In last week’s portion, we received the Ten Commandments.  This week’s portion adds to the laws which the Hebrews are to obey:

  • If you get a Hebrew servant, you must let him go after seven years.  If he brought a wife with him, she is to go free also.  If you give the man a wife, she and her children remain with you.
  • If the servant says “Oh, no.  I love my family.  I don’t want to leave them.”  then you are supposed to nail the servant’s ear to your doorpost and the servant is with you forever.
  • If you take a woman as a handmaid and you don’t like her, you must let her be bought back, but not to a foreigner.
  • If you hit a man and kill him, you’re to be killed yourself.  But if you didn’t lie in wait for him (in other words, it wasn’t premeditated), then you get to go to a sanctuary city.
  • If you hit your dad or your mom, you’re to be put to death.
  • If you steal, you’re to be put to death.
  • If you quarrel with someone and you hit him so he has to take to his bed, if he can get up on a crutch and walk around, you’re clear.
  • If you beat your servant or your handmaid to death, you are to be punished.
  • If you hit a pregnant woman and she has a miscarriage, you must be fined.
  • If you knock out the eye or the tooth of a servant or handmaid s/he goes free.
  • If your ox gores someone to death, the ox is to be stoned.  You’re ok unless you knew that the ox had a tendency to gore.  In that case you’re to be put to death.
  • If you dig a pit and an ox or a donkey falls into it, you have to pay the worth of the animal, in silver.
  • If your ox gores someone else’s ox, you must sell the live ox and split the proceeds.  If you knew your ox tended to gore, all the money goes to the other guy.
  • When you steal an ox or a lamb, you have to pay five cows to make up for the ox, and four sheep for the lamb.  If you can’t pay, you become someone’s servant.

Food for Thought

Do you think these laws are fair?  Are they relevant to today?