[b-hebrew] Exodus 21:8

Joel C. Salomon joelcsalomon at gmail.com
Sun Nov 1 15:13:17 EST 2009

On Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 11:17 AM, K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > This is from the section from verses 7 – 11 dealing with how one should
>> > deal with a purchased Hebrew slave girl.
>> >
>> >  אם־רעה בעיני אדניה אשׁר־לא יעדה והפדה לעם נכרי לא־ימשׁל למכרה בבגדו־בה׃
>> The first unclear verb (what the master “did not do” or “did to him”) is
>> יעדה (designated her), not ידעה (sexual relations).
> Here I read יעדה as calling her to an appointed meeting, with the
> implications that it is sexual in nature.

The traditional understanding is that יעדה (related to מועד) is
designation for marriage; cf. v. 10 "If he takes himself another
[wife], he shall not diminish her … conjugal rights."  The master has
already provisionally designated the girl for this, and has the
obligation to marry the girl to himself or his son, or (if "אם רעה
בעיני אדוניה")…

>> The second verb in question (והפדה) is taken to be a form of the verb
>> פדה, “redeemed”.
> This is what puzzles me, in that “redeem” does not fit the context here.
> This is a Hebrew female slave, therefore she is not to be “redeemed to a
> foreign people” והפדה לעם נכרי . How does redemption fit in there at all?

I don't recall the name for this grammatical form, but והפדה = "he
shall arrange for her to be redeemed" or "…allow her to be redeemed".
(The word והפדה has an esnachta; "לעם נכרי…" begins a new phrase.)

Verse 11: "If he does none of these three (marry her, marry his son to
her, or have her redeemed by relatives) then [when her term is up] she
goes free gratis."

—Joel Salomon

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