"Here are some other instructions you must present to Israel:
"If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom.
If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him.
"If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master.
But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.'
If he does this, his master must present him before God. a Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.
"When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.
If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.
And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.
If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.
If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.
"Anyone who hits a person hard enough to cause death must be put to death.
But if it is an accident and God allows it to happen, I will appoint a place where the slayer can run for safety.
However, if someone deliberately attacks and kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and put to death.
"Anyone who strikes father or mother must be put to death.
"Kidnappers must be killed, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.
"Anyone who curses father or mother must be put to death.
"Now suppose two people quarrel, and one hits the other with a stone or fist, causing injury but not death.
If the injured person is later able to walk again, even with a crutch, the assailant will be innocent. Nonetheless, the assailant must pay for time lost because of the injury and must pay for the medical expenses.
"If a male or female slave is beaten and dies, the owner must be punished.
If the slave recovers after a couple of days, however, then the owner should not be punished, since the slave is the owner's property.
"Now suppose two people are fighting, and in the process, they hurt a pregnant woman so her child is born prematurely. If no further harm results, then the person responsible must pay damages in the amount the woman's husband demands and the judges approve.
But if any harm results, then the offender must be punished according to the injury. If the result is death, the offender must be executed.
If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it. Similarly, the payment must be hand for hand, foot for foot,
burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
"If an owner hits a male or female slave in the eye and the eye is blinded, then the slave may go free because of the eye.
And if an owner knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave, the slave should be released in payment for the tooth.
"If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull must be stoned, and its flesh may not be eaten. In such a case, however, the owner will not be held liable.
Suppose, on the other hand, that the owner knew the bull had gored people in the past, yet the bull was not kept under control. If this is true and if the bull kills someone, it must be stoned, and the owner must also be killed.
However, the dead person's relatives may accept payment from the owner of the bull to compensate for the loss of life. The owner will have to pay whatever is demanded.
"The same principle applies if the bull gores a boy or a girl.
But if the bull gores a slave, either male or female, the slave's owner is to be given thirty silver coins b in payment, and the bull must be stoned.
"Suppose someone digs or uncovers a well and fails to cover it, and then an ox or a donkey falls into it.
The owner of the well must pay in full for the dead animal but then gets to keep it.
"If someone's bull injures a neighbor's bull and the injured bull dies, then the two owners must sell the live bull and divide the money between them. Each will also own half of the dead bull.
But if the bull was known from past experience to gore, yet its owner failed to keep it under control, the money will not be divided. The owner of the living bull must pay in full for the dead bull but then gets to keep it.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)