1 Now these are the judgments that you will set before them. 2 If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve six years: and in the seventh he will go free for nothing. 3 If he came in by himself, he will go out by himself: if he was married, then his wife will go out with him. 4 If his master has given him a wife, and she has born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children will be her master’s, and he will go out by himself. 5 And if the servant says plainly, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go free: 6 Then his master will bring him to the judges; he will also bring him to the door or to the doorpost; and his master will bore his ear through with an awl; and he will serve him forever.
- Servitude was a deterrent to the laziness of our sinful nature.
- If a man didn’t work, he would be in debt and have to be sold to pay the debt.
- This was an incentive to work hard for yourself and your family, so you wouldn’t have to be sold.
- Work humbles man's heart that became proud at the fall.
- God’s greater purpose for life is not served if man does not have to work.
- Remember that Exodus is the book of God’s delivering the Israelites from slavery.
- God’s fairness is impeccable.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
7 And if a man sells his daughter to be a maidservant, she will not go out as the menservants do. 8 If she does not please her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then he will let her be redeemed: he will have no right to sell her to a foreign country, because he has dealt deceitfully with her. 9 And if he has betrothed her to his son, he will deal with her like a daughter. 10 If he takes to himself another wife, he is not to reduce her food, her clothing, and her duty of marriage. 11 If he does not do these three for her, then will she go out free without money.
- God treats women gently.
- God’s laws address all possible circumstances.
- Remember that Jacob bought Leah and Rachel for seven years each tending their father, Laban’s flocks.
God commands capital punishment
12 He that strikes a man so that he dies will certainly be put to death. 13 And if a man does not lie in wait, but God delivers him into his hand; then I will appoint you a place where he will flee. 14 But if a man comes presumptuously on his neighbor, to kill him with cunning; you will take him from my altar to die. 15 And he that strikes his father or his mother will be surely put to death.
- In Genesis 9:6 God established capital punishment for murder because man is privileged to be made in the image of God.
- These verses define exactly what murder is.
- In war, killing is not murder. Capital punishment is not murder; it is justice.
- Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood is to be shed by man because he made man in the image of God.
- Revelation 1:18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
16 And he that steals/kidnaps a man, and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he will surely be put to death. 17 And he that curses his father, or his mother, will definitely be put to death. 18 And if men strive together, and one hits another with a stone, or with his fist, and he does not die, but keeps to his bed: 19 If he gets up again, and walks about on his staff, then will he that struck him will go unpunished: only he will pay for the loss of his time, and will cause him to be thoroughly healed. 20 And if a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand; he will surely be avenged. 21 However, if he continues a day or two, he will not be avenged: for he is his money.
- Kidnapping is a capital offense in God’s eyes.
- God’s instructions deal with mankind as it is.
- He does not pretend that man is better than he is but shows man how to overcome the reality of his sinful nature by faith in Him through His word.
- If a slave owner hits a slave and the slave dies, the master is to be killed.
God remembers the victim and their family
22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no injury follows: he will surely be punished, whatever the woman’s husband will requires of him; and he will pay as the judges determine. 23 And if any injury follows, then you will give life for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. 26 And if a man hits the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perishes; he will let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27 And if he strikes out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth, he will let him go free for his tooth’s sake.
- God limits retribution.
- Often when someone is hurt they say, I’ll kill you for that.
- God knows the heart of man.
- His laws are fair, just, and perfect.
- There is balance and fairness in these laws: no more than what is right and no less than what is right.
- Each man is to carry his own weight and that of his family.
- It isn’t fair or right that some work hard and then their money is taken to give to others who won’t work.
28 If an ox gores a man or a woman so that they die: then the ox is definitely to be stoned, and his flesh will not be eaten; but the owner of the ox will go unpunished. 29 But if the ox was known in the past to push with his horns, and it had been testified to his owner, and he did not keep him in, but he has killed a man or a woman; the ox will be stoned, and his owner also will be put to death. 30 If there is laid on him a sum of money, then he will give it for the ransom of his life whatever is laid upon him. 31 Whether he has gored a son, or gored a daughter, it will be done to him according to this judgment. 32 If the ox gores a manservant or a maidservant; he will give their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox will be stoned.
- Disease or demon possession may have caused the animal to gore.
- The question of drunk driving is answered in these verses.
- We are responsible because we know that it is dangerous enough to cause death.
- It can’t be called an accident or manslaughter because the person knew that he shouldn’t drink and drive.
- The person himself is responsible or the parent responsible for a child.
- Luke 8:33 Then the devils went out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake and choked.
33 And if a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit, and does not cover it, and an ox or an ass falls into it; 34 The owner of the pit will make it good, and give money to the owner of them; and the dead beast will be his. 35 And if one man’s ox hurts another’s so that it dies; then they will sell the live ox, and divide its money; and they will divide the dead ox. 36 Or if it is known that the ox has pushed in the past, and his owner has not kept him in; he will surely pay ox for ox; and the dead will be his own.
