21:20 “If a man strikes his male servant or his female servant with a staff so that he or she 1 dies as a result of the blow, 2 he will surely be punished. 3 21:21 However, if the injured servant 4 survives one or two days, the owner 5 will not be punished, for he has suffered the loss. 6
21:26 “If a man strikes the eye of his male servant or his female servant so that he destroys it, 7 he will let the servant 8 go free 9 as compensation for the eye. 21:27 If he knocks out the tooth of his male servant or his female servant, he will let the servant 10 go free as compensation for the tooth.
1 tn Heb “so that he”; the words “or she” have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
2 tn Heb “under his hand.”
3 tn Heb “will be avenged” (how is not specified).
4 tn Heb “if he”; the referent (the servant struck and injured in the previous verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the owner of the injured servant) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
6 tn This last clause is a free paraphrase of the Hebrew, “for he is his money” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “his property.” It seems that if the slave survives a couple of days, it is probable that the master was punishing him and not intending to kill him. If he then dies, there is no penalty other than that the owner loses the slave who is his property – he suffers the loss.
7 tn The form וְשִׁחֲתָהּ (vÿshikhatah) is the Piel perfect with the vav (ל) consecutive, rendered “and destroys it.” The verb is a strong one, meaning “to ruin, completely destroy.”
8 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the male or female servant) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
9 sn Interestingly, the verb used here for “let him go” is the same verb throughout the first part of the book for “release” of the Israelites from slavery. Here, an Israelite will have to release the injured slave.
10 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the male or female servant) has been specified in the translation for clarity.