7 “If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do. 8 If she doesn’t please her master, who has married her to himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt deceitfully with her. 9 If he marries her to his son, he shall deal with her as a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights. 11 If he doesn’t do these three things for her, she may go free without paying any money. Exodus 21:7-11WEB
This passage contains a series of statutes, directed toward Israel, qualified by the introduction (verse 7): "If a man sells his daughter to be a female servant, she shall not go out as the male servants do.".
The conditions under which a sold daughter may cease to be a slave are:
- If she does not please her master, who has designated [some translations:betrothed or married] her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed.
- If she marries the master's son, then she shall be as a daughter.
- If, having married into the master's family, her husband takes another wife for himself, and if he diminishes her food, clothing, or marital rights, then she may go free without any payment of money (debts forgiven).
Adjacent to the first requirement, a negative command is given:
- [Her displeased master, who has designated her for himself] shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.
This passage is part of the Civil/Judicial Law.
This ordinance is generally understood to represent a continuing obligation for modern civil government.
Commands relating to slavery and the forgiveness of debts find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ, who forgave all our trespasses, and canceled the record of our debt to God by nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).