place by the side of, or on a par with Me," "gods of silver and gold," - that is to say, idols primarily intended to represent the nature of God, and therefore meant as symbols of Jehovah, but which became false gods from the very fact that they were intended as representations of the purely spiritual God.
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