Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
K. God's Elaboration And Application Of The Ten Commandments
2. God's Elaborating On His Commands On Adultery And Personal Property
(Exodus 21:1-11)
  1. Introduction
    1. When God has expectations of His people, He wants them to understand them so they can perform them.
    2. Now, the goodness of God causes Him to explain Himself, and this fact is seen in His explanations and applications of His first two commands on worshiping Him (as follows):
  2. God's Elaborating On His Commands On Adultery And Personal Property, Exodus 21:1-11.
    1. Following the delivery of the Ten Commandments, the Lord enlarged and applied them in Israel's life so that there would be no possible misunderstanding as to what He intended, and this elaboration is known as the "Book of the Covenant" in Exodus 20:22-24:11, Bible Knowledge Com., Old Testament, p. 140.
    2. The second part of that "Book of the Covenant", Exodus 21:1-11, details specifics of what God meant on His seventh and eighth commands on marriage and tangible properties, for they are interconnected in the institution of slavery (as follows):
      1. Moses noted that if a fellow Hebrew sold himself as a slave to another Hebrew to pay off a debt or due to poverty (Ibid., p. 141), that slave was to serve for six years and set free in the seventh year, Ex. 21:1-2. This revealed the need to respect the property rights of the master while also preserving the value of the Hebrew slave within himself as a person that demanded his eventual liberation!
      2. If the Hebrew slave had wed apart from his master's involvement, his release was to be accompanied by the release of his wife as she belonged to him, the slave, and not to his master, Exodus 21:3.
      3. However, if the master had purchased a slave girl and given her to his slave in marriage while the slave served his master, the slave's release was not to be accompanied by the release of his wife and children by her as she and the children belonged to the master as his property, Exodus 21:4.
      4. However, the marital and family bond of the slave and his wife and children was their own property, so God made a special arrangement that considered the properties of all involved: upon his release, the slave could choose to become a bond-slave, and remain with his wife and children in the master's house for life, Ex. 21:5-6. This preserved both the property rights of the master while also valuing the individual worth and the intangible properties of the marital and family bonds of those in slavery!
      5. Now, since women were vulnerable to abuse in slavery in a patriarchial society, special arrangements were made by God to respect their rights and values as follows, Exodus 21:7-11:
        1. At times, Hebrew fathers who were poor felt they could provide a better life for their daughters if they sold them as slaves to wealthy Hebrews who would then make these girls family wives, Ibid.
        2. However, after having taken such a slave as a wife, it was possible for her to be rejected as a slave and thus left with no support in slavery, so God made special provisions for her welfare: (1) if a Hebrew woman was taken as a slave but was not valued by her master, she was to be redeemed by a near kinsman of her relatives rather than be sold to a foreign nation that would be a great emotional hardship for her, Ex. 21:8. (2) If the master had given the Hebrew slave girl to his son in marriage only for him in turn to reject her, the master was to treat her as his daughter so that she would have status and financial protection, Exodus 21:9. (3) If the master's son had taken a second wife, the Hebrew slave whom he had first wed was to be supplied food, clothing and shelter the same as she had when she was his sole wife, Ex. 21:10, Ibid. (4) If the master chose not to supply this woman food, clothing and shelter, she was to be released from her bondage without price to resume life as a free woman as she was before she had become his slave, Exodus 21:11.
Lesson: By calling His people not to commit adultery and to respect the property of one's neighbor, God wanted His people to respect both the tangible property of one's neighbor as well as the value and worth of every person, man or woman, and the value of their marital and family bonds as property themselves.

Application: May we respect both the tangible property others possess as well as the intangible property of the marital and family unions and value of every human being, for all such properties are valuable!