And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children
Which they might leave them at their death to inherit, as they did their estates and lands; for such servants are, with the Jews F25, said to be like immovable goods, as fields, vineyards, to inherit [them for] a possession;
as their property, as anything else that was bequeathed to hem, as negroes now are in our plantations abroad: thy shall be your bondmen for ever;
and not be released at the year jubilee, nor before nor after; unless they obtained their liberty, either by purchase, which they might make themselves, or by the means of others, or else by a writing under their master's hand dismissing them from his service F26; or in case they were maimed by him, then he was obliged to let them go free, ( Exodus 21:26 Exodus 21:27 ) ; but over your brethren, the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one
over another with rigour;
which repeated for the confirmation of it, and for the fuller explanation and description of the person not to be ruled over with rigour; and that it might be the more taken notice of, and to make them the more careful in the observance of it and though this peculiarly respects masters' treatment of their servants, yet Jarchi thinks it comprehends a prince over his people, and a king over his ministers, whom he may not rule with rigour.
F25 Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Kiddushin, c. 1. sect. 3.
F26 Misn. Kiddushin, ib.