An Ear to the Master's Voice


"And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever." (Exodus 21:5-6)

This unique ordinance of the Mosaic law is significant as being the first one given after the Ten Commandments. It (and the following ordinances) centers first on the most humble members of society (that is, the slave—recognizing the universal existence of slavery at the time and ameliorating its practice), then on other people, then on property—thus establishing God's priorities.

Here also, right at the beginning of the dispensation of law, we are given a picture in miniature of the coming Servant of the Lord, who would come someday to bear the penalty of the law for us, saving us by His grace.

The servant pictured here, with full right to be set free in the sabbatical year, chooses rather to do the will of his master forever, listening to his voice only—this commitment symbolized and sealed by the opening in his ear. Just so, the coming Savior would say: "Mine ears hast thou opened. . . . Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:6-8). The fulfillment of this prophecy is described in Hebrews 10:5-10. There, the opening of the ear of the servant is interpreted as the preparation of His human body "to do thy will, O God. . . . By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:7, 10). Out of love for the Father and for those who would share the Father's house with Him, He offered His body to accomplish the saving will of God. HMM