- We are responsible for dangerous things on our property or that belong to us.
- Psalm 9:12 When he makes inquisition for blood, he remembers them: he does not forget the cry of the humble.
God’s laws deter crime
1 If a man steals an ox, or a sheep, and kills it, or sells it; he is to restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. 2 If a thief is found breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, no blood is to be shed for him. 3 If the sun rises on him, blood is to be shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he is to be sold for his theft. 4 If what was stolen is definitely found alive in his possession, whether it is ox, or ass, or sheep; he is to restore double.
- The ox was used for plowing.
- Time was lost between the theft and the replacement.
- These judgments were meant to deter crime.
- You were better off without one ox than owing your neighbor 5 oxen.
- God’s laws protect everyone.
- A person who protects himself and his family is different from the man who solves his problems by stealing and violence.
- The first man is no danger to society.
- The second man is a danger to society and brought about his own death.
- Full restoration and recompense is provided because the trauma endured.
- Today victims are forgotten. That comes from evil.
- Satan loves to stir up sympathy for the criminal and forget the victims. God’s way protects and brings healing.
5 If a man causes a field or vineyard to be eaten, and puts his animal to feed in another man’s field, he is to make restitution from the best of his own field, and from the best of his own vineyard. 6 If fire breaks out, and catches in thorns so that the stacks of grain, or the standing grain, or the field is consumed, he that kindled the fire is to surely make restitution.
God’s way is healing
7 If a man delivers money or property to his neighbor to keep, and it is stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief is found, let him pay double. 8 If the thief is not found, then the master of the house is to be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand to his neighbor’s goods. 9 For all kinds of trespass, whether it is for ox, for ass, for sheep, for clothing, or for any kind of lost thing that another claims is his, the cause of both parties is to come before the judges; and the one whom the judges condemn, he is to pay double to his neighbor.
- Crime causes the emotional stress.
- The emotional damage is often greater than the physical damage. God’s way is fair, impartial.
- Leviticus 19:15 You are to do no unrighteousness in judgment: you are not to respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but you are to judge your neighbor in righteousness.
10 If a man delivers to his neighbor an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any animal to keep; and it dies, or is hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it: 11 Then an oath of the LORD is to be made between them both, that he has not put his hand to his neighbor’s goods; and the owner of it is to accept it, and he is to not make it good. 12 And if it is stolen from him, he is to make restitution to its owner. 13 If it is torn in pieces, then let him bring it for witness, and he is to not make good that which was torn. 14 And if a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is hurt, or dies, the owner not being with it, he is definitely to make it good. 15 But if its owner is with it, he is not to make it good: if it is a hired thing, it came for its hire. 16 And if a man entices a maid that is not betrothed, and lies with her, he is definitely to endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he is to pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
- A dowry was paid to the father regardless of the outcome.
- These laws bring honor among men, morality, and the careful choosing of a wife.
God’s law protects eternal life
18 You are not to allow a witch to live. 19 Whosoever lies with an animal is to definitely be put to death. 20 He that sacrifices to any god, except to the LORD only, he is to be utterly destroyed. 21 You are not to trouble a foreigner, nor oppress him: for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
- Witches associate with and are often possessed by evil spirits like those Jesus cast out of people.
- Evil spirits lead people to eternal death.
- An eternity in death is far more horrible than the cutting short of an earthly life. There is no reprieve from hell; and it lasts forever.
- This law about animals does not mean your dog or cat cannot sleep at the foot of your bed, but refers to mating with animals. Evil spirits inspire these acts.
- 2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance.
God hears the cry of the afflicted
22 You are not to afflict any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to me, I will definitely hear their cry; 24 And my wrath will grow hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives will be widows, and your children fatherless.
- God helps the poor and the oppressed.
- However, He is not like Robin Hood taking from the rich and giving to the poor. He has plenty for all.
- Shortages occur when man turns from His Maker.
- God makes rich.
- Evil rulers protect their own turf, or votes, by taking from the rich for the poor.
- In this they set themselves above God and do harm to the poor.
- Giving people the physical necessities without spiritual truth enables them to continue in pride and not deal with eternal realities.
- 1Thessalonians 4:11 study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands…
- Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
He is gracious
25 If you lend money to any of my people that is poor among you, you are not to be to him as a usurer, you are not to charge him interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s clothing to pledge, you are to deliver it to him by sundown: 27 For that is his only covering, it is his clothing for his skin: what is he to sleep in? And it will happen when he cries to me, that I will hear for I am gracious.
- The money lent was to be repaid but with no interest charged to God’s people.
- It was ok to charge interest of foreigners.
- Charging interest keeps many hard-working people poor today.
- A $50,000 house can cost $150,000 by the time the loan is paid.
- That’s 300% interest into the pocket of the money-lender— legal extortion.
- A fair price should be agreed upon for the use of the money. A tenth would be $5,000.
- God set a tenth for the amount of offering that man should give back to his Maker. How can anyone think that they deserve more than the One who gives us life and breath and all things?
- Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap.
28 You are not to revile God or curse the ruler of your people. 29 You are not to delay to offer the first of your ripe fruits, and of your liquors: you will give the firstborn of your sons to me. 30 You are to do the same with your oxen, and with your sheep: it is to be with his dam seven days; on the eighth day you are to give it me. 31 And you are to be holy men to me: you are not to eat any flesh that is torn by beasts in the field; you are to cast it to the dogs.
- God later took the Levites in place of the firstborn to serve Him at His dwelling among the people (Numbers 3:12).
- A firstborn could also be purchased back into their families.
- Numbers 18:15 Everything that opens the matrix in all flesh that they bring to the LORD, whether it is of men or beasts, is to be yours: nevertheless the firstborn of man is surely be redeemed to you.
- Romans 13:3 rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.
- 1Peter 1:16 it is written, Be holy; for I am holy.
1 Do not give a false report: do not join with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 Do not join a crowd that intends to do evil. When you are on the witness stand, do not be swayed in your testimony by the opinion of the majority. 3 And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.
- God is truth.
- Mob violence or mob action is forbidden.
- Man is proud, self-centered and doesn’t see things clearly.
- God is a God of order.
- He is impartial and stands for what is lawful and right rather than what is expedient.
- The rich are not to be favored or envied—James 2.
- The poor are not to be favored. Each case is to be based on facts of the incident.
- Titus 1:2… God, that cannot lie, promised
- John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
God will not justify the wicked
4 If you meet your enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, definitely bring it back to him. 5 If you see the ass of someone that hates you lying under his burden, and would not help him, definitely help him. 6 Do not pervert the justice of the poor in his dispute. 7 Keep far away from a false matter; and do not kill the innocent and righteous: for I will not justify the wicked. 8 And do not take no bribe: for the bribe blinds the wise/seeing, and perverts the words of the righteous. 9 Also do not oppress a foreigner: for you know the soul of a foreigner, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. 10 Sow your land six years, and gather in its fruits: 11 But the seventh year let it rest and lie still so that the poor of your people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field will eat. This is how you are to deal with your vineyard, and with your olive yard.
- Matthew 7:12 all things whatever you desire that men do to you, you do that to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
- Romans 12:21 Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
12 Six days do your work, and on the seventh day rest: that your ox and your ass may rest, and the son of your handmaid and the foreigner may be refreshed. 13 Be circumspect in all things that I have said to you: and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard out of your mouth.
- God forbids mentioning the names of other gods because they are false and lead to eternal death.
- God made all things.
- The other gods are nothing and can do nothing.
- He made us in His image and upholds our life and breath.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
14 Three times a year keep a feast to me. 15 Keep the feast of unleavened bread: (eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out of Egypt: and none are to appear before me empty:)16 And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors that you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field. 17 Three times in the year all your males will appear before the Lord GOD. 18 Do not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; nor let the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. 19 Bring the first of the first fruits of your land to the house of the LORD your God. Do not boil a young goat in his mother’s milk.
- Leaven or yeast was a picture of sin. It puffs up.
- God also has a time that angels present themselves before Him.
- Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
He sent an Angel before them to guard them and bring them to the place He had prepared
20 Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, do not provoke him, for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my person is in him. 22 But if you will intelligently hear his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and afflict those that afflict you. 23 For my Angel will go before you, and bring you in unto the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. 24 Do not bow down to their gods or serve them or do their works: but utterly overthrow them, and break their images in pieces.
- The word ‘keep’ also means to guard.
- He is an enemy to the enemies of those who obey Him.
- His Angel goes before us. He will cut off our enemies.
He will bless our food and water and take away all sickness
25 And you will serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your food, and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you. 26 None will miscarry or be barren in your land: I will fulfill the number of your days. 27 I will send my fear before you, and will destroy all the people to whom you will come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
- Enemies ‘turning their back’ is running away.
- He will fulfill the number of our days.
- His ways are amazing and above us.
- Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
- Psalm 91:16 With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.
28 And I will send hornets before you that will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you. 29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against you. 30 But I will drive them out little and little from before you, until you have increased and inherit the land. 31 And I will set your boundaries from the Red sea even to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the river: I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and you will drive them out before you. 32 You will make no covenant with them or with their gods. 33 They will not dwell in your land so that they not make you sin against me: for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a trap to you.
- God protected them from wild beasts increasing in their land by driving the enemy out little by little.
- He set their boundaries and delivered the enemy into their hands. He forbid making covenants with evil.
- His ways are perfect.
- There are no better rules than these. There is no better way for man on earth to live—all mankind.
- Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is proven: he is a shield to all those that trust in him.
SUMMARY: Exodus 21-23
- The LORD commands capital punishment for murder
- He remembers the victims and their families
- His laws deter crime
- His ways are healing
- His law protects eternal life
- He hears the cry of the afflicted
- He will not justify the wicked
- He is gracious
- He sent an Angel before them to guard them
- He will bless our food and water
- He will take away all sickness from us