Ch. 21-24

Pgs. 515-527



XXI. AND these are the orders of judgments which thou shalt order before them. If thou shalt have bought a son of Israel, on account of his theft, six years he shall serve, and at the incoming of the seventh he shall go out free without price. If he came in alone, he shall go out alone: but if (he be) the husband of a wife, a daughter of Israel, his wife shall go out with him. If his master give him a wife, an handmaid, and she bear him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to his master, and he may go out alone. But if the servant shall affirm and say, I love my master, my wife, and my children, (and) I will not go out free, then his master shall bring him before the judges, and shall receive from them the power, and bring him to the door that hath posts; and his master shall pierce his right ear with an awl; and he shall be a servant to serve him until the jubela. And if a man of Israel sell his daughter, a little handmaid, she shall not go forth according to the going forth of the servants of the Kenaanaee, who are set at liberty on account of the tooth or the eye; but in the years of remission, and with tokens, and at the jubela, and on the death of her master, and by redemption with money. If she hath not found favour before her master who bought her, then her father may redeem her; but to a foreigner he shall not have power to sell her; for as a vessel of her Lord he hath power over her. And if he had intended her for the side of his son, he shall do by her after the manner of the daughters of Israel. If he take another daughter of Israel to him beside her, her food, her adorning, and her conjugal rights, he shall not withhold from her. [JERUSALEM. And if he take another wife beside her, of her food, her adorning, and her going in and coming out with him, he shall not deprive her.] And if these three things he doth not for her, to covenant her to himself, or to his son, or to release her into the hand of her father, she shall go free without payment, and a writing of release he shall give her.

Whosoever smiteth a son or a daughter of Israel, so as to cause death, shall be put to death with the sword. But he who did not attack him, but mischance from before the Lord befell him at his hand, I will appoint thee a place where he may flee. But if a man come maliciously upon his neighbour to kill him with craft, though the priests are ministering at My altar, thence thou shalt take him, and slay him with the sword. [JERUSALEM. But if a man deviseth against his neighbour to kill him by guile, though the high priest were standing to minister before Me, from thence thou shalt bring him, and put him to death.] And he who woundeth his father or his mother shall die by strangling.[1] And he who stealeth a soul of the children of Israel, and selleth him, or if he be found in his possession, shall die by strangling. And he who curseth his father or his mother by the Great Name,[2] dying he shall die by being stoned with stones. And when men strive together, and one smite his neighbour with a stone, or with his fist, so that he die not, but fall ill, if he rise again from his illness, and walk in the street upon his staff, he who smote him shall be acquitted from the penalty of death; only for his cessation from labour, his affliction, his injury, his disgrace, and the hire of the physician, he shall make good until he be cured. And when a man hath smitten his Kenaanite man‑servant or maid‑servant with a staff, and he die the same day under his hand, he shall be judged with the judgment of death by the sword. But if the wounded person continue one or two days from time to time, he shall not be (so) judged; because with money he had bought him. If men when striving strike a woman with child, and cause her to miscarry, but not to lose her life, the fine on account of the infant which the husband of the woman shall lay upon him, he shall pay according to the sentence of the judges. But if death befall her, then thou shalt judge the life of the killer for the life of the woman. The value of an eye for an eye, the value of a tooth for a tooth, the value of a hand for a hand, the value of a foot for a foot, all equivalent of the pain of burning for burning, and of wounding for wounding, and of blow for blow. And when a man strikes the eye of his Kenaanite servant or handmaid, and causeth blindness, he shall let him go free, on account of the eye. And if he strike out the tooth of his Kenaanite man or maid‑servant, he shall make the servant free on account of the tooth.

And if an ox goreth a man or woman to cause death, the ox must be stoned, but shall not be killed that his flesh may be eaten; and the owner of the ox shall be exempt from the condemnation of death, and also from the price of the servant or handmaid. But if the ox (had been wont) to gore yesterday and before, and it had been attested before his owner three times, and he (had neglected) to restrain him, the ox, when he killeth man or woman, shall be stoned, and his master also shall die with a death sent upon him from heaven. Yet if a fine of money be laid upon him, he may give a ransom for his life, according to what shall be imposed on him by the sanhedrin of Israel. Whether the ox hath gored a son or a daughter of Israel, according to that judgment it shall be done to him. If an ox goreth a Kenaanite man‑servant or handmaid, the master of the man or woman‑servant shall give thirty sileen[3] of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. And if a man openeth a pit in the street, and doth not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; the master of the pit shall deliver silver to give to its owner the price of the ox or the ass, and the dead body shall be his. And when an ox woundeth his neighbour's ox, and he die, they shall sell the living ox, and divide the price, and the price of the dead one shall they also divide. But if it hath been known that the ox was wont to gore in time past, and his master did not restrain him, he shall surely deliver ox for ox; but the carcase and the skin shall be his. When a man stealeth an ox or a sheep, and killeth or selleth it, five oxen shall he make good for one ox, because he hath hindered him from his ploughing; and four sheep for one, because he hath impoverished him by his theft, and not done service by it.

