Exodus 21

Talks for Growing Christians

Laws Given to Israel

Exodus 21

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Lesson Number 25

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Mosaic Law was given for the protection and regulation of society.
    1) Under the Law, slaves were given their freedom.
    2) Under the Law, certain crimes were capital offenses.
    3) Under the Law, the unborn had human status.
    4) Under the Law, owners were responsible for their property.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t miss the spiritual picture of the pierced ear.


  1. Why were these detailed laws given to the Children of Israel?
  2. Is God condoning slavery with the laws in Exodus 21?
  3. What happened to Hebrew male slaves after six years of service?
  4. List some of the crimes which were capital offenses under the Mosaic Law.
  5. Discuss the implications of Exodus 21:22-25 whether this refers to a miscarriage or a premature birth.
  6. Why would a slave choose to give up his freedom? How would his decision be shown?


  1. For the protection and regulation of their society.
  2. No, these laws were given to regulate an existing practice in that society.
  3. They were set free without having to buy their freedom. Deuteronomy 15 teaches that when a slave was released, his master had to provide him with provisions – including livestock – to begin his new life.
  4. 1) Murder 2) Striking your parents 3) Kidnapping 4) Cursing your parents, thus rebelling against God’s line of authority
  5. Either way, this passage clearly shows that an unborn child was to be treated as a human being, and thus this passage along with the rest of the Bible is against abortion.
  6. If a slave was given his freedom, but his wife and children still belonged to the master, he might choose to give up his freedom for love of his family. In that case, his ear would be pierced with an awl as a permanent sign of his decision.


  1. Discuss the spiritual picture of the pierced ear. This could be a beautiful picture of what the Lord has done for us. Our Savior, Christ, was voluntarily pierced because of His love for His Bride, the Church. This could also be a picture of our willingness to permanently serve the Lord. This is what H.C.G. Moule pictured when he wrote the following hymn: My glorious Victor, Prince divine Clasp these surrended hands in Thine At length my will is all Thine own Glad vassal of a Saviour’s throne My Master, lead me to Thy door Pierce this now willing ear once more Thy bonds are freedom, let me stay With Thee, to toil, endure, obey Yes, ear and hand, and thought and will Use all in Thy dear slav’ry still! Self’s weary liberties I cast Beneath Thy feet, there keep them fast Tread them still down; and then I know These hands shall with Thy gifts o’erflow And pierced ears shall hear the tone Which tells me Thou and I are one


Key Verses

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