This chapter is a law chapter. It’s gonna be tedious. I’ll do my best to not make it boring. (I know these law chapters can be soooo boring! I used to fall asleep in Sunday school to these chapters. Much to my grandma’s dismay.)
Here are the laws set forth to the Israelites:
If you’re buying a Hebrew servant, he’s (a male servant) to serve you only 6 years. On the 7th year, you have to set him free, without paying anything to anyone. (So the text says servant but it’s really slave. Let’s be honest, you don’t buy servants. And servants get paid. The male slave that’s an actual Hebrew (Jew) HAS to be let go after 6 years. And gets NOTHING. No money, no extra clothes (only the clothes on his back), no property. Zip.)
If the “servant” comes alone (without a wife, kids), he’s free to go alone. But if he has a wife when he comes to be a slave, she’s to go with him. (If a man became a slave & his wife comes with him when he’s a slave. When he’s freed, his wife goes with him. She can’t stay, as a slave. Because she’s her husband’s “property.”) However, if his master gives him a wife & she bears the slave children, the children belong to the master. In this instance, only the man may leave. (If the master gives his male slave a wife & the wife has kids, after the 6 years are over, only the man is free to go. Not the wife or the kids, they are still property of the “master.”)
If the slave says, “I love my master & my family. I don’t want to be a free man.” Then the master must take him before the judges. The master will take to the door or doorpost & pierce his ear (like you would for an earring) with an awl. Then he’ll be his slave for life. (That’s right. If you didn’t want to lose your family, you can’t free your family. You had to get your ear pierced & become a slave for the rest of your life! You can’t even buy your family. Wow, just wow.)
If a man sells his daughter as a slave, she’s not to go free as male slaves are. (See this is jacked up! I’m sorry. But really?! Really? Ugh. Frustrating.) If she doesn’t please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. (I just can’t.) The master has no right to sell her to foreigners. Because he has broker faith with her. However if the master picks her for his son, the master must grant her the rights of a daughter. (So if the master isn’t pleased with whatever a female slave does(n’t) do, he can either A) Let her be redeemed. Ok. Fine. B) Give her to his son (from the way it sounds, as a wife/concubine. But if B happens, then he has to give the female slave the same “rights” as he would a regular wife/concubine.) If the son marries another, he mustn’t deprive the first of her marital rights (clothes, money, food, etc.). If he doesn’t provide those things for her, she is free to go, without any payment of money. (So if the son doesn’t take care of her, since dad gave her as a wife to his son. She can go free. Only if he’s not doing his duty.)
This next list is about personal injuries:
Anyone who hits someone & kills him, they will die also. However, if it wasn’t done intentionally, “but God lets it happen,” (Yep, you read that correctly. Exodus chapter 21, verse 13. So yeah.) the ‘murderer’ is to flee to a safety city. If a man kills someone deliberately, take him away from the altar & put him to death. (They didn’t play with you back then. If you killed someone on purpose, with intent, you were gonna die too.)
Anyone who attacks/kills their mom or dad, death is coming your way. Anyone who curses his mom or dad must be put to death. (Check out Matthew 15:4.)
Any who kidnaps someone & either sells them (the person who is being kidnapped) or is still with the kidnapper when they’re caught must receive the death penalty.
If guys (men) get into a fight & one hits the other with a weapon & the injuried party doesn’t die, but is only confined to a bed, then the guilty party isn’t held responsible if the other gets up & walks around. However, he is to pay for the time loss due to the injury & has to make sure that the injuried party is in 100% good shape.
If a man beats his slaves with a “rod” & the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished. But he’s not to punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. (Damn. Just…I don’t even have words for this.)
If men who are fighting, like fist fighting, hit a pregnant woman & she gives birth prematurely but there’s no serious injury, the offender (the hitter) must be fined whatever the baby daddy demands & the courts allow. However if there IS serious injury, to mother or baby, then you’re to take a “life for a life, eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (Ya, they’re not down for harming in-vitro babies. The ancient Jewish people were very pro-life. They didn’t play when it comes to pregnant women or kids, period.)
If a man hits a slave in the eye & the eye can’t be used anymore, the man MUST let the slave go to compensate for the eye. If a man hits a slave in the mouth & the slave loses a tooth, the slave must be freed for the tooth loss.
If a bull gores someone to death, the bull HAS to be stoned to death. (Harsh, right?! PETA would have a field day with this one.) Its meat cannot be eaten. The owner won’t be held responsible for the death. However, if the bull has a history of aggression, & the owner has been warned about the bull, & somehow the bull wasn’t penned up, if the bull kills someone, the bull & the owner must be put to death. (So if it was a one time incident, the owner is not responsible for the death. But if the bull is aggressive & the owner knows, you’re screwed if the bull kills someone.) Exception: If payment is demanded of him (the owner of the bull), he can redeem his life by paying whatever is demanded of him. This also applies if the bull gores a son/daughter. If the bull gores a slave, the owner must pay 30 shekels (about 12 ounces (or about 0.3 kilogram)) of silver to the master of the slave & the bull stoned. (I’m not good with an actual price on the person’s life.)
If a man uncovers a pit or digs one, doesn’t cover it, & an ox/donkey falls into it. The owner of the pit must pay for the loss. He must pay the its owner. The dead animal becomes the pit digger’s.
If a man’s bull injures the bull of another & it dies, they’re to sell the live bull & divide the money & the dead animal 50/50. If the aggressive bull has a history of such behavior & the owner didn’t keep it penned up, the owner MUST pay animal for animal. The dead animal will be his.