Deuteronomy 15:17

17 then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant.

Read Deuteronomy 15:17 Using Other Translations

Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.
then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your slave forever. And to your female slave you shall do the same.
In that case, take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door. After that, he will be your servant for life. And do the same for your female servants.

What does Deuteronomy 15:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Deuteronomy 15:17

Then thou shall take an awl, and thrust it through his ear
unto the door
Not of his master's house, but of the sanhedrim, or court of judicature, according to the Targum of Jonathan, before whom he was to be brought, and declare his desire to continue with his master; (See Gill on Exodus 21:6),

and he shall be thy servant for ever;
that is, unto the jubilee, as the same Targum; for then all servants were released, and so Jarchi calls it the ever of jubilee:

and also unto thy maidservant thou shall do likewise;
not bore her ear, for, as both Jarchi and Aben Ezra, and others say, she was not to be bored; though some are of opinion that a maidservant who was willing to continue with her master was to be bored as a manservant; but this respects the manner of dismissing her, or letting her go free, when she was not to go empty, but to be liberally furnished and supplied, as a manservant was.

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