Weekly Bible Reading

Parashat Mishpatim | Exodus 21:1-24:18

Ordinances for the Covenant
1“Now these are the ordinances which you will set before them.
2“If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve for six years, and in the seventh he is to go free, without payment.
3If he comes in by himself, he is to go out by himself. If he was married, then his wife will go out with him.
4If his master gave him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children will be her master’s, and he will go free by himself.
5“But if the servant plainly states, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children, and I will not go out free,’
6then his master is to bring him to God, then take him to a door or to a doorpost. His master is to pierce his ear through with an awl, and he will serve him forever.
7“If a man sells his daughter to be a maidservant, she is not to go free as the male servants do.
8If she does not please her master who has selected her for himself, then he is to allow her to be redeemed. He will have no power to sell her to a foreign people, seeing as he has dealt deceitfully toward her.
9If he betroths her to his son, he must give her the rights of a daughter.
10If he takes another wife, he is not to diminish her food, her clothing, or her marriage rights.
11If he does not provide these three to her, then she is to go free without payment.
12“Whoever strikes a man so that he dies must surely be put to death.
13But if he did not hunt him down, yet God caused it to happen, then I will appoint for you a place where he may run.
14If a man presumes to kill his neighbor with craftiness, you are to take him from My altar and put him to death.
15“Anyone who strikes his father or his mother must surely be put to death.
16“Anyone who steals a person and sells him, or is found with him under his hand, must surely be put to death.
17“Whoever curses his father or his mother must surely be put to death.
18“If people quarrel, and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and the other does not die but lies in bed,
19if he rises again and walks around on his staff, then the one that struck him he will be cleared. But he must pay for the loss of his time and help him to be thoroughly healed.
20“If a man strikes his male or female servant with a staff, who dies by his hand, he must surely be punished.
21Notwithstanding, if the servant gets up in a day or two he will not be punished, for he is his property.
22“If men fight, and hit a pregnant woman so that her child is born early, yet no harm follows, the one who hit her is to be strictly fined, according to what the woman’s husband demands of him. He must pay as the judges determine.
23But if any harm follows, then you are to penalize life for life,
24eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25burn for burn, wound for wound, blow for blow.
26“If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave and destroys it, he must let him go free for the sake of his eyesight.
27If he strikes out his slave’s tooth, he must let him go free for the sake of his tooth.
28“If an ox gores a man or a woman so that they die, the ox must surely be stoned, and its meat is not to be eaten, but the owner of the ox will be cleared.
29If the ox was given to goring in times past, and a warning has been given to its owner, yet he has not kept it pent up, and it has killed a man or a woman, then the ox must be stoned and its owner must also be put to death.
30If instead a ransom is placed on him, then he is to pay for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded.
31Whether it has gored a son or daughter, this rule is to be applied to him.
32If the ox gores a male or female slave, he is to pay 30 shekels of silver to their master, and the ox is to be stoned.
33“If one uncovers a pit or digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls in,
34the owner of the pit must pay compensation. He is to give money to the owner, and the dead animal will be his.
35“If one man’s ox hurts another’s ox so that it dies, they are to sell the live ox and divide the price. They are also to divide the dead one.
36Or if it becomes known that the ox was given to violence in times past, and its owner has not kept it pent up, he must surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal will be his own.
37 If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he is to pay five oxen for one ox or four sheep for one sheep.

Chapter 22

1“If a thief found breaking in is struck so that he dies, there is no bloodguilt for him.
2But if the sun has risen, there is bloodguilt, and he is to make full restitution. If he has nothing, then he must be sold for his theft.
3If the item is found in his hand alive—whether ox, donkey or sheep—he is to pay double.
4“If a man causes a field or vineyard to be eaten by letting his animal loose, and it feeds in another man’s field, then he is to make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.
5“If fire breaks out and spreads among thorns, so that stalks of grain, standing grain or the fields themselves are consumed, then the one who lit the fire must make full restitution.
6“If a man entrusts his neighbor with money or items for safekeeping, and it is stolen out of the man’s house, when the thief is found, he must pay double.
7If the thief is not found, then the master of the house is to present himself to God, to see whether he has laid his hand on his neighbor’s goods.
8For any transgression—whether ox, donkey, sheep, clothing, or anything else lost—when someone says, ‘This is mine!’ the case of both parties is to be brought before God. The one whom God convicts is to pay double to his neighbor.
9“If a man entrusts his neighbor with a donkey, ox, sheep or any animal to care for, and it dies, is hurt or taken away with no one seeing,
10then there must be an oath before Adonai between the two of them, to determine whether or not he has laid his hand on his neighbor’s goods. The owner is to accept it with no restitution.
11But if indeed it was stolen from him, he is to make restitution to the owner.
12If it is torn in pieces, let him bring it as evidence. He is not required to pay for what has been torn to pieces.
13“If a man borrows anything belonging to his neighbor, and it is harmed or dies in the absence of the owner, he must make full restitution.
14But if the owner is present, he is not required to pay restitution. If it was rented, it is covered by the rental fee.
15“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
16But if her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he must weigh out silver equal to the dowry for virgins.
17“You must not permit a sorceress to live.
18“Anyone who lies with an animal must surely be put to death.
19“Anyone who sacrifices to the gods, except to Adonai alone, is to be put under a ban of destruction.
20“You must not exploit or oppress an outsider, for you were outsiders in the land of Egypt.
21“You must not mistreat any widow or orphan.
22If you mistreat them in any way, and they cry out to Me, I will surely hear their cry.
23My wrath will burn hot, and I will kill you with the sword. So your wives will become widows and your children will become orphans.
24“If you lend money to any of My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act like a debt collector with him, and you are not to charge him interest.
25If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun goes down,
26for that is his only covering, his cloak for his skin. What will he sleep in? When he cries out to Me I will hear, because I am gracious.
27“Do not despise God, or curse a ruler of your people.
28“Do not hold back the fullness of your crops or your vintage. You are to present the firstborn of your sons to Me.
29“Do the same with your cattle and with your sheep. For seven days it is to be with its mother, and on the eighth day you are to give it to Me.
30“You are to be a holy people for Me. You must not eat any flesh torn by beasts in the field. You may throw it out to the dogs.

