Exodus 21

God's Judgments

21:1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.

On slavery
21:2-6, , Cf. Dt 15:12-18

21:2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

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.

21:4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.

21:5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

21:6 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.

If thou buy an Hebrew servant....

God's rules for buying slaves and splitting up their families.

You may buy a slave, but you must set him free on the seventh year. If you have "given" him a wife and she bears children, then you get to keep the wife and kids. If he refuses to leave his family when his seven years are up, then bore a hole through his ear and keep him forever.
Does God approve of slavery?
What the Bible says about slavery

On selling your daughter
21:7-8

21:7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

21:8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

21:9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

If a man sell his daughter ... If she please not her master....

How to sell your daughter -- and what to do if she fails to please her new master.
What the Bible says about parenting

"Exodus 21:7 says it's OK to sell your daughter into slavery. Not even in Nevada." -- Penn & Teller on the Bible

On Polygamy
21:10-11

21:10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

21:11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

If he take him another wife....

God's rules for "taking" another wife.
Is polygamy OK?
What the Bible says about marriage and polygamy

On Murder

21:12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

21:13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee.

21:14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.

If you kill someone that God delivers into your hand, then God will provide you with a hiding place. Cf. Num 35:9-15

On Disobedient Children and Slave Stealers
21:15-17, Cf. Dt 21:18-21

21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

A child who hits or curses his parents must be executed.
Does God approve of capital punishment?
What the Bible says about children, parenting, and capital punishment

21:16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Slavery is approved by God; those who steal slaves must be killed.
Does God approve of slavery?

On assault

21:18-19

21:18 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed:

21:19 If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.

On Slave Beating
21:20-21

21:20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

21:21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

If he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

(21:20-21, 24-27) Slowly beating your slaves to death

It's okay with God if you slowly beat your slaves to death. After all, they are your money. Just make sure that they survive at least a day or two after the beating.
What the Bible says about slavery and torture

On Miscarriage/Abortion
21:22-25

21:22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

21:23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

21:24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

21:25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow

If two men fight and cause a woman to miscarry, but do not hurt her, then the one who hurt her shall pay her husband an amount determined by the judges. Only if the woman dies is the punishment to be death. Apparently, then, with respect to abortion, God is pro-choice since he considers a woman's life to be more important than that of the fetus.
What the Bible says about abortion

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

More Judgments on Slave Beating
21:26-27

21:26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye's sake.

21:27 And if he smite out his manservant's tooth, or his maidservant's tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake.

Try not to knock out your slaves' teeth or eyes while beating them. Otherwise you may have to set them free.
On Ox Goring
21:28-32

21:28 If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.

Capital punishment for animals (and their negligent owners)
What the Bible says about stoning

If an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be surely stoned (and his flesh must not be eaten).

21:29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

21:30 If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.

21:31 Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.

If the ox has a history of goring people and then kills someone, then the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

21:32 If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

21:33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein;

21:34 The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.

21:35 And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead ox also they shall divide.

21:36 Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.

If an ox gores a slave, the owner of the ox must pay the owner of the slave 30 shekels of silver, and "the ox shall be stoned."
Does God approve of slavery?