Dave Burnette's Commentary

Exodus Chapter 21 

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: The Record of God's Deliverance of Israel (c 1-40)
Theme: Israel at Sinai (c 19-40)
Message: Laws on People & Property (v 1-36)

Exodus 21 Commentary

(21:1-36) Laws Concerning People - These laws were given because everything we do has consequences. It is vital to think before acting, to consider the effects of our choices. Think of your plans for today and consider what their long-range results might be. As we deal with others, we should keep the principles of these laws in mind. We should act responsibly and justly with all people--friends and enemies alike.

(21:2) Slavery - The Hebrews, though freed from slavery, had slaves (or servants) themselves. A person could become a slave because of poverty, debt, or even crime. But Hebrew slaves were treated as humans, not property, and were allowed to work their way to freedom. The Bible acknowledges the existence of slavery but never encourages it.

(21:24-25) An Eye for Eye - The "eye for eye" rule was instituted as a guide for judges, not as a rule for personal relationships or to justify revenge. This rule made the punishment fit the crime, thereby preventing the cruel and barbaric punishments that characterized many ancient societies. Jesus took this principle a step further to teach us not to retaliate (Matthew 5:38-48). Judges, parents, teachers, and others who work with people must make wise decisions in order for discipline to be effective. A punishment too harsh is unfair, and one too lenient is powerless to teach. Ask God for wisdom before you judge.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Judgement & Refuge

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Exodus with Chapter 21 and in today's text we see the Judaical laws that involve servants and masters in this day. The law again was given to show right and wrong with the ultimate goal to show our sinful nature and our need for a Savior. In the law it shows the judgement of God and how it calls for a eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a hand for a hand. Simply put, a true line and definition of right and wrong. God also shows his mercy with cities of refuge where a person could escape the judgement they deserved from breaking the law. In making application we see that God judges sin and provides a way of escape though the refuge of Jesus-Christ. Today people believe that God wont judge their sin and everyone goes to Heaven but our text today, and in the pages to come, show that God will judge sin, so we too need to run to to the refuge, which is Jesus-Christ our Lord. How about you? Do you believe that God judges your sin? Let us learn from our text and run to the city of refuge which is Jesus-Christ.


Exodus 21

Exodus 21

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

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

 3If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

 4If 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.

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

 6Then 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.

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

 8If 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.

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

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

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

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

 13And 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.

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

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

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

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

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

 19If 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.

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

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

 22If 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.

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

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

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

 26And 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.

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

 28If 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.

 29But 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.

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

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

 32If 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.

 33And 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;

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

 35And 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.

 36Or 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.