XXII. If a thief be found in a window of the wall, and be smitten and die, there shall not be on his account the guilt of the shedding of innocent blood. If the thing be as clear as the sun that he was not entering to destroy life, and one hath killed him, the guilt of the shedding of innocent blood is upon him; and if spared from his hand, restoring he shall restore. If he have not wherewith to restore, the beth din shall sell him for his theft until the year of release. If before witnesses, the thing stolen was found in his possession, from an ox or an ass, unto a sheep alive, he shall restore two for one. If a man break in upon a field or a vineyard, and send in his beast to feed in another man's field, the best of his field and the best of his vineyard he shall restore. If fire break out, and catch thorns, and consume the sheaves, or whatever is standing, or the field, whoever kindled the fire shall surely restore.

When a man confideth to his neighbour silver, or vessels to keep, without recompense for the care, and they be stolen from the man's house, if the thief be found, he shall restore two for one. If the thief be not found, the master of the house shall be brought before the judges, and shall swear that he hath not put forth his own hand upon the property of his neighbour. And about whatever is injured covertly, whether ox, or ass, or sheep, or raiment, of whatever is (so) lost, he shall make oath when he saith that so it is; and when the thing stolen shall be afterward found in the hand of the thief, the cause of both shall be brought before the judges, the cause of the householder and the cause of the thief; and whom the judges shall condemn, the thief shall restore twofold to his neighbour If a man deliver to his neighbour all ox, or a sheep, or any animal to keep, (if) he is to keep it without recompense, and it die, or be torn by wild beast, or be carried off, and no witness seeing who can testify it; an oath of the Lord shall be between them both, that he hath not put forth his hand upon the property of his neighbour; and the owner of the thing shall accept his oath, and he shall not (be required to) make it good. But if it be stolen from him who was to receive recompense for the care, he shall make it good to its owner. If it hath been torn by a wild beast, let him bring witnesses, or bring him to the carcase: because for that which is (so) torn he shall not make restitution. [JERUSALEM. 12. If it hath been really killed, he shall bring of its members, as a testimony, and for that which is killed he shall not make restitution.] And if a man borrow anything of his neighbour, and the vessel be broken, or the animal die, and the owner be not with it, lie shall certainly make it good. If the owner be with it, he shall not make it good: if it had been lent for profit, its loss came on account of its hire.

If a man seduce a virgin unbetrothed, and have criminal conduct with her, endowing, he shall endow her to be his wife. [JERUSALEM. 15. If a man seduce a virgin, unbetrothed, and have criminal conduct with her, endowing, he shall endow her to be a wife.] If this doth not appear to him (to be desirable), or if her father be not willing to give her to him fifty sileen of silver shall be laid upon him, according to the endowment of a virgin. Sons of My people Israel, whosoever practiseth witchcraft you shall not suffer to live. Whosoever lieth with a beast shall be stoned to death. Whosoever sacrificeth to the idols of the Gentiles shall be slain with the sword, and his goods be destroyed; for ye shall worship only the Name of the Lord. And the stranger you shall not vex with words, nor distress him by taking his goods: Remember, sons of Israel, My people, that you were strangers in the land of Mizraim. You shall not impoverish the widow or the orphan. If thou impoverish her, beware; for if they rise up and cry against you in prayer before Me, I will hear the voice of their prayer, and will avenge them, and My anger will be kindled, and I will slay you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows, and your children be orphans.

If thou lend money to (one of) My people, to (one of) the humble of My people, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither lay it upon him that there shall be witnesses against him, or that he give pledges, or equivalents, or usury. [JERUSALEM. 24. If thou lend money to My people, to the poor of your people, you shall not be to him an oppressive creditor, or lay upon him either equivalents or usury.] If thou take (at all) for a pledge the garment of thy neighbour, thou shalt restore it to him before sunset; for it may be his taleth which alone covereth him; (or) it is his only garment in which he rests, which falleth upon his skin; and if thou take the coverlet of the bed whereon he lies, and he be heard before Me, I will hearken to his prayer; for I am Eloah the Merciful.

