1“Here are the laws you must explain to the people of Israel.
Set Your Hebrew Servants Free
2“Suppose you buy a Hebrew servant. He must serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, you must set him free. He does not have to pay anything. 3If he does not have a wife when he comes, he must go free alone. But if he has a wife when he comes, she must go with him. 4Suppose his master gives him a wife. And suppose she has sons or daughters by him. Then only the man will go free. The woman and her children will belong to her master.
5“But suppose the servant says, ‘I love my master and my wife and children. I don’t want to go free.’ 6Then his master must take him to the judges. His master must take him to the door or doorpost of his master’s house. His master must poke a hole through his servant’s earlobe into the door or doorpost. Then he will become his servant for life.
7“Suppose a man sells his daughter as a servant. Then she can’t go free as male servants do. 8But what if the master who has chosen her does not like her? Then he must let the man buy her back. He has no right to sell her to strangers. He has broken his promise to her. 9What if he chooses her to marry his son? Then he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10What if her master marries another woman? He must still give the first one her food and clothes and sleep with her. 11If he does not provide her with those three things, she can go free. She does not have to pay anything.
Laws About Harming Others
12“Anyone who hits and kills someone else must be put to death. 13Suppose they did not do it on purpose. Suppose I let it happen. Then they can escape to a place I will choose. 14But suppose they kill someone on purpose. Then take them away from my altar and put them to death.
15“Anyone who attacks their father or mother must be put to death.
16“Anyone who kidnaps and sells another person must be put to death. If they still have the person with them when they are caught, they must be put to death.
17“Anyone who asks for something bad to happen to their father or mother must be put to death.
18“Suppose two people get into a fight and argue with each other. One hits the other with a stone or his fist. And the person who was hit does not die but has to stay in bed. 19And later that person gets up and walks around outside with a walking stick. Then the person who hit the other person will not be held responsible. But that person must pay the one who was hurt for the time spent in bed. The one who hit the other person must be sure that person is completely healed.
20“Suppose a person beats their male or female slave to death with a club. That person must be punished. 21But they will not be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two. After all, the slave is their property.
22“Suppose some people are fighting and one of them hits a pregnant woman. And suppose she has her baby early but is not badly hurt. Then the one who hurt her must pay a fine. That person must pay what the woman’s husband asks for and the court allows. 23But if someone is badly hurt, a life must be taken for a life. 24An eye must be put out for an eye. A tooth must be knocked out for a tooth. A hand must be cut off for a hand and a foot for a foot. 25A burn must be given for a burn, a wound for a wound, and a bruise for a bruise.
26“Suppose an owner hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it. Then the owner must let the slave go free to pay for the eye. 27Suppose an owner knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave. Then he must let the slave go free to pay for the tooth.
28“Suppose a bull kills a man or woman with its horns. Then you must kill the bull by throwing stones at it. Its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held accountable. 29But suppose the bull has had the habit of attacking people. And suppose the owner has been warned but has not kept it fenced in. Then if it kills a man or woman, you must kill it with stones. The owner must also be put to death. 30But suppose payment is required of him instead. Then the owner can save his life by paying what is required. 31The same law applies if the bull wounds a son or daughter with its horns. 32Suppose the bull wounds a male or female slave. Then the owner must pay the slave’s master about 12 ounces of silver. You must kill the bull with stones.
33“Suppose someone uncovers a pit or digs one and does not cover it. And suppose an ox or donkey falls into it. 34Then the person who opened the pit must pay the animal’s owner for the loss. The dead animal will belong to the person who opened the pit.
35“Suppose someone’s bull wounds a neighbor’s bull and it dies. Then the owner and the neighbor must sell the live one. And they must share the money and the dead animal equally. 36But suppose people knew that the bull had the habit of attacking. And suppose the owner did not keep it fenced in. Then the owner must give another animal to pay for the dead animal. And the dead animal will belong to the owner.