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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Exodus 21:16

"He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that stealeth a man - By this law every man-stealer, and every receiver of the stolen person, should lose his life; no matter whether the latter stole the man himself, or gave money to a slave captain or negro-dealer to steal him for him.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/exodus-21.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Exodus 21:16

He that stealeth a man.

About kidnapping

The same law is repeated in Deuteronomy 24:7; from which passage it is evident that it treats of kidnapping a Hebrew. And thus the severity of the punishment, death, without the possibility of redemption, cannot appear surprising. For all Israelites are considered as free citizens with inalienable and equal rights, of which they can never be entirely divested. Now it is natural that he who steals an Israelite will, in the rarest cases, keep him as his slave or sell him to an Israelite, as the injured person could, in the Holy Land, easily find means to inform the authorities of his fate, and thus cause the punishment of his criminal master. The latter, therefore, generally sold the kidnapped individual to foreign merchants into distant lands, either to Egyptians, who commanded the land commerce to the south, or to Phoenicians, who influenced the trade to the west; and opportunities of selling must have easily offered themselves, as Palestine was situated in the exact centre of the commerce of the East. But by such sale, free Israelites became permanent slaves; they forfeited with their liberty their chief characteristic as Hebrews, and were thus lost to the Hebrew community, the more so, as the exclusive intercourse with pagans must necessarily defile the purity of their faith, and gradually accustom their thoughts to idolatry. For this reason it was in the Mosaic law, interdicted to sell even thieves into foreign countries, because thereby souls are, as it were, extirpated from Israel. Thus he who kidnapped Israelites and sold them to other countries justly deserved death, especially if we consider the most melancholy and bitter lot to which the slaves of heathen nations were generally doomed. (M. M. Kalisch, P h. D.)

Unrighteousness of slave holding

At the time slaves were held in the State of New York, one of them, escaping into Vermont, was captured and taken before the court at Middlebury by his owner, who asked the court to give him possession of his slave property. Judge Harrington listened attentively to the proofs of ownership, but said that he was not convinced that the title was perfect. Then the counsel asked what more was required. “Until you bring me a bill of sale from God Almighty you cannot have this man.” (J. Swinton.)


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Exodus 21:16". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/exodus-21.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him,.... One of the children of Israel, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and so the Septuagint version: but though this law was given to the Israelites primarily, yet was made for men stealers in general, as the apostle observes, who plainly has reference to it, 1 Timothy 1:9,

or if he be found in his hand; before the selling of him, as Jarchi notes, since he stole him in order to sell him, he was guilty of death, as follows:

he shall surely be put to death; with strangling, as the same Jewish writer remarks, as on the preceding verse; and Jarchi sets it down as a rule, that all death in the law, simply expressed, is strangling.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/exodus-21.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Observe, that among the Israelites, the very idea of stealing man, woman, or child, must have been with a view to sell them to the heathen nations; because no Hebrew could, by the law, become the purchaser. Hence the greatness of the crime was increased, The apostle classes this sin among the most heinous. 1 Timothy 1:10.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/exodus-21.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Exodus 21:16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Ver. 16. He that stealeth a man.] Akin to these are they that steal other men’s books, and father them, setting them out in their own names. Diagoras was so served by a plagiary, which, when he saw, and that the thief was not presently struck with a thunderbolt, he, out of stomach, turned atheist. Thus, of late, Fabricius stole Tremelius’s Syriac translation. Villavincentius stole Hyperius’s treatise, "De Ratione Studii Theologici." And Possevinus stole Dr James’s "Cyprianus Redivivus."


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/exodus-21.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Exodus 21:16. And he that stealeth a man, &c.— See Deuteronomy 24:7. This crime was death both by the Athenian and Roman laws. It is difficult to say, why this law is placed between those respecting striking and cursing parents. Some suppose that children, stolen in youth, might, upon returning to their own country, be guilty of the crimes between which this law stands, as not knowing their parents. But as these are single laws, it may be difficult, if not impossible, always to assign reasons for their position and connexion.

REFLECTIONS.—Note; 1. If the murderer will find no sanctuary even at God's altar, surely he should find none elsewhere. Mercy to a murderer is cruelty to mankind. 2. Though the behaviour of an undutiful son under our laws meets not with such exemplary punishment, God will surely take vengeance, either in time or eternity. 3. Nothing is accidental: if a sparrow fall not to the ground without Divine direction or permission, much less does a man.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/exodus-21.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

i.e. In the manstealer’s hand; q.d. though he keep him in his own hands for his own use; for still it is a theft, and he is made that man’s slave, and it is in his power to sell him to another when he pleaseth, and therefore deserves death.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/exodus-21.html. 1685.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 21:16. He that stealeth a man — Whether he keep him in his own hands for his own use, or sell him, still it is a theft of a heinous kind, and the man-stealer deserves death. It appears from 1 Timothy 1:9-10, that this law was not meant to be of a merely temporary nature, but of standing force.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/exodus-21.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a man. (Hebrew. "ish. App-14.) Aramaean and Septuagint add "of the sons of Israel".


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/exodus-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Man - stealing to sell into slavery. These three crimes are mentioned afterward with additional circumstances of aggravation (see the notes at Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Deuteronomy 24:7).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/exodus-21.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
stealeth
Genesis 40:15; Deuteronomy 24:7; 1 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 18:12
selleth him
Genesis 37:28
found in
22:4

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Exodus 21:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/exodus-21.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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