Sons of Israel My people, ye shall not revile your judges, nor curse the rabbans who are appointed rulers among thy people. The firsts[4] of thy fruits, and the firsts of thy wine‑press, thou shalt not delay to bring up in their time to the place of My habitation. The firstlings of thy males thou shalt separate before Me. So shalt thou do with the firstlings of thy oxen and sheep; seven days it shall be suckled by its mother, and on the eighth day thou shalt separate it before Me. And holy men, tasting unconsecrated things innocently, shall you be before Me; but flesh torn by wild beasts alive you may not eat, but throw it to the dog as his portion.

XXIII. Sons of Israel My people, take not up lying words from a man who accuseth his neighbour before thee, nor put thine hand with the wicked to become a false witness. Sons of Israel My people, you shall not go after the many to do evil, but to do good; and no one among you shall restrain himself from affirming justly concerning his neighbour in the judgment, by saying, Behold, the judgment sides with the many. [JERUSALEM. Sons of Israel My people, you shall not go after the multitude to do evil, but to do good; and no one of you shall restrain himself from setting forth the just cause of his neighbour in the judgment, nor say in your heart, The judgment sides with the many.] And to the poor man who is guilty in his cause, thou shalt not be partial in having compassion upon him; for there must not be respect of persons in judgment. If thou meet the ox of thine enemy whom thou dislikest on account of the wickedness which thou only knowest is in him, or an ass that wandereth from the way, thou shalt surely bring it to him. If thou seest the ass of thy enemy whom thou dislikest on account of the wickedness which thou only knowest to be in him, lying under his burden, and thou wouldst refrain thyself from going near him, thou shalt relinquish at once the dislike of thy heart against (thy enemy), and release and take care of the ass (or, charge thyself with him).

Sons of Israel My people, ye shall not warp the judgment of the poor in his cause. From a false matter keep distant. And when one hath gone forth from thy house of justice acquitted, and they (afterwards) find out his guilt; or one hath been brought out condemned, and they (afterward) find out his innocence,-­thou shalt not put him to death; for I will not hold (the former) innocent, nor the latter guilty. And thou mayest not receive a bribe; for a bribe blindeth their eyes who have taken it, and casteth down the wise from their seats, and perverteth the right words which are written in the law, and confoundeth the words that are in the mouth of the innocent in the hour of judgment. Thou shalt not oppress the stranger; for ye know the sigh of a stranger's soul; because ye were sojourners in the land of Mizraim.

Six years thou shalt sow thy land, and gather the produce; but the seventh year thou shalt exempt it from labour, and give up the fruit of it to be eaten by the poor of My people; and what they leave shall be eaten by the beasts of the field. And in like manner shalt thou do with thy vine and olive grounds. Six days do thy work, and on the seventh day repose, that thy ox and thy ass may rest, and that the uncircumcised son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may rest. And of all the precepts that I have spoken to you, be carefull; and the names of the idols of the Gentiles remember not, nor let them be heard upon your lips.

Three times in the year thou shalt keep festival before Me. The feast of unleavened cakes thou shalt keep. Seven days thou art to eat unleavened bread, as I have instructed thee, in the time of the month of Abiba, because in it thou camest forth from Mizraim; and you shall not appear before Me empty. And the feast of the harvest first‑fruits of the work thou didst sow in the field; and the feast of gathering, at the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy work from the field. Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord the Ruler of the world.

Sons of Israel My people, while there is leaven in your houses you may not immolate the bloody sacrifice of My Pascha; nor shall the fat of the sacrifice of My Pascha remain without the altar until morning, nor of the flesh that you eat in the evening. The first of the choice fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring to the sanctuary of the Lord thy God. My people of the house of Israel, you are not permitted to dress or to eat of flesh and milk mingled together, lest I be greatly displeased; and I prepare you the wheat and the straw together for your food.

