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Leviticus 25:39-46

Context

25:39 “‘If your brother becomes impoverished with regard to you so that he sells himself to you, you must not subject him to slave service. 1  25:40 He must be with you as a hired worker, as a resident foreigner; 2  he must serve with you until the year of jubilee, 25:41 but then 3  he may go free, 4  he and his children with him, and may return to his family and to the property of his ancestors. 5  25:42 Since they are my servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt, they must not be sold in a slave sale. 6  25:43 You must not rule over him harshly, 7  but you must fear your God.

25:44 “‘As for your male and female slaves 8  who may belong to you – you may buy male and female slaves from the nations all around you. 9  25:45 Also you may buy slaves 10  from the children of the foreigners who reside with you, and from their families that are 11  with you, whom they have fathered in your land, they may become your property. 25:46 You may give them as inheritance to your children after you to possess as property. You may enslave them perpetually. However, as for your brothers the Israelites, no man may rule over his brother harshly. 12 

1 tn Heb “you shall not serve against him service of a slave.” A distinction is being made here between the status of slave and indentured servant.

2 tn See the note on Lev 25:6 above.

3 tn Heb “and.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have adversative force here.

4 tn Heb “may go out from you.”

5 tn Heb “fathers.”

6 tn Or perhaps reflexive Niphal rather than passive, “they shall not sell themselves [as in] a slave sale.”

7 tn Heb “You shall not rule in him in violence”; cf. NASB “with severity”; NIV “ruthlessly.”

8 tn Heb “And your male slave and your female slave.” Smr has these as plural terms, “slaves,” not singular.

9 tn Heb “ from the nations which surround you, from them you shall buy male slave and female slave.”

10 tn The word “slaves” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied here.

11 tn Heb “family which is” (i.e., singular rather than plural).

12 tn Heb “and your brothers, the sons of Israel, a man in his brother you shall not rule in him in violence.”



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