Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Exodus 21:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Shall bring him unto the judges - האלהים אל el haelohim, literally, to God; or, as the Septuagint have it, προς το κριτηριον Θεου, to the judgment of God; who condescended to dwell among his people; who determined all their differences till he had given them laws for all cases, and who, by his omniscience, brought to light the hidden things of dishonesty. See Exodus 22:8.

Bore his ear through with an awl - This was a ceremony sufficiently significant, as it implied,

  1. That he was closely attached to that house and family.
  • That he was bound to hear all his master's orders, and to obey them punctually. Boring of the ear was an ancient custom in the east. It is referred to by Juvenal: -
  • Prior, inquit, ego adsum.

    Cur timeam, dubitemve locum defendere? Quamvis

    Natus ad Euphraten, Molles quod in Aure Fenestrae

    Arguerint, licet ipse negem.

    Sat. i. 102.

    "First come, first served, he cries; and I, in spite

    Of your great lordships, will maintain my right:

    Though born a slave, though my torn Ears are Bored,

    'Tis not the birth, 'tis money makes the lord."


    Calmet quotes a saying from Petronius as attesting the same thing; and one from Cicero, in which he rallies a Libyan who pretended he did not hear him: "It is not," said he, "because your ears are not sufficiently bored;" alluding to his having been a slave.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Forever - That is, most probably, until the next Jubilee, when every Hebrew was set free. See Leviticus 25:40, Leviticus 25:50. The custom of boring the ear as a mark of slavery appears to have been a common one in ancient times, observed in many nations.

    Unto the judges - Literally, “before the gods אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym The word does not denote “judges” in a direct way, but it is to be understood as the name of God, in its ordinary plural form, God being the source of all justice. The name in this connection always has the definite article prefixed. See the marginal references. Compare Psalm 82:1, Psalm 82:6; John 10:34.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    The laws in this chapter relate to the fifth and sixth commandments; and though they differ from our times and customs, nor are they binding on us, yet they explain the moral law, and the rules of natural justice. The servant, in the state of servitude, was an emblem of that state of bondage to sin, Satan, and the law, which man is brought into by robbing God of his glory, by the transgression of his precepts. Likewise in being made free, he was an emblem of that liberty wherewith Christ, the Son of God, makes free from bondage his people, who are free indeed; and made so freely, without money and without price, of free grace.
    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW), 1106-7

    4-6. Second Commandment and Pictures—A few condemned pictures, urging that they are prohibited by the second commandment, and that everything of this kind should be destroyed.... The second commandment prohibits image worship; but God himself employed pictures and symbols to represent to His prophets lessons which He would have them give to the people, and which could thus be better understood than if given in any other way. He appealed to the understanding through the sense of sight. Prophetic history was presented to Daniel and John in symbols, and these were to be represented plainly upon tables, that he who read might understand (Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 212). 1BC 1106.1

    8-11 (Genesis 2:9, 16, 17; Exodus 16:29). Sabbath, a Test of Loyalty—Every man has been placed on trial, as were Adam and Eve in Eden. As the tree of knowledge was placed in the midst of the garden of Eden, so the Sabbath command is placed in the midst of the decalogue. In regard to the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the restriction was made, “Ye shall not eat of it, ... lest ye die” [Genesis 3:3]. Of the Sabbath, God said, Ye shall not defile it, but keep it holy.... As the tree of knowledge was the test of Adam's obedience, so the fourth command is the test that God has given to prove the loyalty of all His people. The experience of Adam is to be a warning to us so long as time shall last. It warns us not to receive any assurance from the mouth of men or of angels that will detract one jot or tittle from the sacred law of Jehovah (The Review and Herald, August 30, 1898). 1BC 1106.2

    14. False Worship Is Spiritual Adultery—All false worship is spiritual adultery. The second precept, which forbids false worship, is also a command to worship God, and Him only serve. The Lord is a jealous God. He will not Be trifled with. He has spoken concerning the manner in which He should be worshiped. He has a hatred of idolatry; for its influence is corrupting. It debases the mind, and leads to sensuality and all kinds of sin (Manuscript 126, 1901). 1BC 1106.3

    16 (Galatians 6:7). Flippant Speech May Be False Witness—Slander covers more ground than we suppose. The command, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” means very much more than we realize. False witness is borne again and again in flippant speech concerning even the workers whom God has sent. The seeds of envy, of evil thinking and evil speaking, germinate and produce a harvest of their kind, to be garnered by the one who planted the seed. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Letter 9, 1892). 1BC 1106.4

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