New Defender's Study Bible Notes
21:6 bore his ear. This ordinance is very significant, being the first given after the ten commandments. This first ordinance and those that follow center first on the most humble members of society (the slaves–recognizing the then-universal existence of slavery, and ameliorating the practice), then on other people, then on property–thus establishing God’s priorities. Second, right at the beginning of the dispensation of Law, we are given a typological picture of God’s Servant, who would someday come to bear the curse of the Law for us, saving us by His grace. The slave, with full right to be set free in his seventh year, chooses rather to stay in the will of his master, listening to his voice only–symbolized and sealed by the opening in his ear. Just so, Christ said prophetically: “Mine ears hast thou opened:...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 ears of the servant is included in the preparation of the Lord’s 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).
21:7 daughter...maidservant. Exodus 21:1-6 describes the treatment to be accorded a manservant sold into servitude by his father. Exodus 21:7-11 does the same for a daughter. She could be married to her master, or to his son, or purchased back by her family, or supported, or else set free.
21:17 put to death. Note the many crimes for which the law prescribed capital punishment (Exodus 21:12,15,16,17,23,29, etc.). The nation of Israel was promised great blessings as God’s chosen nation, but God required that it be, indeed, a holy nation.
21:24 Eye for eye. This is the first reference to the famous “law of retaliation,” or lex talionis. See also Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21, along with Christ’s modification of this law in Matthew 5:38-39.
21:32 thirty shekels of silver. This was the redemption price in the law specified for a slave. It was also the price received by Judas to betray the Lord Jesus (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15).