Exodus 21:5

5 "But if the slave declares: 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I do not want to leave as a free man,'

Exodus 21:5 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 21:5

And if the servant shall plainly say
Or, "in saying shall say" F9 shall express himself in plain and full terms, and repeat his words, and abide by them, signifying it as his last will and determined resolution:

I love my master, my wife, and my children, and I will not go out free;
but continue in his servitude, having a great affection for his master, and that he might enjoy his wife and children he dearly loved; and being animated with such a principle, his servitude was a pleasure to him: and when our obedience to God springs from love to him, and to his cause and interest, which should be as dear to us as our families, it is then acceptable to God and delightful to ourselves; in ( Deuteronomy 15:16 ) ,

it is, because he loveth thee, and thine house, because he is well with
thee;
hence the Jewish writers say F11, understanding by "house" a family, if a servant has a wife and children and his master not, his ear is not to be bored; and if his master has a wife and children and he has not, his ear is not to be bored; if he loves his master and his master do not love him, or his master loves him and he do not love his master, or if he is sick his ear is not to be bored.


FOOTNOTES:

F9 (rmay rma)
F11 T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 22. 1. Maimon. in Misn. Kiddushin, c. 1. sect. 2.

Exodus 21:5 In-Context

3 If he arrives alone, he is to leave alone; if he arrives with a wife, his wife is to leave with him.
4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children belong to her master, and the man must leave alone.
5 "But if the slave declares: 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I do not want to leave as a free man,'
6 his master is to bring him to the judges and then bring him to the door or doorpost. His master must pierce his ear with an awl, and he will serve his master for life.
7 "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she is not to leave as the male slaves do.