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Exodus 21:6

    Exodus 21:6 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Then his master shall bring him to the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Then his master is to take him to the gods of the house, and at the door, or at its framework, he is to make a hole in his ear with a sharp-pointed instrument; and he will be his servant for ever.

    Webster's Revision

    then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

    World English Bible

    then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

    Definitions for Exodus 21:6

    Ear - To work, till, or plough the ground.
    Post - A runner; courier.

    Clarke's Commentary on Exodus 21:6

    Shall bring him unto the judges - אל האלהים el haelohim, literally, to God; or, as the Septuagint have it, προς το κριτηριον Θεου, to the judgment of God; who condescended to dwell among his people; who determined all their differences till he had given them laws for all cases, and who, by his omniscience, brought to light the hidden things of dishonesty. See Exodus 22:8.

    Bore his ear through with an awl - This was a ceremony sufficiently significant, as it implied,

    1. That he was closely attached to that house and family.

    2. That he was bound to hear all his master's orders, and to obey them punctually. Boring of the ear was an ancient custom in the east. It is referred to by Juvenal: -

    Prior, inquit, ego adsum.

    Cur timeam, dubitemve locum defendere? Quamvis

    Natus ad Euphraten, Molles quod in Aure Fenestrae

    Arguerint, licet ipse negem.

    Sat. i.102.

    "First come, first served, he cries; and I, in spite

    Of your great lordships, will maintain my right:

    Though born a slave, though my torn Ears are Bored,

    'Tis not the birth, 'tis money makes the lord."

    continued...

    Barnes' Notes on Exodus 21:6

    Forever - That is, most probably, until the next Jubilee, when every Hebrew was set free. See Leviticus 25:40, Leviticus 25:50. The custom of boring the ear as a mark of slavery appears to have been a common one in ancient times, observed in many nations.

    Unto the judges - Literally, "before the gods אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym." The word does not denote "judges" in a direct way, but it is to be understood as the name of God, in its ordinary plural form, God being the source of all justice. The name in this connection always has the definite article prefixed. See the marginal references. Compare Psalm 82:1, Psalm 82:6; John 10:34.

    Wesley's Notes on Exodus 21:6

    21:6 For ever - As long as he lives, or till the year of Jubilee.