Exodus 21:21

21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

Read Exodus 21:21 Using Other Translations

Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.
But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.
But if the slave recovers within a day or two, then the owner shall not be punished, since the slave is his property.

What does Exodus 21:21 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Exodus 21:21

Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two
And does not die immediately, or the same day, but lives twenty four hours, as the Jewish writers interpret it; so Abendana F24 explains the phrase, "a day or two";

``a day which is as two days, and they are twenty four hours from time to time,''

that is, from the time he was smitten to the time of his continuance; and so it is elsewhere explained F25 by a day we understand a day, which is like two days, that is, from time to time, the meaning of which is, from a certain time in one day to the same in another:

he shall not be punished;
that is, with death;

for he [is] his money;
is bought with his money, and is good as money, and therefore it is a loss sufficient to him to lose him; and it may be reasonably thought he did not smite his servant with an intention to kill him, since he himself is the loser by it.


F24 Not. in Miclol Yophi in loc.
F25 Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Zabim, c. 2. sect. 3.
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