Within the text of the Sinai covenant, there is an interesting section of the law code detailing the role of the master in providing a wife for his slave (man servant) or son. This is YHVH talking to Moses, telling him what to teach the new nation of Israel. This means it was and is of great importance to Him (Malachi 3:6). Given that He instituted marriage in the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, this should not be a surprise.
This section has two statutes, one dealing with a male slave, and the other dealing with a female slave. Let’s read them, and then we’ll discuss them.
“Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them:
“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.
“If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.Exodus 21:1-11
The first thing that must be noted and emphasized is that these two sections of law come directly from YHVH on Mount Sinai. The other thing is that the male and female slaves are dealt with separately. There’s no egalitarianism here! Nor is there any feminism, but this is pure patriarchy.
For the male slave, if he enters into the 6 year period of slavery with his wife, he will leave at the end of the period with his wife. The male slave’s master has no right over his new slave’s wife. However, if the male slave comes in single, and the master gives him a wife, the two marry. But the master retains the right to the woman and her children if any are born to the slave and his wife. Then at the end of the six year period, the male slave can leave. But if he does so, he abandons his wife and children. If he cannot do that, he will give up his freedom forever, and choose to become the master’s bondservant.
The second case deals with a father who sells his daughter into slavery. I want the reader to take a second to absorb that the father is transferring his paternal authority over his daughter to the new master, which is not unlike a father giving his daughter to her new husband during a contemporary wedding ceremony. Unlike the male slave, there is no time limit of 6 years and going out free the seventh year. The new master has to designate the female either for himself or his son; in other words, he will either be her husband or her new father-in-law. Otherwise, the master must let her birth father redeem her.
The effect of these two sections show that a master can deal with a male servant as a son, and can give a female slave to either his biological son, or a male slave, while still retaining authority over her in the latter case. If the master takes her for himself, he has that right, but he cannot hurt the previous wife or wives by reducing her or their accustomed standard of living.
In the case of King David, we see how this works. From Psalm 2:6-7 (which is considered a royal psalm) we see that YHVH installs His King on Zion’s hill and the decree of a Father-son relationship between YHVH and His anointed king.
“But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:Psalm 2:6-7
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son.
When David sinned by committing adultery with Bath-Sheba and having Uriah, her husband, murdered, he was rebuked by YHVH through the prophet Nathan. Part of that rebuke included a reminder of their Father-son relationship.
Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!II Samuel 12:7-8
The rebuke started with a reminder of their Father-son relationship because of David’s being anointed king over Israel. Then YHVH said He had given David Saul’s house, wives, and Israel and Judah. If that weren’t enough, He would have given David more wives. Not only were the adultery and murder laws transgressed, both part of the Ten Commandments, but also the statute that the master can give a wife to his son.
As an aside, when David served King Saul, they had a “master-son” relationship.
When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?”I Samuel 24:16
Yeshua as the Son of David parallels his ancestor in receiving the nations. From Psalm 2:8 we see that
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,Psalm 2:8
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.’
The parallel prophecy to this is Daniel 7
And behold, with the clouds of heavenDaniel 7:13-14
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)
This was fulfilled in Acts 1:9
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.Acts 1:9
And like King David, his ancestor, King Yeshua gets the wife (or wives) in addition to the nations!
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.Matthew 25:1-10
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them (Revelation 21:2-3)Revelation 21:2-3
2 thoughts on “Applying Exodus 21 to David and Yeshua”
Excellent!! Well done!
Thank you, Pete! 🙂