Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

Exodus 21:2

    Exodus 21:2 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

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

    American King James Version (AKJV)

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

    American Standard Version (ASV)

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

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    If you get a Hebrew servant for money, he is to be your servant for six years, and in the seventh year you are to let him go free without payment.

    Webster's Revision

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

    World English Bible

    "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years and in the seventh he shall go out free without paying anything.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

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

    Clarke's Commentary on Exodus 21:2

    If thou buy a Hebrew servant - Calmet enumerates six different ways in which a Hebrew might lose his liberty:

    1. In extreme poverty they might sell their liberty. Leviticus 25:39 : If thy brother be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, etc.

    2. A father might sell his children. If a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant; see Exodus 21:7.

    3. Insolvent debtors became the slaves of their creditors. My husband is dead - and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen, 2 Kings 4:1.

    4. A thief, if he had not money to pay the fine laid on him by the law, was to be sold for his profit whom he had robbed. If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft; Exodus 22:3, Exodus 22:4.

    5. A Hebrew was liable to be taken prisoner in war, and so sold for a slave.

    6. A Hebrew slave who had been ransomed from a Gentile by a Hebrew might be sold by him who ransomed him, to one of his own nation.

    Six years he shall serve - It was an excellent provision in these laws, that no man could finally injure himself by any rash, foolish, or precipitate act. No man could make himself a servant or slave for more than seven years; and if he mortgaged the family inheritance, it must return to the family at the jubilee, which returned every fiftieth year.

    It is supposed that the term six years is to be understood as referring to the sabbatical years; for let a man come into servitude at whatever part of the interim between two sabbatical years, he could not be detained in bondage beyond a sabbatical year; so that if he fell into bondage the third year after a sabbatical year, he had but three years to serve; if the fifth, but one. See Clarke's note on Exodus 23:11, etc. Others suppose that this privilege belonged only to the year of jubilee, beyond which no man could be detained in bondage, though he had been sold only one year before.

    Barnes' Notes on Exodus 21:2

    A Hebrew might be sold as a bondman in consequence either of debt Leviticus 25:39 or of the commission of theft Exodus 22:3. But his servitude could not be enforced for more than six full years. Compare the marginal references.

    Wesley's Notes on Exodus 21:2

    21:2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant - Either sold by him or his parents through poverty, or by the judges for his crimes, yet even such a one was to continue in slavery but seven years at the most.