Behold, I will send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee in to the place of My habitation which I have prepared. Be circumspect before Him, and obey His word, and be not rebellious against His words; for He will not forgive your sins, because His word is in My Name. For if thou wilt indeed hearken to His word, and do all that I speak by Him, I will be the enemy of thy enemy, and will trouble them who trouble thee. For My Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee to the Amoraee, and Pherizaee, and Kenaanaee, Hivaee, and Jebusaee; and I will destroy them. Thou shalt not worship their idols, nor serve them, nor do after their evil works; but thou shalt utterly demolish the house of their worship, and break the statues of their images. And you shall do service before the Lord our God and He will bless the provision of thy food and thy drinks, and remove the bitter plague from among thee. None shall be abortive or barren in thy land; the number of the days of thy life I will fulfil from day to day. My terror will I send before thee, and will perturb all the peoples to whom thou comest, that thou mayest wage battle against them; and I will make all thy enemies turn back before thee. And I will send the hornet before thee to drive out the Hivaee, and Kenaanaee, and Hitaee, from before thee. I will not expel them before thee in one year, lest the land become a wilderness, and the beasts of the field multiply upon thee, when they come to eat their carcasses, and injure thee. By little and little I will drive them out before thee, until thou art increased, and inherit the land. And I will set thy boundary from the sea of Suph, to the sea of the Philistaee, and from the desert unto the Pherat; for I will deliver into your hand all the inhabitants of the land, and thou shalt drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their idols. Thou shalt not let them dwell in thy land, lest they cause thee to err, and to sin before Me, when thou dost worship their idols; for they will be a stumbling‑block to thee.

XXIV. And Michael, the Prince of Wisdom, said to Mosheh on the seventh day of the month, Come up before the Lord, thou and Aharon, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. And Mosheh alone shall approach before the Lord; but they shall not draw nigh, nor may the people come up with him.

And Mosheh came and set before the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Mosheh wrote the words of the Lord, and arose in the morning and builded an altar at the lower part of the mountain; and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent the firstborn of the sons of Israel,-for until that hour had the firstborn had the (office of performing) worship, the tabernacle of ordinance not (as yet) being made, nor the priesthood given unto Aharon; and they offered burnt offerings and consecrated oblations of oxen before the Lord. And Mosheh took half of the blood of the offering, and put it in basins, and half of the blood of the offering he sprinkled upon the altar. And he took the Book of the Covenant of the Law and read before the people; and they said, All the words which the Lord hath spoken we will perform and obey. And Mosheh took half of the blood which was in the basins, and sprinkled upon the altar, to expiate the people, and said, Behold, this is the blood of the Covenant which the Lord hath made with you upon all these words.

And Mosheh and Aharon, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, went up. And Nadab and Abihu lifted up their eyes, and saw the glory of the God of Israel; and under the footstool of His feet which was placed beneath His throne, was like the work of sapphire stone a memorial of the servitude with which the Mizraee had made the children of Israel to serve in clay and bricks, (what time) there were women treading clay with their husbands; the delicate young woman with child was also there, and made abortive by being beaten down with the clay. And thereof did Gabriel, descending, make brick, and, going up to the heavens on high, set it, a footstool under the cathedra of the Lord of the world whose splendour was as the work of a precious stone, and as the power of the beauty of the heavens when they are clear from clouds. [JERUSALEM. The footstool of His feet as the work of pure sapphire stones, and as the aspect of the heavens when they are cleared from clouds.]

But upon Nadab and Abihu, the comely young men, was the stroke not sent in that hour, but it awaited them on the eighth day for a retribution to destroy them; but they saw the glory of the Shekinah of the Lord, and rejoiced that their oblations were received with favour, and so did eat and drink.

And the Lord said to Mosheh, Ascend before Me at the mount, and I will there give thee the tables of stone on which I have set forth the rest of the words of the Law, and the six hundred and thirteen precepts which I have written for their instruction. And Mosheh arose and Jehoshua his minister; and Mosheh went up to the mountain on which was revealed the glory of the Shekinah of the Lord. And to the sages he had said, Expect us here, at the time of our return to you; and, behold, Aharon and Hur are with you; if there be any matter of judgment, bring it to them. And Mosheh went up into the mount, and the Cloud of Glory covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord's Shekinah abode upon the mountain of Sinai, and the Cloud of Glory covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Mosheh from the midst of the Cloud. And the appearance of the splendour of the glory of the Lord was as burning fire with flashes of devouring fire; and the sons of Israel beheld and were awe-struck. And Mosheh entered into the midst of the Cloud, and ascended the mountain; and Mosheh was upon the mountain forty days and forty nights, learning the words of the Law from the mouth of the Holy One, whose Name be praised.

[1] Lit., "by suffocation with the towel."

[2] Or, "by thr Name of Manifestation;" the Shem Hamephirash.

[3] Shekels.

[4] Bekurey.