Everyone was supposed to free their male and female Hebrew slaves. No one was supposed to keep a fellow Judean enslaved. 1
Everyone was to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no-one was to hold a fellow Jew in bondage.
that each man should set free his male servant and each man his female servant, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman; so that no one should keep them, a Jew his brother, in bondage.
He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves––both men and women. No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage.
to the slaves who were Hebrews, both men and women. The covenant stipulated that no one in Judah would own a fellow Jew as a slave.
That every man was to let his Hebrew man-servant and his Hebrew servant-girl go free; so that no one might make use of a Jew, his countryman, as a servant:
that all should set free their Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should hold another Judean in slavery.
that every man should set free his male and female slave––a Hebrew man or woman––that no one should keep a Jewish brother in bondage.
That every man
should let his manservant
and every man
[being] an Hebrew
or an Hebrewess
that none should serve
himself of them, [to wit], of a Jew
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. No one
was supposed to keep
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1 tn Heb “after King Zedekiah made a covenant…to proclaim liberty to them [the slaves mentioned in the next verse] so that each would send away free his male slave and his female slave, the Hebrew man and the Hebrew woman, so that a man would not hold them in bondage, namely a Judean, his brother [this latter phrase is explicative of “them” because it repeats the preposition in front of “them”].” The complex Hebrew syntax has been broken down into shorter English sentences but an attempt has been made to retain the proper subordinations.
sn Through economic necessity some of the poorer people of the land had on occasion to sell themselves or their children to wealthier Hebrew landowners. The terms of their servitude were strictly regulated under Hebrew law (cf. Exod 21:2-11; Lev 25:39-55; Deut 15:12-18). In brief, no Hebrew was to serve a fellow Hebrew for any longer than six years. In the seventh year he or she was to go free. The period could even be shortened if the year of jubilee intervened since all debts were to be canceled, freedom restored, and indentured property returned in that year. Some see the covenant here coming in conjunction with such a jubilee year since it involved the freedom of all slaves regardless of how long they had served. Others see this covenant as paralleling an old Babylonian practice of a king declaring liberty for slaves and canceling all debts generally at the beginning of his reign (but also at other significant times within it) in order to ingratiate himself with his subjects.