The TL:DR Bible – Exodus 21

Chapter 21:

God: Now I could say, “Thou shalt not own people, but nah… you can totally own people. Here are the rules for owning people…”

If you buy a Jewish man to be your slave, he will serve you six years and then you have to let him go without paying him anything.

If he is married before you buy him, his wife goes free too.

But if you give him a woman to be his wife and they have children, then only the man will go free. And surprise, surprise, if the man doesn’t want to leave his wife and children, then he can choose to be a slave for the rest of his life.

If you sell your daughter to another man (with the intention that she’ll be a sex slave (concubine)), she doesn’t get to go free after six years. You can buy her back from her new owner if he doesn’t like her. He can’t sell her to foreigners.

If he bought her as a sex slave for his son, he has to treat her like a daughter.

If he bought her as his own sex slave, and he marries another woman, then he has to keep feeding her, clothing her, and having sex with her or she can leave.

  •  Murder someone, and you die.
  • If it’s an accident, you have to run to a city where you’ll spend the rest of your life in its limits.
  • If you attack mom or dad, you die.
  • Kidnap someone and you die.
  • Curse your mom and dad and you die.
  • Hit a guy with a rock and he doesn’t die, then you have to pay him for lost wages and medical bills.
  • If you beat your slaves to death, then… ah… you get punished, but if you only beat them to near death, no worries. They are your property after all, not real people.
  • If you hit a pregnant woman and she miscarries, but she’s okay otherwise, you pay a fine to the woman’s husband. If you harm her though, then you get punished more severely up to death if she dies.
  • If you put out your slave’s eye or knock out his (or her) tooth, then they get to go free.
  • If a bull kills someone, stone the bull and don’t eat it. If the bull has a history of trying to kill people then you kill the owner too unless he pays what the next of kin demands.
  • If a bull kills a slave, no worries. It’s not like they’re people or anything. Just pay the owner thirty shekels of silver.
  • Dig a pit and don’t cover it and someone’s animal falls in, you have to buy the dead animal from them.
  • If your bull kills another person’s animal, then you sell the live animal and split the money and the dead animal equally. If the bull has a habit of goring, then the dead animal is yours and the live animal is the victim’s.


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