Chapter 23

1“Do not to spread a false report. Do not join hands with the wicked by becoming a malicious witness.
2“Do not follow a crowd to do evil. Nor are you to testify in a case, to follow a crowd and pervert justice.
3On the other hand, nor should you takes sides with a poor man in his case.
4“If you find your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you must surely bring it back to him again.
5If you see the donkey of the one that hates you lying down under its burden, do not leave it. Rather, you are to release it with him.
6“You are not to pervert justice to your poor in his dispute.
7Stay far away from a false charge. Do not kill the innocent and the righteous, for I will not justify the guilty.
8Take no bribe, for a bribe blinds those who have sight, and perverts the words of the righteous.
9“Do not oppress an outsider, for you know the heart of an outsider, since you were outsiders in the land of Egypt.
10“For six years you are to sow your land and gather the increase.
11But during the seventh year you are to let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor among your people may eat. Whatever they leave behind, the animals of the field may eat. You are to deal with your vineyard and your olive grove in the same way.
12“You are to do your work for six days, but on the seventh day you will rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and also the son of your handmaid and the outsider may be refreshed.
13“With all the things that I have said to you, take heed. Make no mention of the names of other gods, and do not let them be heard in your mouth.
Three Harvest Festivals
14“Three times in the year you are to ce­lebrate a festival for Me.
15You are to observe the Feast of Matzot. For seven days you will eat matzot as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Aviv, for that is when you came out from Egypt. No one is to appear before Me empty-handed.
16Also you are to observe the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors that you sow in the field, as well as the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather your crops from the field.
17Three times in the year all your men are to appear before Adonai Elohim.
18“Do not offer the blood of My sacrifice with hametz. Nor is the fat of My feast to remain out all night until the morning.
19Bring the choicest firstfruits of your land into the House of Adonai your God. “Do not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.
20“Behold, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you into the place that I have prepared.
21Watch for Him and listen to His voice. Do not rebel against Him because He will not pardon your transgression, for My Name is in Him.
22But if you listen closely to His voice, and do everything I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
23For My angel will go before you, and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and the Jebusites, and I will cut them off.
24You are not to bow down to their gods or serve them, or do what they do. Rather, you are to utterly overthrow them, and break their pillars in pieces.
25You are to serve Adonai your God, and He will bless your food and your water. Moreover I will take sickness away from your midst.
26None will miscarry nor be barren in your land, and I will fill up the number of your days.
27“I will send My terror before you and throw all the people to whom you will come into panic, and make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
28I will send the hornet before you, which will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites and the Hittites, from before you.
29I will not drive them out from before you in a single year. Otherwise the land would become desolate, and the animals of the field will multiply against you.
30But little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you are fruitful. Then you will possess the land.
31“I will set your border from the Sea of Reeds to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates River. For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you are to drive them out before you.
32Make no covenant with them or with their gods.
33They must not dwell in your land and cause you to sin against Me, for if you worship their gods, they will be a snare to you.”

Chapter 24

Cutting the Covenant at Sinai
1Then to Moses He said, “Come up to Adonai, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel, and worship from afar.
2Moses alone is to approach Adonai, but the others may not draw near, nor are the people to go up with him.”
3So Moses came and told the people all the words of Adonaias well as all the ordinances. All the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which Adonai has spoken, we will do.”
4So Moses wrote down all the words of Adonai, then rose up early in the morning, and built an altar below the mountain, along with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
5He then sent out young men of Bnei-Yisrael, who sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings of oxen to Adonai.
6Then Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins and the other half he poured out against the altar.
7He took the Scroll of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. Again they said, “All that Adonai has spoken, we will do and obey.”
8Then Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which Adonai has cut with you, in agreement with all these words.”
9Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up.
10They saw the God of Israel, and under His feet was something like a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the very heavens.
11Yet He did not raise His hand against the nobles of Bnei-Yisrael. So they beheld God, and ate and drank.
12Then Adonai said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the Torah and the mitzvot, which I have written so that you may instruct them.”
13So Moses rose up along with his attendant Joshua, and Moses went up onto the mountain of God.
14To the elders he said, “Wait for us here until we come back to you. See, Aaron and Hur are with you—whoever has a dispute should go to them.”
15When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it.
16The glory of Adonai settled upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. Then on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17The appearance of the glory of Adonai was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of Bnei-Yisrael.
18So Moses entered into the midst of the cloud and went up onto the mountain. Moses was on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights.